God in Three Persons
Today is Trinity Sunday. We celebrate the glorious manifestation of God through his three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These are not simply three names of God. Each one is a person of God and has a distinct purpose. We see this in the Book of Genesis:
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
God the Father is speaking about his creation of all life, and especially that of humankind. But he did not do this alone. God said: “Let us.” He is using a Hebrew word—ē’nu—which is unmistakably plural. To whom is God speaking?
We read in the prologue of John’s Gospel:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. (John 1:1-4)
The Father is clearly speaking to his Son because his Son is described in John as an agent of creation. But he was also speaking to someone else. Let us go back again to the beginning:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)
We see that the Holy Spirit is waiting to hear the Word from God the Father: “Let there be light.” And then he sprang into action. The Father spoke the Word. Jesus, who has been described as the Word made flesh, again, was the agent of creation.
All three Persons of God were active in creation, but each One has a special and unique ministry as well. Jesus’ farewell address to his disciples frames to work of each One quite:
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)
Notice that Jesus says that he has all authority. That gift comes from God the Father. He is the final and supreme authority in all things. The Father has delegated his authority to his Son because Jesus was obedient to him, even to death on a cross.
Then Jesus tells his disciples to evangelize the whole world. That is the work of the Son:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
Notice that Jesus mentions the Holy Spirit as part of our baptism. The Spirit is mentioned last, but he is batting cleanup. His work is to sanctify us that we become like Jesus. We read in the Gospel of John:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-15)
Now let us take a look at the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the Corinthians, so to speak:
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Notice Paul writes: “put things in order.” It is the Holy Spirit of God that helps us puts things in order. He is not disorderly as some people would believe. The fellowship of the Spirit does not lead to chaos, division, or disorganization. The fellowship of the Spirit leads to unity, love, order, and peace. That is why the Spirit can work with all churches: Evangelistic, Pentecostal, as well as Liturgical. No one church has a lock on him.
Lastly, in one sentence, Paul summarizes the complete work of the Trinity:
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and thecommunion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. (2 Corinthians 13:11-13)