Monday, 11 June 2018

2.3 Of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

God is unique. Our Creator, who loves with an everlasting love, reveals Himself to Israel as a singular entity: ‘the Lord our God, the Lord is One!’ (Deuteronomy 6.4). He alone commands our worship, adoration and service. God is One.
Our Declaration of Principle affirms that God’s authority is expressed by Jesus Christ. The Declaration also represents baptism as an induction into participation in the life of the One God, who reveals Himself to be Father, Son and Holy Spirit. How is it that we are to make sense of this revelation from God, as He reveals Himself, as He is?
In the Bible, Jesus is the one in whom we recognise God our Father to be revealed, as He truly is. All the qualities of God’s glory and goodness are made manifest in Jesus Christ. So it is that, when the disciples look at Jesus, Jesus tells them that they see God their Father; for it is the Father, present in Jesus, who is at work in all that He is and does (John 14.10). In Jesus, we are confronted with God’s character (Hebrews 1.3), for Jesus Christ is the icon – the exact image – of the invisible God (Colossians 1.15). Where Jesus is our meeting point with God, it is the Holy Spirit who is the dynamic presence of God, teaching us and touching our lives with an infilling presence and power: the ‘other’, whom Jesus asks the Father to send (John 14.16-17), the Spirit whom the Lord Jesus pours out on His disciples (Acts 2.33).
In my own worship and prayer to God, I am always aware that I come to God who is One. When I approach Him, I know that God my Father makes Himself known to me in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that when I read about Jesus in the Bible, I am meeting with a revelation of God that is that of a Son to a Father: ‘like Father, like Son’. I am also very much aware that I am coming to meet with a living Jesus, who has been raised from death and now reigns in the Heavens, exercising all power and authority in heaven above and over Earth below.  I know that there is no power in the heavens or on earth that can match the power of Jesus; and I know that the presence and the power of God’s Kingdom, released and expanded throughout the Earth, comes through Jesus Christ alone.
It is because the Holy Spirit comes to us to fill us, from the Father and through the Son, that I delight to receive and looked to be filled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings the flavour and the presence of God’s holiness to my life. It is the Holy Spirit’s presence and power, infusing me and embracing me, that fills me with unsurpassable delight and joy. In this sense, I experience God: I apprehend Him through His presence in me and anointing upon me.
When I read the Holy Scriptures, when I am contemplating what to say or do, I look for a sense of ‘rightness’ that fits with the Holy Spirit’s presence within me, as well as what fits with what is written in the Bible. When what I sense is then confirmed, in what my fellow Christians are sensing and understanding God to be saying or wanting, I experience gratefulness and confirmation of God’s revelation into my life and theirs.
In my walk with God, it is vitally important to me to hold on to this relationship, between the invisibility of Father, the image and identity of God that is met with in Jesus Christ and the immediacy of experience and empowerment that comes through the Holy Spirit. This is a dynamic reality of meeting with the One God: a meeting with the invisible Father, through the definition that comes through the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, applied into our culture and context through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. It is the reality of meeting One God: from the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. It is the knowledge and experience of this dynamic relationship with God that animates and enables faith within me.
This is the representation of the One God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Scriptures speak of. Many have and continue to try and explain how it is that God operates in this manner: this is not something I would presume to do, nor encourage others to attempt. What I do find is that approaching God in this way elicits a response within me. Firstly, it reminds me that there is much I do not know or understand about God. The Father is not directly visible to me: I do not yet fully comprehend what God is like, although when I pass from this life into His presence, hopefully then I will (1 Corinthians 13.12). Secondly, I find it wonderful to know that all that I can grasp about God and that which God wants me to know for now, in this present life, is met with in the person of Jesus Christ. Not only that I can read about Him in the Bible; but that I can know that He knows what it is like to be human, as I am human, sharing and understanding all the struggles that I deal with; and that He loved me enough to die in my place and bear me up, through Himself, into our Father’s presence (Ephesians 2.6). Thirdly, I love to look to and long for repeated experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit’s presence – the very presence of God – infusing my whole being with God’s love and presence. I am addicted to seeking the presence, empowering and enabling of the Holy Spirit. I delight to know and sense the presence of this Holy Spirit living within me; and it is a delight and a joy when I recognise His presence in the lives of others, and see His power at work, bringing healing and quickening hope: the Holy Spirit working through us, into the lives of those in need, touching those who have never before met with the presence and the power of God.

God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: not a theory or a formula. This is the way that the One, unique God, who is our Creator and our Saviour, deals and meets with us, that we might grow and develop as His children for now and into all eternity.
Questions for reflection:
·         In what ways, if at all, have you experienced the presence of God?

·         How does the revelation of God as ‘Father, Son and Holy Spirit’ inform and instruct us as to how we might approach God?

·         I what ways has your appreciation and understanding of God grown, or been challenged, in the last year?