If you are given a book on the Trinity, you are going to get a WHOLE bunch of deep and confusing stuff.
Well…let’s try to clear some of that stuff up…here is the simpler way of understanding Trinity.
The Trinity is a THEOLOGICAL construct…a word people made up to give a linguistic metaphor to what they observed and experienced as their life experience intersected with God’s story. The Trinity is God simply existing in three different ways, and He has always existed fully in three different ways (i.e. “persons”).
I envision the Father/Creator as the infinitude of God, God’s bigness, His transcendence.
• I associate God the Father/Creator with the expanse of space as I look into the sky on a starry night.
• It is the unfathomable mystery of God, always been, always will be.
• There are no limits when you try to get your mind around that it just blows you away.
• That is God the Father/Creator, the abyss, the mystery of God.
But the character of God is perfectly displayed in the incarnate Son, Jesus, the second way God is God.
• Jesus is the embodiment of God, and He reveals the character of the Father/Creator.
• He says, “if you see me you have seen the Father” referring to the character that He reveals. Jesus is the “face of God.”
And thirdly we know God’s Kingdom and the work of God (God’s mission) by the Holy Spirit working in us.
• The Holy Spirit is God working in us.
• He softens our hearts and opens our eyes so we can see the truth.
So – here’s the summary –
1. So Father God is His bigness in His infinitude.
2. The Son is the embodiment of God revealed, the Word of God.
3. And the Spirit is God indwelling.
The Trinity is God existing in three different ways, not parts of God, God fully existing as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
And that threefold way that God relates to us is the threefold way God relates with Himself. That is the essence of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Jesus gives us some words – see how these hit you:
“I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now (you can’t handle the truth!). But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take from me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine. That is why I’ve said, “He takes from me and delivers to you.”
You see the threefoldness – everything comes from the Father and through the Son and is accomplished in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit then points us to Jesus, who then reveals the Father.
The Trinity – the fullness of God, revealed in three distinct but unified ways enable God’s Kingdom NOT to be a geographically defined movement. God wanted to go global and in order to do that, He had to have some other means of revelation than the Incarnation. This does not diminish Jesus rather it make Jesus MORE real and MORE alive in the here and now. Hence, the Holy Spirit is given to all anywhere anytime as an expression of Jesus in, around and through us.
The Trinity – the fullness of God revealed in three distinct but unified ways enable God’s Kingdom to be available to everybody – we can have a personal relationship with Him. In order for people all over the globe to have an intimate relationship with God, Jesus is going to somehow be available to people all over the globe, so Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to us to experience in our lives the presence of God.
The Trinity – the fullness of God revealed in three distinct, but unified ways enable God’s Kingdom to be present in such a manner that God that would change us, we would be transformed. Jesus is looking for a kingdom of people who are not just trying to carry out good stuff, He wants a people who are fundamentally transformed, supernaturally transformed from the inside out and that means they have to have a power within that is not their own.
The Spirit of God, of Christ, moves us in a Christ-like direction. He is in the process of splicing us in, as it were, into the DNA of the Kingdom…
That is a little bit what it is like when the Holy Spirit resides, in other words, takes up residence in you and me – the Holy Spirit (this real life experience of the Trinity) begins to infuse the DNA of the Father into us and we begin to look like Jesus, we begin to think like Jesus, we begin to love like Jesus, we begin to have compassion like Jesus…we start taking on God’s character. All that is God’s becomes ours, because He gives it to us. That’s his gift.
God’s plan is this: He’s making Jesus’ clones. In other words, the Spirit is God’s “cloning” mechanism – to take Jesus all over the planet (that is the plan of the Kingdom); to have Jesus clones everywhere.
That’s why Paul can say things like this in Galatians: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you….”
Bottom line – the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ does this – Holy Spirit forms Jesus in us. The Spirit’s objective is for the character of God, the Creator, Father, as shown to us in Jesus Christ and through the Spirit to be fully ours.
• His character becomes our character, His power becomes our power, His love becomes our love, His grace becomes our grace.
• And now God can use us to advance the Kingdom. The contemporary WORK OF THE TRINITY IS IN US – in you and me.