The 3 best things I never knew about the Trinity
This is not a book review but I have to give credit where it’s due: Fred Sanders’ The Deep Things of God (How The Trinity Changes Everything)was an eye-opening, heart-warming, worship-inspiring experience for me, and continues to influence my life and work.
Like all evangelical pastors, I believed in and taught the doctrine of the Trinity. Like almost all evangelical pastors I did so almost begrudgingly, apologetically, not because I didn’t believe it or like it but because I didn’t understand it, didn’t see its significance and didn’t like trying to teach that which I didn’t understand. So I’d say a few words about the subject, affirm that none of us can comprehend God, and move on to the next topic.
The Deep Things of Godshowed me that while I’ll never fully grasp the mystery of one God in three persons, the triune nature of our God is something to be welcomed, celebrated and shared with all the passion with which we share the gospel.
And that brings us to our “three best things:”
The Trinity is itself the gospel.
In maintaining that the Trinity is the gospel, Sanders is not suggesting that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is notthe gospel, but that it is the communicating, loving, creating, nature of the Trinity which moved Him to procure our salvation.
One God in one person would never have bothered to create – let alone redeem – a troublesome race. But one God in three eternally communicating persons, one outreaching, loving God, chose to add others to that perfect fellowship.
Ultimately, God blesses us with the greatest blessing imaginable: himself. Read about this wonder in Jesus’ incredible prayer in John 17.
Thus, the existence and the nature of the one and only true God is the best good news imaginable. It is the good news behind the good news of Christ’s cross.
All three persons of the triune God are involved with our eternal redemption
The salvation we experience is reconciliation with God the Father, carried out through God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit. Listen to Sanders on the two hands of the Father:
“The Son and the Spirit are always together in carrying out the work of the Father. They are always at work in an integrated, mutually reinforcing way, fulfilling the Father’s will in unison. Yet they are not interchangeable with each other, and they are not duplicating each other’s work…the Son and the Spirit behave very distinctively in carrying out the concerted work of salvation. The Son is the Son and acts like the Son while the Spirit is the Spirit and acts like the Spirit. Understanding them as the Father’s two hands helps us to see their unity (they both come from the Father for one purpose) and their distinctness (there are two hands, not one).” The Deep Things Of God, pp. 138, 139
All three persons of the triune God are worthy of our love and worship and rejoicing.
It’s high time that we give the Holy Spirit His due. He is co-eternal with the Father and the Son. He is intimately involved in our salvation as the one who brings its benefits home to us. He is God, moved in with His still-sinful people. The Father gave the Son and the Spirit to achieve our redemption. The Son gave Himself to die for us. The Spirit gave Himself to live in us.
It is our joy and privilege to know and love and worship and rejoice in the Father, andthe Son, andthe Spirit. Truly, the one God who is three has given His blessed self to His people.
Brian Thorstad is a Redevelopment Transitional Pastor. He is the author of Heaven Help Our Church! (A Survival Guide for Christians in Troubled Churches) and Redevelopment: Transitional Pastoring That Transforms Churches.www