16 May 2021
Owen stands on the shoulders of multitudes of Christians before him. He sees that the teaching of the Bible is straightforward cc: God is one. Yet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are each seen as divine. Not only is the Father Himself God, but the New Testament applies to Jesus quotations from the Old Testament that in their original context clearly refer to the Divine Being. In addition, divine and personal attributes and actions are attributed to the Holy Spirit.
When God acts, He always acts as God the Trinity. The fathers of the church had a corresponding statement with respect to God’s inner being as Trinity, implying that communications of love between any of the divine persons always engage all three persons. When Jesus spoke about the Father’s love for the Son and the Son’s love for the Father, He did not exclude the Spirit from the mutual embrace. In all God’s actions and expressions of love and purpose toward the cosmos, and especially toward men and women made in His image, each person of the Trinity is engaged. This is especially clear in His epoch-making actions of creation and incarnation.
The Father is the Creator, and yet He makes all things through the Son, the Word, without whom “was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). But already in Genesis 1:2, we read of the Spirit of God hovering over the waters as the divine executive who superintended the original fromless, empty, dark creation in order to bring forth both form and fullness in the light of God.
Later, the Father sent His Son.The Son willingly came to take our flesh and bear our sins. He was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Likewise, in the resurrection, the Father raised the Son.The Son stepped forth from the tomb, but He did so in the power of the Spirit. He was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). These three, Owen says, “thus know each other, love each other, delight in each other. There is a mystery here, but it is the mystery of infinite glory and leads to humble adorations and devotion.
Even in the book of Revelation, God in three persons appeared in the heavenly vision which was experienced by John the Apostle.
The vision of the Father: “At once, I was in the Spirit, and behold a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald” (Rev. 4:2-3).
The vision of the Holy Spirit: “From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,” (Rev. 4:5).
The vision of the Son: “And between the throne and the four creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).
The Trinity appeared in the beginning at creation; the Trinity appeared at the end in heaven in the scene before the throne of God -the Father on the throne, the Holy Spirit before the throne, the Son between the throne and the four creatures and among the elders, and He, the Son alone, is worthy to open the scroll in the right hand of the Father. And the scene was one of worship, giving glory and honour and power to the Father on the throne and to the Lamb (the Lion of the tribe of Judah) – the worship was given by myriads and thousands of angels, every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea.
Can we picture the awesome scene that reflects the majesty, transcendence and the power and glory of the triune God? Is this how we visualise God, the Trinity, in our walk with Him, in our sojournings on earth, and in our worship of Him in all that we do and undertake? Can such an attitude before the almighty allow us to enter into His presence in a frivolous manner, without reverence and without the awareness of our unworthiness; can it cause us to so quickly, like the Israelites of old, forget His goodness and deliverance from our bondage and indulge in murmurings, complaints against His being and His ways? How often we tend to forget our proper place as finite creatures before an infinite awesome Creator and assume that we can stand before Him presumptuously when in fact we have to bow down before Him on our knees!