Blessed by the Mystery of the Trinity
February 1, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
As I begin a new series of sermons on the New Testament letter to the Hebrews, we run right smack into the doctrine of the Trinity. The writer opens with this statement: “He [the Son, Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (1:3). What a magnificent statement about Christ and his identity as divine!
This led me to go back to my seminary days and reread Jonathan Edwards’ “Unpublished Essay on the Trinity.” I can honestly say that I don’t think I have read anything else on the subject of the Trinity that is as helpful as Edwards’ treatment, while at the same time leaves me scratching my head. Edwards affirms this odd experience as we wrestle with the significance of the Trinity. He writes:
When we tell a child a little concerning God, he has not an hundredth part so many mysteries in view on the nature and attributes of God and His words of creation and providence as one that is told much concerning God in a Divinity School; and yet he knows much more about God and has a much clearer understanding of things of Divinity and is able more clearly to explicate some things that were dark and very unintelligible to him…No wonder that the more things we are told concerning that which is so infinitely above our reach, the number of visible mysteries increases.
The more we learn of the Trinity, the more mysteries that confront us. And this is good! It leaves us humbled before such an amazing God who would love us and redeem us and have fellowship with us. Don’t let mystery and the inability to figure everything out hinder you from diving deeper into the unknown. God blesses us in the process of wrestling with his truth.
Consider this statement from Edwards’ essay about the role of the three persons of the Trinity in our redemption:
So that it is God of Whom our good is purchased and it is God that purchases it and it is God also that is the thing purchased.
God the Father is the fountainhead of every good and perfect blessing. Any “good” we enjoy is from God.
God the Son is the one who purchases the good for us through his sacrificial death on the cross. We don’t deserve to enjoy any “good.” Every “good” is a blood-bought good.
God the Spirit not only “applies” the “good” to us, but also is the “good” promised to us. He is the promise of the Father (Luke 24:49, cf. Lk. 11:13 & Eph. 1:13). All the promises of God (holiness, sanctification, glorification, fellowship, communion, New Covenant promises, etc.) are fulfilled in the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So, to rephrase Edwards’ statement, we can say, “God buys God from God for us.”
Apply this to an oft-used benediction at Oak Hills, 2 Corinthians 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” The love of God is what we long for… acceptance and communion with the Father; eternal life. But we do not deserve the love of God. We cannot earn it. Enter the grace of Christ. His unconditional, sacrificial giving of himself opens the floodgates to God’s love (cf. Rom. 8:39). The enjoyment of God’s love, then, is spoken of as “fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” Unhindered, unashamed, open communion and friendship with God.
God buys God from God for you. May this trinitarian work of redemption bless you each and every day!