We all struggle with the sin of anxiety these days, perhaps more than usual. While our anxious feelings are definitely understandable, however, the Lord calls us to remember His commitment to care for His children. If you’ve repented of your sin and trusted in Christ’s atoning death on the cross as your only source of salvation, you can depend on your Heavenly Father to faithfully take care of you.
Can you think about the Triune God without trying to figure out how He can be one and yet three? You should, you know.
Of course the Trinity should fill you with wonder every time you think of God as three Persons in one Being. But rather than trying to reduce the Trinity to neat metaphors that make you feel able to understand the hows and whys of it all, have you ever simply responded with worship?
This Lord’s Day, why not praise Father, Son and Spirit without analyzing Their unity? Remember that all three of the One we praise deserve honor and glory — each for His unique work.
Originally posted January 30, 2018:
Throughout church history, people have attempted to explain the Trinity. Patrick, the 5th Century missionary to Ireland, famously used the shamrock to illustrate how God can be three distinct Persons and yet one Being. Others have likened the Trinity to H2O (water, ice and vapor) or and egg (shell, white and yoke). There are other analogies, most of which I happily don’t remember.
A friend recently reminded me of an analogy that used to be my favorite. I would explain that, though I’m DebbieLynne in all situations, I am a wife, a sister and an aunt. As such, I have three different roles. Ignore all my other roles (friend, employer, niece, blogger, church member, patient to my doctors and so on).
Obviously the analogy breaks down very quickly. And it should for a few reasons. Two of those reasons particularly trouble me, and I think they should trouble most Christians who really give serious thought to their implications.
Firstly, my roles as wife, sister and aunt depend on how my husband, sister and nieces are related to me. Apart from John, I would not be a wife. If John dies before I do, I will cease to be a wife. Therefore, my identity as wife relies completely on John rather than being intrinsic to my nature.
Yet the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit exist independently of Their roles in relating to the Church. They have definite roles in bringing about salvation and in sanctifying believers, certainly, and we ought to rejoice in how intimately each Person of the Trinity works in our lives. But if God had never created anything, each Person of the Trinity would still exist in His fullness, not needing us to define Him. My various roles hinge on my relationships with others, but God is Father, Son and Spirit eternally, with or without us.
Secondly, and more importantly, it borders on blasphemy to compare ourselves to the Triune God. I tremble in shame at the thought that I ever did such a presumptuous thing! Although He created us in His likeness, we cannot — and indeed, must not — consider ourselves models for describing anything about Him. Especially the Holy Trinity!
God commands Christians to reflect His character qualities like love, righteousness, patience and above all holiness. But He never suggested that anything about us could explain His very essence. My roles as wife, sister and aunt in no way demonstrate the astounding mystery of the Holy Trinity, and God never intended them to do so. Again, the very idea creeps dangerously close to blasphemy, in my opinion.
Many non-Christians dare us to defend the doctrine of the Trinity because they view it as illogical. Consequently, we concoct analogies that seem nifty, supposing that we can convince people with our little illustrations. But in truth, the Trinity lies well beyond the grasp of human reason. Instead of presuming to explain God’s triune nature, maybe we should stand in awe of this marvelous mystery.
God calls us to come to Him as little children (Matthew 18:1-4). In one respect, He wants us to maintain childlike humility and dependence on Him throughout our lives. Actually, we can’t escape such dependence on Him because He controls all of life. Those who fancy themselves to be independent of Him may think they’re getting away with their rebellion, but ultimately He controls even their sin to bring about His purposes.
At the same time, Scripture also Read More »
Non-Christians do experience a measure of joy; the Lord graciously blesses them with the delights of family and friends.
As an example, many American mothers (regardless of their relationships with Christ) are enjoying special attention today as their children shower them with gifts or make them breakfast in bed. For many, Mother’s Day is a joyful celebration.
Christians, however, have an even deeper joy because Jesus has paid for our sins and given us new life. We see His hand in creation, and rejoice that all His works point back to His glory. Even our ability to love each other ultimately comes from Him.
The Lord is the source of all joy, whether we acknowledge Him or not. Christians merely recognize, by His grace, that joy comes from Him. Consequently, we rejoice all the more as we praise Him for filling us with joy divine!
Have you read through Proverbs lately? Throughout the book, Solomon writes about various benefits of fearing God. For instance, he writes:
26 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death. ~~Proverbs 14:26-27 (ESV)
Sadly, 21st Century evangelicals have difficulty accepting the idea of fearing God, preferring to emphasize Read More »
So often evangelicals encourage each other to expect the Lord to bless them materially by saying, “After all, our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills.” This remark alludes to a verse fragment in Psalm 50. They imply (if not outright declare) that they have unfettered access to material abundance because they claim God as their Father.
Some Scriptures, such as Matthew 6:25-33, assure us that our Heavenly Father will provide the things we need. The Lord indeed takes care of His own, sometimes even giving us much more than we actually need. For example, as I type this article, I’m looking at two of the three blouses my sister sent me as an Easter gift (I wore the other to church yesterday). The Lord definitely blesses His children.
But let’s look at how Psalm 50 uses the clause about God owning the cattle on a thousand hills. Back up to verses 1-6, in which Asaph draws a picture of the majestic Lord summoning His people Read More »
Originally published on February 13, 2016.
“God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!” Hymn singers will undoubtedly recognize that majestic closing line from “Holy, Holy, Holy,” a hymn that praises the magnificence of God by exploring various aspects of His glory. Yet, could our familiarity with the hymn (for those of us who still sing hymns) cause us to gloss over its doctrinal declaration that the one and only God exists as three distinct Persons–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? And how often do we think about the Trinity anyway (except briefly when and if we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy”)?
The doctrine of the Trinity seems to receive very little attention in our present time, perhaps because our inability to “wrap our heads around it” embarrasses us. Of course our analogies of H2O (water, ice and vapor) and shamrocks fall short of providing adequate explanations of how He could exist as three distinct Persons while being one in essence, and the shortcomings of those illustrations frustrate our desire to present convincing arguments. Mystery makes us uncomfortable. So we avoid the discomfort by simply minimizing or ignoring the topic altogether.
Additionally, few Scriptures state the doctrine in easy-to-use sound-bytes. Don’t misunderstand; the Bible certainly teaches that God is one Being in three distinct, co-existing Persons. But there’s no handy little proof-text to insert into a blog post to settle the question. We’d need separate essays examining the deity of the Father, the deity of the Son (Jesus Christ) and the deity of the Holy Spirit in order to clearly show that Scripture indeed teaches that God is a Triune Being.
Having said that, I’d invite you to examine Christian Apologetics & Resource Ministry‘s compilation of Scriptures at God As A Trinity. In authoring this article, Matt Slick links to several Scriptures that defend the doctrine of the Trinity, making it easy to study. He also counters common objections.
The strategy of neglecting the doctrine of the Trinity may buffer us from a good measure of intellectual discomfort. But that strategy also places people at risk of entering eternity without a true understanding of Who God is. Of Who Jesus is. And that’s very scary, since we must acknowledge Jesus as Lord (which necessarily assumes His deity) as a condition of salvation (Romans 10:9). So, while no human possesses the intellectual capacity to comprehend how one God can exist in three Persons, it’s essential to understand that this doctrine is true. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are every bit as much God as the Father.
Having lost a dear friend who belonged to a cult that denied the Trinity, I believe it’s imperative that Christians regain an insistence on teaching this vital doctrine to young believers. A year before my friend’s death, I made the opportunity to tell her the true Gospel, and I emphasized the doctrine of the Trinity. Sadly, she gave no indication of accepting what I had to say, but I can hope that the Holy Spirit worked in her heart before she died.
And I pray now that evangelicals will increase the preaching of the Trinity, so people will know God fully. Rather than neglecting the doctrine for the sake of intellectual comfort, let’s boldly embrace it with joyful conviction, firmly established in the testimony of God’s Word. Oh, no one will actually comprehend how He could be a Trinity, since it is something far beyond the scope of our finite minds. But the very wonder of God in three Persons can draw us into worship. “God in three Persons–blessed Trinity!”
Life has definitely not been fun as John and I face the increasing limitations of a) being over 60, b) being severely disabled, c) uncooperative finances and d) living in a culture that grows more hostile to the Gospel by the day.
The first two circumstances, as you might expect, Read More »
Does anyone seriously deny that America has become a secular society? On the local news this morning, for instance, reporters had difficulty concealing their celebratory attitudes as the first shops to legally sell recreational marijuana opened at 8:00 a.m. today. Two of them. Only shops on the East Coast. Right here in Massachusetts! I grieved over the obvious disregard for God’s standards of sobriety.
Not long after running the story showing the massive amount of people lining up to buy their legal pot, the station ran another story predicting the massive amount of people who will be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. Maybe I have a quirky way of viewing things, but it struck me as odd that Americans thumb their noses at the God of the Bible as they flock to celebrate a holiday originally intended as worship for His care and provision.
The Christians who celebrated that first American Thanksgiving (right here in Massachusetts, by the way), called for the feast as an expression of thanks to the Lord for sustaining them through that harsh New England winter and for the abundant harvest that ensuing Fall. (Do public schools still teach that part of American history?) Their thankfulness was more than a nebulous gratitude directed at nobody in particular, but heartfelt thankfulness to a personal Lord Who had lovingly taken care of them.
It’s important to count our blessings. Absolutely! In some ways, I suppose it’s good that secular people step back and recognize the value of being grateful to something beyond themselves.
At the same time, I feel troubled that so many Americans have such enthusiasm about the Thanksgiving holiday when they demonstrate a total lack of interest in God Himself. As I see it, their nebulous gratitude lacks the beauty and depth of praising the glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. ~~Psalm 86:8-13 (ESV)