Spiritual Training Cycle: Unity (wk. 1/13)
Are you ready for this? 25% of this year is already in the books. I pray this year is progressing well for you, and that you are still on plan for the goals you set. If not, take hope! You still have plenty of days left to connect deeply to God and grow from your relationship with Him. We’re beginning a new training cycle this quarter with a focus on unity. In quarter one we were all about surrender. We learned about the grace God freely gives us; We grew in our spiritual exercises through the discipline of fasting; And we learned the power of forgiveness. That’s what surrender really is. To kick off quarter two’s focus on unity, we’ll start by looking at the unity of our God through the spiritual concept of the Trinity.
In the closing chapter of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives some final instruction to His disciples which is known as the Great Commission.
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
The Father, the Son, and the Spirit – three persons but one essence. This is the foundation for the term “trinity.” If you did a quick word search on-line, you'd discover this term is absent from the Bible. That’s right. There’s not one Scripture with the word, “Trinity.” But the concept of God as three in one is everywhere you look in the Bible, even at the beginning of Genesis. In the very first verse of the Bible, Moses calls God Elōhim. This Hebrew word most commonly refers to God in the plural form. But we don’t worship multiple gods, and Moses knew this. The second verse reveals more of the story when Moses writes, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” And just a few verses later, God says, “Let us make humanity in our image, in our likeness.” There’s the early emergence of the Trinity. What Jesus clearly describes as Father, Son, and Spirit is evidenced at the start. The Trinity isn’t a New Testament idea. It’s the God we worship. One essence, three persons, and three distinct functions.
First, there’s God the Father, who distinctly functions as the Creator. The Father made all things. In his book Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, Michael Reeves describes it this way, “Creation is a work of grace, flowing from God’s love.” The Father is the Creator. Then, there’s the Son, Jesus, who distinctly functions as the Restorer. Jesus’ death and resurrection had one purpose – to restore the relationship of humanity to God. Because Jesus died for us, we are raised to new life in Him. Our hearts are restored, our souls are restored, all through the work of Jesus and Jesus alone. Finally, there’s the Spirit, who distinctly functions as the sustainer. In some mysterious way, the Holy Spirit is imparted to those who put their faith in Jesus. The Spirit upholds and maintains believers until our final redemption. He also sustains us in our spiritual growth, teaching and guiding us deeper into God’s truth and the realization of a life of shalom.
Over the course of this month, I encourage you to mediate and consider God as three in one. Reflect on how the Father, Son, and Spirit have touched your life, and how you might share your stories with others. Jesus was clear in His commission to go and make. The Trinity is more than just some theological term, it’s the fabric of God.
Questions for Reflection:
Of the three functions (Creator, Restorer, Sustainer), which one do you gravitate to the most?
Why do you think God left the word “Trinity” our of the Bible?