Understanding the Meaning and Timeless Implications of the Christian Doctrine of Trinity
The Meaning of Trinity
In reality, the Trinity cannot be fully or properly defined. Then how can one describe God? The Trinity affirms that God exists in one Godhead, having eternal distinction within His being. Those distinctions correspond to what was manifested in the history of salvation as recorded in Scripture. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three in one. Thus the term trinity describes a relationship not of three gods, but of one God who is three persons. The word Trinity is used in an effort to define the fullness of the Godhead both in terms of his unity and diversity.
Some Significant implications of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity to the Christian life and ministry
The Trinity is a summary of Christian teaching that God is truly the living God
In this doctrine, it becomes clear that God is truly the living God, the God who has life in himself, who is literary full of life. It also tells of one God and Father who invades our world as Jesus the Son to provide salvation and fellowship. God is now present in the ongoing life of His people by the Spirit. Thus within the three-in-one God are all the possibilities of communication.
The Trinity is the Christian doctrine of God that counteracts heretical teachings
Because the Trinity corrects the false teaching of deism—God created and then left the creation to natural laws. Because the Trinity corrects the false teaching of subordinationism – that Jesus is less than God. Because the Trinity corrects the false teaching of polytheism—that there are several gods of whom Jesus is one. Trinitarianism is monotheism. God is one. Bruce Milne explains this better by pointing out that everything that matters in Christianity hangs on the truth of God’s three-in oneness. In this case one is urged to take the supreme issue of our sin which separates us from God and renders us subject to his wrath. In the final analysis sin concerns two parties, the offending sinner and the offended God. Hence, if Jesus is not God, my sin really has nothing to do with him. Once when Jesus forgave a man’s sisns he was accused of blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7). For only if Jesus is God come to us in person can he deal with our sins; conversely, if he deals with our sins, he must be God. God is therefore not a simple undifferentiated unity of being.
The doctrine of the trinity is of importance to our salvation
The entire fabric of Christian redemption and its application to human experience depend wholly on the three-in-oneness of God. Christians claim that God’s regenerating power has come into their lives; now they know God and experience his presence, are persuaded of the authority of his Word, and receive strength to live for him and gifts with which to serve him. But if this is not God himself at work in us, Christian’s claims about the activity of the Holy Spirit are a delusion, unrelated to supernatural reality. Only if the Holy Spirit who acts upon us is God himself, can our experience make good its claim to truly redemptive? On this basis too, we must say that God is more than a simple unity of being.
The doctrine of trinity is of great importance for a proper understanding of creation and God’s love
The threeness of God is also the basis of the fundamental assertion that God is love. God is not a lonely God who needs the creation as an object for his love. As Trinity God is fulfilled in himself and does not need to create or redeem. As creation and redemption are acts of sheer grace, expressions of God as free eternal love.
The belief in the trinity is equally essential for the doctrine of revelation
This is seen from the fact that the doctrine of the Trinity is the basis for all revelation. In the revelation of the Father, in the Son through the Spirit, we not only receive some external information about God, but we have the gurantee that God himself is speaking to us and opening his divine heart to us. Here it can be said that the Trinity is the inner life of God. In Himself, God is eternally what He reveals Himself to be in Jesus the Messiah.
The Trinity invites participation
The Trinity is best experienced as an invitation for the worshipper to participate in fellowship with the triune God. Here to reflect upon God in his three-in-onenss, Father, Son, Spirit, in their distinguishable persons and functions yet perfect unity and harmony in mutual, everlasting love, is to catch a vision of something so unspeakably glorious, even beautiful and attractive, that it has ever and again down the centuries moves men and women to the heights adoring worship, love and praise.