The Trinity and Human Relationships
We will never turn our back on you; breath life into our lungs so we can shout your name! Psalm 80:18 MSG
The last three months have been an absolutely beautiful time for me as I have returned to my home church and begun ministering here once more. Three months?! It feels like I just got here- time flies when you’re doing youth ministry eh?
Since I’ve arrived, it’s been on my heart to teach through God’s story, the story that we all live in and under as those made in His image. The story that begins with creation (Gen 1) and ultimately ‘ends’ with renewed creation (Rev 21)- my heart beats to proclaim this to the next generation. On Tuesday and Wednesday night youth group we have been walking through the narrative of scripture in a twelve part series; we are currently four weeks into it. I believe if we don’t understand where we came from, we will have no idea where we are going- and even much less what we are suppose to be doing today.
The universe and everything in it was created through God, by God and for God. He beckons us into a life giving relationship with Him, but ultimately doesn’t need us. That might sound a little cold, but it’s ultimately a very freeing truth. Life isn’t about me, it’s all about Christ. In trying to help students grasp this foundational concept, I believe God shared this with me in my 1989 Honda Accord in the DCC parking lot about the power of relationships. Let’s switch gears now and let me paint you a picture of days past…
The year is 19xx and your parents were thoroughly enjoying life with each other. They had hair, good looks, excellent style and were anything but boring. You (and your siblings?) hadn’t been born yet. They dreamed big dreams and were excited for the future as they navigated life together. As a product of their (hopefully) loving union, life flowed from their relationship and now you enter the scene. Out of their relationship you came into existence. Their relationship didn’t depend on you for its existence but you were now participating in the relationship that your parents shared between themselves. Outside of your parents, you wouldn’t have had life. As a young child, if you had chosen to reject this relationship, it would have tragically ended in your demise.
In a similar vein, before the Triune God went about creating everything we see around us today, God was fully complete and satisfied within the intimate relationship He had with himself. It wasn’t like He woke up one particular Monday morning feeling lonely and decided to create the universe with people to worship Him, complete Him and make Him feel better about being God. The Triune God, consisting in Father, Son and Holy Spirit was lacking nothing in an unending bond of perichoretical (Google that) love. It was out of this life giving relationship that the universe was birthed. Genesis tells us that God spoke creation out of his mouth. Let that sink in for a second. God spoke the entire universe out of his mouth. A God that was full of love and free of need, made you, me, and everything that is seen and unseen.
It’s for our joy and the Triune God’s glory that we recognize these foundations.
“Ok Piper, I’m a pragmatic person, so what does this all mean?” Great question. As I survey scripture, I believe the Bible points to a relational, life giving God who desires fullness of life for all His creatures. As the source of life, only in relationship with Him is it to be truly found. We as the disobedient creatures we are, at one point defiantly shook our fists at the heavens with delusions of entitled grandeur. But really, it’s not about us. It’s about the God that brought us from the dirt with his breath of life. When his first disobedient children walked away from him, He didn’t leave them to their own devices. He very well could have, but out of his deep love He relentlessly pursued his wayward children. In Genesis 12, God selects a man named Abraham to be the medium of his blessing to the entire world. We stand in continuity with this promise as the adopted children of God, compelled by the knowledge of our Great Father to bless others. We have found life in this relationship that we have been invited into.
Relationships are powerful. The first three of the Ten Commandments are about our relationship with God and the next seven are about our relationship with others. Broken relationship with God leads to broken relationship with people. For us to live out of the commission of Genesis 12:3, how are we as the community of faith inviting others into this life giving relationship with our Father through his Son? It plays out in a variety of ways, but I believe it starts with us surrendering our hearts to his good news (Gospel) that He is Lord, and us inviting those around who don’t know our Father into this family. God truly didn’t need us but out of his complete relationship with Himself, He allowed us to partake in His mission. Ultimately, it’s not about me as I exist only by His will and it is for my joy to be about my Father’s business. All of our relationships are about building for God’s Kingdom. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s life should flow through us and be visible to those around us.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV