Summary: Message on the Triune Nature of God
THE TRINITY III
The Story Continues
In his book “The Forgotten Trinity” James White quotes the following from the Personal Narrative of the great 18th century preacher Jonathan Edwards.
“Sometimes, only mentioning a single word caused my heart to burn within me; or only seeing the name of Christ, or the name of some attribute of God. And God has appeared glorious to me, on account of the Trinity. It has made me have exalting thoughts of God, that he subsists in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The sweetest joys and delights I have experienced have not been those that have arisen from a hope of my own good estate; but in a direct view of the glorious things of the gospel. When I enjoy this sweetness, it seems to carry me above the thoughts of my own estate. It seems at such times a loss that I cannot bear, to take off my eye from the glorious, pleasant object I behold without me, to turn my eye in upon myself, and my own good estate… Once, as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception, which continued as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone; to love him with a holy and pure love; to trust in him; to live upon him; to serve and follow him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.”
White points out that the “spiritual experiences” of today are often very different then the one described by Edwards. Today when most folks talk about a spiritual experience it is usually about what they believe that God has done for them, or through them. The focus tends to be not on God, but on the experience itself. Which is very different then the spiritual experience I just read to you from J. Edwards.
One of my goals in teaching about the Trinity is that you would experience God in a new way. A way in which you could share those words with Edwards and say, “God has appeared glorious to me, on account of the Trinity. It has made me have exalting thoughts of God, that he subsists in three persons; Father, Son and Holy Ghost…” If I could just get one of you to experience that, this work would not be in vain.
In our study of the Trinity we have been working off an illustration that I gave a couple weeks ago, that I believe helps us to understand on a human level the importance of the Trinity on a Spiritual level. It also demonstrates for us why love is at the center of our understanding of the Trinity. At this point I will remind you of what we are talking about when we talk about the Trinity. To again quote James White, “Within the one being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” That is the definition we are working under, and we will look at that in more detail in the future.
Let me briefly remind you of the illustration. You go into Brooks restaurant to eat. There in corner you see me with a young blond haired, blued eyed women who appears to be about 5’9” tall. We are doing the kissy, kissy thing, holding hands etc. You come over to confront me, wanting to know what I thing I’m doing with this women who is not my wife. I protest and tell you that this is my wife Darleen. You object by saying, you know my wife Darleen, she is 5’ tall, has brown hair and brown eye, and this is not my wife. I continue to say, no you are wrong, this is my wife Darleen and you do not know what you are talking about.