Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Four more practical reasons for the doctrine of the Trinity

Image result for Trinity in stained glass windows chartres cathedral

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

Yesterday's post considered four reasons why the reality of the Trinity is life-practical for the 21st century. In today's post we will consider four more reasons why the doctrine of the Trinity is highly practical for daily living.

1. The truth of people needing God
Was God lonely before He created anything? Did God create out of a need for having a creation and human beings? What makes God, well, God versus creation? God is complete and sufficient in and of Himself, with or without creation. When God created the universe, nothing was added nor subtracted from His being. Such a property of God's being is what theologians call "Divine aseity", referring to God's self-sufficiency. Creation, on the other hand, is incomplete without God. God's creation of all things was a choice, rooted in God's desire to share the overflow of love and trust shared between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Without the Trinitarian revelation of God, we couldn't make sense as to why God is complete in-and-of-Himself and more to the point: why we need Him.

2. The truth of salvation. 
John 3:16 is perhaps the most familiar verse in the Bible on the subject of salvation. Without the doctrine of the Trinity, we would not be able to make sense of John 3:16. The first phrase: "For God so loved the world" seems clear enough. But, the next phrase then states: "that He gave His One and only Son". This most familiar of all passages would not work without the reality of the Triune God. God the Father sent the Son. The Son, being God, provides salvation that is sufficient to redeem sinners. This same Son came to partake in true humanity, thus making Him capable of accomplishing the purchase of salvation through the shedding of His innocent blood. The verse then close out, reminding us of the only way anyone can receive what Christ achieved as God and man: "whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

3. The truth about the Bible
The Bible is a product of the Holy Spirit, is focused upon the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and is intended to point the way to the glory of the Father. This Trinitarian understanding of the plot-line of the 66 books of the Bible is what makes the Bible so unique. Whether we speak of the Father, Son or Holy Spirit, we are speaking about God. Each of God's two main names: "Yahweh" and "Elohim" are each found thousands times in the scriptures. These two names indirectly point to the two primary truths about God: Yahweh is a singular term, emphasizing that God and God alone is the "I AM"; whereas "Elohim" is a plural noun, underscoring how God is a plurality of Persons, strong and mighty as the Creator and Redeemer. There is scarcely a verse of scripture that is not somehow impacted by the truth of the Trinity.

4. The truth about the church
We could go on with so many more "truths" which only make sense in light of the fact that God is the Triune God. Undoubtedly we could comment on how true worship, true prayer, true evangelism, truths related to suffering and other "rubber-meets-the-road" issues are made more understandable in light of the Triune existence of God. We will however close out with how this crucial doctrine sheds light on the church. When we come to the New Testament teaching of the church, we often will find the imagery of "the body" being used with reference to Jesus' humanity and in analogy to the human body as being "one body, composed of many members" (see Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14). 

However, in thinking about what we saw earlier regarding the "truth about love", 1 Corinthians 13 unfolds in the greatest detail the nature of Divine love expressed through the church body. God's love is a self-giving love, dispensed for the sake of another's enjoyment. Unless God is Triune, with each Person of the Trinity giving of their love and reciprocating such to one another, we really don't have an adequate way of describing what church-life ought to be. Church members ought to show love to one another (see John 13:34-35). When the church operates in a comparative manner of love and self-sacrificial giving to one another and those around them like God does within Himself, the world will see tangible evidence of God's activity in and among the church.

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