Summary: The Trinity allows fellowship within the Godhead, and allows men to enter into real fellowship with God.
What’s today? Fathers Day.
This is Trinity Sunday. Today is the great patronal feast day of our Cathedral. And we of the Missionary Diocese of All Saints, we all share a common life, and we get to celebrate this feast day together because, in the diocese, we are one church. Isn’t that splendid? And this is the only Sunday on which
Now—and please be honest with me—do you think that the belief, the doctrine, the dogma, that God is Trinity really affects your life? How can something so difficult to understand, so remarkably strange and out there, really matter to me down here? Well, I’m going to tell you! Because God is Trinity, we have the opportunity to fellowship with Him. If He were otherwise, we could not.
Trinity is absolutely essential to the Christian faith. You cannot rightly bear the name Christian and deny the Trinity. Our forebears, our fathers and mothers in the faith, fought to protect this belief—they went into exile in foreign lands, suffered persecution at home, and even martyrdom—rather than allow it to become diluted with irrelevant matters or tainted with untruth. These saints who preserved the Faith, our Faith, your faith and mine, invested their lives into upholding a right view of the Trinity.
It’s only right, then, that we too be ready to defend and pass on whole and intact our Faith. We’re going to use some small terms (just five letters long) and some welterweight ideas (this is basic arithmetic).
Let’s talk about one. One plus…nothing…equals? One. One is singular, unity, simplicity, completeness, entirety, rationality. Okay, so do we understand one?
One plus one plus one equals? Three. Three is not singular, complementarity, complexity, harmony, cooperation, completeness. Three is—duh—more than one. So do we understand three better?
What is Trinity? This will be the only really heavy—as in difficult—part that we’ll go over. I promise it will be short. Can you hang with me for a minute and a half? I think you can. Trinity is Tri-unity. Three in one. The doctrine of the Trinity says that God is three persons (ὑpόstaseς) in one being (oὔsioς); three existences in one essence. The Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three gods, but One God.
Trinity also means that God is One in three. God’s one essence, His essential being, the What of God, is expressed in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Who of God. The three are not the same who but are the same what. The Father and the Son are distinct persons and they exist without confusion as God, but they are united in the Godhead; they do not have a different god-ness, but are one. Is your head spinning? Well, we’re done with the hard stuff; it’s all downhill from here.
At His essence, God must be one. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD your God, the LORD is one” (Dt. 6:4). God is one. He is not duplicitous—He “does not change like shifting shadows” (Jas. 1:17). He is singularly God; there is no God but Him “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Is. 42:8). He alone is Holy. “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD God Almighty!” (Is. 6:3). God alone is mighty to perform His works. “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” (Ex. 15:11). There is no other god like our God, the LORD! He is One.
In His persons, God is three. The Father is God; the Son is God; and the Spirit is God. But the Father is not the Son or the Spirit; the Son is not the Father or the Spirit; and the Spirit is not the Father or the Son. Each has their own person-hood, but they are all one and the same nature—essence. God the Father is the Creator, the Begetter, and the Source. God the Son is the Redeemer, the Begotten, the Word, and our Brother. God the Spirit is the Sanctifier, He Who proceeds, the Paraclete, Helper, and Advocate.
Now with this brief discussion, do we understand, comprehend, the Trinity? Certainly not! But I’d like to move from discussing what the Trinity is, and skip over the question how God is Trinity, because it’s really simple. No, really, it is. It’s a mystery!
So let’s continue, because I really want to discuss a little about why God is Trinity. Did you ever think about why God isn’t just one, and that’s all? Or why he can’t just be three-in-three. If you ever doubt that God doesn’t contain the perfection not just of masculinity, but also of femininity, the complexity of the Trinity should assure us—why are ladies so complicated? Actually, it’s not correct to call God complex, but that’s another sermon.