This post was adapted from my lesson during Equipping Hour at Sovereign Grace Bible Church on April 7, 2019. This is the second post in a series of two. To read the first, click here. Due to length, I am only sharing three ways in which the Trinity is practical.
The Trinity is a doctrine that we seem to think has no practical relevance to our daily lives as Christian. We think it is an abstract theological concept that is so academic that we need to just believe and not study it further.
There are many areas where the Trinity is relevant to our lives, including (but not limited to): prayer, salvation, Christian life, knowing God, the Church, and love.
Let me first delve into the Trinity and prayer.
Trinity and Prayer
The Father hears. A fundamental concept of our faith is the God the Father hears our prayers (Proverbs 15:29; 1 John 5:15, to reference a couple). The Father hears our prayers and He also listens. Even more so, though, in Psalm 116:2, we see that He also “inclines his ear” to our prayers. Not only does God hear our prayer, and not only does he listen, but even more so, he inclines his ear!
The Son intercedes. Regarding the Jesus, God the Son, we know that He intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25; Romans 8:34; 1 John 2:1). Jesus stands at the right hand of the Father telling Him, “That one is mine.” We can pray boldly for God’s mercy because of Jesus! We come to God not on our own willpower and strength, but in Christ because we know He is for us. He is always interceding for us!
Also, this brings up the fact that, as Christians, we end our prayers with “in Jesus’s name.” Why do we do that?
We do this, partly, because we only have access to the Father through the Son. We come in the name of the Son. And, Jesus specifically tells us to pray in His name (John 14:12-14). Some interpret this as if we pray in Jesus name, we will get anything we ask for. It’s not some magical spell. No. It is an expression and posture of the heart that wants to align with God’s will. It is us submitting ourselves to His will.
The Spirit empowers. With all that being said, what role does the Spirit have in our prayers? Well, to start off, the Spirit helps us in prayer (Romans 8:26). When we don’t know what to pray or even how to pray, the Spirit helps us. He helps us in our weakness, which is all the time. This should be a comforting thought. We always need the Spirit to pray, because we can’t rely on ourselves, even to pray. We need the Spirit’s help. The Spirit takes our imperfect prayers and makes them perfect. What a comforting thought, definitely in times of dry time of prayer.
So, coming full circle, we see that we pray by the power of the Holy Spirit, through Christ, to the Father.
Trinity and Salvation
The Father elects. We know, first and foremost, that God the Father elects people to be saved. This is not even a Calvinist/Arminian discussion. Arminians technically believe God chooses people, just not in the same way Calvinists do (but that’s not the point here).
The Father’s divine election of His people is seen all throughout Scripture (Ephesians 1:4,11 to just name two). He chose us in love before the world began to be His children. He set His electing love upon us. This was sheer mercy.
Because of this mercy, election should not create cold-hearted, know-it-alls; rather, pondering His electing love should lead Christians to be kind-hearted, compassionate, and mercy-driven people because we were chosen out of love and mercy.
The Son redeems/purchases. Jesus’s primary mission was to redeem the people that the Father elected in eternity past (John 6:44). Friends, This is the heart of the gospel: Christ’s mission. His perfect life, death on the cross for sinners, and subsequent resurrection purchased our redemption. May we never grow out of hearing this! As it’s always said, we don’t graduate from the gospel.
The Spirit applies. The Holy Spirit does the effectual work of regenerating sinners through the hearing of the gospel (Titus 3:5). His primary purpose is to exalt the Son’s work (John 16:14). In salvation, the Spirit works to regenerate the hearts of people whom God chose and Jesus redeemed. He does this effectually. He does this work “behind the scenes” so to speak, because again—His goal is to have Jesus exalted.
Coming full circle again, we see that in our salvation, the Father elected who would be saved, the Son purchased those that the Father elected, and the Spirit regenerated those whom the Father chose and the Son died for.
Trinity and Love
The Father, Son, and Spirit have always existed in loving relationship with each other, given the eternality of each Person. God did not have to create in order to love because of His triune nature. So, we can say love is eternal because God is love (1 John 4:8).
If God were not triune—if He was solitary—then love would be something that has not always existed. But why is this important? Why is it important that love is eternal because all three Persons of the Trinity have loved each other for all of eternity?
It is important because this truth answers our deepest desire—to be loved! We all want to be loved; we all want and need community. We yearn for these things. Why? Why is this such a deep longing of our hearts? Because it originates in the loving community of the triune God we seek to serve every day.
Here’s the best part: because God saved us, we now—and forever!—get to experience the loving community of the Trinity. We get to experience that. Now, just slightly; but in Heaven, fully.
On this subject, let me leave you with this quote from Jared C. Wilson:
The Trinity isn’t some weird religious aberration Christians have stupidly clung to. It’s the answer to the deepest longing of the human heart. The Trinity answers history’s oldest desire. It even clarifies the question. It makes us go deeper than sentimental notions and ethereal feelings and elusive emotions. It puts us on solid ground with all this love stuff we’ve been chasing forever. We’re all looking for love. Deep down we all need it in ways we don’t understand or even acknowledge. We search and search. We find glimpses, moments, tastes, and samples of love. We have genuine experiences of love. And yet nothing quite gets us outside of our own hurts, our own self-interest, our own sins. We need the realest love there is.
The Trinity is practical in many ways—far more than we realize. It is not some abstract theological concept that we only believe in, but we really do experience it on a daily basis. We have communion with the Trinity every day, by what I highlighted earlier.
We will never fully exhaust how complex the Trinity is. We will never fully wrap our minds around it, not even in Heaven. When we reach Heaven, we will never stop learning more things about who God is. His character and nature is inexhaustible.
Let that be a good thing.
Soli Deo Gloria