The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14)
This week we celebrate Trinity Sunday. It is the only day in the Church calendar that is dedicated to a doctrine and the recitation of the Atanasius Creed instead of the Nicene Creed during Holy Communion service.
The Trinity is a distinctive and essential Christian doctrine. The Trinity is not an easy doctrine to teach and difficult to grasp. We are trying to understand the very essence of an infinite God with our finite minds. If we can grasp this essence of our infinite God, then we are greater than God and He would be less than our finite minds. The essence of an Infinite God should be beyond our human comprehension.
In Matthew 28:19, we are to be baptized in the name (Grk: singular noun) of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. The one, true, and living God exists as three distinct Persons, but are not three gods. This distinctive understanding of God separates Christianity from the other monotheistic religions in the world.
The Athanasius Creed beautifully describes who God is: “But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible.”
The Trinity is more than a distinctive doctrine, it is an essential doctrine for Christians. Our Christian faith is dependent on the Trinity. So, Athanasius Creed says: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things, it is necessary that he hold the Catholic (universal) Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic (universal) Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.”
The Godhead has always existed in unity and perfect love from eternity. In practical terms, we worship God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – who, in the three Persons are living in unity and loving harmony with each other. As His children and His people, we are shaped to be a community of unity and love, taking after who God is.
The Trinitarian benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Cor. 13:14),” reminds us that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all being in perfect union with one another, jointly worked together to bring us into relationship with Them. We live together as followers of Jesus Christ because of the grace of the Son; the love of the Father and the fellowship we have with the Holy Spirit. We have a shared life together with one another and the triune God.
We are also reminded that this same God, who so loved the world, wants to draw all mankind into His Trinitarian love. May God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – bless you as you love and live for Him this week.
Rev. Dr Timothy Chong