Monday, 27 February 2012
The Capstone of the Gospel
I want to make a bold assertion:the doctrine of the Trinity is the fountain of the Gospel. It is what makes the good news unthinkably good.
Two years ago, Fred Sanders wonderful book, The Deep Things of God, grabbed me by the back of the neck and shook me. It shook me by taking the doctrine of the Triune God and moving it from the “difficult to explain but necessary to believe” box to the “shows why the Good News is so good” box.
Since then I have read Sanders a number of times, dipped into The Christian Doctrine of God by Torrance, studied Letham on The Holy Trinity, Donald Fairbairn’s Life in the Trinity, and recently meditated through Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. Add to that a dash of C S Lewis, some Warfield, a smidge of Edwards and you have a wonderful and rich reflection on the implications that God is one God in three persons forever. Reeves, by the way, is the easiest to digest and a great introduction. And a tenth of a second behind in second place is Sanders work.
These men opened by eyes to portions of Scripture previously skimmed, portions which alerted me to the Trinitarian fabric of salvation I had long missed. The writings of John have exploded in my thoughts, as have easily missed portions of the apostolic letters.
Here is what I see.
The saving purpose of God begins before the world began, not as a mere choice, a cold and calculating choice. No, it began in the being of Father, Son, and Spirit — who loved each other and knew each other to the depths. Out of the abundance of their glory, before there was time, they chose to create all things, and to create and redeem people who would display and share in their glory.
That is why Paul says we were chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before him, and in love predestined to the adoption as sons, so that Jesus is the first born among many brothers.
We have been redeemed unto that sort of glory. Not merely forgiven. Not merely declared righteous. But now redeemed and created sons as Jesus is the eternal son.
I preach it this way: We will be at the wedding of the Lamb, not as guests, but at the head table, as the blood bought bride.
I was asked once how heaven can be interesting if it is endless years of the same old same old. How long can one play the harp or fall on one’s face in worship without some measure of tedium?
If that is all endless life is then it would indeed seem less than wondrous. But if I shall forever, in the fellowship of the Triune God, explore and see and know more and more of his infinite beauty — then it could not be more interesting or wonderful.
We recently asked some high school students a question: if you could spend a day alone with your God, what would it be like? We asked that question because I wanted to see if they understood the degree of love and joy and glory they would experience in the presence of the Triune God.
We shall be one with Jesus as he and the Father are one.
He will show the love of the Father to us so that the Father’s love may be in us.
And that starts now, where the life of the Christian in the body of Christ is rooted in our common life with the Father and the Son. Each time I gather with other believers, there is an invisible union with the Triune God between us. So why do I only talk about football or diapers with them?