“How The Trinity Changes Everything” was the subtitle of a recent book written by Wesleyan theologian, Fred Sanders. Understanding that the Trinity does, in fact, "change everything" is fundamental to Christians of all stripes. In our modern era of anemic evangelicalism, we have fallen into something of a minimalist pragmatism when it comes to theology. In other words, most of us are interested in theology that will make some practical difference for us the minute we leave the church. We want to hear doctrine that has immediate action steps, and if we can't put it into practice tomorrow, well then it's best not to bother with it.
It is progressively evident to me that many of us have come down with a bad case of, “Will this be on the test?” Of course, outright questioning of something like the Trinity wouldn’t go over well, and so our questions are framed in pious language, “Does this really matter that much? What difference does this doctrine actually make to a new believer?” Interestingly enough, the answer to these questions throughout the history of the church has been an emphatic, “YES” and, “all the difference in the world.”
Evangelicals haven’t done a great job of communicating the critical importance of the Trinity, and it's centrality to our faith. Make no mistake; the Trinity is fundamental to everything that we do. A.W. Tozer famously declared, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Christians of every branch and across all denominations have said that when we speak of, “God,” we denote the one true and living God, who eternally exists in three persons: The Father, The Son, and The Spirit.
It is the Father, who, by His eternally begotten Son, Jesus, (the Word) speaks the cosmos into existence, while the Holy Spirit hovers over the face of the deep to give form to that which was made (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3). It is this Triune God who declares, “Let Us Make man in Our own image” and the very same God in the Gospel who exclaims, “Let Us save man” (Genesis 1:26).
Our very salvation is a Trinitarian act: The Father predestines us, sends the son, and adopts us. The Son takes on flesh with gladness, makes atonement for our transgressions through sacrifice, and ascends to give gifts. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son to seal us in the work of Christ and testify unto us that we are now children of God (Ephesians 1,4:8, Romans 8:16.) Made in the image of the triune God, fractured by our wickedness, and restored by the very same Triune God into the image of Christ the Lord (Romans 8:29).
Contrary to popular opinion, the Trinity is not some embarrassing idea that Christians ought to sweep under the rug; the Trinity it is the fullness of God. Not a hindrance to real discipleship, but very the reason we become disciples. It is not an odd birthmark to hide, but a stamp on the soul of all to whom the Holy Spirit testifies of adoption through Christ to the glory of the Father. Christians are a gloriously Trinitarian people. Given this powerful truth, it’s time that our prayers, our songs, and our discipleship reflect the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.