In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light...” (Genesis 1:1-3a). In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God ... All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,3,14).
And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20).
I remember leading a Bible study at Harvard University about the Trinity when one law student piped up, “I believe in it, but I don’t know why it’s all that important.” It is my hope that by the end of this brief devotion, you’ll see this reality about God as one of the most foundational and beautiful truths of your faith.
In Genesis 1 we read the account of creation, and it’s here we find the Trinity (God in three Persons) at work in making everything. God creates, the Spirit hovers (or flutters, much in the same way a mother bird does over a nest), and the Word is spoken. One God with three distinct parts (later to be called persons) active in creation. What could this mean? Well, all by itself this passage is interesting, but hardly gives us the fully formed doctrine of the Trinity. It’s not until Jesus Christ shows up that we get a real commentary on Genesis 1. And from whom does it come? The Apostle John.
John connects the “word” spoken at the moment of creation (and then God said, “Let there be light...”) with the person of Jesus in the passage above. Don’t skip over that. Let this sentence leave you jaw-dropped just as it would’ve left John’s original audience. The Word spoken by God the Father at creation—the idea and intention of his heart—has been made flesh, and his name is Jesus Christ. This is a mind-blowing claim to make, for sure. But the fact remains the Bible clearly teaches that God is one God, eternally existent in three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We know that the Trinity is the treasure of the people of God because it is in the name of the Triune God that Jesus’ disciples were to go into the world. The whole motivation of the mission of God in Matthew 28 above is the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (“Go into all the world ... in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” Matt. 28:18-20). In short, the mission of the church is to be done in such a way that the name of the Trinitarian God revealed in the Scriptures gets turned up, enjoyed, exalted, and honored. If the mission of the church is trinitarian, then the mission of our lives is too, because we’re part of the church!
Because God is Trinity, we know three important things about him. First, we know that our Creator is our Redeemer. That is, Jesus isn’t some lackey God sent to do the dirty work of dying on the cross. No man, no demi-god, no angel would’ve been a sufficient mediator between God and humanity, because only God could fully satisfy the debt of our sinful brokenness, (Hebrews 1:1-3). Jesus is the Word present at creation, the very second person of the Godhead, given to us for our redemption. Secondly, because God is Trinity, we know that he is with us. God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit (John 15:26) to dwell within believers, giving us immediate access to God. Now, can know God in a way deeper than a man knows his best friend. And finally, because God is Trinity, we know we are freely and radically loved. Think about it—if God weren’t Trinity, then who would he have been loving before he created the world? No one! In fact, God would need us in order to be loving, because in order to be loving you must actually love someone! But, because God has always existed within a deep, profound, and infinite love relationship within the Godhead, the love he has for you and me isn’t a co-dependent, needy love. No, this is a full, overflowing love that has come to us by grace.
What does it mean to live with a radical awareness of God as Trinity? It is to think on the free love of God in creation, in redemption, and in restoration. When we come to God, we come to a full being who delights to draw us into a deep, satisfying love relationship, not a needy, lacking one. Your Creator has become your redeemer, and your redeemer has sent the Holy Spirit to live within you; a deposit guaranteeing that you will live forever with him, (Eph. 1:13-14).
God, you are truly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today I choose to delight in the wonder and mystery of your nature. You are great, God! Father God, thank you for planning my creation and my redemption. Jesus, thank you for causing my existence and for coming to live perfectly for me, to die for me, and rise for my new life. Holy Spirit, I rejoice that you have watched over me, and that you now dwell within me, giving me a new nature and heart to know God has an adopted member of the family of God.
Today, help me to live with a greater awareness and thankfulness of your nature. As you have called me to “go” in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, would you now help me to do just that. Because of my life, cause people to rejoice in your name, and to come to know you as you are—the Triune God.
You are so gracious. Thank you for revealing yourself to me.
In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen.