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The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

June 5, 2017

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . and surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19, 20b).

The Scripture lessons for Trinity Sunday[1] begin with the creation of the universe, continue to the time of David (about 1010 B.C.), to the birth of the church under grace, on Pentecost 32 AD, and thereafter to the new age when, as prophesied by Joel[2] God said “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Acts 2:17).  Peter’s use of the phrase “in the last days” in that verse basically means from now on—all of the days between Christ’s first and second comings.

There is no better time to look back in time than on Trinity Sunday, because all three parts of the Trinity can be seen working throughout history.  Moses, the author of Genesis, describes the creation in one short but strong and eloquent chapter of 792 words, mentioning God the Father and the Spirit: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2:4). Biblical scholars argue that the Trinity is present in the creation account.[3]  Three obvious arguments include the fact that the Spirit is mentioned directly in the first verse. Also, the Hebrew word for God in the first verse, Elohim, is a plural noun used with singular verbs.  A third is found in verse 26, which refers to the Godhead as “us,” emphasizing that there is more than one aspect to God.

David refers to the three parts of the Trinity in Psalm 2:7-8[4].  His song in Psalm 8 harkens back to the creation, as he expresses his amazement that the God who created such a universe of beauty and majesty would have any interest in creating and paying attention to man: “ When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8: 3-4).

Jesus emphasized the triune nature of God in the commissioning of his disciples.  After his Resurrection but before he ascended into heaven, he told them to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28: 19).  In his book Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves discusses our life in the Trinity.  He explains that the Spirit opens our eyes to share in what delights him—his Son, Jesus. “But the Spirit not only enables us to know and love Christ; he also gives us the mind of Christ, making us like him . . . it is the Spirit who unites us to Christ.”[5]

Trying to understand the theological concept of the Trinity is difficult enough, but the idea that we are blessed with the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit is an amazing concept.  What does it mean to be blessed with the mind of Christ?  What responsibilities does it entail?  Is it connected to the commissioning of his disciples?  I think so. In accepting the commission that Jesus gave his first disciples (and those who followed), we need to remember that God sent his Holy Spirit to help us.  Think about that this week as you put your arms around those who are mourning, help those who need your assistance, encourage those in despair, and rejoice with others.  Remember that God has given you a great gift—the mind of Christ through the Holy Spirit.  God has connected you to him through his Spirit.  How cool is that!

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture lessons for Trinity Sunday are Genesis 1: 1-2:4; Psalm 8: 1-9; Acts 2: 14-36; Matthew 28:16-20.

[2] Joel 2:28, 29

[3] “In both the work of creation (in Genesis 1) and the work of salvation or re-creation (in the Gospels), God’s Word goes out from him by his Spirit .  .  . The Spirit is the one through whom the Father loves, blesses and empowers his Son.” Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity (2012) InterVarsity Press, p. 30.

[4] Id, p. 70.


[5] Id, p. 95.

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