In the fourth century AD, a bishop by the name of Athanasius gained fame for defending the Christian faith against a heresy quickly spreading under the teaching of Arius, a bishop in Alexandria. Arius contended that Jesus was created by God and was not eternal or omnipotent like His Father. The Athanasian Creed was probably not composed until several decades after Athanasius’ death in AD 373. It was never recognized by an ecumenical council as an official creed of the Church yet it remains an excellent summation of the doctrine of the Trinity. Even today Lutherans quote this creed in their liturgy.
Included below is part of what Athanasius taught:
"We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. 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. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty. And yet they are not three almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. And yet they are not three gods, but one God . . ."
The Trinity is an essential component of what we believe about our God. Just as we cannot explain or understand God because of His awesomeness, so we cannot articulate easily to anyone His three-in-oneness. It is no wonder monotheistic Muslims wrestle against us in our belief as we explain to them what surely seems polytheistic. And we ought to be humble in articulating a doctrinal tenet that is best seen in work and in purpose in God’s Holy Word.
What the Trinity teaches us that is so profoundly moving is—divine partnership. If one purpose of leadership is to provide direction, surely another is to provide solution. God looked at the human race He made which clearly required both. There are unimaginable and imaginable ways He could have led us. But as the Supreme Leader of everything, He chose to relate and rescue us through Jesus. He chose to redeem and raise us through His Spirit (Romans 8:11).
What the Trinity calls us to is breathtakingly deep—extended partnership. In the passage below, we see just one of numerous examples of statements that Jesus made that reveal God’s desire that we work with Him to accomplish His purpose.
Matthew 9:37,38—He said to His disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord Who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields.” (NLT)
Can you meditate and move forward in the exhilarating truth that God wants to work with you? We are not some zoo creature He invented for celestial amusement. He made us to participate, to cooperate and find meaning in His eternal work for His eternal glory. Are you living like a partner or did you stop believing at some point that God might truly want you to be teamed up with Him? Something to think about . . . in reveration!
©2006 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)