Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The eternal three

Today is Trinity Sunday and the Trinity describes who God is as He has been revealed to Christians by Jesus Christ – a unity of character and purpose but with three constituent parts  and we heard three readings today which were included to lead us deeper into that mystery.
We started in the Old Testament in the book of Proverbs and in chapter 8 which is a description of Wisdom. Actually it is wisdom who is talking. Can wisdom talk?
Wisdom is a highly prized concept in the Bible. Indeed, in the Bible, wisdom is a divine attribute. But when you hear chapter 8 we see that wisdom is more than a desirable attribute.
Indeed the book of proverbs is attributed, if only in part to Solomon, who gained favour with God for asking only for a wise and discerning mind instead of fame or riches. God responded by bestowing great wisdom on Solomon and the fame and riches as well.
Wisdom was begotten by God and was present with God at the beginning of creation   articulated perfectly and poetically in chapter 8. Indeed, God created through wisdom who is called a master workman in verse 30 and in verse 31, wisdom “rejoices in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man”.
When you read this I hope you can see that far from being an “it”, or just a “concept” wisdom is described more like a person.
Someone who was present, who worked, who rejoices, who delights!
Someone who was there at the beginning begotten by God.  Genesis 1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The first word for God in the Bible, Elohim in Hebrew is plural. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. A Christian can say that the Trinity is there in the opening verse of the Bible. And later in Genesis 1 verse 28 God says “Let us make man in our image”
I hope now some of you can begin to see why this passage is included for Trinity Sunday. And why Christians have always equated Jesus as the incarnation of wisdom who was there, as a person at the dawn of creation.
In John’s famous prologue “In the beginning was the word and the word was God” the word for Word is “Logos” which can also mean wisdom. In the beginning was wisdom.....and wisdom was made flesh.  
As I always say, the most important church in the whole of Christendom in the East, dedicated to Jesus Christ was the Hagia Sofia - the Holy Wisdom.
Now in chapter 5 of Romans we hear Paul say that we Christians have – not will have, or will inherit, but have as a present possession faith, hope and love. Hope as ever in the NT is used as a description of a confident conviction.
Its inclusion today of course is that this peace hope and love involves the three persons of the Trinity. These gifts come about as the result of the action of God, through Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. The three persons of God are essential in the story of our salvation.
And so finally to John, who the week after Pentecost wants to inform us about the continuing work of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Jesus sent by the Father.
This is a continuing project.
The Spirit will guide us into the truth. The Holy Spirit is our link, our continuing living access to Jesus and through Jesus to God the Father. The Holy Spirit is the promise of God given to all that ask.
Now Jesus said that He is the truth, so the Spirit leads us into the light and wisdom of Christ who speaks only what the Father says to him.
This means that if any supposed new revelation leads us away from what has already been revealed or directly contradicts what has been revealed to us in the Bible then we can be sure that it is a false revelation. We are to be guided into all that Jesus is because it was impossible in his short ministry to deal with every eventuality.
God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and His spirit will lead us ever deeper into his wisdom – the wisdom who was there at the very beginning begotten by the Father and “rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man”
But if you can remember just one phrase this morning let it be this;

God is as Jesus is and we have access to God by the Holy Spirit.   

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