Thursday, May 30, 2013

"It Is Not Good for God to Be Alone"

What should we think of the Trinity? Is it just some strange abstraction Christians have to believe? Does it have any impact on our life? Now it is beyond human understanding, but it is not surprising that God would be beyond human understanding (Romans 11:33,34; Isaiah 55:8,9; 1 Corinthians 3:18). It is based on certain clear teachings of Scripture. The Father is God (John 17:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6). The Son is God (Hebrews 1:8; John 1:1-18; 20:28). The Spirit is God (2 Corinthians 3:17; Acts 5:3,4; 1 Corinthians 3:16). They all three exist at the same time (Matthew 3:16-17; John 14:16; 12:27-30). There is one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6-8; John 10:30). But what difference does this make?

One of the most common things said about God, not only by Christians but even by many unbelievers, is "God is love" (1 John 4:7-21; John 3:16; Romans 5:7,8). But being love implies someone to love, and it is only as three in one that love can be seen as part of the very nature of God (John 17:23-26; 3:35; Matthew 3:17). The title of this post is a quote from G. K. Chesterton and speaks to what the implication is of denying that God is triune. If you do not do not end relegating God into being some vague force that started the universe going but has no real personality, you get one of two results.

You can end up with a very strict God who requires exacting obedience. This God may be seen as merciful, but His mercy is that of a punctilious enforcer who cuts you a little slack after He sees you do not quite live up to His perfect standards. This is because love is not a fundamental part of His makeup, but an afterthought. The other option is an indulgent God who is not really overly concerned about how we live. He may have some suggestions for improvement, but mostly He just accepts us, whatever we do. This is because His love, which also is an afterthought, is a sort of vague benevolence.

But the fierce love of God that shakes earth and heaven (Psalms 18:6-12), that seeks the lost sheep and runs out to meet the prodigal (Luke 15:1-32), that is willing to become a man and face a criminal's death to deliver us from sin and death and hell (Philippians 2:5-11), comes from a God who is by nature love. And this God expects us to live in light of that kind of love (John 13:34,35; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13,14). Not in a brittle self-righteousness that looks down on others and congratulates itself on deserving something from God. Nor in an attitude of indulgence of sin in ourselves and others. But in a love that reaches out to help others find their way to the God who loves them and wants to forgive them. A God who does this because He is a Trinity.  


  1. Always interesting to me how many use the term Wrath of God. Wonder if it is accurate to characterize God that way and if it is in conflict with his love nature?

    1. I would say that anger is the natural reaction of love to those who oppress and exploit others. Can I love people and not be angry with injustice.

    2. No problem with that Mike. Jesus got angry and overturned tables in the temple. He rebuked those who oppressed and exploited but he did not ever physically hurt anyone.

    3. I agree, but He did promise there would be a judgment. I think it is a result of His great love, that such a judgment was and continues to be put off. And He offers to all a way to escape that judgment through faith in Him. But the judgment is still a clear part of His teachings.

    4. I hear you Mike but do you not find it odd how some always seem to be speaking of how God is mad at, and will judge, our country because of things like abortion and homosexuality. It is like God didn't care about the ways that we treated slaves for hundreds of years. It is like he gave people who hated a pass and somehow found a way to bless America. Yet now He has decided to be mad at America.

      My point is how people fixated with wrath and judgment have warped the gospel message. It is like wrath and hate are on the same level as love and mercy. And as a sad result Christians have become known more for their strong advocacy of judgment rather than mercy.

      So my concern is not all that theological but more pragmatic. What if we only preached love and let God deal with the topics of wrath and judgment? What if Christians were known for our love?

      Yes, I know that I am dreaming! How could that ever happen? How could we ever love those who seem to be (to some anyway) our enemies? :)

      Hope your weekend is off to a great start! The weather here in KC is beautiful! What a great start to June!

    5. I would agree that there are those who are too much fixated on wrath and judgment. I am convinced the comes from too high an idea of our own holiness. Any realistic view of God's holiness ought to bring us to our knees in sheer gratitude for the love of God which saves us. It also should make us realize we are no better than than those people we are looking down on. I believe the best way to get a strong advocacy of God's mercy rather than His judgment is to realize how much we are in need of His mercy.

      It's a beautiful start to June over here in SLC too. Hope you enjoy yours.