The triune God

101 the triune god

According to the testimony of Scripture, God is a divine being in three eternal, identical but different persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is the only true God, eternal, unchanging, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent. He is the creator of heaven and earth, sustainer of the universe and source of salvation for man. Although transcendent, God acts directly and personally on man. God is love and infinite goodness. (12,29 1, Timothy 1,17, Ephesians 4,6, Matthew 28,19, 1, John 4,8, 5,20, Titus 2,11, John 16,27, 2, Corinthians 13,13, 1, Corinthians 8,4-6)

It just does not work

The Father is God and the Son is God, but there is only one God. This is not a family or committee of divine beings - a group can not say, "There is none like me" (Jes 43,10; 44,6; 45,5). God is only a divine being - more than one person, but only one God. The early Christians did not draw this idea from paganism or philosophy - they were virtually forced to do so by Holy Scripture.

Just as Scripture teaches that Christ is divine, so does she teach that the Holy Spirit is divine and personal. Whatever the Holy Spirit does, God does. The Holy Spirit is God, as the Son and the Father are - three persons who are perfectly united in one God: the Trinity.

Why study theology?

Do not talk to me about theology. Just teach me the Bible. "For the average Christian, theology may sound like something hopelessly complicated, frustratingly confusing, and irrelevant. Everyone can read the Bible. So why do we need lofty theologians with their long sentences and strange expressions?

Faith that seeks understanding

Theology was called "faith, seeking understanding". In other words, as Christians, we trust God, but God created us with the desire to understand who we trust and why we trust Him. This is where theology comes into play. The word "theology" comes from a combination of two Greek words, theos, which is God, and logia, which means knowledge or study - the study of God.

Properly used, theology can serve the church by combating heresy or false doctrines. That is, because most heresies are due to a misunderstanding of who God is, to understandings that are not consistent with the way God has revealed Himself in the Bible. Of course, the proclamation of the gospel by the church must be based on the firm foundation of God's self-revelation.

Offenbarung

Knowledge or knowledge about God is something that we humans can not invent ourselves. The only way we can find out anything true about God is to hear what God tells us about Himself. The most important way God has chosen to reveal himself to us is through the Bible, a collection of scriptures compiled over many, many centuries, under the supervision of the Holy Spirit. But even a diligent study of the Bible can not give us the right understanding of who God is.

We need more than mere study - we need the Holy Spirit to help our minds understand what God is revealing about himself in the Bible. In the end, true knowledge about God can only come from God, not just through human study, reasoning and experience.

The Church has a continuing responsibility to critically review its beliefs and practices in the light of God's revelation. Theology is the ongoing pursuit of the Christian community for truth while humbly seeking God's wisdom and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit into all truth. Until Christ returns in glory, the Church can not assume that she has reached her goal.

That is why theology should never be merely a mere reformulation of the church's doctrines and doctrines, but rather a never-ending process of self-examination. Only when we are in the divine light of God's mystery will we find the true knowledge of God.

Paul called the divine mystery "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1,27), the mystery that it pleased God, through Christ, to reconcile everything with Himself, be it on earth or in heaven, making peace his blood on the cross "(Kol 1,20).

The proclamation and practice of the Christian Church has always required the examination and fine-tuning, sometimes even greater reform, as it grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dynamic theology

The word dynamic is a good word to describe this continual effort of the Christian church to consider oneself and the world in the light of God's self-revelation, and then allow the Holy Spirit to conform accordingly, to be a people again reflects and proclaims what God really is. We see this dynamic quality in theology throughout church history. The apostles reinterpreted the Scriptures when they preached Jesus as the Messiah.

God's new act of self-revelation in Jesus Christ presented the Bible in a new light, a light that the apostles could see because the Holy Spirit opened their eyes. In the fourth century, Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, used explanatory words in the creeds that were not in the Bible to help Gentiles understand the meaning of God's biblical revelation. In the 16. In the twelfth century, John Calvin and Martin Luther fought for the renewal of the Church in the light of the requirement of biblical truth that salvation comes only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

In the 18. In the 19th century, John McLeod Campbell attempted the narrow view of the Church of Scotland
to expand the nature of Jesus' Atonement for humanity and then was thrown out because of his efforts.

In modern times, no one was so effective in calling the church to a dynamic theology based on active faith, like Karl Barth, who "gave back the Bible to Europe" after liberal Protestant theology had almost swallowed up the Church by invoking humanism the Enlightenment and accordingly shaped the theology of the Church in Germany.

Listen to God

Whenever the church fails to hear the voice of God and instead yields to its conjectures and assumptions, it becomes weak and ineffective. It loses relevance in the eyes of those who try to reach the gospel. The same applies to every part of the body of Christ as it engages in its own pre-conceived ideas and traditions. It boggles, is stuck or static, the opposite of dynamic, and loses its effectiveness in proclaiming the gospel.

When that happens, the church begins to fragment or break apart, Christians alienate one another and Jesus' command to love each other fades into the background. Then the proclamation of the gospel becomes merely a set of words, an offer, and a statement that only agrees with people. The underlying power to offer healing for the sinful mind loses its effect. Relationships become external and superficial and miss the deep connection and unity with Jesus and each other, where real healing, peace and joy become real possibilities. Static religion is a barrier that can prevent believers from becoming the real people that they should be in God's intent in Jesus Christ.

"Double Prediction"

The doctrine of electoral or double predestination has long been a characteristic or identifying doctrine in the Reformed theological tradition (the tradition is in the shadow of John Calvin). This doctrine was often misunderstood, distorted and was the cause of endless controversy and suffering. Calvin himself struggled with this question, and his teaching was interpreted by many as saying, "From eternity God has predetermined some for salvation and some for damnation."

This latter interpretation of the doctrine of election is usually described as "hyper-Calvinist." It promotes a fatalistic view of God as an arbitrary tyrant and an enemy of human freedom. Such an approach to this doctrine makes it anything but a good news proclaimed in God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ. The biblical testimony describes God's elective grace as astonishing, but not cruel! God, who loves in freedom, offers his grace freely to all who want to receive it.

Karl Barth

To correct hyper-Calvinism, the prominent Reformed theologian of the modern church, Karl Barth, transformed the Reformed doctrine of election by focusing on rejection and election in Jesus Christ. In Volume II of his church doctrine, he presented the full biblical doctrine of the election in a manner consistent with the whole plan of God's self-revelation. Barth strongly emphasized that the doctrine of election has a central purpose in a trinitarian context: it states that God's works in creation, reconciliation and salvation are fully realized in the free grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. It affirms that the triune God, who has lived in loving communion for ages, wants to gracefully include others in this fellowship. The Creator and Redeemer longs for a relationship with his creation. And relationships are inherently dynamic, not static, not frozen and unchanging.

In his dogmatics, in which Barth rethought the doctrine of election in a trinitarian Creator-Redeemer context, he called it "the sum of the gospel." In Christ, God chose all humanity in a covenant relationship to share in his life of fellowship, by willingly and gracefully making the decision to be the God who is for humanity.

For our sake, Jesus Christ is both the elect and the rejected, and individual election and rejection can only be understood as real in him. In other words, the Son of God is the chosen one for us. As the universal, chosen man, his substitute, vicarious election is both the condemnation of death (the cross) in our stead and eternal life (the resurrection) in our stead. This reconciling work of Jesus Christ in the Incarnation was complete for the salvation of fallen humanity.

Therefore, we must say yes to God's yes for us in Christ Jesus and begin to live in the joy and light of what has already been secured for us - unity, fellowship and participation in a new creation.

New creation

In his important contribution to the doctrine of election, Barth writes:
"For in God's unity with this one man, Jesus Christ, he has shown his love and solidarity with all. In this one, he has taken upon himself the sin and guilt of all, and saved them all by higher right of judgment, which they rightly had upon themselves, so that he is truly the true consolation of all men. "

Everything has changed on the cross. The whole creation, whether she knows it or not, becomes straight and is redeemed [in the future], transformed and made new in Jesus Christ. In him we become a new creation.

Thomas F. Torrance, top student and interpreter of Karl Barth, acted as editor when Barth's church doctrine was translated into English. Torrrance believed that Volume II was one of the finest theological works ever written. He agreed with Barth that all humanity in Christ was redeemed and saved. In his book, The Mediation of Christ, Professor Torrance sets forth the Biblical revelation that Jesus, through his vicarious life, death, and resurrection, was not only our atoning conciliator, but also serves as the perfect answer to the grace of God.

Jesus took our brokenness and our judgment upon himself, he took over sin, death and evil to redeem creation on all levels and turn everything that was against us into a new creation. We have been freed from our corrupt and rebellious nature to an inward relationship with the One who justifies and sanctifies us.

Torrance goes on to explain that "the one who does not accept the one who is not healed". What Christ did not take upon himself was not saved. Jesus took our alienated mind on himself, he became what we are to reconcile with God. In doing so, he purified, healed and sanctified sinful humanity in the depths of its being through its vicarious loving act of incarnation for us.

Instead of sinning like all other people, Jesus condemned sin in our flesh by living a life of perfect holiness within our flesh, and through his obedient sonship, he converted our hostile and disobedient humanity into a genuine, loving relationship with the Father.

In the Son, the Triune God took our human nature into his being and thereby transformed our nature. He redeemed and reconciled us. By making our sinful nature his own and healing it, Jesus Christ became the mediator between God and a fallen humanity.

Our election in the One Man Jesus Christ fulfills God's purpose for creation and defines God as the God who loves in freedom. Torrance explains that "all grace" does not mean "nothing of humanity", but all grace means all humanity. That means we can not even hold one percent of ourselves.

By grace through faith, in a way we share in God's love for creation, which was not possible before. This means that we love others the way God loves us because Christ is in us through grace and we are in him. This can only happen within the miracle of a new creation. God's revelation to humanity comes from the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit, and a redeemed humanity now responds by faith in the Spirit through the Son to the Father. We have been called to holiness in Christ. In him we rejoice in the freedom of sin, death, evil, need and the judgment that stood against us. We reciprocate God's love for us with gratitude, worship and service in the fellowship of faith. In all his healing and saving relationship with us, Jesus Christ is involved in individually transforming us and making us human - that is, making us true people in him. In all our relationships with him, he makes us truly and wholly human in our personal response of the faith. This takes place in us through the creative power of the Holy Spirit, while uniting us with the perfect humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All grace really means [that] all humanity [participates] in it. The grace of Jesus Christ, who was crucified and risen, does not diminish the humanity he came to save. God's unimaginable grace brings to light everything we are and do. Even in our repentance and faith, we can not rely on our own response, but rely on the answer that Christ has offered in our stead and for us to the Father! In his humanity, Jesus became our vicarious response to God in all things, including faith, conversion, worship, the celebration of the sacraments, and evangelism.

ignored

Unfortunately, Karl Barth was generally ignored or misinterpreted by the American evangelicals, and Thomas Torrance is often portrayed as too difficult to understand. But the failure to appreciate the dynamic nature of theology unfolded in Barth's post-processing of the Doctrine of Choice causes many Evangelicals and even Reformed Christians to remain in the behavioral trap, struggling to understand where God's line is between human behavior and salvation.

The great Reformation principle of continual reformation should free us from all ancient worldviews and behavioral theologies that hinder growth, promote stagnation and prevent ecumenical cooperation with the Body of Christ. But is not the Church often deprived of the joy of salvation today while it is organizing "shadow boxing" with all its different forms of legalism? For this reason, the Church is often characterized as a bastion of spirit and exclusivity, rather than a testament to grace.

We all have a theology - a way of thinking and understanding God - whether we know it or not. Our theology has an impact on how we think and understand God's grace and salvation.

If our theology is dynamic and relationship-oriented, we will be open to God's ever-present word of salvation, which he gives us abundantly in his grace through Jesus Christ alone.

On the other hand, if our theology is static, we will become a religion of legalism, of
Spirit of the Spirit and spiritual stagnation atrophy.

Rather than knowing Jesus in an active and real way, spicing all our relationships with compassion, patience, kindness, and peace, we will experience spirit, exclusivity, and condemnation by those who fail to reach our carefully defined standards of piety ,

A new creation in freedom

Theology makes a difference. How we understand God has an impact on the way we understand salvation and how we lead the Christian life. God is not a prisoner of a static, humanly conceived idea of ​​how he should or should be.

People are unable to think logically who God is and how he should be. God is telling us who he is and who he is, and he is free to be who he wants to be, and he has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ, who loves us, who is for us, and who has decided to make the cause of humanity - including yours and my cause - his own.

In Jesus Christ, we are free from our sinful mind, from our glory and despair, and we have been renewed by grace to experience God's shalom peace in His loving fellowship.

Terry Akers and Michael Feazell


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