Why Learn about the Trinity
Many churches do not teach much about the Trinity today. Many focus on Jesus, his work and teaching. Others focus on the Holy Spirit, emphasizing his gifts. A few of the more liturgical churches may focus on God as our Father as the Creator and sustainer of the universe.
Maybe we need to be open to a more complete understanding of God through engaging his triune nature. Theologian Sinclair Ferguson reminds us that we need to know all three persons of the Godhead in order to have an expanded experience of the “glorious character of our God”. We all want that, don’t we? To know God at a fuller, deeper level?
Ferguson refers to the understanding of Trinitarian doctrines he learned from reading early church fathers. There are three that he highlights:
Indivisible works: “Whatever God does outside himself, he does in such a way that all three Persons are involved.”
Eternal fellowship: “The Father, Son, and Spirit engage with and dwell in one another in an eternal fellowship of mutual affection and holy devotion, fully, personally, and satisfyingly exercising all of the divine attributes.
Personal roles: “Each Person of the Trinity has his own special, personal role in creation, providence, redemption, and consummation.”
After glimpsing the full character of God in these manifestations of the Trinity, Ferguson concludes that “knowing God became a much bigger, grander, richer, far more glorious reality than I had imagined.”
And it can by that way for us, too. If we are easily satisfied with a surface understanding, we tend to fill in details of his character with our own imaginations. And our own imaginations cannot come close to seeing the sovereign creator God as he is in his greatness and glory. We will be tempted to imagine God as a larger-than-life-human instead of being open to the richer, unimaginable revelation of himself in three persons. We will never be able to fully comprehend God, but he has revealed enough that we can see his consistent character, grace-filled intentions, and ways of working in our world. When we are willing to see, he is gracious to reveal.
Let’s not take the concept of Trinity lightly. May we be ever-growing in worshipping, praying to, and fellowshipping with God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our lives will be filled with awe at his glory, thanksgiving for his love, wonder at his wisdom, and joy in his companionship.
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all thing, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:14-16.
Sinclair Ferguson quotes taken from the introduction to Communion with God by John Owen, pp. 19 and 20.