“We Worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity.”
I have always found the words of the Athanasian Creed a challenge to get my mind and tongue around. The creed is a statement of belief focused on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Christian churches have used this creed since the sixth century. This creed explicitly states the equality of the three persons of the Trinity.
I am offering a beginning taste of the creed for those unaware of its flavor: “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance. For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another. But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit: the Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Spirit uncreated; the Father infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite; the Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet there are not three Eternals, but one Eternal, just as there are not three Uncreated or three Infinites, but one Uncreated and one Infinite.”
For Holy Trinity Sunday, my church bulletin addresses our confession of the Athanasian Creed with these words: “Today, we come face to face with the great mystery of God – that God is one and that this one God is three persons. The Holy Trinity is not so much truth to be understood as truth to be confessed. We confess the Triune God. We confess the Father from whom all things come, the Son who is the incarnate Lord Jesus Christ, and the Spirit who proceeds from the Father through the Son. This great festival begins a whole new chapter of the Church Year in which the focus shifts from the events in the life of our Lord Jesus to His teachings in which He reveals the Triune God and His kingdom.”
The word Trinity is not found in scripture, but God is shown in the Bible as three distinct persons in one divine being. Therefore, the word trinity is used because it means three in one. Here are some scriptural examples of the Trinity.
Paul’s benediction. In 2 Corinthians 13:14, Paul says to the Corinthians, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
The baptism of Jesus. Luke 3:21-22 says, “Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’’’
So, let me encourage you today to think about the Trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. But we can’t stop at just thinking about a theological concept. As followers of Jesus, we are loved by the Father and led by the Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are at work in our lives, in His church, and in the life of this world. God the Father creates us, the Son redeems us, and the Holy Spirit hallows us.