11 June 2017

Triune Nature of God
Where Do I Begin…

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

When I was much much younger, I remember listening to my grandpa Dan discussing the book, Love Story, which later became a blockbuster film starring Ryan O’`Neal and Ali McGraw. Andy Williams had a musical hit with the theme song, which starts with ‘“Where do I begin, to tell the story of how great a love can be” — and that is my difficulty today — where do I begin to tell the story how great the greatest love ever, can be? And that is the task in teaching on the Trinity.

In other words, the Biblical teaching that God has revealed himself as one being within whom exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

the 19th century theologian R.L. Dabney used to teach, **“We cannot disprove here, by our own reasoning, any more than we can prove: for the subject is beyond our cognition. I pray the student to bear in mind, that I am not here attempting to explain the Trinity, but just the contrary: I am endeavouring to convince him that it cannot be explained.”**

A theology student once wrote and answer to an exam question that explaining the Trinity was something only God could do, and so it was best to leave it there. His professor wrote on his answer paper that he was giving God an A but the student would have to make do with an F!

God is unfathomable, He cannot be comprehended, He will not fit inside our small brains. He is God! He will not fit inside any theological or humanistic box we mould Him with. However, while we can not grasp God in all His glory, we can learn and love what He has revealed about Himself.

The greeting that I started with, **“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,”** is the first written *concept* of the Holy Trinity we find in the New Testament, in 2 Corinthians.

The actual term TRINITY is not found in the Bible, but Christian teaching quickly came to understand and accept the idea that the Lord our God is One, but that within that unity there are the three specific persons of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And today is the first Sunday after Pentecost, also the celebration we call Trinity Sunday.

It took the early church over 400 years to finally settle on the doctrine which has stood the test of time since then. I have also heard it said that if you can bring me a person who can fully comprehend the Trinity, then we could also find a worm that can comprehend a human being.

The language of the Trinity, and all the language we use to describe what the Holy Trinity is, is essentially the effort we take as Christians to describe God, the God who has made us, redeemed us, and sanctified us. We need to know who God is. That is our nature. And we can make that as simple as possible, or we can make it pretty complicated.

**Simple**, could be saying the Trinity is a bit like H20, which we can experience as water, steam, or ice, but it is always just two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen. More **complicated** is something like saying the Being of the one eternal deity has three eternal and essential distinctions, the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit – three persons in one substance and one being in three distinct beings who are coeternal and coequal.

So let’s try to unpack this. God has a divine nature that is fully self-contained – there are not three Gods, there is one. Within this full and complete nature of God, there are three distinct and clear personalities that are in complete harmony, unity, and relationship with one another. They seem to penetrate each other, to be each other, whilst at the same time, each one has a very The divine nature is fully undividedly contained. Even through the persons are in the closest possible unity with one another and interpenetrate one another, each has a peculiar and unique character when viewed in relation to the others.

I think the Holy Trinity can be explained in a way that is understandable and which can hopefully can lead you to a closer relationship with God. That’s because the Triune God is about Love. It’s about the love of God the Father, the love of God the Son, and the love of God the Holy Spirit.

Let’s try to think this way: When we think of the Holy Trinity let’s think about God the God, God the God, and finally God the God. Stay with me!

God the God, or God the Father — is way beyond my knowledge, and also way beyond my rational thinking, but I still know that I am in the presence of this God, because of the feeling I have of being overwhelmed by awe. A kind of presence or feeling that just will not let go, any experience of the Almighty gives me goose bumps.

It is God that I see when I stand on the shores of a sandy African beach watch the waves pound the coast. It is God I feel when I watched the birth of my three children. It is God who grasps me when I wake up to the magic of everything cov reed with twelve freshly fallen snow, and the same God who makes me smile when I see the first flowers burst through the cold ground of early spring.

God the God is what Martin Luther calls a **mystery**. This is God who shakes me makes me say WOW! How can these things be?

This is God we read about in the Old Testament. God the Creator. God the God, creator of all there is, all there was, all there every will be.

This is God the Judge that we read about in the story of Noah and the Ark, the tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah. This is God the Liberator who delivers the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. This is God the Lawgiver at Mount Sinai. **This is God the Father.**

This is God the God who is everywhere and this everywhere is what this God cares about. This is a God of Love. Its about Love.

God the God is not only the mystery that I have no way of comprehending. God the God is also Jesus Christ. This is God through Jesus showing us the face of the mystery. This is God revealed in the little baby of Jesus, come to live among us, telling us with his life and death that our life and death also have meaning and make sense. I count for something. You count for something.

This is God, in Jesus, who teaches us the meaning of family and neighbour, and who redefines our true daily needs. This is God calling back those who are lost, those who have been separated from the Almighty. This is God who brings the poor dignity, the oppressed hope, and the sick healing and comfort. People who have been despised are now accepted. People who have become rigid and fossilized come alive again and tired life can become young and fruitful once more.

This is God who out of love took care of the greatest fear that us humans must deal with, the power of death. This is God who out of love wiped out this one final and monstrous fear, because we knew the truth, we are all really quite fearful of dying. He did it on the cross—Jesus who was perfectly innocent and without sins was willing to suffer the most humiliating death to accomplish some wonderful things for you.

Through the death and resurrection of this God you can now have incredible hope that things don’t come to an end with this life. Plus you are free to live life in obedience to this Triune God.

Like every generation since that day happened, you can look to Jesus upon the cross see the love that the Father has for you, so that in your sufferings and trials of everyday life you may find comfort and strength that God the God is actually suffering with you. You are not alone.

This is God who is everywhere and this everywhere is what this God cares about. This is a God of Love. It’s about Love.

Finally, we come the God the God, who we refer to as the Holy Spirit. He has been called by some the shy person of the Trinity. I disagree, I don’t believe the Holy Spirit is shy at all, but he is neglected. Some claim the Holy Spirit is the most difficult to grasp and understand. I disagree. I’m good at that—disagreeing.

I realize I will never comprehend the God the God, the mystery, even though I will always be in awe. I realize I cannot go back 2000 years and shake hand of Jesus of Nazareth, and be able to thank him personally for everything he has done in my life, though I hold out the hope that someday I will.

But I can experience the same God of creation, the same God of Jesus in a very powerful and real sense. I can experience God as inspiring, motivating, empowering, indwelling, and loving as ways of the personal active continuing presence of God the God, God the God, and God the God.

God the God of the Holy Spirit is once again God’s self. This is God, not a third entity mediating between God and Christ, but rather this is God. This is God who calls you, gathers you, enlightens you, and sanctifies you. This is God who is the giver of true life!

Think about it. When you ponder the love of God, it is the same God of Creation, the same God that hung on a cross that is working in you right now, helping you believe and understand the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. This is God who is everywhere and this everywhere is what this God cares about. This is God of Love.

So next time when sitting around your dinner party talking about the Holy Trinity, or the God who loves us, and someone states that all this is just too complicated to understand, I want you to reach deep into your pocket, or handbag, for that worm who understands humanity. Look them straight in the eye and say, “It is rather simple my friend, It’s about Love, Love, Love.”

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Amen!