The Scutum Fidei, a diagram frequently used by Christian apologists to explain the Trinity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Trinity is the circle we draw around all human knowledge, experience and creation. The Trinity gives the particulars and the universal meaning.
The Trinity teaches us that our identity only exists in community. The universal gives meaning to the particulars and vice versa.
The Covenant is how particulars and the universal have a relationship.
The Covenant is a relationship of love in which each party commits himself to sacrifice and self-denial for the blessing of the others.
Creation is a symbol (a living metaphor) of the Trinity’s relationship. Creation is a gift of the Father, through the Spirit, to the Son, which the Son perfects through the Spirit and gives back to the Father.
The Father is the speaker, the Son is the word and the Spirit is the breath.
Creation is a gift of the father to the son through the Spirit, which the Son prefects through the Spirit and gives back to the Father.
We were created to participate in this story.
Jesus leads us into the happy land of Trinity where the diversity and unity of creation find completion and fulfillment in the eternal community of love.
History began in the Trinity and is fulfilled in the Trinity
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. This is not merely a matter of Jesus’ features; the size of His nose or the color of His hair. It has to do with how Jesus conducted Himself. How did He act? What did He do throughout the Gospels? How did he respond to the Father? Jesus came to show men how to live in relation to God. He bore the image of God with His life, so that we would know how to bear the image of God with our lives. Jesus’ Lordship is unlike any kingly conduct in all of scripture. We look at Jesus’ life and truly know that God is love (1 John 4:8), because greater love knows no one than this; that someone lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13). Love involves more than one person. A lover must have a beloved. Without another person there is no love. Monads like Allah cannot love because there is nothing to direct their love toward. Monads like Allah are sterile, distant, impersonal tyrants. Continue reading
Introduction to WCF, Chapter 2
Nature confesses there is a God. As Calvin stated:
“There exists in the human minds and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of Deity, we hold to be beyond dispute, since God himself, to prevent any man from pretending ignorance, has endued all men with some idea of his Godhead” (Institutes, 3.1)
The Christian’s knowledge of the Godhead is special because it is relational; it is covenantal. We know who God is because of what he does and what he tell us of himself. The Lord’s creation, actions and disclosures recorded in the bible are the source for our special knowledge of him. Knowledge that goes beyond mere instinct or a vague “sense;” the God of the bible is relational and personal. Continue reading
The Christian life is full of paradox; apparent contradictions. The doctrine of the Trinity is chief among these paradoxes, but there are many others. How do many members become one body and not lose their identity as individuals? How do husband and wife make one flesh and also not lose their identity as individuals? How does God ordain everything that comes to pass without doing violence to the will of His creatures? These mysteries are means of exhibiting the necessity of faith and demonstrating the transcending Holiness of our God who is Three in One. We believe so we can understand, as Augustine wrote. We live standing on the promises of God.
Another paradox that stems from God’s very nature is the principle of gaining by losing; growth through death; increase through decrease. God increases His glory by giving it away. Every person of the Trinity demonstrates this principle. It is at the heart of the Community of Love. Jesus said that anyone who loses his life gains it (Matthew 10:39). This is not some trick or stumbling contradiction meant to frustrate us. It is God’s reality and He demonstrates this principle over and over again.
The Father gave His Son to gain a people (John 3:16). The Son gave His life to gain a crown (Hebrews 12:2). The Father and Son gave their Spirit to gain a church, a world; a kingdom (Acts1:8; Romans 8:14; Ephesians 2:22). The Spirit gives free and abundant access to throne of God to everyone ordained by the Father and saved by the Son. The Spirit does not withhold, doesn’t horde and does not restrain union and communion with the Father or the Son (Romans 8:15, 15:13; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:12). The Sprit is generous in His ministry. Continue reading
The toil and circumstances of our lives are God’s means of sanctifying us. Our circumstances are administered to us like medicine, to address our specific heart issues. Whether you need more patience, peace, compassion, trust or kindness, you will find your circumstances address those deficiencies directly. They may not be the circumstances you think you need or challenges you think you need but we don’t know ourselves as well as God does.
We all need to grow in our faith and our circumstances are meant to show us our dependence on God’s provision, protection and goodness. We must submit to God’s will and seek His Spirit to have the grace for the toil and circumstances he has ordained for us or our toil and circumstances will overcome us. The circumstances of our lives work on our hearts like sandpaper or hammers. Our toil works on our hearts like the purifying fire of the crucible or the consuming flames of a house fire. Continue reading
There she is, a mom of 3. One child is feverish, another is painting on the wall and there is still laundry and dinner to get to. How is one woman going to maintain composure and deal with all these problems simultaneously? Who has the strength and patience?
Meanwhile, a man sits at his desk at work. There is a lot to do before he can go home and time is running out. He knows his wife must be going through a lot at the moment, but there are reports to finish and he can’t remember if he sent the car payment and what about his good friend who is having marriage problems? There seems to be too much for one man to worry about; too much for one man to carry all by himself. Continue reading
Why is an otherwise good world, so often full of joy, beauty and gladness, marred by events with no meaningful upside? Like the holocaust, rape, measles, still born birth, cancer, divorce, death? Is God really all good or is He just inept? What is evil?
Evil does not exist out there in the world (like trees) as a created being or force. It exists at the tips of our fingers and in our words, as extensions of our hearts. Evil is not impersonal. Evil only exists in a community. Evil is depriving someone of something, like their will, their purse or their purity for the fulfillment of self-gratification. Evil is harming someone else for the fulfillment of self-gratification, like rape, murder or physical violence of any kind. Continue reading
If you had the option to be together with Jesus, face to face, or to have the Holy Spirit with you always, which would you choose? This was the difficult question in the hearts of the Apostles when Jesus told them something rather shocking about Jesus’ ascension.
John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
It’s better that Jesus goes away? How can that be? How could having the Spirit be better for us than having the risen Lord with us? What does the Spirit do that improves our lives and what could He provide that would help us more than having the Savior with us? First this is a great deal of humility on the part of Jesus and a great example of the love at the center of the Trinity. Jesus isn’t a glory hound, but gives honor to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading
Through the Gospels, Jesus introduces us to something more primal and profound about God than anything formerly revealed. With the incarnation of Jesus Christ and in His life and ministry, man was introduced to God in a way never previously communicated to man (John 1:1-5). In the beginning was the Father, His spirit and His word who is Jesus Christ. This new revelation does not destroy what is recorded of God in the Old Testament, but instead recasts God in ever increasingly beauteous and humbling depths.
Nothing we do as evangelicals makes sense if it is divorced from a strong experiential and doctrinal grasp of the coordinated work of Jesus and the Spirit, worked out against the horizon of the Father’s love. Personal evangelism, conversational prayer, devotional Bible study, authoritative preaching, world missions, and assurance of salvation all presuppose that life in the gospel is life in communion with the Trinity. Forget the Trinity and you forget why we do what we do; you forget who we are as gospel Christians; you forget how we got to be like we are.
Sanders, Fred (2010-08-31). The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything (p. 9). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition. http://www.amazon.com/The-Deep-Things-God-Everything/dp/1433513153