This year we want to focus on who God is. Each month we will concentrate on a different attribute of God, and we’ll have one of our authors share what the attribute has taught her about Him. Plus you’ll find pretty free art downloads at the end of each post! We pray this series draws us closer to God as we meditate on who He is. Jen Wilkin continues the series talking about God’s triune nature.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
2 Corinthians 13:14
As a Bible teacher, I sometimes get my thoughts tangled in a very public way, with humbling results. Once, as I was in the middle of making a point about Christians not holding animosity toward one another, I invented (and used with vigor) the term “animositorious”—you know, the adjective form of “animosity.” It was a word I coined in a moment of necessity to clarify a truth. Strangely, it hasn’t entered into general usage.
The word “triune” is also a term formed out of necessity to clarify a truth, combining the Latin words for “three” and “one.” It isn’t in the Bible. It’s a word coined to articulate a truth that is both undeniably present in the Bible and foundational to our understanding of God: He is one in essence, but three in person. Father, Son, and Spirit exist eternally as distinct persons sharing essential sameness. They are simultaneously and eternally three and one. And though the word “triune” has certainly entered into general usage, it is an attribute of God that is notoriously hard to wrap our heads around.
I can’t explain every nuance of what makes the Trinity the Trinity, but what I do know inspires worship. By its nature, the Trinity is bent on relationship—first, with themselves and second, with us.
Though humans know times of loneliness, God has never been lonely. For all eternity, the Father, Son and Spirit have existed in perfect communion, perfect community. Loneliness is a foreign concept to the Godhead. So it makes sense that those created in his image would find loneliness painful. We are intended for communion with God and community with others. It makes sense that the creation is not pronounced “very good” until the man is no longer alone. We are created in the image of a relational God to be relational beings—to need God and to need each other.
Of course, sin severed those relational connections in the Garden. We chose autonomy over community. But the Triune God acted (and still acts) to restore us to fellowship with Him, and thereby to others. Each member of the Trinity has a unique part to play in this salvific work.
God the Father initiates our salvation. He announces a plan for restoration, even while the taste of the forbidden fruit still lingers on the lips of our parents, Adam and Eve. He promises the seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15). In the fullness of time, He sends the Son for our redemption. The Father determines the means of our return to fellowship.
God the Son accomplishes our salvation. He takes on flesh and is born of a woman. The Son, now incarnate as the God-Man, achieves salvation on our behalf. Christ lives a sinless life in our place. Christ dies the death of a criminal in our place. Christ rises from the dead as the first to conquer death, and now sits victorious at the right hand of the Father. The Son opens the way for our return to fellowship.
God the Spirit applies our salvation. Sent together by the Father and Son, He takes up residence in the temple of our bodies. He sanctifies us, daily applying grace to the sin that still besets us, making known to us the path of righteousness, teaching us to obey, and conforming us to the image of the Son. The Spirit ministers the grace that seals our return to fellowship.
Why God does any of these things is a mystery of the highest order. He does not need humans to fill a relational void, or even to have an object for His love. Though His every relational need is met in Himself, He seeks relationship with us “according to His good pleasure.” But not according to any desirable quality in us.
How astonishingly comforting to realize that He extends loving fellowship to us without needing anything in return. Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling. And because of that cross, the Triune God invites us to participate in the joyful communion He has inhabited and will inhabit through all eternity—a communion secured for us by the by the sovereign will of the Father, the submissive obedience of the Son, and the steadfast indwelling of the Spirit.
Jen Wilkin is a speaker, writer, and teacher of women’s Bible studies in Dallas, TX. Her passion is to see women become articulate and committed followers of Christ, with a clear understanding of why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. She is the author of Women in the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both our Hearts and our Minds and None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us. Her family calls The Village Church home.
We have provided free art for you to help you keep God’s holiness in your focus this month. Just click on the links below to download. We’d love to know what God is teaching you this year—share on social media with the hashtag #GodIs2017.