Monday, September 12, 2005

A Clarifying Thought on the Trinity

Sunday night, I talked for a long time on the mystery of the Trinity. I felt like I could have talked a lot longer (but I spared you that). Augustine spent thirty years of his life working on his treatise On the Trinity (it ended up being close to 500 pages). So please, cut me a little slack for going over by 12 minutes! It is truly an amazing thing.

Sunday night I started to explore an aspect of the Trinity but didn't have time to explain it well. I wanted to take a few minutes and come back to the idea that we worship God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. With the emphasis we place on the distinctiveness and deity of the persons of the Trinity, it is easy to forget about Unity of God. However, to forfeit the Unity of God is disastrous.

Most of us won't come out and say it, but I think we have latent ideas about how redemption worked: God the Father was angry with our sin, God the Son loved us and stepped in to divert his Fathers anger. The Spirit is someone involved, but we don't quite know how - though we appreciate his abiding presence with us now. While this is how many think, and a few actually describe, of salvation, it is truly unbiblical.

Augustine helps us in this I think. Augustine proposed the psychological model of the Trinity - one mind, different aspect (will, imagination, memory). While their are faults, as there are with every model/analogy of the Trinity, there is also some truth. Augustine preserves the essential unity, and this is incredibly important in so many ways.

Back to our discussion of redemption, we must remember that God was of one mind. God hates sin - the Son and the Spirit as much as the Father. Remember, they are all Holy God! Yet, God loved his people - the Father, Son and Spirit. Consequently, they entered into a covenant together to redeem a people to be theirs. They were of one accord on this. And they worked to accomplish it - The Father planned it, the Son accomplished it, the Spirit applies it by bringing us new life!

Let's be careful not to play one member of the Trinity off against the other. They are the same in their perfection and glory! God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity.

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