“And without controversy great is the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God was manifested in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
One would almost think that (1 Timothy 3:16) reads that way, to hear some people explaining the Godhead. However, this is how it actually reads: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.” As far as the New Testament Church was concerned, there was not any controversy around the mystery of God, because they were all Oneness.
“The Bible, in its entire sixty-six books, knows nothing at all about a mysterious three-person Godhead. There is nothing mentioned in scripture about “the Trinity.” There is nothing mentioned about a Tri-une Godhead. The great mystery of godliness is the Incarnation—God manifest in the flesh.” [excerpt from Gordon Magee’s book, “Is Jesus In the Godhead or Is the Godhead In Jesus?”]
John wrote this about Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1,14). Paul wrote: “For in HIM dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9), and “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16). Over and over the scripture points us towards the Godhead being IN Jesus, NOT Jesus being the second person in the Godhead!
Jesus, Himself, spoke openly and plainly about His identity. Some examples include when Jesus was asked the question “Where is thy Father?” Jesus answered, “Ye neither know me, nor my father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also” (John 8:19). Jesus was claiming to be the Father. Two chapters later, Jesus again refers to the Incarnation when He declared, “I am my Father are ONE” (John 10:30). Within in 2 chapters Jesus had claimed to be God manifest in the flesh.
One thing you must understand about the Incarnation is that it’s not just about the Godhead. The primary reason for the Incarnation was to redeem fallen humanity. God chose to redeem fallen humanity through the Incarnation. He came in flesh so He could shed sinless blood for the remission of our sins. This was God’s plan all along. The lamb of God was “slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). In other words, before Adam was ever created…before Adam had ever touched the forbidden fruit…before Adam had ever sinned, God planned to manifest Himself in flesh for the purpose of redemption.
The Gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ according to (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The application of the Gospel is found in (Acts 2:38) when one repents of their sins (death), is baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (burial), and is baptized with the Holy Ghost (resurrection). According to scripture, it is absolutely essential to repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and be filled with the Holy Ghost to be saved!
One last point I’d like to make regarding the necessity of having a right understanding of the Godhead is found in the Book of John. After Jesus had answered the question of where his Father was (John 8:19), He went on to declare that “if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). First, Jesus declared that He was God in flesh…that the Father dwelt IN Him. Then Jesus said that if you did not believe that He was the Father, you would die in your sins. And just like that, Jesus linked the Incarnation to our Salvation! Jesus was saying if you do not believe I am who I say I am, you will die in your sins because I cannot be to you who I am.
Getting the Godhead wrong is a Salvation issue. If you get the Godhead wrong you cannot truly be redeemed. If you get the Godhead wrong, the way you baptize will be wrong. The Incarnation…the Godhead is a Salvation issue because if we do not know who He is, we cannot be redeemed! The Godhead MATTERS! Everything we believe about God revolves around the Incarnation…the Godhead, therefore we must get it right!