Orthodox Christianity holds to the doctrine of Trinity, that the one, true God is one being in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Early church Fathers (ex: Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Turtullian) refer to the Trinity and Trinity was later affirmed in the various creeds of the early church (ex: the Athanasian Creed).
The Trinity is generally recognized in Genesis 1:1-3. As God, the Father, creates the heavens and the earth, we have the Spirit of God hovering over the waters and Jesus, the Word of God, commanding the world into being, culminating in their decision to “make man in our image” (Genesis 1:27). Likewise, Trinity is seen at the baptism of Jesus. Upon coming up from the waters, the heavens open to reveal the Spirit of God descending upon him and the voice from heaven declaring Jesus to be God’s beloved and pleasing Son (Matthew 3: 13-17).
Jesus, himself, directs his followers to make disciples and to baptize them in (or into) “the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19-20) and the well-known benediction, written by Paul to the Corinthian Church reads: “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). Beyond these are many passages that link Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to the Godhead (Ex: In John 10:30, Jesus declares that He and his Father are one; in Acts 5:3-4, The Holy Spirit is equated with God; etc.).
Despite the centrality of the doctrine of Trinity to the orthodox Christian faith, we don’t often consider the implications of the Trinity and why Trinity is good news for us. Enter Michael Reeves whose nine, one- to two- minute messages have led me to worship anew this wonderful, all-lovely, triune God. Summaries of his nine messages are included below (and in two subsequent posts).
Messages 1 through 3 include:
“The God Who is Trinity”
“Trinity and Our Good News”
“The Heart-Winning Trinity ”
#1 The God Who is Trinity
In John 20:31, John says he writes his gospel so that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The call to “believe in Jesus” is a call to believe in the triune God because Jesus is the Son of God the Father, and the Anointed One—the one anointed with the Spirit.
#2 Trinity and Our Good News
In the Trinity, we have a father, eternally loving his son through the Spirit. What if God were a single person? If He were not a father, eternally having a relationship with his son? If that were him, then for an eternity past, He wouldn’t know what love is or what fellowship is and we couldn’t say “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
He would be a God who wouldn’t have fellowship to share with us. What’s more, not knowing fellowship, would He know how to be gracious, how to love others? “I think I’d fear God only, and I wouldn’t find my heart won to him.”
#3 The Heart-Winning Trinity
Some people think Trinity is some little add-on to Christianity, but when we talk about Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we’re talking about who God is… and to know this God is life, according to John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
There are people who can’t believe in God or who see God as a heavenly dictator—people like Christopher Hitchens who did not want God to even exist. “If [Hitchens] is right, that God is just a ruler without love, I’m not sure I want God to exist either. But if God is a father, eternally characterized by loving his son, and He wants to welcome us into his love; well, wouldn’t you want this God to exist? This God is true; we should want to know Him… He is so beautiful.”
For more on the Trinity from Michael Reeves you can listen to his 22 min. podcast called “Delighting in the Trinity.”
Michael Reeves (@mike_reeves) is an author and the theological adviser for the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) in the United Kingdom. He oversees Theology Network, a theological resources website, and was formerly an associate minister at AllSoulsChurch, Langham Place.
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