Trinity Sunday (this Sunday) is a wonderful reminder of the God whom we worship. Article I of ‘The Thirty-Nine Articles’ states in a concluding sentence: And in unity of this Godhead there be three Persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
When Jesus commissioned his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:20), he expanded the Old Testament phrase, ‘the name of Yahweh’ into ‘the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’. He was not introducing a new teaching but rather giving more detail about the eternal character of God referred to in the Old Testament as, ‘the Spirit of God’.
Furthermore, in the Gospel of John we find Jesus’ teaching about the nature and work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – all of which is enormously encouraging for you and me.
A new confidence. For example, in John 16:23-24 we read,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
Jesus here reveals an important aspect of prayer: we enjoy a new intimacy in our experience of God.
In the Old Testament, people relied on the order of the priesthood for their relationship with God. During Jesus’ earthly ministry he had been the go-between in the disciples’ spiritual experience. And, even though he taught them to think of God as close to them and concerned for them, they never really enjoyed this assurance.
A new dynamic. But following Easter and Pentecost we see a new dynamic in the disciple’s relationship with God. The Spirit of Jesus began to witness in their hearts that they were truly the children of God. They even began to use Jesus’ own intimate name for God – “Abba”, “Father”.
What’s more, we too can enjoy this confidence. In Romans 8:15, Paul the Apostle tells us that the Spirit of Christ within us assures us of this new, profound relationship we have with God as his adopted sons and daughters. We can call him, ‘Abba’, ‘Father’. This is profound.
A new privilege. It is vital we do not under-estimate the work of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through the combined and costly work of the three Persons of the Godhead, we are not just saved, we come to enjoy the greatest of all human privileges – knowing God as ‘Father’.
Too often we are complacent about what it means to be a Christian. So we wonder if God really hears our prayers. We forget that when we pray in the name of Jesus, he has direct access to the Father.
If we fail to experience a vital prayer life and a strong assurance of God’s personal love for us, then we are living as if Easter and Pentecost had never happened. We are living as if we are still on the other side of the Cross. We exist as spiritual paupers, when the riches of heaven have been placed at our disposal in the new age that has already dawned.
A Prayer for Trinity Sunday.
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given us your servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and by your divine power to worship you as One: we pray that you would keep us steadfast in this faith and evermore defend us from all adversities; through Christ our Lord. Amen. (1662, Book of Common Prayer)