1 + 1 + 1 = One - Captain Erika Hernandez
Genesis 1:1-2; 26-27
Looking at our Title for today, you might be thinking, “What kind of math is she going to teach us today?” Today we will cover the third doctrine of the Salvation Army which states:
We believe that there are three persons in the Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, undivided in essence and co-equal in power and glory.
As a child I completely took the Trinity on faith and did not question because as children we have the ability to find things simple and not over think it. When it comes to the Trinity, we have to that mind set but it’s important to not try and over think the God-head.
There are mystery’s about God that we might never know the answer to but for me personally it’s that mystery that keeps me coming back; wanting to know more and more of the almighty creator.
Even though it might be difficult to understand just how the Trinity works here is an analogy; when captain and I were in Training school, we would have these interesting roles of bread which we called Trinity Bread. Imagine having three types of dough (white, wheat, and
pumpernickel) put into one container and placed in the oven to bake.
Once coming out there will be one piece of bread having all three flavors united to create one bread; yet one can easily see the different types of bread.
Although Trinity is not a word we see in the Bible, Christian theology has used it to designate the threefold manifestation of the one God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is one (Gal 3:20 - “now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but god is one.” But Son (John 1:1 - “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Col 2:9 “for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”.
And Spirit (1 Cor 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” All are fully God, yet they are distinct from the Father and each other; The Father sends the Son and the Spirit. “There is one body and on Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, on baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Eph 4:4-6
The doctrine of the Trinity attempts to answer such enormous questions as ’What is God really like? How do Father, Son and Holy Spirit relate to one another? If there is only one God, why do we worship Jesus?’ for Christians, the main witness to the doctrine is found in the Bible.
But it was in the early centuries of the Christians Church that the biblical revelation was tested in the crucible of Christian experience. From this developing understanding the doctrine of the Trinity emerged. It cannot of course say the last word on the nature of God. But it does provide a benchmark or means by which all who call themselves can be identified.
The Bible is the record of God’s deeds and of what he has chosen to reveal about himself.
Although the word Trinity does not appear in its pages at all, the Christians belief is built on firm biblical foundations. The Old Testament speaks of one god, the great creator-redeemer, sustaining a dynamic relationship with his people by his love and saving grace.
And yet even the Old Testament’s descriptions of the one god cannot adequately be contained within the confines of a simple monotheism. At times God acts or speaks through his Wisdom or his Word, almost giving them a personal identity (Proverbs 1:20-33; Psalm 33:6). There are
also hints of the presence of God’s Spirit in personal form (Psalm 139:7).
Such personification indicated that within Old Testament monotheism there are hints of trinitarian revelation. They prepare the way for the totally new revelation of god that is to come through Jesus.
Following the Resurrection, the early Christians, who were mainly monotheistic Jews, worshiped Jesus as Lord with no sense that they were being inconsistent or denying their understanding of God as one (Philippians 2:6-11). they also accepted the indwelling Spirit as Lord (2 Cor. 3:17-18).
An altogether new understanding of the nature of God was beginning to emerge from disciples overwhelmed by the post-Easter revelation.
Writers of the New Testament looked again at their Scriptures and saw new meaning in the Old Testament writings. They identified Jesus Christ with the concepts of Wisdom and Word (John 1; 1 Corn 1:23-24). They stressed the interrelatedness of Father, Son and Spirit in the great word of salvation (2 Cor 1:21-22; 13:14; Matthew 28;19; John 14:26, 15:26, 1 Pt 1:2).
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” 2 Cor 1:21-22.” Within the one god lay the intercommunication of three co-equal Persons.
Arising out of the biblical witness a process of exploration began during the early centuries of the Christian Church.
Christian leaders and thinkers met together in council and through their discussions and debates eventually arrived at a form of words describe the new revelation. The Nicene Creed, which comes from the 4th century, is still regarded by Christians of all traditions as a definitive
statement of orthodoxy.
The creed proclaims the Father, the Son and the Spirit as worthy of worship and carefully describes the relationship between the three Persons, Salvationist subscribe to the truths of the Nicene Creed.
The doctrine of the Trinity is vital to the Christian faith because it helps us to recognize and know the God who is never alone.
Jews and Muslims, as well as Christians, are monotheists, but only Christians understand God as one in three.
This doctrine helps us to understand what we mean when we say that God is love. True love is about relationship and sharing. We cannot love on our own. The persons of the Trinity are coequal and relate to one another in mutual love. They share a common inner life and purpose. In
the God who is one in three we see the nature of love.
All that God does arises from who he is. God, who is love, created the world as a work of his love, not because he needed creation or human beings to complete what was lacking in himself, but because creativity is in the nature of love.
It is the God of love who has moved to bring us salvation. The one who is our creator, is our Saviour. We could not receive salvation from any other.
The doctrine of the Trinity also helps us to a better understanding of who we are, as human beings, We are created in God’s image, individuals made for relationship, to live and share in community. Our families, our Christians communities and the societies in which we live, diverse
as they are, can reflect the love of the threefold God and his intentions for us.
The doctrine of the Trinity helps us to understand something of the dynamic creativity of God.
Within such a mutual, loving relationship, God is always creating, interacting and sharing. There can be nothing static or remote about the triune God.
We rightly refer to God the Father as the first person in the Trinity, because we connect him particularly with creation and the origin of all things, not because he has superiority over the Son and the Holy Spirit. We refer to the Son as the second person in the Trinity because he
came ’in the fullness of time’ to fulfill the Father’s plan of redemption.
The Holy Spirit is described as the third person in the Trinity who has been poured out upon humanity in a new way since the first Pentecost. Nevertheless the entire work of creation and redemption comes from the one, true God.
The three persons of the Trinity are distinct, yet not divided.
One Shared Life The Trinity has sometimes been understood as a hierarchy of persons, with God the Father superior to the Son and the Spirit. It is essential to resist such a picture; there is no superiority
or inferiority with the Godhead.
Over many centuries there have been different ways of describing the Trinity. The way that the doctrine is described is not significant, so long as the oneness and the three-ness of God are not compromised.
The doctrine of the Trinity challenges us to recognize the greatness of God, his majesty and perfection, and to explore ways of worshiping him that honor his greatness.
In making us aware of the divinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the doctrine teaches us to honor God in his threefold nature: the Father who gives us life and reveals himself to us; the Son who redeems us by his own self-offering; the Holy Spirit who comes alongside us with sustaining
The doctrine describes a God-in-community who reaches out to create community. It is the very basis of the inclusive gospel. From its beginning, The Salvation Army has consistently proclaimed
this gospel, calling people of all nations to respond to the love of God. We seek to include and welcome into the family of God those who feel themselves to be excluded from society. In so doing, we have created communities which reflect the inclusiveness, genuine acceptance and mutual love of the triune God.
The challenge for us today sis to retain that genuine inclusiveness, resisting developments in our churches and centers that may lead people to feel alienated.
Corinthians 13:14 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen”