Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On Loving the Triune God




Each year on the Christian calendar there is a Sunday set aside to especially focus on and celebrate the Trinity.  This year Trinity Sunday is May 26.  While every Sunday is a celebration of our triune God, Trinity Sunday helps us to remember the mystery, power, and beauty of the Father, Son, and Spirit – three persons, one God.  Both our identity and mission are completely wrapped-up in who God is.  We are baptized into the name of all three persons of the Trinity.  Our worship together is an expression of the unity and common purpose of the church.

            Everything comes down to God, to the Father, Son, and Spirit.  The distinctive manner in which we are to live is to be an expression of the triune God who exists in perfect unity, harmony, love, and mission.  Whether it is in our families, our neighborhoods, our jobs, or our church, God wants to exercise his very personhood through us.

            The Scripture says that our triune God is love (1 John 4:16).  His nature and purpose is love itself.  The reason we are to love God with heart, soul, mind, and strength is that God himself is love.  As people created in the image and likeness of God, there is within us a deep desire to know and love God.  Yet, it is possible to lose touch with this primal instinct to love God.  We may be so familiar with hearing about God that we go about our days not really knowing Him, going through the motions of Christianity but doing it without love.  Like spiritual zombies we might walk about the earth, but are really dead to what is going on in God’s world.

            As Christians, our first love is Jesus.  We may live moral lives, operate with sound ethical principles on our jobs, and diligently serve family and church but miss the heart and soul of loving God.  Jesus himself said to the church at Ephesus whom had performed good deeds, that they had forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4).  Paul put it this way to the church at Corinth:  “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3).

            We are able to love because the Father first loved us, sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins, and gave us His Spirit in order to display God’s love toward one another (1 John 4:10-13).  As we think about and take the time to meditate on the blessed Holy Trinity, His love takes root in our hearts and then overflows toward others.

            We know from the Lord Jesus that all of Scripture hangs on the dual command to love God and neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40).  This has been understood throughout church history as the Great Commandment.  We also know from our Lord Jesus that the supreme task of the church is to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).  This has been rightly discerned through Christian history as the Great Commission.  We are, then, to have a “Great Commitment” to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.  Why?  Because our great triune God - Father, Son, and Spirit - exists as a community of love and desires that His love extend to every kind of person throughout all the earth.

            A crucial question for church leaders and committed believers is:  how do we, in God’s 21st century world, faithfully and obediently live into this calling we have been given by our Lord?  How do we effectively engage this primal quest of loving God, loving one another, and loving our neighbor? Let us all seek to discern fresh ways of being faithful to this fundamental calling.

            May the God who is and who is to come fill all our hearts with faith as we journey together on the way of love.

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