Sunday, February 27, 2011
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE TRINITY
The following is a blog that I wrote a few months ago for my MySpace page. It was a blessing for me to write, and I hope you enjoy it:
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE TRINITY
Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well
The Bible says that we are created in the image of God. As such, we have a capacity for fellowship with Him on a level that no other created being can enjoy. Not even angels can have the kind of fellowship that we are able to share with the Lord....precisely because our very purpose lies in this fellowship. We are able to know Him, love Him, and worship Him on a level that is personal, loving, and unique -- a deeper, more profound, and more emotional level, than that of any other created being. Because of this, we are precious to God, and His heart longs for fellowship with each one of us.
God loves us like a father loves His child, and just like a child is borne after the likeness of his parents, so were we created in the image of God.
When I read a verse like Psalm 139:14, I realize that being “fearfully and wonderfully made” far surpasses our simply being “formed” out of the dust of the ground. Rather, it encompasses every aspect of our created being – body, soul, and spirit. Although our bodies are certainly beautiful creations, masterfully designed and engineered, the wonderfulness how we were designed far surpasses our physical frame. We were created with a spirit and a soul that allows us to have deep and meaningful fellowship with the most awe-inspiring God of the universe. We possess emotions and intellect, and a spirit that God breathed into us when He created man in the beginning. We can know and understand God – the author of life and the conqueror of death – on a level that no other living being can. Surely, we are fearfully and wonderfully made....our bodies, our souls, and our spirits. Life did not begin when we were merely “formed” out of the dust of the ground. We were given life from the very source of life itself.
As far as I'm concerned, the pinnacle of all human experience lies not in a person's achievements, goals, or talents, but in his relationship with God Himself. Apart from God, man is futile, and all of his achievements are meaningless. In the end, a person can only find his true identity in his fellowship with God, as that is what we were ultimately created for.....to share in the blessed fellowship of the Trinity – the eternal fellowship which is the source of all light and life.
The Bible says that we are a triunity of body, soul, and spirit. It also says that we have been separated from God by our transgressions and sins, rendering us “spiritually dead.” Because of this separation, our fellowship with the Trinity has been severed.
In Genesis 1:26, God says Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Our image and our likeness – God is Trinity. We were made in the image of God, the triune Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We can have intimate fellowship and communication with all 3 persons of the Trinity, because all of them had a part in our creation. It's so beautiful to understand that our connection to God goes simply beyond us being formed out of a clod of dust, but that were were lovingly designed and the very breath of life in us was originally the breath of God.
What beautiful fellowship Adam must have had with God – alone in the Garden, enjoying the newness of life and the deep and profound fellowship of spiritual harmony. What joy they must have shared, and what great love must have filled that beautiful Garden, as God and Adam shared a fellowship so pure, and so deep – a fellowship that was so deeply and intimately connected, before sin severed this connection. Now, a chasm exists between man and God, and man, in his natural state, is no longer a part of the fellowship of the Trinity.
So, what is the fellowship of the trinity? It is the fellowship that has existed eternally between all 3 persons of the Godhead, and the fellowship that man, being created in God's image, has access to. It is a beautiful fellowship grounded in and connected by mutual love. In John 17:24, Jesus says that the Father loved Him before the foundation of the world. It was a love that both defined and expressed God, without beginning and without end – an immutable, self-existent love shared between the 3 members of the Godhead, autonomous, and perfect within itself. This is the fellowship of the Trinity – divine and perfect love – through which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit exist in perfect harmony with one another.
When Christ came to earth as a man, He still had fellowship with the Father. The Father was IN HIM:
John 14:10,11 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works
From this verse, we learn 2 things: That the Father was actually in Jesus Christ, and because of this, Christ was able to do the works of the Father. Physical separation did not sever the fellowship of the Trinity, but merely changed the dynamic. Jesus was physically manifested, and became a part of His own creation, but in so doing, never stopped being God. Physically, Christ was no longer in heaven with God, but even so, the intimate connection between them remained strong. Jesus Christ had been eternally existent with the Father, and the Father loved Him just as dearly as He ever did eternally – when He was glorified in heaven with the Father:
John 17:5 And now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was
That perfect fellowship of love was never breached. The only thing that changed was the physical form of Christ. Christ emptied Himself of many of His divine attributes, but He was never removed from the eternal Trinity, or relationship with God. Upon His death, Jesus would return from whence He came – to the Father, with whom He was in the beginning, to be glorified and share in the fellowship that existed before time. Even death could not separate Jesus from God.
John 16:28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father
This is the beautiful and wondrous fellowship of the Trinity. It is this fellowship that Jesus calls us to share in....by abiding in His love (John 15:9). One of my favorite passages is John 17:20-23. It absolutely blows my mind, and humbles me deeply, that the Lord wants me to share in this fellowship with Him – that He wants to draw me into this fellowship that existed before the beginning of time, and make me one with Him.
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; That they may all be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
This fellowship isn't restricted to Jesus alone, or one or two members of the Godhead. We have a relationship with all 3 persons of the Trinity. Each one fills a different purpose in our spiritual lives. We relate to each one differently, but love them coherently.We take part in the spiritual fellowship that existed before time began – before Adam was created, and before we were born. Christ and the Father may have been separated, but the fellowship continued to run so deep, and they were so much a part of one another, that Christ says they were actually in one another. Just as the Father is in Christ, Christ is in us; and likewise, we are in both of them. When we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, not only do we have a relationship with God, but we actually baptized into the beautiful Trinitarian fellowship. We do not become God, of course, but we are brought so deep into the fellowship that God becomes a part of us. It is a relationship rooted in 2 things: genuine love, and genuine faith:
John 16:27 For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God
It is a beautiful relationship of the deepest level, for which we were made and declared the pinnacle of God's creation. Just as God created the earth for man to enjoy, God created man for His own enjoyment....to love, to bless, and to reveal Himself to. He did not desire a distant, intangible creation in which He had no part. He did not simply want a thing of beauty, but a thing of purpose – something meaningful through which He could manifest Himself, and be known. It was an expression of His heart and soul, and man was created to understand and participate in this expression....to love Him, honor Him, and glorify Him, not merely because we see His power, but because we understand His heart.
The connection that Adam had with God must have been indescribable. There was no chasm between them, and Adam saw the complete expression of God's heart – a heart filled with, and defined by, love and goodness. It was a love for which Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed the glories of heaven and the perfect, eternal fellowship that He shared with God. It was a love that would cause God to pursue man, with everything in his heart, despite man's rejection of Him. It was a love that would beckon Jesus Christ to become one of us, that He may bring us with Him into the eternal fellowship of the Trinity. It was because of this that we are able to experience this fellowship, for though Jesus was less glorified, He was no less divine.
When Adam rebelled against God, the fellowship which he had previously enjoyed with Him was cut off. As Jesus Christ hung dying on the cross, He said My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me? A lot of people believe Christ saying this is merely a fulfillment of a prophetic statement, but I really think it goes deeper. As Jesus Christ hung dying on the cross, with the sin of the world upon Him, fellowship between the Father and the Son was temporarily broken. Christ's position in the Trinity was never compromised, but His fellowship in it was. The Father distanced Himself from the Son, and while I can only state my opinion, I truly believe that, at that moment, Jesus knew and understood, for the first time, complete and total separation from the Father. For the first time in eternity, God knew what sin “felt” like....and that sin, as it was laid upon Him, caused the Father to separate Himself from Jesus.
He understood the pain and loss experienced by a humanity that, because of its transgression, is separated from God – the pain that everyone knows, but many do not understand. Although for Christ, it was infinitely more painful, as the fellowship that He knew and loved for all eternity was severed. Not only did He feel the sickening heaviness of sin, as He “took our sins upon His body,” but He felt the spiritual pain of being rejected by the Father. In every aspect, Jesus Christ experienced what it was like to be human....and perhaps even on a deeper level, and with a deeper understanding, than we have ourselves.
As human beings, we don't feel the pain of our own tragic condition. We are born into sin, and are more or less anesthesized to its effects. We do not understand the real tragedy of our condition, as we have no comprehension of the relationship with God before the fall. We do not know, nor do we understand, how empty our lives truly are, separated from God. All we know is sin, and the passing pleasures of this world. Only when we come to Christ, and He restores our fellowship with Him, do we fully understand the pain and emptiness of a life spent apart from Him – a life lived in spiritual deadness – because we are made alive in Him. I guess you could say that we finally understand “what we were missing.” The unregenerate man lives his life in ignorant bliss, blind to his own empty condition. Christ, on the other hand – He was fully aware of the sorrow and pain that being separated by sin would entail – and He took the cross, anyhow. Surely, He knows and understands the plight of sinners, because He felt the pain of their spiritual condition, as He too was separated from the Father, because of sin – not His own, but ours.
Because Christ was separated from the Father, He is able to be a merciful and faithful high priest, not only because He was tempted as we are, but because He truly understands the condition of sinners whose sins separate them from God. Through His sacrifice, Christ has bridged the gap between God and man, and we now have access into the fellowship of the Trinity – the beautiful sybiotic fellowship wherein God is one, and we are one with God. Christ brings us into this fellowship, and we become an active part of it when the Holy Spirit indwells us, becoming one with us. We abide in this fellowship through prayer and the Word of God. We communicate to God through prayer, and get to know Him through His word.
Being brought into this fellowship through the blood of Christ, we once again have access to God (Eph. 3:12) and become an active participant in the fellowship of the Trinity. The depth of our own fellowship with God depends entirely on our level of participation in it. God's word says that if we draw near to God, that He will draw near to us. The deeper we are willing to go in our fellowship with God, the more of Himself He will reveal to us. I must admit, that sometimes this is very difficult for me. I want to experience God on a deeper level, but there are so many distractions that counteract my desires. Our salvation is a free gift, but our relationship with God, like any other relationship, takes work. It is not enough to want to go deeper with God. We must consistently abide in Him.
Even so, a relationship with God will always run deeper and richer, and be more profoundly fulfilling, than any other human relationship can hope to be. It is fellowship with a cohesive, perfect, and triune entity in which all 3 persons are distinct, yet one in essence. In this fellowship we are complete, because all 3 persons minister to the different needs within us. Through the Father, we find purpose; through Christ, we find forgiveness; and through the Holy Spirit, we find fellowship, as He indwells us and brings us closer to the God who knows us, and in whom we are known.
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we are brought once again into the blessed fellowship of the Trinity.