“Of God and the Holy Trinity”
The next portion of paragraph 3 which deals with the Trinity emphasizes the full and undiluted deity of each of the persons of the Trinity: “of one substance, power and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided.”
These words are intended to underscore the fact that the personal subsistences in the divine being are fully God. The Father is God, The Son is God. The Spirit is God. They are God in the maximum meaning of that Word. Each has the whole divine essence. This means that each person possesses all the attributes which describe that divine essence. Each is love. Each is light. Each is spirit. Each is consuming fire; because each has the whole divine essence that is described in the Bible in these ways. The great controversy over this was with Arianism. Jehovah’s Witnesses are modern Arians who deny the full deity of Christ. They insist that Christ is only a small g god. But the New Testament applies to Christ Old Testament passages which speak of Yahweh, the one who calls Himself “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14). Jesus Himself applies the Yahweh language to Himself in John 8:58 when he says, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
These words also condemn what is Called Subordinationism. Subordinationism grew up in the Early Church under the influence of some forms of Platonism. It derived from the idea that the Supreme Being was so transcendent that in order to create or communicate with a finite world and intermediate being was necessary. God had to be cut down to size to fit through the door into the finite world. The Word or Son of God was viewed as this intermediate being and, thus, necessarily a lesser form of God or God diluted. In response to this false view, the Confession says that each person has the whole divine essence.
Though the great controversy was over the deity of Christ in the Early Church, it followed from His full deity that the Spirit of God was also fully God. He was neither merely a spiritual force nor a created being.
Christians sometimes wonder if they should worship the Son of God and the Spirit of God. This is, I suppose, because worship is generally in the Bible given to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Since, however, the Son and Spirit are God, they may be worshiped with the praise and prayers that may only be given to the infinite and divine being.
We must entertain exalted and majestic views of the Son of God and the Spirit of God as fully and without dilution God. We may worship them without moderation or reduction. We may trust their power and grace without reluctance or fear.
We must reject as unworthy of our Savior every doctrine which diminishes His true deity. He is not a lower case g God. He is capital G-O-D, God!
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.