Summary: Doctrine of the Trinity
READ: Matthew 3:13-17
We come this morning, in our series on “What We Believe”, to the great Christian doctrine of THE TRINITY. Last week I mentioned that this would be our next focus of consideration as we continue to look at the very core of Christianity - the God that we serve. You see, at it’s heart the Christian religion is NOT about a code of practise; a set of beliefs or ethics. At its heart Christianity is about the only true God, Creator of all things, who by sovereign grace has determined to reveal Himself to a rebellious mankind, to provide for man’s salvation. A God who desires man to be in relationship with Him. Our faith, then, does not revolve around us - it is centred on God. And so HE is the necessary starting point in any discussion about what Christians believe.
Now, when we mention this doctrine of THE TRINITY, I am aware that many people get quite nervous. Someone here today might even say: “Pastor, I believe in the Trinity. I believe the Bible teaches it. Please let that be enough because I’m afraid that your sermon this morning is going to go right over my head! No-one has been able to explain it to me yet. I believe it, but I don’t understand it”.
Let me encourage you to stay with me. To listen carefully for the next little while. The fact is that there IS great mystery about the tri-unity of God. There is definitely NO CONTRADICTION in the doctrine of the Trinity, but it IS most certainly a paradox - a mystery. LORRAINE BOETTNER was all too right when he said that this doctrine “bristles with difficulty”.
But I ask you this, should we expect anything less when we are dealing with Almighty God? The Holy One whose ways and thoughts are infinitely higher than ours. Let me challenge you with this thought . . . I personally would not be able to believe that a being was indeed God if I could contain a complete understanding of that being in my limited mortal mind!
Have you ever had a J.W. talk to you about the Trinity? Their standard line is to attempt to “reason” with you. They say: “Come on. The Trinity doesn’t make sense. It’s illogical. You don’t even understand it!” (To which my standard response is: “Answer me this. Do you understand your own self? Where does a thought come from? What is the relation between your body, soul and spirit? If we don not even understand our own selves, how arrogant is it to think that we should be able to understand everything about Almighty God!”)
There is no contradiction in the doctrine of the Trinity. No law of logic is violated; that can be shown. But still there is a great mystery here - as there is with many things concerning God.
But having said that, while full comprehension may elude us, and “we see through a glass, darkly”, - there IS mystery - the fact remains that there IS a lot that we can say - that the Word of God plainly reveals - that we can grasp . . . with God’s help.
Someone else might raise the challenge: “But does it really matter? What relevance does knowing about the Trinity have for my life today?!”
Folks, the doctrine of the Trinity is ALL-relevant if you are a Christian. It is central to our faith. Christianity rises or falls on this doctrine. Because if there is not Trinity, Christianity crumbles. It crumbles for many reasons, but consider this one alone: if the doctrine of the Trinity is not true, then Jesus is not God, therefore He was created (as the cults say), therefore He is not eternal. Now the Book of Hebrews makes it very clear that for our sin to be atoned for an eternal sacrifice had to be found, an eternal High Priest, an eternal mediator. If Jesus be not God, then no such sacrifice, no such High Priest, no such Mediator has been found - we are still waiting, lost in our sins. BUT HALLELUJAH, the Trinity IS true; Jesus IS God, and HEBREWS 9:12 assures me that Eternal Redemption has been obtained in Christ. I AM SAVED - and all the glory belongs to our Triune God.
Before the end of this message I trust I’ll have shown you some other very practical implications of the doctrine of the Trinity that will help you in your Christians walk today.
And, by the way, please don’t be stumbled by the fact that the actual word “TRINITY” does not appear anywhere in the Bible. The word “Trinity” doesn’t appear in Scripture, but the teaching most certainly does. “Trinity” is a word the Church uses to describe teaching about God that is clearly revealed from Genesis to Revelation. It’s a Biblical doctrine.