Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Trinity: Not Just for Theologians!

Trinity

One thing that we as Christians have the tendency to do is focus on the practical aspects of Christianity and leave the doctrinal matters to the theologians. There is a feeling as if those deeper things are intended to keep pastors in business. However, Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The Greek word γινώσκω used for know in this passage implies more than just an acquaintance but instead implies a deep understanding and perception of God. As Christians, we are called to grow in our understanding of who God truly is. The reality is, no Christian can ever possess the ability to truly apply the Christian faith to his/her life without right doctrine. This can be seen vividly in the doctrine of the Trinity. To begin, the following question must be addressed:

How do we know that the Trinity exists?

The Scriptures, in both the Old Testament and New Testament, are full of examples of a Triune God. First, going back to the Old Testament, Genesis 1:1 used the Hebrew word Elohim for God. This word actually implies plurality as if to hint at the Trinity. Another example is found in Genesis 1:26 when God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Take the application of Elohim as you will, but this is a very clear indication of the existence of the Trinity. Later on in the New Testament in Isaiah 6:8, God ask Isaiah, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” While not as strong of an example as Genesis 1:26, this undoubtedly implies the Trinity. Moving on to the New Testament, the presence of the Trinity at the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:13-17 is a prime example. Also, and probably the most concrete example, the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 says, “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”. The Scriptures are saturated with the evidence of a Triune God. Now, a second and very important question must be asked:

Why does the Trinity matter to you?

            The Trinity matters to each and every Christian for a number of incredibly important reasons. First, the knowledge of the Trinity leads us to walk in humility. It is often our tendency to believe that God created us because He needs us. However, God has everything He needs in the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To say that God created us because He needs us would be to make human beings God’s savior. However, we must realize that God is OUR Savior. Second, the knowledge of the Trinity helps each and every Christian to worship Him in Spirit and Truth. We can never truly worship the Holy and Living God if we are worshipping Him in the image we have made. We must worship Him in the light of who He truly is. There is great liberty in coming to this place of worship. There is great discovery involved in this kind of worship. Third, the knowledge of the roles of the Trinity helps us to pray rightly. There is great confidence in realizing that when we pray we are praying to the Father through the Son with the help of the Holy Spirit. Seeing all three persons of the Trinity involved in our prayer lives is a beautiful reality. Lastly, seeing the Trinity helps us to understand that God is love because we see the love that exist between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To see the love of the Son for the Father while on this earth is a prime example to us in growing in our own love for God. To see the love that exist between all three members is a testament to the love that is to exist in our own relationships with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Understanding the Trinity is undoubtedly vital to our spiritual growth. The fact is, the more we understand who God is and how He works, the more we grow to love Him and worship Him. So, NEVER say to yourself that right doctrine is simply for the theologians and pastors. Instead, crave a deeper understanding of our Almighty God.


The Christian’s Relationship to the World (Part II): 1 John 2:15-17

NotWorldII

Do you enjoy popular detective TV shows such as Criminal Minds, The Mentalist, or maybe the classic Law & Order? Most of us do. In each scenario, the crime scenes are always littered with evidence left behind by a culprit that will soon be discovered by the shows most popular investigator. With that in mind, I want to ask you today to play the role of the chief forensic investigator of your life. I want to ask you to investigate your life and discover the evidence in it that will lead you to answer this question:

What do you TRULY love?

So many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, discover after evaluating all the evidence that our hearts are entangled with a deeply passionate love for one thing: the world and the things of the world. In my own life, the evidence has always been clear when this problem exist. For example, I can always look and see a distorted list of priorities. I see the demands of the world, the worries of the world, and the pursuits of the world commanding my life and I see my pursuit of God becoming a thing of convenience. In these seasons of my life, I begin to see my desire for the admiration of the world taking precedence over my desire for the pleasure of God. I begin to see an insatiable desire to please my most sinful desires in these seasons and I begin to feel my spiritual desires go into starvation mode. Lastly, I begin to see my pride in myself rise and my daily dependence upon a faithful God fall. All of these are the result of a growing love of the world. In this reality, John the disciple of Jesus gives us clear instruction about this love. He says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life- is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Do no love the world or the things in the world.

What a clear statement in regard to our stance with the world! Clearly, this is not meant to imply that we are to lack compassion or care for the world. However, it is sternly proclaimed that our hearts must not be entangled with the things that this world offers. John mentions three things that we can so clearly identify with in our struggle with the world: the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life. These three things are devices clearly evident in the philosophies and ideologies that the world promotes. First, the world incites the flesh through appealing to our former and rebellious nature. The world is full of the promotion of the idea that we are to be liberated from the ways of God in order to live our own way. Simply, “I did it my way” has become the message of the human race. The world attempts to lead us to do things our way through selfish reasoning, sexual distortion, and a misguided quest for independence. Second, the world incites the eyes with the dual promotion of sexual images and incessant marketing. Both of these things lead their followers to discontentment and sinful behavior. Lastly, the world incites pride through the worship of ambition. Success in our world and through the eyes of the world has become God in many ways. What is the Christian to do with these things?

The Christian is to separate themselves from even the hint of love towards any of these devices. As Christians, our love is not to be poured out into a finite thing, which John says, “is passing away along with its desires.” (1 John 2:17 ESV) Instead, our love is to be poured into the infinite God that is faithful and will never pass away. From the beginning of Israel, God declared, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut. 6:5 ESV) That imperative continues to stand with all Christians today. We are to look within ourselves and discover what has captured our hearts. As we investigate, the world should never be the culprit. Instead, the culprit that we find as we examine the evidence must be an Awesome and Holy God that continues to steal our affections and command our loyalty. We must daily evaluate our commitments, measure our spiritual growth, and treasure the works of God in our lives. Today, do the investigation! Pray that you discover more and more that the heart thief in your life is God and God alone!