God, The father, the Spirit and the Son. Three persons in one.
The word trinity does not appear in the bible. However, the Trinity doctrine is a key and central part of our faith in God. It is impossible to be a Christian without professing our belief in the triune nature of our God.
It is a doctrine that has caused many a mind to ponder and at times give up confused or create a misunderstood concept in a person’s journey to find the answer to understand it. Myself included.
I remember first trying to decipher the trinity. I liked the trinity as the sun concept as you can see it, it was a physical body, it existed, It gives off light you can see, and heat you can feel. Real evidence. Right. Just like the concept, of water existing as a gas, liquid and a solid. Again, three in one.
I remember when at the uniting Church weekend workshop that Richard and I attended, the table Richard and I were on got asked to provide an example to help understand and explain the trinity, I was blank, yet a person in the table across from us, yelled out a coconut. It can be a fruit vegetable and a drink. They were praised for their witty answer.
But I couldn’t help but see something wrong with their answer or was I just not getting it? Why didn’t I understand? If it is that easy, why is it so hard to explain? Why is there not already a simple answer or a rule like in maths, where e = Mc2.
I believe it is because of these concepts offered to understand the trinity, it causes us to think the wrong way about the trinity and diverts our focus from actually understanding the true importance of the trinity.
It allows our pride to take over as we attempt to show others how clever and smart we are in understanding something that is not seeking to be explained, but rather witnessed and understood.
You see, the sun, water and even the coconut are a single object. And although they can be seen in three different ways, the sun is still the sun. Water is still H20, and the coconut is still a coconut.
But in our Christian belief, it is important that we recognise each triune nature is different from the other. Three persons. That are not the same. The word person is used to help us relate and understand each of the trinity, has a personhood or personality.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit having their own separate intellect, emotion and will.
By laying aside the notion, that a person can only be a human person, it may help to more easily understand how God can exist as three persons, in one.
You see the personhood of the Father is separate to the personhood of the son and the personhood of the son, is separate to the personhood of the spirit.
Each is distinct from the other, yet all three persons of the trinity comprise, together the one perfectly unified God and are God.
Each having a central role in creation and our salvation. They show us the essence and nature of God.
They reveal god to us over time through the bible. In his word, revealed, we are able to move forward in our understanding of the trinity.
God reveals himself to us through the trinity.
Again, it is about God wanting to have a relationship with you, with us. How are relationships formed… Over time. Why over time, as it takes time to reveal ourselves to the other person.
How do u reveal yourself to someone? Through personal knowledge, by way of communicating, seeing and accepting them as you know them and continue to grow in your relationship with them.
On my first date with Leesh, a Thursday night after she finished work, we went to north Cronulla beach and had Gay times, in the dark, on the sand, with the wind blowing a gail and a tad cold, but I didn’t care, my focus was on her and listening to her, asking questions and also answering her questions she had for me. I was revealing myself to her and vice versa. Through the connection I had with her, I wanted to know more and as the night progressed, she revealed more of herself, which helped me to understand the type of person and morals she had and my desire/thirst to want to know more and accept her for who she was.
On the way home, I took her to the golden Archers at Engadine, (McDonalds) I shouted us a cheeseburger meal and as we shared this romantic meal together in the front seat of my car, out of no where she, let out the loudest and longest burp I had ever heard or witnessed.
But I didn’t care, I thought it was funny and dare I say an adorable trait. Yet if Leesh had performed this adorable quirky trait when we first ever met, before revealing herself to me and I having no understanding of her. What would have I thought.
No previous knowledge of her, no desire to want to know more, no connection. I would most probably think, who is this person! This is too much for me. I’ll stay away. I’m sure you all would have similar stories of some kind in forming relationships.
Now I tell this story not to embarrass Leesh. But to emphasise how we reveal ourselves to others overtime. And how that revealing ourselves over time is something we do to form positive relationships.
God knows this of us and it is his way through the trinity, that God presents and allows himself to reveal himself to you and his church.
So like I focused on leesh in the darkness, cold wind and wet sand to allow her to reveal herself. We as Christians should focus on Christ, ignoring the distractions of the outside world and partake in revealing ourselves to Christ and allowing God to reveal himself to you, as the father, as the spirit and as the son.
Now although the word trinity is not mentioned in the bible, the New Testament writers mention all three persons of the trinity together numerous times. The most recognisable witness account is in the baptism of Jesus. The Father the son and the Holy Spirit, all in the same place at the same time, existing in their persons.
“And the Holy Spirit descended upon Him [Jesus] in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My [the Father’s] beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
This moment, at the start of Jesus earthly ministry as such sets in motion Gods plan and leads us to the last supper and the conversation with his Disciples in John 14:6
Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.
Too the end of his time among us, in the great commission.
Matthew 28:18-20 NIV on a mountain in Galilee.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age .”
Surely you all know by now Jesus, is to be our focus in our faith and is the beautiful gate to heaven that God offers us though his love and grace.
This is why we celebrate his Birth.
Interestingly, to the best of my research knowledge, Jesus is the only historical figure that actually has an annual designated date for celebrating his birth that is celebrated all over the world by both believers and the non. Pretty incredible!
This Christmas eve, Leesh read the birth story from a kids bible based on Luke’s Gospel to Abbie, on Christmas she sent me a photograph of the passage they read where Mary had just been told she is having Gods son as it stood out for her and me too. I’ll pick up with Marys response to Gabriel,.. Wait, God is sending a baby to rescue the world. But its’ too wonderful, how can it be true. Is anything to wonderful for god replied Gabriel replied. So Mary trusted God more than what her eyes could see. And she believed, I am Gods servant, whatever Gods says I will do.
Like this simple lesson in this children’s bible, Is anything too wonderful to be true. The Trinity although how complex it may appear or sound in your mind. When you seek a revealing relationship with God, meeting and understanding the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, you too will see the wonder and the beauty in all that God provides to us is not too good to be true and is available to you. including in the form of a 2020 stainless steal Vink Calf puller. Wonder is in the eye of the beholder. Behold, each of you is loved by God beyond all measure.
But seriously, even if you cannot see it, trust him and his love that he is working for you.
The biggest challenge you should focus on is seeking and nurturing a relationship with God. Revealing yourself to God, which requires you to be honest and up front with him, which can be hard for us to do whilst also allowing him to reveal himself to you through listening to his word, accepting his love and handing your life over into his will.
But like God does with us, revealing himself to us overtime through the bible, we too must be patient and disciplined in taking the time to understand and allow God to reveal himself to us and the best way is through the Trinity. Why, Because God choose that way, as he knows us.
You each have a choice, a real choice and a life altering choice. You can either accept a relationship with God or you can resist a relationship with God.
You can look to material things in the world focused on the human desires of self-pride, glory and false happiness. Or you can humbly choose to accept God, your creator, you provider and most importantly your saviour as the source of love and comfort in a world that clearly needs saving.
Dare I compare the words creator to the father, the word provider to the Holy Spirit and the word saviour to the son which all three describing the essence of love and grace, which is our God.
You see the trinity is so much more meaningful than trying to think of clever 3 in 1 references which will never do it justice.
It is written in Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways, declares the lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I am confident some theologian academics will continue to debate the best way to describe the trinity, yet only ever truly, having a focus on the self-pride of their knowledge compared with their educated rivals. Wasting time trying to outsmart God, who as we know is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent.
But we as simple Christians can turn our humble acceptance of God and the desire for a relationship with him, into understanding the trinity and being more effective as a Christian disciple by seeing the trinity as a revelation of God revealing himself to us, through this book the bible, as the father, as the Holy Spirit and as the Son.
Listening to his word, and choosing to receive Gods love and not resist it. Knowing that the characters of the father and the Son and the Holy Spirit reveal the essence of our God! The I am.
The father speaking in Jeremiah 3v 19, how gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.
Jesus speaking about the holy spirit in John 15:26, when the advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the father. The greatest counsellor, the helper.
To the Sons own words about himself, John 6:41, I am the bread that came down from heaven.
3 distinct persons with their own intellect and will.
Know and understand, that Gods word is there for us to use and read, not sit on a shelf and look at from time to time. Or simply listen too. It requires active listening and active faith.
They say the success of a church is not evident by how many people attend each Sunday. It is what that church provides to its community and the works it performs for Gods glory. Which comes down to us and our individual and personal faith. We could have the best preachers and theologians speak here every Sunday and have packed pews. But it comes down to our individual faith. Each one of you here now and how strong your faith is. Only you can deepen your relationship with God. Only you can reveal yourself to him and allow him to personally reveal himself to you and hand over your heart, mind and soul to him and in turn allow the light of love to shine from you and your church, home and community.
As Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians chapter 2, v 19-22, Consequently you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household. Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief corner stone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit.
As you leave here today, take comfort in that the trinity is not meant to be dissected and theologically expand. Keep it simple. The trinity is Gods way of revealing himself to you, personally, as long as you choose to engage and enter a ramrod with him.
please have the passage of Ephesians 1:17 on your mind as I finish and, go knowing that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of a revelation in the knowledge of him.
Amen. Let it be.