The Russian theologian, Vladimir Lossky, wrote:
“if we reject the Trinity as the sole ground of all reality and of all thought we are committed to a road that leads nowhere; we ned in folly, in the disintegration of our being, in spiritual death. Between the Trinity and Hell there is no other choice.”
Miss the Trinity and you will never be free. Miss the Trinity and you will never be who God made you to be. Miss the Trinity and you will never know God.
The Three Persons of the Trinity are of such unity and oneness that they are actually one God. Divine relational deity existing in harmonious unity is the core and genesis of ALL BEAUTY, TRUTH and GOODNESS in the universe. God’s delight in his three-ness in oneness is reflected in our own delight in plurality in unity. Thus: we celebrate plurality in unity everywhere: music, of melody, and harmony; of architecture in form and shape in one design; the place teamwork and individual efforts for the good of the team in sport; the mixing of food ingredients in cooking; even the mystery and pleasure of sexual union - all these are God- designed metaphors of the joys of plurality in unity.
The primary desire of the Living God we know as Trinity is to express their love in unity. That’s why the world was made. That’s why you are redeemed. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are joined in a circle of overflowing affection, mutual honour and openhearted sharing. It’s an eternal circle of sharing the everlasting life in each of them. It means among other things
• the joy never runs out
• the creative energy is constantly refreshed • hope is always cascading from them
We always love what is most attractive to us. Isaac Watts, the hymn writer, said, “It is not to be expected that we should love God supremely if we have not known him to be more desirable than others.” I’d love to show you that the Holy Trinity is the most desirable and attractive doctrine; but much more than that, I hope to show you that the Holy Trinity in themselves are the best, most wonderful, desirable, extravagantly attractive Persons in the Universe, and that the Trinity is the shape of all our Christian lives, prayer and worship. Get this: The Holy Trinity is the Truth that has grasped you if you have ever prayed to the Father in the name of Jesus; if you have ever seen that the Holy Spirit brings you into the nearer and dearer presence of Jesus Christ himself, your Saviour and Lord; if you have ever known yourself filled with assurance and joy and power and love that is not natural to you - then you are Trinitarian.
I have four things to say about the Holy Trinity, and to help you they all begin with ‘R’.
“No one has ever seen God: God’s only Son, he who is nearest to the Father’s heart, has made him known. “ (John 1:18, REB) The King James Bible talks about Jesus being “in the bosom of the Father.” Now think of that when we recall John the disciple leaning on the chest of Jesus at the Last Supper: here we get the faintest snapshot of God’s life, where Jesus from all eternity has been in repose with the Father. Before anything in the world, there was love. Again, remember what Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:24, “You loved me before the world began.” You see, God is a loving community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the relationship between each member of the Trinity is the explanation of everything in the universe. This world carries on through love, community, compassion and personal relationships. And it is only the Christian that can make sense of the feeling - common to the heart of many - that love is the greatest thing: because God is love. In the Christian faith alone, power serves love. Love is the meaning of everything in life because we are made in the image of God, who is Trinity.
Second. The Holy Trinity means RADIANCE:
“In the beginning, the Word already was. The Word was in God’s presence, and what God was the Word was. He was with God at the beginning and through him all things came to be; without him no created things came into being. In him was life, and that life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never mastered it.” (John 1:1-5, REB) The Father has always been a communicator - he is the Eternal Speaker - and in his outshining Christ the everlasting Word of the Father is begotten (not created). God is an eternal fountain of life and light always begetting. God is eternally shining, and Christ is the radiance, the outshining of God’s glory. Hebrews 1:3 reminds us that Christ “is the radiance of God’s glory, the stamp of God’s very being.” In one sense, God is the original extrovert, always outgoing. He always goes out from himself, turning towards others, turning towards the Son and the Spirit, and turning to every human being in the world.
The implications of this are vast. At the centre of the universe, there is no self-absorption. Our whole life is understood best when we see that God’s life is constantly being poured out for us. Even our discipleship is not in the end about what we offer to God. Grace - God’s self-giving - is at the heart of the universe. And grace can’t help shining.
Third, the Holy Trinity means ROOM:
“But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12, NASB) Because God is Trinity, our God is a habitable God: we can live and abide in him; and we are called to be at home in him. God as Trinity always rejoices to have us alongside him and in him. We are not left abandoned to the random forces of the universe; we are not victims of demonic powers. We are not on the outside looking in. WW ARE IN THE SON, FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT, and ADOPTED BY THE FATHER. Peter puts it like this in his second letter, the first chapter and verse four, “We share in the very being of God.” An old Puritan, Jeremiah Burrrowes, would often cry out, “I have God. God is mine.” And that is nothing less than the greatest privilege of those who share in the very life of the Trinity.
Oh how I hate what we have made the gospel - as if it is all about the fringe benefits. And I dare to call forgiveness of sins and the saving from hell itself such - even though they are vitally necessary. But they are not the main focus. I hate the way that we have portrayed the glorious King of Majesty, Jesus Christ the Lord, as needy, as if in giving our lives to him we are doing him a favour. We are those, rather, who have been brought into the love each member of the Trinity has for the other; we are brought into the life and love of the Trinity - so that we might possess God in his fullness and he might live in us.
Fourth, the Holy Trinity means RESPONSE:
“So the word became flesh; he made his home among us, and we saw his glory, such glory as befits the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth...from his full store we have all received grace upon grace.” (John 1:14,16, REB) From all eternity, the Son responded to the Father in trust, obeying him perfectly. And when he became a human, he obeyed perfectly as a man. It followed that Christ was baptised into our kind of life, and responded in our name. When we become Christians, we are baptised into his life, and we now respond to God in his name. You see, there is a perfect response to God - but it is not mine or yours. It is Jesus’ and I belong to him. And through him I live in perfect correspondence to the Father and the Spirit. Naturally speaking, I can’t respond - I am not up to the job - but alleluia, Jesus is! Because of the Trinity, I can join my grateful ‘Amen’ to the perfect responses of Jesus and the Spirit, and that means I am no longer a slave, but a son. And I am saved. His life for mine. His response for mine.
The Puritan, Richard Sibbes, daringly said this, “Such a goodness is in God as is in a fountain, or the breast that loves to ease itself of milk.” In other words, God as Trinity is infinitely satisfying - and he is the fountainhead of all beauty, truth and goodness in the universe. God is beautiful, true, good, desirable and life-giving simply because he is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is endlessly, unsurprisingly satisfying - and we see and know that in the extravagant love of the Father, the extraordinary life of the Son, and the exuberant liberty of the Spirit.
Here is how God can win back wandering hearts. here is how hope can be given to the most despairing of saints. Here is how the most reassuring support can be given to the stumbling saint: GOD AS TRINITY shares his very life and love and joy with us - and this is nothing less than eternal life. You see, we are brought before the Most High, not just as forgiven sinners, but as dearly loved children who get to share by the Spirit the very love and fellowship that exists between each member of the Trinity.
I want as best as I can to try and give you a summary of this glorious truth in a way that will inspire you and keepmyou faithful to the end:
God is not alone or solitary.
Rather, he exists in a glorious fellowship, a community of love, but a community of oneness.
So there is nothing missing in this circle of love: there is no emptiness, no lack, no need.
Instead, all that can found is life love joy freedom laughter blessedness peace delight creativity.
God has never been bored, or aloof, or brooding, or lonely.
Each member of the Trinity prefers the other and in mutual delight gives himself away each to the other.
Togetherness, fellowship, love, harmony are at the centre of all that is - and all that will be in what shall be created.
SO this Trinity,
in an act of glorious grace,
decided that the circle of love would be opened and humanity created to be included within it.
Before the foundation of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, decided to adopt us in love as their own, so that we might share from the inside the very life of the Trinity in all its fullness.
There is no other God than this Trinity.
There is no other will than this God’s settled intention - with ti make us in his image, and include us in his life and love.
Again, before the foundation of the world,
the Second Person of the Trinity, in full agreement with the Father and the Spirit,
decided he would himself become human, crossing very distance imaginable that exists between humanity and God, that he might make us all one with the Godhead.
In the Person of Christ, the Trinity entered their own creation, and as a result lifted up and elevated the human forever.
Adam and Eve’s sin was marvellously counter-attacked bt the Son entering our darkness, bearing our anger against God (a damning evidence of our fallenness), and bearing God’s anger against our wrongdoing, and through his teaching, life, miracles of healing and deliverance demonstrated the heart of God for his people.
He gave himself to death on the cross, paying off the debts we owed, and bearing our sins away for good.
He shared our shame, our pain and our loneliness. His cry “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” was nothing less than the cry of the anguished heart of every man, every woman. He espoused our estrangement that we might be made friends, reconciled, with God.
Then by the Spirit of holiness, the Holy Spirit,
he was declared to be the Son of God with power, by his resurrection from the dead.
With our debts fully paid,
our sins fully forgiven,
there is nothing
to stop us
enjoying the lively love of the Trinity.
comes to us and and works in us.
He reveals Jesus to us and in us.
He enables us to experience the intimacy of the Son with the Father.
And so this is how we live within the embrace of the Holy Trinity. And as we do so, we share the assuring and anointing of the Spirit (“We have an unction”)
In our sharing of the life of the Trinity,
we are not diminished as unique humans,
but we are daily being renewed in the image of our God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
So it means, even now,
our life is hid with Christ in God,
we are seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
And when he comes again in power and great glory,
we shall see him as he is and become totally like him,
and our eternal homes shall be flung open to us - more amazing, more stunning, more beautiful, more full of goodness and delight and love and joy and peace
than we can possibly imagine now...
This Trinity, this is our God,
this is Reality.
And when we know ourselves reconciled, made friends with God. Through the shed blood of Christ, by the power of the Spirit,
we find ourselves held within the fierce, passionate, determined, life-giving, life-enhancing love
of the Generous Father,
His beloved Son,
and the Life-giving Spirit.
Here is a question: have you been lied to as to what God is like?
Suppose for a moment that God REALLY is love; that MERCY is his name; that GRACE is his natural language.
If you could envision him as a visionary, tough but tenderhearted Dad ... if you could know him as courageous and strong elder Brother ... and if you could experience him as wild, free and holy - then you have the Trinity.
It is your destiny to know this Triune God in such a way that the blessings he has for us will continually fall upon us and pass through us to touch a broken world. It’s why he made us in his image and redeemed us.
In the end, the Holy Trinity is not a puzzle to be solved, but a relationship to be enjoyed.
Heavenly Father, thank you that we can call you ‘Dad’. Thank you that your Son has become our Brother. Thank you Holy Spirit for coming into our lives. We love being in your family, sharing your life and love. We want to stay close within your embrace, Holy and Mighty God, Amen.