This video excerpt is from a live presentation delivered by Scott Stein.
What (or who) is the Trinity?
Before God is even Creator, our Saviour, or our Sustainer, he’s the triune God. The Trinity is the very essence of God’s identity that he’s revealed to us.
And that’s why the doctrine of the Trinity is central to our Christian faith. Especially when it comes to understanding God’s love.
God as Father
God is first and foremost, “Father”. His identity is Father. The image of God as father is not something that we humans plucked out of human experience in order to give meaning to who God is. It’s the other way around.
Sadly, “Father” isn’t always a positive image in people’s eyes, because of broken relationships and sin. Yet from God’s fatherliness, we derive the proper understanding of what a father ought to be. The Trinity rescues the notion of God as father from cultural baggage; it transcends culture. God is the eternal Father.
Since God is a father, by implication this means he has children – he begets. His child is the Son. And what does a father do? A good father loves his children: “The Father loves the Son and shows him all things that he is doing” (John 3:35). He has loved him from all eternity.
Who is the Son?
So, Who is the Son in the eternal existence of the triune God? The Son is Jesus Christ, the beloved of the Father.
In response to receiving the eternal love of the Father, the Son gladly does anything the Father desires. He completes it purely out of gratitude, because he’s loved by the Father. This includes going to the cross (John 14:31).
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is the communicator. He takes the love of the Father and communicates it to the Son. The Spirit takes the Father’s love and pours it out for the Son to receive.
He also pours out this love to God’s children (Romans 5:5).
So, how does the Trinity help us to make sense of God’s love?
If love is truly God’s nature, and not just a by-product, God can’t be just one person. Love couldn’t be part of his nature. Love would have to be a necessary result of creating: He would have had to create in order to become loving.
That’s the god of Islam, who’s a monad: a single individual. His individuality is the core of his essence (“Tawhid”), which makes him completely individual. And therefore also completely untouchable.
In contrast, the God of the Bible is the eternal God of love. The best snapshot of the eternal loving relationship of the Trinity is at Jesus’ baptism. As soon as Jesus was baptized, the Spirit of God descended, and from heaven the Father’s voice said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).
The bottom line: Jesus’ ultimate desire and reason for coming, was not for us to know doctrines or a formula for getting to heaven. It was that we would know the Father (John 17:24-26). He wants us to know his Father just as he knows his Father. “In order that the love you have for me may be in them, and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:26). He wants us to know him and thereby know his love.
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You can listen to the audio here or find it as an episode in the Prepared to Answer Podcast in your favourite podcast app.