The Trinity in Romans

The Trinity in Romans

‘he who raised Christ from dead will also give you your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells in you. ‘ Likewise, the spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the spirit himself intercede for us with groanings too deep for words. And he, who searches hearts, knows what is the mind of the spirit, because the spirit intercede for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose, for those whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son in order that he might be the first born among me. ‘ At the heart of every color is just color. What all the colors have in common is color. Blue, white, green, they’re all basically the same. In the end, there’s no real difference. Just enjoy the journey. Sounds like one of those faux Zen things. A Frosting layer of profundity spread over an idiot cake. ‘It’s If you are out foraging for food and you’re told that certain colors of berries are poisonous while others are delicious, suddenly, in the end, all colors are the same, it isn’t all that helpful.

A wonderful fruit pie for dessert or severe intestinal crampss in a stomach pump. These are not the same. And this directly applies to that worn-out false observation that all religions are the same. They are only the same if you mean they are religions. And it further applies to those who want to dismiss doctrine and beliefs because what you believe matters. Some people, they don’t care or they’re too lazy to look into it, but what they don’t know will hurt them. Often you hear somebody say things like, Well, doctrine just divides. Yes, it does. Sometimes that division is bad. We know that. But sometimes it’s absolutely right and good to to divide over our beliefs because our beliefs matter. At one level, all the books of the Bible are about beliefs and teaching. John, often called the Apostle of Love, he writes in his first letter, Chapter 2, he says, I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. There are wrong and deceptive beliefs. And this is how he ends his letter of 1 John. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us so that we may know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his son, Jesus Christ.

He is the true God in eternal life. Little children, keep yourself from idles. And amazing tie together of Jesus and God, and to keep away from counterfeit gods. Because the Lord has revealed himself to us as the one God in three persons, we must know and worship this God. A mystery, to be sure. But the universe is filled with mysteries. Early Christians did not invent the Trinity. They simply connected the biblical dots together. Why does it matter? We’re pragmatic people. From the fourth century, an early Bishop, Gregory of Nanzianza, he said this. He said, For that which he, Jesus, has not assumed, he has not healed. But that which is united to his Godhead is also saved. Jesus is fully God so that he could mediate all of who we are to God, which he assumed in the incarnation, he took on everything he took on in his humanness, he saves. Immediately we go, How can a man save anyone? Because he is fully God. These are not obscure and abstract matters of doctrine. They are essential dots for us to connect. As we’re going through Romans, we see Paul continually connecting these dots as well.

We see God at work in our salvation, and we see then the call to worship this glorious God who saved us. Looking first then, the God at the God at work, the very beginning of Romans, when Paul starts his letter, he says, Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God concerning his son. Who is declared a descendant from David according to the flesh, his humanity, declared to be the son of God in power according to the spirit of Holiness by his resurrection from the dead. Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a mouthful right out of the gate. Paul has been called by God to tell people the good news of Jesus, who is the Son of God, human from David, divine through spirit of Holiness. And from here, we get this continual interplay and this interweaving of God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy spirit, all in the work of salvation. These are not different names for the same person. They are three distinct persons in the one God.

In Romans 6, Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Romans 8, the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead. Romans 5, God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy spirit who has been given to us. Romans 15, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that by the power of the Holy spirit, you may abound in hope. Romans 15 also says, sanctified by the Holy spirit. Paul says as much in 1 Corinthians 6, he said, Some of you in your former way of life were this way, but now you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the spirit of our God. Connecting these together, in Romans 15, he says, I appealed you, brothers, by By the Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the spirit. Then we come to Romans 8. Romans 8 is filled with Trinitarian references of God the Father. It says, God sent his son, verse 3, God condemned sin, verse 3. God will give life to our mortal bodies, verse 11. God foreknow, predestine, call, justify, glorify, 29 to 30.

God is for us, 31. God gave his son, verse 32. God justifies 33. God loves us, verse 39. Then in Romans 8, from the Son. The Son is in us, verse 10. The Son died, raised, is interceding at the right-hand of the Father for us, verse 34. The Son loves us, 35 and 39. And then the spirit in Romans 8. The spirit dwells in you, verse 9. The spirit dwells in you, verse 11. The spirit leads his people. Verse 14. The spirit bears witness with our spirits. Verse 16. The spirit helps on our weakness, interceding for us. 26 to 27. All of that. This interplay of the Father, the Son, and the spirit in the work of salvation. Even as Paul comes to Romans 9, speaking about Israel, he says, To them belong the patriarchs from their race, according to the flesh, to humanity, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. How do you account for this interplay between the three persons? The Trinity is the only way to account for all these scriptural texts. God, the Father, sends God, the Son, and God, the spirit, applies the actions of the Son to us.

From NT, Wright, commenting on the glorious verse of verse 1 of Romans 8, There is no condemnation for those who have been joined to Jesus Christ by God, the Father, through the instrumentality of the Holy spirit. No condemnation for those who have been joined to Jesus Christ by God, the Father, through the instrumentality of the Holy spirit. New Testament scholar Douglas Mou, Salvation is the work of the Triune God. All three persons are active in rescuing us from sin, bringing us into new life. Our thanksgiving and worship, therefore, are appropriately directed to all three persons. For God’s Triune work of salvation, we are moved to worship. This amazing work that he has done to free us now has freed us to worship him. And worship him is what we are called to. Worship is just not what we do for an hour on Sunday. We’re worshiping here, but this isn’t the only worship that we are to do of God. Worship is an entire posture in disposition of the heart. Worship says, who has your heart What is the center, the core of who you are? Because we are creatures who are made to worship.

It’s part of the human DNA. There are lots of people out there who think and they say, well, only religious people worship. No, we’re all worshippers. We are all people who are adorers. Homo adorans, humans who adore, humans who worship. We fill our lives with rituals of all kinds. And if God is not at the center, we will put ourselves or other things or other people there. When people talk about the very things they hold near and dear to their heart, they use religious language. They use religious actions. Think about those Supreme fitness fitties. They speak of their bodies as a temple. They talk of not eating foods that will desecrate or defile their bodies. Why are there mirrors in the gym? Not for better lighting. For you to admire Homo Adoranas, to adore yourself in the mirror or others. Car enthusiasts, collectors, they have garages that take on a near church-like sacredness. Young people putting posters of famous people or beauties or cars on their bedroom walls, locker doors. Why? There’s a part of us that It sees that and wants to adore it. It wants that as a possession or something to look to.

Go to a concert, thousands of people swaying to the music, some crying or singing along, rock stars getting out of cars, hotel rooms, mobs of people, flipping out to adore them, screaming in tears, trying to get a piece of their holy relics that they can have for themselves in some way to adore them, these demigods. We refer to some pop stars as divas. That’s the Latin word for goddess. We make our own vestments, religious clothing. Look at how we wear logos or brands, wearing certain types of clothing for fashion, identifying who we are, the people we want to be or associate with. If you are a fan of the rock group, the Grateful Dead, we have one in our church. I’m not going to mention Micah Tinkham by name. The wearing of a tie-dye shirt is a part of that identity. Be a deadhead, wear a tie-dye shirt. Think of how tattoos are used as identities for people to show their individuality in some way. We talk about sacruments. What are sacruments? They are ritual actions tied to a set of beliefs. They’re not just religious in the formal sense. We have all kinds of sacruments in the world.

Some have referred to abortion as a type of sacrament for a certain ideology. The same could be said of participating maybe in a gay parade or some types of political rally. And on it goes from the very mundane to the very serious. Actions that we take that have religious significance to us of meaning To say that only religious people worship is just unreflected thoughts of an already captivated mind. Bob Dylan could say, Maybe the devil or maybe the Lord, but you’re going to serve somebody. And we do. And the question of why does it matter? We all have seen those signs over bridges that tell us weight limits, 2 tons, 8 tons, 12 tons. And they’re warning is that the bridge can collapse if too much weight goes across it. The idles we make into God have a very low weight limit. Our lives fall apart when they can’t be supported. There’s too much weight for them. If beauty and looks have become idles in your life, and which of us don’t struggle with that in our very visual culture, then getting old will shred you. If you are under the delusion that you can identify however you want, then your biology will shred you when you can’t change it beyond surface appearance.

If you’re convinced that finding a soulmate, that one true love in life will complete you, make you a whole person, when their illusion gives way to reality, it will shred you. Yolo, you only live once. Go big, go home. Live life to the limits. Sickness and death will shred you. These are not secondary issues for us. These are the very issues of life itself. Ignore it at your peril, for at some point it will catch up with you. Exchange one set of idles for another, but in the end, the end to which God has created you will stare you down. Who Jesus is matters. It’s a matter of life and death for us. Jesus is not simply the diviny appointed one who speaks the message of salvation, meaning that here’s this guy who’s inspired in some way to go and tell us good things about God. Absolutely not. Jesus himself is the content of that message. If Jesus is only the communicator of that message and not the message himself, we’re lost. But what he assumes he saves, he has assumed a complete human nature, and he saves a complete human nature. What do all of us have in common?

A complete human nature that needs saved. Now, it is true that most of us don’t really think too deeply about our beliefs in that philosophical sense, like advanced algebra, your head starts to hurt too much to figure it all out. You might not think about bridge weight limits when you’re driving your Honda Accord. You get a pickup with a heavy trailer and you’re like, me interest level goes up a little bit. You get a commercial license in 18-weeker, oh, I care. I care a lot now. Sitting down to eat a delicious meal with wild picked mushrooms. Where did you get these? Don’t worry about it. Mushrooms are just mushrooms. Sure they are. It matters. Who God is matters. We hear all the time, and from scripture, God is love. C. S. Lewis reminds us. He said, All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that God is love. But they seem not to notice that the words God is love have no real meaning unless God contains at least two persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God is a single person, then before the world was made, he was not love.

Another Christian writer said, If God were unipersonal, just one, then he can have from all eternity power, sovereignty, and greatness, but not love. Love could not be at the heart of the universe, only power. And that’s what we see around us, the war of power. That everyone’s competing for. It’s not some abstract teaching. It’s a truly personal one. A personal invite from the creator to begin to know him. An invitation where Jesus, the messenger, is the message. Without the Trinity, you will not be able to connect the dots of the Bible together. You will not be able to connect the dots of your life together. Like a half pair of scissors half of a plier. You know you’re made for something more to complete you that makes this thing work. But it’s outside of your grasp. And on those nights when you can’t sleep, you will know that the very core of who you are is broken. It’s out of balance, that what you are holding on to for life and meaning and happiness is not really working. Can’t hold the weight. Our inability to cleanse our own hearts, to remove our sins and wrongs.

You can try and push it all to the perimeter of your thinking and just get it as far away as you can, but it’s there on the edges. You know it’s there on the edges. How can I reconcile with those who I have hurt in deep and significant ways? How can I reconcile with those who have hurt me in deep and significant ways? Outside of God, how is that possible? What atones for that? The deeper the sin just saying, Oh, it doesn’t matter. You know that doesn’t work. Look at the violence in the world around us. The terrible things that have been done. It takes more than just an apology. Cover over decades, centuries of brutalization and war. How do you cover that? As a finite person, our worship, our knowing God is grounded in his love. The Father reveals himself to us. He invites us in to participate in himself through his Son. And we respond to this gracious invitation to the new life given to us through the Holy spirit. The son reconciles us to the Father, and the spirit bonds us in this shared love. Our Triune God has made room for us in himself.

He is worthy of our worship to have our lives centered and focused on him. That is the good news. That is the hope that we have. Outside of that, there is no hope. There is nothing that’s going to support the weight of not just our lives, but of the world. It won’t hold. Only God can make it hold because he’s the creator. And this God, this Trinity is known only from the inside, not the outside. He has invited us in to know him in this way, in a relational, personal way of love that he has always shared in himself that is now extended to us. And the reason for that as well is that we can extend that to other people. It’s never just about us. Adoltery always is about us. We’re the center. You will have a miserable life if you are the center, if you are the bridge, you can’t support the weight. And you know that in your heart of hearts. It’s miserable to try. And God comes to give us graciously all that he has blessed us with through his son. We’re not searching for him. We’re not trying to figure it out to be enlightened enough, to be somehow the elite who worked hard enough at it.

We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. God comes to us. He incarnates in the personal work of his son that we who were far off have now been brought near by his His efforts, not ours. And we are brought into that. And it is this God that we worship. This God of the Bible who tells us specifically and reveals to us who he is. It’s not a generic religious belief. The personal savior revealed to us in Jesus Christ so that the end to which God has created us would be for us to bring glory to him. And as we do that, we are the most us that we can be. The wires come together, the scissorshears come together. It doesn’t work to hold on to something with pliers that there’s only one. You’re miserable. Be what God has made you to be only through his son. As he has revealed himself in this triune work of salvation. For glory to his name, worship, which is not just here Sunday morning, It’s the center and the core of our life now has him in its rightful place. Pray with me. Father, as we come before you this day, we thank you.

Lord, we were all lost. We were all chasing, Father, the vain idles and empty ways of life apart from you. Thank you that you have found us. You have revealed yourself to us that your spirit now dwells in us. We can call out to you out of a Father. Oh, Lord God, your salvation is great and wonderful and glorious. We thank you that all that your son, Jesus, assumed he saved. That’s all of us. We bless you for the goodness that we have received. We bless you, Father, Son, and spirit, one God forever. Amen. Please stand.

Discaimer: This sermon text was generated by an automated transcription service.