God Is Triune

…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit,
that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood:
 May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
I Peter 1:2
It’s a holy tension. That’s what I often say about the topic of the triune nature of God or the Trinity. People have tried to explain it using ordinary things like eggs, avocados, or relationships, but all of those fall short of what is actually true about the nature of God. The trinity is one of those things that you can’t completely comprehend, and we have to believe by faith.

‘God is one' (Deut. 6:4). We must affirm that God is one, and what we mean by that is one in substance. In other words, whatever God is made of, it is singular ‘stuff’. We must affirm that there are three persons that the singular God comprises. Those three are God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit, and like our passage mentions, they each have their respective role in the process of our salvation.
Millard Erickson in his book Making Sense of the Trinity says, ‘A contradiction exists if something is A and not-A at the same time and in the same respect.’ His example is as follows; my house is yellow, and my house is white. That is only a contradiction if I am saying my house is both yellow and white at the same time, in the same respect. Maybe the walls of my house are yellow and the trim is white, while it is yellow and white at the same time, it is not yellow and white in the same respect. Erickson goes on to say, ‘The doctrine of the Trinity is contradictory only if God is three at the same time he is one, and in the same respect as he is one. Therefore, our aim should be to discern the difference in God being one and also three.’ It’s not perfect, no illustration is, but it helps us understand the deep nature of God and we can affirm the doctrine of the Trinity is not contradictory.
But why is the Trinity even important? It’s crucial for us to seek to understand the Trinity as God has revealed himself in this way. While each person of the Trinity has a distinct role in God’s plan of redemption, each one works together for the good of the other. The Spirit’s work never contradicts or gets in the way of the Father's work, and Jesus’ accomplishments on the cross and interceding for us now don’t work independently of the Father's plans for redemption. The Trinity works together for the mutual benefit of each other, at the same time each one has its own role in God’s plans for the world. While that perfect relationship is enjoyed by God in the Trinity, it can’t be perfectly imitated by us in the church. Jesus said in John 13:35 ‘By this, everyone will know you are my followers, if you love one another.’ We can imitate the oneness of God in our unity and the diversity of the Godhead in the skills and gifts God has given us to share the story of his redemption of the world.
Questions for reflection:
1.What are some ‘holy tensions’ we believe based on faith and not complete understanding?
2. How would you talk about the Trinity to someone who doesn’t believe in Christianity?
3. Why do we often feel like some gifts/skills are better than others? How can you affirm someone in their giftings today?
David Flug | Community Life Pastor

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