I recently wrote a message about different ways that verses from the Bible are used, and misused, to prove one’s beliefs. I mentioned the belief in the Trinity as one of those “hot” topics where the same verses can be used to justify either side. When reviewing some of the comments I received, I began to wonder if either belief in or rejection of the Trinity is a sin.
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Before we begin, let me state that I personally, having been raised (and still am) Jewish, do not believe in the Trinity. I believe God is a separate, unique spiritual entity and that the Messiah (Yeshua), although 100% filled with the Holy Spirit, was born as a 100% mortal human and remained that way throughout his lifetime. As for the Holy Spirit …well, I am not really sure how to explain the Ruach HaKodesh, but it is not God and it is not Yeshua.
That being said, I do not deny anyone their right to believe in the traditional Christian teaching of the Trinity, meaning that God, the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit are the same entity, one being in three different forms.
Considering that these beliefs seem to be polar opposites of each other, it would seem that either side would consider the other side as being in sin. The Non-Trins say that the Trins are making Messiah into an idol and thereby violating the 2nd commandment about worshiping other gods. The Trins say that the non-Trins are rejecting the Messiah’s deity and thereby rejecting him. In my opinion, there will never be absolute proof of either of these beliefs until such time as we face God and Yeshua, who will then tell us the truth.
The funny thing about that is when we finally get the definitive answer, it will be too late to make any difference.
Here is what I believe regarding the sinfulness of believing either side: neither side will be in sin so long as we respect and observe the position of each entity with regards to God’s plan of salvation. What that means is this: God is the only one who will forgive our sins; Yeshua is the Messiah, our Cohen HaGadol (High Priest) and our Intercessor, through whom we and our prayers are justified in God’s sight; and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is a comforting spirit which God gives to those who accept Yeshua as their Messiah and who helps us to better understand God’s word and guide us in the path of righteousness.
If I believe Yeshua is God in the flesh, but I do not pray to him or ask him for forgiveness, then what if he really isn’t God? If I still pray only to God and ask God for forgiveness, then I have not worshiped Yeshua as God. If I believe he is God, but I worship and pray to God, the Father, then I have not placed Yeshua in a position where he is idolized, and I have not violated the 2nd Commandment.
On the other side, if I do not believe Yeshua is God but he really is, again- so long as I worship God the Father, then I am following Yeshua’s lead because he prayed to God and he talked about God as something other than himself. Even in the Gospel of John where he often refers to himself and God as one, he is not saying they are the same entity; in John 12:49 he tells us that he only says what the Father tells him to say and only does what the Father tells him to do, so when he said that when we see him we see God he is talking metaphorically. He is saying he is the image of God. He is not God’s puppet, without his own thoughts or feelings, but his teachings are directly from God and his works are directly from God. Jews would understand this relationship because a traditional Jewish thought is that the Torah is a mirror and when we look into the Torah we should see ourselves. That is what Yeshua was saying about himself- he is the mirror image of God.
So the bottom line is this: believing in the Trinity, or not believing in the Trinity, is not sinful in and of itself. I believe there is nothing sinful if we do these two things:
- Worship God alone and respect his position as the Father;
- Accept Yeshua as our Messiah, looking to him to intercede with God the Father and when we pray for forgiveness or for other things, we pray to God in the name of Yeshua: Yeshua is to be the Intercessor of our prayers, not the Interceptor of them.
If we do anything else, such as praying to Yeshua for forgiveness, praying to a saint to intercede with God, or praying to anyone other then God, himself, then we have committed a sin. Praying to anyone or anything other than God the Father, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, is idolatry and a sin.
I believe you can trust in this: pray only to God, ask only of God in the name of the Messiah, and whether you believe them to be the same personage or not, you will not be sinning.
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Until next time, L’hitraot and Baruch HaShem!!