NCC Question 3

Question

How many persons are there in God?

Full Answer

There are three persons in the one true and living God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

Short Answer

There are three persons in one God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Primary Scripture

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Commentary

There may be no doctrine more difficult to comprehend than the doctrine of the Trinity. The concept of the Trinity is humanly illogical, and yet, with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). The core beliefs of the Trinity can be summarized in three statements: (1) God is three persons, (2) Each person is fully God, and (3) There is one God. For those who grew up in church, the doctrine is accepted as true; but, either ignored or drastically simplified in inadequate analogies. Analogies such as the three phases of water, three functions of a person, or the three tenses of time; however, each analogy falls short of explaining the Trinity. The best explanation may not be one in which the Trinity is understood, but one that allows the mystery of Trinity to prevail. This is not to say that the Trinity should not be contemplated or reasoned, but it is to say that at the end of the day the Trinity is taken on faith, not logic. As the Apostle’s Creed testifies, “We believe in God the Father…We believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son…We believe in the Holy Spirit.” We believe each of these persons are fully and equally God, each sharing all of the characteristics of the other. We believe each of these persons are fully and equally unique, each existing distinctly, yet in unity with the others. May God grant us to the faith to believe, the passion to keep exploring, and the peace to be okay believing the unexplainable.

Additional Scripture References

  • Deuteronomy 6:4. Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
  • Matthew 28:19. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
  • John 10:30. I and the Father are one.
  • 1 Corinthians 8:6. Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
  • Matthew 3:16-17. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
  • John 1:1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  • John 17:5. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
  • Acts 5:3-4. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”
  • Romans 9:5. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.
  • Colossians 2:9. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.

Resources:Catechism Anchor

Teaching Ideas:

  • Read Scripture. Read one or two Scripture passages each day and discuss how each passage displays the one-ness or three-ness of God.
  • Create a Flashcard. Write the question on one side of an index card and the answer on the other. Also write the Scripture reference on one side of another index card and the Scripture on the other side. Use these as flash cards throughout the week.
  • Read the Commentary. Available on the NCC website or App.
  • Scripture Study.  Use a concordance or web-search to look up passages about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Make a list of similarities and differences for each member of the Trinity.
  • Listen to a Song. Listen or read the lyrics to Holy, Holy, Holy.
  • Memorize the Question and Answer. Write the question and answer on a whiteboard or piece of paper. Each day erase three or four words and put blanks in their place. Read the question and answer replacing the blanks with the correct missing words.

Discussion Questions

  • Why is the Trinity an important Christian belief?
  • What can we learn about God from the fact that He exists in relationships?
  • How would you respond to someone who says that Christians believe in three Gods?

NCC Question 2

Question

What is God?

Full Answer

God is the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. He is eternal, infinite, and unchangeable in his power and perfection, goodness and glory, wisdom, justice, and truth. Nothing happens except through him and by his will.

Short Answer

God is the creator of everyone and everything.

Primary Scripture

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God…But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:8-10 & 15)

Commentary

The first four words of the Bible are the most profound in all of Scripture, “In the beginning, God… (Genesis 1:1)” These four words teach us that God exists outside of time, space, and matter. At the beginning there was just God. These four words generate awe, wonder, fear, and humility. This eternal nature of God also points to the creativeness of God. Genesis 1:1 continues, “God created the heavens and the earth.” God, existing outside of time, space, and matter, speaks and creates all that exists. And in contrast to the Deistic worldview, God did not create the heavens and the earth and then withdraw, but instead God continues to speak into His creation revealing Himself to man through His Word (Hebrews 1:1-2). His Word reveals that He is eternal, infinite, unchangeable, good, glorious, wise, just, truthful, and sovereign. While there are many other of God’s attributes written in Scripture, these represent the differences between Yahweh God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and other gods created by human imagination. To boil the attributes of God down to a simple statement would be that God is Holy and He is wholly different from any other created thing.

Additional Scripture References

  • Creator: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). See alson Job 33:4, 1 Corinthians 8:6, and Revelation 4:11.
  • Sustainer: For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17). See also Acts 14:17, 1 Corinthains 8:6, and Hebrews 1:3.
  • Eternal & Infinite: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2). See also Exodus 3:14, Deuteronomy 33:27, Job 11:7-9, and Psalm 147:5.
  • Unchangeable in Power and Perfection: For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6) Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. (Psalm 147:5) See also Matthew 5:48.
  • Goodness: The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6). See also Psalm 117:2 and Deuteronomy 32:4.
  • Glory: And Stephen said: “Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran…” (Acts 7:2).
  • Wisdom: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34). See also Romans 16:27.
  • Justice: The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he (Deuteronomy 32:4). See also Romans 3:5, 26.
  • Truth: In hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began (Titus 1:2).
  • God’s Will: The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19).

Resources:Catechism Anchor

Teaching Ideas:

  • Read Scripture. Choose one attribute of God each day. Read the Scripture passage(s) that describe that characteristic, look up the definition of that characteristic, and reflect on how God displays that characteristic in our lives. For example
    • Monday – Creator
    • Tuesday – Sustainer
    • Wednesday – Eternal & Infinite
    • Thursday – Unchangable
    • Friday – Goodness & Glory
    • Saturday – Wisdom, Truth, & Justice
  • Create a Flashcard. Write the question on one side of an index card and the answer on the other. Also write the Scripture reference on one side of another index card and the Scripture on the other side. Use these as flash cards throughout the week.
  • Read the Commentary. Available on the NCC website or App.
  • Define Key Words.  Look up the definitions to the following words: creator, sustainer, eternal, infinite, glory, wisdom, justice, and truth.
  • Listen to a Song. Listen or read the lyrics to Praise to the Lord, the AlmightyIdentitify the characteristics in both the answer and the song. Identify the characteristics of God listed in only the answer or the song.
  • Memorize the Question and Answer. Write the question and answer on a whiteboard or piece of paper. Each day erase three or four words and put blanks in their place. Read the question and answer replacing the blanks with the correct missing words.

Discussion Questions

  • How does this answer differ from the way God is viewed in our culture?
  • Why is what we believe about God and His characteristics important for our daily lives?
  • What are some other characteristics of God not listed in the catechism answer?

NCC Question 1

Question

What is our only hope in life and death?

Answer

That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Primary Scripture

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 14:7–8)

Commentary

The first question of the New City Catechism lays a gospel foundation for the catechism. While the gospel will be unpacked in future questions, here in the first answer, we discover the gospel in its simplicity. In the first answer we find the doctrine of creation: God created us and therefore we are His (Genesis 1:26-28). We were created to belong to God. But, our first ancestors chose to live to themselves. Satan’s temptation was for Adam and Eve to question God’s authority over them (Genesis 3:1-7). When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God let them go to pursue their own desires without Him (Romans 1:18-32). It is here we discover hopelessness and the doctrine of sin. The question asks, “What is our only hope?” This question implies a situation of hopelessness. We have rejected our creator to pursue our own desires. But we also find the doctrine of salvation in the first answer. Our hope is to return to our creator and place ourselves under Him (Romans 10:9-10). Our answer also gives us the means to this salvation: the Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, stepped out of heaven, joined humanity on the earth, died on the cross to redeem humanity back to God, resurrected on the third day demonstrating His power over sin and death (Philippians 2:6-11, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Therefore, the person and work of Jesus Christ provides us our only hope of being restored back to God both in this life and the next.

Additional Scripture References

  • Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:23)
  • Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14)

Resources:Catechism Anchor

Teaching Ideas:

  • Read and discuss one of the Scripture passages above each day.
  • Write the question on one side of an index card and the answer on the other. Also write the Scripture reference on one side of another index card and the Scripture on the other side. Use these as flash cards throughout the week.
  • Listen to the song for Question 1 song while coloring together.
  • Read the commentary from the NCC website or App.
  • Identify key words (i.e. hope) and look up the definition together.
  • Write the question, answer, and Scripture reference on a piece of paper. Cut up the paper like a puzzle. Have the kids put together the puzzle. Afterward, have the kids read the question and answer and look up the Scripture.
  • Listen or read the lyrics to All Creatures of Our God and King. Discuss how the song relates to the question and answer (i.e. All creatures were created by God and therefore we should live for Him).
  • Share the gospel. For younger kids use The Gospel: God’s Plan for Me. Tracts available at Fellowship Baptist Church.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some things we can put our hope in? (or Who can we trust?)
  • Why is hope in Christ better than any other hope?
  • What does it mean that we belong to God and to Jesus?
  • How should this hope change how we live on a daily basis?