Monday, October 17, 2016
Four reasons why the Trinity is such a practical doctrine for today
Genesis 1:1-2 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters."
Today's post is going to list four practical reasons why the Trinity is important to the Christian and to the understanding of life, God and the Bible. In brief, when Christians say God is a Trinity or Triune, what is meant is: God is One God, existing as Three Persons, with each Person identified as truly and fully God. The doctrine itself is composed of three essential doctrines taught in the Bible: God as one God; Deity of Jesus Christ and the Personality of the Holy Spirit. Passages such as Matthew 28:18-19 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 clearly state that God is one God, existing as three Persons with each Person being truly and fully God.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 defines the Trinity as follows: "The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being."
The Biblical doctrine of the trinity is not only profound, but practical. The way we will explore these life-practical reasons is by noting particular truths that can only make sense in light of the Trinity.
1. Truth about God's identity.
In Genesis 1:1-2 we already find reference to at least one of the Persons of the Trinity - the Holy Spirit. We find Him "hovering" above the waters. In John 1:1, we find reference to the other two Persons, namely the Father, called by the title "God", and the Son, referred to as "the Word" in the same verse. This is God's identity. He is one God in being and three in identity.
2. Truth about humanity.
What does it mean to be human? In Genesis 1:26 we understand that God made man in "His image" and "in His likeness", meaning that unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, mankind was endowed with reason, the ability to have relationship with God and with each other and delegated authority dominion over the created realm. Interestingly Genesis 1:26 records God saying: "let us make man in 'our' image and in 'our likeness'". Notice the plural pronoun "our" with reference to God. God is indeed "One" God, and yet we find in Genesis a plurality within God. This plurality, as later Biblical texts will reveal, has to do with God being three in Person. God relates within Himself and thus has created human beings with the capacity to relate.
3. The truth about the family.
As the doctrine of the Trinity helps us to understand the relational uniqueness of human beings, we find the truth of the family made more clear. In Genesis 2:22-25 we see the husband and wife relationship being described in terms of the man and wife being "one flesh". How can two distinct individuals be plural in one way and one in another? As God made humanity in His image to be a relational reflection of Himself, we find the marriage relationship to be patterned somewhat off of what is true about God. God is a plurality in unity, and thus marriage is designed to reflect this feature. Any departure from this Divine design of one man, one woman in covenantal union for life erases the Divine intention for marriage.
4. The truth about love.
A fifth century theologian by the name of Augustine would often highlight how God is a God of love. Since love by its nature requires three elements: a lover, a beloved and the love shared between the two, this quality about love is due to what we find to be the case within God. God is the Father (the Lover within the Trinity); the Son (the beloved in the Trinity) and the Holy Spirit (the love shared between the Father and the Son). This thought is helpful in understanding the concept of love, especially in its self-giving nature, its desire to please the one it is given to and the beauty thereof. 1 John 4:8 plainly states: "God is love".
More next time.....