For those who follow the liturgical church calendar, this past Sunday was the last in a series of celebratory Sundays concluding the festival half of the year, begun last December with the season of Advent. We refer to this special day as the Sunday of the Holy Trinity. It is the one time of the year when we focus our teaching very specifically on the God who identifies himself as three persons, yet one divine being.
And yet, even if we donít dedicate an entire day to this teaching, in our creeds we clearly state every Sunday our belief in the ďthree-in-oneĒ Triune God of Scripture. This belief is certainly easier to speak than it is to comprehend. In fact, it is essentially not comprehendible. We simply canít understand what it means to be a single being and yet at the same time three distinct persons, since we have no point of reference to relate this to. As human beings, each of us is one being in one unique person.
And yet, Scripture clearly teaches this belief. It is true that the terms Trinity and Triune donít appear in the Bible, but the names Father, Son, and Spirit are used to describe the three persons of the Godhead. Some might suggest that these are just different modes in which God appears, but this doesnít match Jesusí words where he clearly describes the Father and the Spirit as separate and distinct from himself as the Son. Others might suggest this implies three separate divine beings, maybe even with a hierarchy among them, but when Scripture speaks of God, it speaks in the singular.
So what are we to make of this? Is it reasonable to ask people to believe what is in essence unreasonable? Hereís where faith comes in. To Bible-believing Christians, Holy Scripture is the source of what we believe. It is not a product of human wisdom, but Godís Word to us. That doesnít mean we check our brains in at the door, but it does mean we put our reason in a place below Godís wisdom. And hereís what Godís Word to us teaches about his identity.
We have a Holy and Supreme Father who created us and provides for our daily needs. We have a Holy and Supreme Son, who redeemed us from our sin and provides eternal life and salvation for all who believe. And we have a Holy and Supreme, who comforts us in our fear and empowers us to serve in his name. And yet there are not three Holy and Supreme Gods, but one.
What an incredible God we serve! One who we could never hope to comprehend, had he not come to us in human form in the person of Jesus, and in human language with his Holy Word. Blessings on you as you serve the one God in three persons ó Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Peter Spallek has been pastor of Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran Church since September 2007. He attended Concordia University in Irvine, Calif., receiving a bachelor of arts in parish education; and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, where he received a master of arts in theology.
Share on Facebook