Hello Church Devotion Aug.24, 2013

T is for Trinity

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and thefellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14

So here we are… examining the mystery of mysteries. Of how God is 3 Persons yet 1 God. St. Paul, in His 2nd letter to the Corinth Church ends his words with this Trinitarian expression. May we be immersed in Grace from Jesus Christ; Love from God; and Fellowship from the Holy Spirit. Each person with a unique statement, yet each separate and yet connected to one another.

Even in Old Testament times, we see the Trinity showing up at unexpected moments. In creation, “Let US make man in OUR own image” a plurality of the pronouns makes it clear that our God is very special and unique. Abraham had a visit from 3 men who arrive suddenly and bless Abraham and Sarah with good news. In fact, throughout the Old Testament, there is a pointing forward to the revelation of God as Trinity and yet One God. In Deuteronomy, we have “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one”. 1 and 3 are the characteristic numbers given to us to reveal the mystery of our God.

Luther on the Trinity in the creation Record:

“According to the general consensus of the Church, there is an indication in this record of the mystery of the Trinity. The Father created heaven and earth out of nothing through the Son, whom Moses calls the Word. Over these the Holy Spirit broods. A hen sits on eggs in order to hatch chicks; she warms the eggs as though giving them life by her warmth. So Scripture says that the Holy Spirit brooded, so to speak, over the waters in order to give life to substances which were to be animated and beautified; for it is the office of the Holy Spirit to give life.”

When Jesus appears on the scene in the New Testament, John begins His Gospel noting that Jesus is the Word made flesh who is making His home with us. Technically, the word for making His home with us is linked to the word Tabernacle. So, Jesus tabernacles with us as He united with humanity in the incarnation.

In our Christian lives, we were baptized into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Each worship service begins with a reminder of the new creation that God performed in our individual lives in the waters of Baptism through the Word of truth. We are continually reminded of the three-fold personage of our God. In the Apostles’ Creed, we see 3 unique parts, one addressing each Person in the Trinity.

Unfortunately, this article of Faith has been attacked over and over again by those unable to leave to God this mystery. Martin Luther in reference to the Trinity stated: “Since I see that it is so distinctly contained and grounded in Scripture, I believe God more than my own thoughts and reason and do not worry about how it can possibly be true hat there is only one Essence and yet that there are three distinct Persons in this one Essence: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. To argue about the truth of this doctrine is out of place. To determine whether this doctrine is grounded in God’s Word is indeed in place. If it is God’s Word, do not be frightened. God will not lie.”

We have the words of the 3rd Ecumenical Creed called the Athanasian Creed. It is accepted by Lutherans in particular and most Christian Churches as well as a good statement in defense of the Trinity and of the work of Christ. This creed is named after St. Athanasius, a staunch defender of the Christian faith in the fourth century. It was prepared to assist the Church in combating two errors that undermined Bible teaching. One error denied that God's Son and the Holy Spirit are of one being or Godhead with the Father. The other error denied that Jesus Christ is true God and true man in one person. The Athanasian Creed continues to serve the Christian Church as a standard of the truth. It declares that whoever rejects the doctrine of the Trinity and the doctrine of Christ is without the saving faith.

We know it best in this form:


Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all else, hold to the true Christian faith. Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever.

Now this is the true Christian faith: We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons or dividing the divine being. For each person—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—is distinct, but the deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty. What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit. The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Spirit uncreated; the Father is infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite; the Father is eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal; yet they are not three who are eternal, but there is one who is eternal, just as they are not three who are uncreated, nor three who are infinite, but there is one who is uncreated and one who is infinite. In the same way the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty; yet they are not three who are almighty, but there is one who is almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord; yet they are not three Lords, but one Lord. For just as Christian truth compels us to confess each person individually to be God and Lord, so the true Christian faith forbids us to speak of three Gods or three Lords. The Father is neither made nor created nor begotten of anyone. The Son is neither made nor created, but is begotten of the Father alone. The Holy Spirit is neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeds from the Father and the Son. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And within this Trinity none comes before or after; none is greater or inferior, but all three persons are coequal and coeternal, so that in every way, as stated before, all three persons are to be worshiped as one God and one God worshiped as three persons. Whoever wishes to be saved must have this conviction of the Trinity.

It is furthermore necessary for eternal salvation truly to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ also took on human flesh. Now this is the true Christian faith: We believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, is both God and man. He is God, eternally begotten from the nature of the Father, and he is man, born in time from the nature of his mother, fully God, fully man, with rational soul and human flesh, equal to the Father as to his deity, less than the Father as to his humanity; and though he is both God and Man, Christ is not two persons but one, one, not by changing the deity into flesh, but by taking the humanity into God; one, indeed, not by mixture of the natures, but by unity in one person; for just as the rational soul and flesh are one human being, so God and man are one Christ. He suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, and from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all people will rise with their own bodies to answer for their personal deeds. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into eternal fire. This is the true Christian faith. Whoever does not faithfully and firmly believe this cannot be saved.

A hymn about the Trinity uses the words called St. Patrick’s breastplate. The tune uses three different melodies to carry the truth of the Trinity to us. At ORLC, we have utilized the hymn several times a year.

I Bind unto Myself Today LSB604

1 I bind unto myself today

The strong name of the Trinity

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.

2 I bind this day to me forever,

By pow’r of faith, Christ’s incarnation,

His Baptism in the Jordan River,

His cross of death for my salvation,

His bursting from the spicèd tomb,

His riding up the heav’nly way,

His coming at the day of doom,

I bind unto myself today.

3 I bind unto myself today

The pow’r of God to hold and lead,

His eye to watch, His might to stay,

His ear to hearken to my need,

The wisdom of my God to teach,

His hand to guide, His shield to ward,

The Word of God to give me speech,

His heav’nly host to be my guard.

4 Against the demon snares of sin,

The vice that gives temptation force,

The natural lusts that war within,

The hostile foes that mar my course;

Or few or many, far or nigh,

In ev’ry place and in all hours,

Against their fierce hostility

I bind to me those holy pow’rs.

5 I bind unto myself the name

The strong name of the Trinity

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three,

Of whom all nature has creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.

Praise to the Lord of my salvation;

Salvation is of Christ the Lord!

Public domain

Prayer: Lord, You are indeed Father, Son, and Spirit. Through Your combined work, You have created, saved, and recreated me. I am humbled by Your love, Your work, and Your power. Lord, surround me with Your love. Plant Your Spirit in my heart that I may have Your steady guidance for my life. Fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith. And open the way for the Father to show His incredible love and foresight for my life. Lord, You are indeed holy. You alone are the Lord. Our words truly cannot fully describe You, yet we trust that what You have revealed to us is indeed enough for us to know You as the God who gives and loves and sacrifices and saves. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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