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JR. Forasteros - May 26, 2013
From Series: "Already/Not Yet"
Jesus' resurrection wasn't the end of the story; it was the beginning of God's new creation. The Resurrection is God's first step toward reclaiming creation, and we get to be a part of it. By choosing to follow Jesus, we leave the old reality dominated by sin and death and step into God's kingdom, where we find life. This new life has already begun. And yet we're also still waiting, because God's kingdom has not yet come in full. How do we live in the tension between the Already and the Not Yet? This series explores who God calls the Church to be, and how the Holy Spirit enables us to join in God's mission in the space between the Resurrection and the Second Coming. We're not just waiting around for God to show up. God is already here and working, so we're joining in!
More From "Already/Not Yet"
What does it means to be human?
According to the Scriptures, that created purpose is found in the very nature of God. In describing the creation of the first two humans, Genesis 1 tells us this:
God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. — Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT)
We have been created for a particular purpose. You don’t have to live according to that purpose – but that’s like using a lawnmower to wash your dishes: dangerous, difficult, probably painful and just not a great idea. If we want a full, meaningful life, we must embrace the reason we were created. We must learn how to live the way we were created to life.
Genesis 1 tells us that we were created in God’s image. That means that somehow, who we are, our truest Selves, is a reflection of who God is. So the obvious question we need to ask is, Who is God? What is God’s nature?
Once we know that, we’re in a position to determine how we are a reflection of God’s nature. So who is God?
According to the Scriptures and Church tradition, the most basic, essential answer to the question, Who is God? is that God is the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is the defining Christian doctrine. When I talk to my Muslim friends, my Mormon friends, my Hindu or Jewish friends, this is the belief that sets us apart from everyone else. Understanding that God is Trinity is what makes us Christian and not anything else. In fact, for churches all over the world, today is Trinity Sunday, the day we set aside to celebrate and discuss and worship God as Trinity.
Most basically, the doctrine of the Trinity says that God is a single being comprised of three persons (Trinity symbol that we’ll use for all the graphics, then 1=3). Those three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (which we talked about last week) are all equal and eternal. The Father didn’t create the Son and the Spirit. And the Father doesn’t rule over the Son and the Spirit – as though they’re sidekicks or functionaries who do the Father’s bidding. All three persons are equal and eternal.
What’s true of one Person of the Trinity is true of the other two as well. What one Person does, all three do.
You can see why the Trinity is a doctrine that gets less time than it deserves: it’s really confusing. The way theologians talk about the Trinity can be so intimidating, many Christians just throw up their hands and ignore God-as-Trinity altogether. And that’s truly dangerous because we’re ignoring who God truly is, who the Scriptures reveal God to be.
Ever wonder why so many people have gotten the impression that God’s an angry, vindictive deity? It’s because we’ve forgotten the Trinity. Or why so many today think that God is a distant, unconcerned grandfatherly figure? We forgot the Trinity. Why so many have reduced Jesus to just some good moral teacher whose death was tragic but ultimately meaningless? We forgot the Trinity. And why – as we talked about last week – don’t we have a clue what we’re supposed to believe about the Holy Spirit? We forgot the Trinity.
And we’re made in the image of this triune God! When we forget who God is, we lose the picture of who we really are, who we’re called to be. We know our lives are supposed to mean something. We know deep in our bones that there’s some right way to live, but we can’t figure out what that way is.