Friday, July 15, 2016

Abiding in Trinitarian Fellowship

Hate. Division. Murder. Terrorism. Destruction. Every day it seems the news presents us with yet another horror to try to wrap our minds around. Some days the horrors seem to flood in, one after the other, until it seems nearly impossible to process it all. How easy it is to become discouraged and overwhelmed by all of the woundedness and pain in our world. However, with each new temptation to despair, we as Christians must become more and more determined to remember our position in Christ and rest in the knowledge that God is not surprised or overwhelmed by anything.

Eternally God has existed in three persons who fellowship in perfect harmony as one God. No division or disunity is found in God or among the three persons of the Godhead. And the amazing reality is that we are invited to enter into this same kind of fellowship with God. Dallas Willard has said, "God's aim in human history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons with God himself as its primary sustainer and most glorious inhabitant." We were created to love and for love. First to love God and then to love others.

How often do we stop to ponder what life and fellowship among the Trinity looks like? One of the recurring debates among Jesus' disciples was who among them would be the greatest in the Kingdom. But when you look at the Trinity you find precisely the opposite. Instead of God the Father insisting His own greatness be recognized, we find Him directing attention to His Son. "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matt. 17:5) Meanwhile, Jesus points always to the Father. "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me..." (John 8:54) "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve..." (Mark 10:45) And the Holy Spirit works in quiet anonymity pointing us to Jesus following the direction of the Father. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me (Jesus), for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (John 16:13-14)
It's the circle of Father, Son and Spirit. The Son submits to the Father, and the Father loves to glorify the Son, and the Son is driven by the Spirit, and the Spirit reminds everybody of the Son. The Father also sends the Spirit, and there is an endless, eternal, humble, gentle ... community. That's the Trinity with one another. That's what's real. That's the most real thing in existence. (John Ortberg, Living in Christ's Presence)
In the Trinity there is this endless cycle of love and deference where each is more interested in lifting up the other than in being recognized themselves. And as Christians we are invited directly into that same fellowship; that same reality. Though the Godhead was perfectly complete and perfectly happy in and by itself, the decision was made to create humans: beings who would be given the opportunity to enter into and enjoy the same wonderful fellowship of love that is God.
God exists as Father, Son and Spirit in a community of greater humility, servanthood, mutual submission and delight than you and I can possibly imagine. God is three, yet God is one. God is one, and then he makes human beings in his image. (John Ortberg, Living in Christ's Presence)
 So, as the events of our day threaten to overwhelm and discourage us, let us labor to keep this awesome privilege of love and fellowship at the forefront of our thinking. Yes, we groan for a better day, but we need not be discouraged in this moment because, in this moment, we can choose to live in the presence, fellowship, and love of the blessed Trinity.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one... (John 17:20-23)
I end this writing with these words from Dallas Willard:
The advantage of believing in the Trinity is not that we get an A from God for knowing the right answer. The advantage of believing in the Trinity is that we then live as if the Trinity is real, as if the cosmos around us is actually beyond all else a community of unspeakably magnificent personal beings of boundless love, knowledge and power. (Living in Christ's Presence
*All Scripture is taken from the ESV

1 comment:

  1. Steven and Joe, I pray that your writing will be a blessing to many...may God bless your efforts for the sake of the Kingdom!

    pastor mark d. stetler