Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

A Rusty Nail in the Foot Would Be Better

I mentioned last week that since we’ve been seeing a number of new families, not just over the last few months, but even over the last year, we want to communicate some of the core things we care about. Even for those who’ve been here many years, well-placed reminders can be edifying.

The name of our local church has reminders built in. The Trinity reminds us that God is the God of love and fellowship. While the realities of Father, Son, and Spirit, co-equal and co-eternal, can be hard to wrap our minds around, it does explain what God wants with us and for us. He wants our fellowship, not just our collection of facts.

At first I planned to spend one week on each of the three parts of our name, but there really is more about the Trinity that is important to apply.

The doctrine of the Trinity is an antidote to idolatry (we learn to exalt the true God), and to the Pharisaism of religious correctness (we learn that the true God wants our love that comes from knowing the truth). It is also the place to start to pull down the errors of identity politics, bigotry, intolerance, and envy.

Identity politics is a new name for an old sin: hating our brother, hating our neighbor, and justifying ourselves by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). We need to be “woke” as much as we need a rusty nail to pierce the arch of our left foot, except the nail might be better. Our job is not to find the most oppressed people group, even less to make our case that we are the most oppressed people group. We ought not look for the most superficial things about us and divide up into respective tribes. Our need is to worship the Triune God.

Each Person of the Trinity has a different role, and they don’t compete or complain about it. The Spirit doesn’t envy the Son’s incarnation, the Son doesn’t chaff against the Father’s authority to delegate, the Father neither wishes that He could be another person or that He’s better than the Son and the Spirit.

Because the world was made and is sustained by the Trinity, male and female don’t need to complete, they complement one another. Because of Him, the eyes and the hands have crucial jobs for sake of the body. Because of Him, we know that “different” isn’t an enemy by default, whether the person has more money or darker skin. Because of Him we know that unity does not require conformity. Because of Him, we know that none of it works if we don’t start by submitting ourselves to what He’s elected.

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A Shot of Encouragement

Trinitarian Goals

I not only appreciate this Mission Statement from Fred Sanders, I am a big beneficiary of his efforts. #blessed

“I teach theology in order to increase the odds on the doctrine of the Trinity doing its proper work in the church; in particular I am a content provider for evangelical trinitarianism.”

Buy yourself a copy of The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything or buy a dozen copies and give them to your people, like a Trinitarian.

Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

Good Things from Three Persons

The most explicitly Trinitarian benediction in the Bible comes in the final verse of 2 Corinthians.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

All three Persons are referred to, even if we would tend to want to mention the Father first. Paul attributes something different from each Person, not because any of these gifts can be separated from God’s Triune nature, but most likely because Paul had already attached these particular blessings to a particular Person previously in the letter.

From the Lord, the Son, we receive “grace.” He who is the Master, He who is the Messiah, gives His favor, and the favor is unconditional. In 2 Corinthians 8:9 His grace to us included His becoming poor so that by His poverty we might become rich.

From God, the Father, we receive “love.” His love is more than a disembodied form somewhere up in the sky. The Father abounds in affections for His children and that love came sloshing over the edges of eternity when He the sent His Son and then His Spirit. He loves generously because, as in 2 Corinthians 13:11, He is “the God of love and peace.”

From the Holy Spirit we receive “fellowship.” We are brought into the company of the saints in light. We are made partakers of the divine nature through the Spirit, God’s love is shed abroad in our hearts through the Spirit, and we are united to the body through one Spirit. According to 2 Corinthians 5:5 the Spirit is the guarantee of our eternal life. We will share this fellowship forever.

It’s only by the Son’s grace that we know God’s love, and it is love that defines our fellowship in the Spirit.

Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

An Interrogative Shovel

I value the Why? question. I think I’ve mostly lost the smart-alecky junior high attitude underneath the asking, but I still appreciate and utilize the interrogative shovel to dig for idealogical treasure.

The reason why God created the universe and the reason why God created marriage between one man and one woman and the reason why Christ came and died and rose again and the reason why we make disciples and the reason why every disciple belongs to the Church is the same reason. If we said that the reason is “for His glory,” we’d be correct but perhaps still clouded behind the Christian jargon. So again, why creation, marriage, salvation, and church?

It’s because the three Persons of God so loved one another and enjoyed their union together that He made other beings to know and enjoy that glory. The understanding and affection and joy between the Father, Son, and the Spirit is part of His magnificence. It’s what makes Him awesome. His incommunicable attributes such as omniscience and omnipotence and eternality are at work for spilling His communicable glory into us.

Therefore, the reason why God made the world, instituted family, forgives rebels, and knits His people together in one Body is so that we will have understanding and affection and joy with Him and between ourselves like Him.

We glorify God when we see His glory truly, when we say it accurately, and when we sing it wholeheartedly. We also glory God when we receive His gifts thankfully and then imitate Him through loving generosity/sacrifice for the joy of others and in order to increase fellowship between us. We glorify God vertically and horizontally, through praise and through practice, through communion with Him through Christ and communion with each other by the Spirit.

What did God want with us and for us? He wanted us to taste His love and joy in union with Him as well as in our relationships here, especially in family, both by blood and by Christ’s blood. Why? Because it’s truly glorious.