While the Trinity is not mentioned as such in the New Testament, Paul certainly embraces it in 2 Corinthians 13:14 when he writes, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” I’m sure Paul understood the intricacies of this doctrine; I don’t. But I do have some personal experience with the reality of this “God in Three Persons.”
Let me explain by using a phrase that Paul used to color the Corinthian church: you are “acting like mere humans” (1 Corinthians 3:3 NIV); “ordinary men” (RSV); “people of the world” (NLT). Paul expected Christ-followers to behave differently from those who claim no allegiance to Jesus.
I tried that for decades—to behave differently. It’s a good trick if you can do it. I couldn’t. And the result was a mixed bag of success, failure, highs, lows, pride over victories, shame over defeats, fits of passion for Jesus, fits of fatigue.
Most of us don’t plan out our ordinariness. Most of us want to do better. And most of us try—really hard—to do better. But alas, “I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:19). And then some well-meaning teacher admonishes us, “If you really repented of that; if you really had a change of mind you would not do that again.”
Enter Father, Son, AND Holy Spirit.
- The Love of God the Father: God didn’t throw me under the bus. He loved me too much to leave me the way I was, and sent His Son that I might have life (John 3:16-17).
- The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ: On the cross, Jesus took all my debits and transferred them to His account. But more, He took all His assets and transferred them to my account (2 Corinthians 5:21; 8:9). What relief!
- The Communion of the Holy Spirit: I have the companionship of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from he dead (Romans 8:11). I am not left on my own. Jesus didn’t die to just get me into heaven; He died to get heaven into me. He didn’t just give me a new beginning; He gave me new equipment to make something better of that new beginning.
Because of the Holy Spirit I am not an “ordinary man” any longer. I am a man with by the Spirit of God indwelling who can do “infinitely more than we might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)— most definitely more than I can do on my own.
Will I be perfect in this life? No. I still have my flesh and sinful nature. But because of the communion of the Holy Spirit I am no longer a slave to that flesh (Romans 8:9-11).
We believe in One God. Let’s make sure we take all of Him: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then we will begin to experience the abundant life Jesus promised!