Devotional Word for Wednesday, June 10, 2020
The Trinity is a controversial term. For both Muslims and Jews it is anathema, something to be abhorred and rejected. They insist God is One and thus any notion of a divine Trinity is blasphemous. To other folk, the Trinity sounds like a weird religious belief that characterizes Christianity – three gods being one god is just weird. And for Hindus and animists the Trinity seems like just some more gods to add to their overflowing list of deities!
Sometimes Christians are accused of deviating from the true faith by their insistence about the Trinity. After all, the term Trinity cannot be found in the Bible. Therefore, to talk about any so-called Trinity is to leave the simple truths of the Bible; it is to go in a direction the Bible does not authorize. There even are some Christians who say such is the case.
What do you think? I think the Bible is filled with the Trinity! While it is true the term “Trinity” is not found in the Bible, the reality of the Trinity is expressly shown again and again.
Let’s define what we mean. The Trinity refers to the one, true, living God who exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity is equally divine, equally eternal, and equally worthy of worship. Though the persons of the Trinity can be distinguished from one another, they cannot be separated from one another. They are One God forever.
It took over two hundred years for the Church to articulate this truth, though the Church had known and believed in this truth from the beginning. Let’s take a stroll through the gospel of Matthew and I’ll give you some examples of the Trinity in the Bible.
Jesus’ baptism is a good place to see what I mean. Here’s the scene described in Matt. 3:16-17, After being baptized . . . behold the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on [Jesus], and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. There in one locale you have the three persons of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
On the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17:5 we’ll see much the same thing, only this time the Holy Spirit is not shown as a dove, but as a bright cloud which overshadows Peter, James, and John. Here’s what happens: . . . a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him. Again, in one locale we have Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The way Matthew’s gospel ends is with the resurrected – soon to be ascended – Jesus giving a great commission to His followers. He commands them to go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. [Matt. 28:19] Here the three persons of the Trinity are explicitly named.
The last verse of 2 Corinthians is another very explicit example. The benediction with which Paul blesses the Corinthians is this: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. [2 Cor. 13:14] True, there is no mention of the Trinity, but the benediction refers to each of the persons of the Trinity.
One last example. It’s from the very first chapter of the Bible, from a verse we’ve read before. It’s verse 26 where God says, Let US make man in OUR image, according to OUR likeness. The big question is why the plural first person pronouns? What’s this “us” and “our” stuff? My thought: an implicit reference to the Trinity. Already in the first verses of Genesis 1 there is mention of the Spirit of God moving over the waters, of the God speaking, and thus the Word of God going forth. As we saw yesterday, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. [John 1:1]
What’s the point in all this for us? Simple, we want to be biblical Christians. Biblical Christians will soon discern when the Bible speaks of God, it may be speaking of the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit or all three at once as the holy Triune God. Because God has revealed Himself in this way, as a Trinity, we want to know Him this way, as a Trinity. Otherwise we do not know Him rightly. The next two days we’ll look at the Trinity and find that it really is more easily understood than most folk realize. For today, let’s give thanks to God for His revealing Himself to us in His word as three distinct persons, the one, true eternal God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Let us pray: Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – to You belong honor and glory and majesty and power and dominion. We worship You. We know that to know You, the only true God, is eternal life. Thank You for Your revelation to us, and the redemption You have so graciously given us. We rejoice in Your goodness. Guide us as we seek to know and love You more fully. We ask this in Your holy name. Amen.