A previous video for The Sermon
Do you subscribe to our podcast?
We’re about to hit 100 episodes so we’re highlighting a few different episodes from the past two years. Here’s a series I enjoyed from 2014:
SERMON ON ACTS 16:6-15
In Acts chapter 1, Jesus said “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” What happened in the 2000 years since then?
Notice how a lot of the video centred on Europe. And then from Europe the gospel went, especially from the 19th century onwards – to Africa, Asia, South America. It’s very common for people to think of Christianity as a European religion. And yet for the first thousand years there were more Christians East of Jerusalem than West. And certainly today Europe is decidedly POST-Christian. In our own denomination, the Anglican Communion, the average Anglican is a Nigerian woman who lives on $2 a day. Christianity has never belonged to Europe. And yet, notice how on the map, Europe is marked as Christian.
This is the effect of Christendom. Ever since Constantine supposedly converted in 312AD, the Roman Empire became Christian. Now it’s a very big theological question whether an empire can be Christian. Certainly we want queens and kings, and presidents and prime ministers everywhere to become Christians. Certainly we want whole populations to trust Jesus. Certainly there is no better foundation for any set of laws than the word of God. But still, the question of whether an empire can be Christian is hotly disputed. And so Christendom – having a state religion imposed from above – has been, to put it mildly, a mixed blessing.
I gave my life to Jesus about a thousand times,
At teenage shrines of rare experience,
They’d blare Delirious then dare obedience,
I’d swear allegiance, soul-bared and serious,
Each prayer more daring than the previous.
On stage, the preacher saw we staunch hard core,
who flocked to the fore to knock, knock knock on heaven’s door.
He claimed salvations like he was keeping score.
Yet none were sure but he…
And none doubted more than me.
So I prayed again, to firm cement it,
Making sure I really meant it.
Vowed my life to be amended,
Willed my all to dust descended,
Gave my heart to be expended.
Then when all my prayers were ended…
Nothing, but my self lamented…
Oh I pretended all was mended and extended lifted hands
But within I could not understand:
What more could He demand?
I gave my life to Jesus a thousand different ways,
No single day would pass without this act.
I would contract to yield my every part,
To make one more fresh start,
To be more set apart,
And in return I’d yearn for Him to impart the merest trace
of grace into my heart.
I gave my life to Jesus, though faith continued flagging,
though doubts were ever nagging, zeal sagging
dragging down to duty’s basement.
But at least I had my bracelet!
O dear bracelet, give me strength anew.
The bracelet counseled: What Would Jesus Do?
And to answer all I could think was that He would sink
to His knees in passioned pleas,
like at Gethsemane.
And with almighty self-surrender,
there He rendered ALL to God who, silent, let Him fall.
So what should I do?
I too would heed that call,
and likewise sprawl before the Splendor.
This crawl became my pattern,
each new day I’d flatten self
before the Lord, pressed down to gain reward
that never came. But all the same I’d call.
And all the while the preachers told me
“Give control, not part, but wholly,
Give your heart, your life, your all.”
But rarely do I recall
Being told what He gave, my Lord to save.
Except… they slipped it in… to conscript us they gripped us
With “Jesus whipped, our Saviour stripped,
the blood it dripped from the cross,” but they ripped it from it’s gospel frame
To say “Now YOU. YOU DO THE SAME.”
And thus Christ’s offering was flipped, we were guilt tripped
by the very act that saved us.
So it was engraved, instilled:
The cross was a standard unfulfilled by us.
Oh but we’d try, my how we’d try, we’d bow the knee and bear the load,
It was the very least we owed.
I gave my life to Jesus… but somewhere down the road I slid,
my faith undid even amid my church, my prayers,
even as I bid for heaven’s care,
beneath the lid, the venom hid.
I was your youth group’s keenest kid,
But no-one hated God more than I did.
With Him it’s just take, take, take, there’s no break,
His thirst for blood who can slake?
At least vampires get you just once,
But this God held perpetual hunts.
I gave my life to Jesus but I guess it was no good.
I did what I could to appease Him,
but no pleasing seemed probable,
So this elder brother turned prodigal.
And I could chronicle the years headed east.
A far country unpoliced,
It was a famine disguised as a feast,
A pig-sty passed off as release.
But there… at the end of the track, with life out of whack when all was pitch black…
THERE – what brought me back?
Cos THIS BOOK, as I read, didn’t say what they said,
To those with bowed heads, under piety’s dread, by their leaders misled,
THIS BOOK said: REPENT and BELIEVE the GOOD NEWS.
The KINGDOM of God is at hand.
There He stands in your stead,
your King lifts your head,
He has shouldered your dread,
arms outstretched till they bled.
As I read, I met HIM: the Father’s sheer Gift,
now offered to lift us from cowering,
The feeble empowering,
The filthy clean showering,
the lowly now towering in Him.
So that night on His knees? Gethsemane’s pleas?
Those prayers they were said for me.
Cos I am not Jesus there in the garden, begging for pardon,
Despite all my boasts, I’m asleep at my post,
And Jesus does it all for me.
Can you give your life to Jesus? Talk about cart before horse.
Can we resource the Source who flows like a river
He is the Giver and we just receive, that’s what it means to believe.
So I’ll leave an appeal. To the preachers who feel
that they must stir up zeal, then let it be His we reveal.
You say “Give your heart”
This says “Christ is the donor”
You say “Yield your life”
This says “He was always the owner”
You say “Get on fire.”
This says “You are the Light.”
You say “Keep running to God.”
This says “Walk in Christ.”
You say “Dare to be a missional, intentional, incarnational, contextualised, no-compromise, counter-cultural, radical, red-letter, fully-devoted, disciple.”
This says “Follow.”
You say “Get hungry for God.”
This says “Take, eat, swallow.”
You say “Press into God”
This says “You’re hidden in Christ”
You say “Be a world changer”
This says “Lead a quiet life.”
You say “Surrender all.”
This says “You’re not your own.”
You say “Step up to the plate”,
This says “You’re raised to the throne.”
You say “Burn out”
This says “Shine”
You say “Work on your relationship with Jesus.”
This says “I am my beloved’s and He is mine.”
Folks, look at the book and unhook from this wearisome, will-driven view
Stop giving your life to Jesus, He’s the Giver delivered for you.
Groaning under the weight of your “sacrifices” 4 the gospel? Don’t think sacrifice, think sound investment (Mark 10:29-30) #EnjoyYourDay
Evangelism is not a bread-crumb-trail leading non-Christians into our clutches. It’s offering Bread.
Sin is not so much God’s No to our Yes. Far more deeply it’s our No to God’s Yes.
“The Bible is for the simple. Clever people invent explanations that only the clever are stupid enough to believe.” Peter Williams #ELF2015
“My wife says ‘I’ve been for a walk,’ I don’t reply ‘Can you verify that?’ We are called to *trust* God in His word not prove Him.” #ELF2015
Scripture is written with stumbling blocks in it. Such that, if you think ur smart u need to become simple in order to understand. #ELF2015
None of the reformers had archaeology. The oldest Hebrew manuscript Calvin had was about 11th century. Luther had 12th C Greek mss. #ELF2015
The Reformers had no trouble trusting in God’s word. They trusted without the masses of confirmations we’ve found in archaeology #ELF2015
Scripture is written with stumbling blocks in it. Such that, if you think ur smart u need to become simple in order to understand. #ELF2015
“God may speak in your heart but how are you going to be able to discern that unless you are a student of His word” Peter Williams #ELF2015
‘In the shadow of your wings I take refuge til the storm has passed.’ (Ps57) The storm will pass and the refuge is secure. #EnjoyYourDay
If u think there’s a necessary trade-off between creative, well-made Christian media & gospel faithfulness u probably have an ugly gospel.
Faith is not a muscle you flex it’s an empty hand receiving. You know what flexing an empty hand gives you? A clenched fist
Talk about a rapper with a split personality: Nestorious BIG
Yes they’re angry but push beneath & find desperation for control, then fear, then shame. Under it all: a naked sinner crying out 2b covered
Queuing at airport. Notice the guy in front’s Twitter feed: BBC NEWS, BBC NEWS, CNN, REUTERS, BBC NEWS. Is that how grownups do it?
UR a member of Christ; 1spirit w Him; purchased by His blood; sharing in His resurrection; a temple of His Holy Spirit #1Cor6 #EnjoyYourDay
Your connection with God is Not up to yr prayers or yr piety. It’s up to yr Priest. And He ever lives to intercede 4u #EnjoyYourDay
Emma: Was that the baby waking?
Glen: Didn’t hear.
E: Must be my mummy superpower. You can’t hear her?
G: That’s my daddy superpower.
Most sermon series on Exodus
Ex1-3: Yahweh’s big
4-7: Yahweh’s big
8-11: Yahweh’s big
12: JESUS THE LAMB DIES IN YOUR PLACE
13: Yahweh’s big
What kind of God is He? The kind that puts everything on hold because a woman in need tugs at His shirt. #Jesus #Mark5 #EnjoyYourDay
God is pulling all things through the cross and out the empty tomb #EnjoyYourDay
Two convictions from #Matthew6 to get us praying:
This is your Father’s world;
You are your Father’s child.
Receive each word ‘our Light&Momentary Troubles Are Achieving For Us an Eternal Weight of Glory that Far Outweighs them All’ #EnjoyYourDay
So your deliverance ministry leaves people feeling insecure, accused & doubting Christ’s Lordship. Tell me more about how Spirit-led you are.
Want to reboot your life? Hold your nose while depressing your belly-button for 5 seconds. Failing that, try Jesus: 2Cor5:17 #EnjoyYourDay
“I had rather plant 1 seed of the life of Christ under the crust of heathen life than cover it over with vestiture of Western civilization.” (Robert Speer)
Jesus is your salvation, your clothing, your food, yr shelter, yr reputation. Now those r taken care of, what do u want 2 do? #EnjoyYourDay
Are you a Christian? Luke 15 tells you your standing: weak and welcomed, wretched and robed, stinking and celebrated. #EnjoyYourDay
The most you can ever mean when you sing “I surrender all” is “I surrender me.” But – reality check – You ain’t all. Christ surrendered ALL
God worked a universe out of nothing, He reworked it out of sin, death and curse. I reckon He can do something with you. #EnjoyYourDay
What was Adam’s garden work? Naming the old creation. What’s our work as members of the Second Adam? Naming the new creation, i.e. preaching
Faith does not activate the gospel, the gospel activates faith.
Touch it. There? Yes. Ow. Is it sore? Yes. Is it made of sausage? Yes. How much? 50p. Ow. Here. Thank you. Ow. See you next week! Ow. Next!
— Moose Allain (@MooseAllain) June 8, 2015
Is bad grammar getting you down? Their their.
If telemarketers cold call me I usually throw the phone across the room. Sorry, it’s just one of my hangups.
Thanks for your manicuring advice, I’ll file it away.
My whole life’s a mistake. Even my blood’s a typo.
Why is ‘cooking the books’ bad? Cos there’s no accounting for taste.
- You said you’d work in my restaurant last night?
– I said I can’t wait!
Découpage selfies? I’m not cut out for them.
To give up thinking is expensive.
That fire needs extinguishing. Just putting it out there.
I don’t like leather hats. Got no head for hides.
Those are textbook hems! A real turn-up for the books.
Austerity in the health service means cutting coroners :-/
Britain is so sceptical it defies belief.
It’s muggy today. Been robbed twice already.
-Houston, we have a prob.. -I told you, we don't use that word in this office. -Sorry. Houston, we have an *opportunity*.
— Keri (@kerihw) June 11, 2015
Married 24.05.03. Wondering how appropriate this would be as a present? pic.twitter.com/xm8z5QintK
— Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) May 23, 2015
Ps 30:6. Maybe this morning means more weeping 4u. But one morning every tear will be wiped away & today is another day closer #EnjoyYourDay
You are God’s possession. There Might be a hostile takeover. But only if they can outbid the blood of God- Acts 20:28 #EnjoyYourDay
Arguments against the Christian God are also arguments against hope since only the God of the Bible offers a lasting future for this world.
Rejecting Christianity cannot liberate you, expand your world or put you on the right side of history – the very opposite.
“I will not leave u as orphans, I will come to u.” #John14 The Spirit brings us the presence of Jesus & adoption b4 the Father #EnjoyYourDay
The Spirit brings us into what He has enjoyed eternally – the Son’s communion with the Father #HappyPentecostSunday
Christ is God-poured-out (Ps2:6; Phil2:7)
The Spirit is God-poured-in (Joel 2:28; Rom5:5)
#Pentecost confirms #GodisGiver
Again and again we’re told that God’s Face shines on us. (Eg Num6; Ps80) In Jesus, God beams at you. #EnjoyYourDay
We’ve come through Easter to Pentecost, what’s next? Trinity Sunday of course because ‘Trinity’ means reflecting on the God of the gospel
It's how we treat God too… https://t.co/Lls8RLnmNM
— Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) May 25, 2015
You can’t undo the past but Jesus has covered it and is now transforming the mess. It really is onwards and upwards #EnjoyYourDay
For the Christian, sin is not so much against the law as against your very being.
“We don’t so much want it 2b illegal, we want it 2b unthinkable” <- A Good slogan 4 campaigners in public square. A Great slogan 4 preachers
THE great foundation for humanism: God the Human.
The Man is the measure of all things.
When it comes to humanity, Jesus is the definite article.
If there’s one thing crazier than trying to get free from God it’s trying to slave for Him. #Luke15
Last words of John Newton: “I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon.”
— Lee Strobel (@LeeStrobel) May 23, 2015
I don’t think the non-Christian is less human because they’re an unbeliever. *They* think they’re less human than they really are. Much less
You don’t have to wait to be welcomed into the kingdom. Thru the gospel Christ *has* welcomed u with open arms (Rom15:7) #EnjoyYourDay
Remember: the Trinity** IS the unity of God.
“Speaking the truth in love” does not mean “Say hard things with a smile.”
What does it reveal about our theology if we think of “the truth” as a harsh reality and “love” as a gloss?
This week we recall that Truth & Love go “all the way down”. The Truth is always “in Love” cos the Son is always in the Father by the Spirit
You pride yourself on being a preacher of REPENTANCE right? Ok good. Then practice what you preach.
We are not merely to experience the love of God but become the experience of God's love for others.
— Jarrod McKenna ن (@jarrodmckenna) May 28, 2015
The world is not a factory with u pulling the levers. Consider the birds. It’s your Father’s house & ur His child. #Matthew6 #EnjoyYourDay
“A preacher’s great danger is to think they’ve unlocked a text when the purpose of a text is to unlock a heart.” Steve Levy
You say “Personal relationship with Jesus”, the Bible says “Covenant.”
If you share this quote approvingly, I will mute, I will block, I will report, maybe to the police. U've been warned pic.twitter.com/WiV18aqmPr
— Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) May 28, 2015
Underneath it’s not ‘blind, pitiless indifference’. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Deut 33:27 #EnjoyYourDay
Gospel preaching does not make sin irrelevant nor merely ‘illegal’. It makes sin unthinkable
Preaching against sin is not saying “You might but you mustn’t.” It’s saying “You’re not so how can you?”
Your Aaron has entered the Holy Place, bearing yr name over his heart as a continuing memorial before the LORD. Exodus 28:29 #EnjoyYourDay
Top tip for #TrinitySunday preachers: preach Jesus.
Being Trinitarian without being Jesus-centred is like writing an ode to love with no-one in mind. Proclaim Him
1John1 Pretend righteousness, unconfessed sin, lonely independence = darkness. The Fellowship, Blood&Family of God = light #EnjoyYourDay
God is Love. Jesus is Lord. The Spirit is Life-giver. #EnjoyYourTrinitySunday
Stay tuned for The 5 Health Risks Involved In Not Breathing… https://t.co/z3rzw75oNh
— Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) May 31, 2015
Christians have our flesh from Adam and our Spirit from Christ. In this way we are simultaneously sinners and righteous.
A Christian cannot be surprised at sin and spiritual sloth (we are flesh!) Equally we cannot make our peace with it (we are the Spirit’s!)
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1John5:11 #EnjoyYourDay
Who by worrying can shave a single minute from their Sat Nav arrival time?
Dictatorships are totallyarian regimes.
Christians shouldn’t be Toffee Crisp, we should be Andrex. Not hard and brittle – soft and strong.
Evangelical preaching is not preaching evangelical shibboleths. It’s preaching the evangel.
— Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) May 23, 2015
The bank robbers impersonated pantomime donkeys in a crime police are calling braysened
Roman numerals: a real i-opener
My business partner wanted to open the pub on Ben Nevis but I told him he’s setting the bar too high
- Are you the one giving people electric shocks?
– Guilty as charged
I’ve come dead last in every kissing competition I’ve entered. Never mind, my motto’s always been: Stiff upper lip.
We met while getting Botox and soon became firm friends.
Are you depressed by continual commands to exercise? Chin up
Don’t ask a nihilist to hoover. Nietzsche abhors a vacuum.
It’s pretend. Your weed smoking attempts are tokin’.
Stoics want to correct my spelling. They have no affect.
“Death by Sunburn” was never a form of capital punishment in Britain. That’s a summery execution.
Why of COURSE you can use my name as the punchline to these ridiculous puns. Said no Juan ever.
— Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) May 14, 2015
A Member of the Human Race is a Member of the Trinity. And you’re a Member of Him! #EnjoyAscensionDay
Today reveals the true meaning of the empty tomb. The Man Christ Jesus is not rotting but ruling. #HappyAscensionDay
Testimonies *can* be more theological than preaching. A testimony can speak of “My God”. Preaching might only speak of “these ideas”
There is a Mediator with God. He’s fully accepted by God and 100% on our side – the Man Christ Jesus. #1Tim2 #EnjoyYourDay
Walking in the light has nothing to do with looking shiny. It’s about looking bad in the presence of forgiveness & fellowship #1John1
Walking in the light is the opposite of looking shiny. It’s looking bad in the presence of love. #1John1
Those who pretend to be shiny are those most lost in the dark #1John1
Though He disgusted many, Jesus was never disgusted. He’s not ashamed to be your Brother and to bring you to His Father #EnjoyYourDay
In the face of suffering we all want 3 things: Hate, Help & Hope… To Hate the evil of it, Help 4 getting thru & Hope 4 a future beyond it
Only with Jesus do we have the right to Hate the suffering and to Hope for its end. Most crucially He gives unique Help in its midst.
If it was important to say “Yahweh” the NT would have transliterated it. Instead the NT says “Lord” and Lord almost always refers to Christ
The NT never says “Yahweh” and always uses “Lord” to refer to a distinct Person of the Trinity – usually the Son.
"This is to be understood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord Man" (Augustine on Psalm 1:1)
— Dave Bish (@davebish) May 17, 2015
God justifies the wicked who, without works, simply trust Jesus. Rom 4:5. Wickedness does not disbar, it qualifies you #EnjoyYourDay
Trying to raise Ruby Christian but gotta say… she’s bald, pudgy, jolly & doesn’t believe in object permanence. Is my daughter the Buddha?
Safe to say Paul was as pleased with Athenian idolatry (Acts 17) as he was with Lystran idolatry (Acts 14). Which is to say not at all
No-one’s ready for a theology of gifts (1 Cor 12-14) till they’ve learnt a theology of the cross (1 Cor 1-3)
“The Trinity” is another way to say “the God of the Gospel” or “the Jesus-God”. To be Trinitarian is to be a gospel person, a Jesus person.
“The only system of thought into which Jesus Christ will fit is the one in which He is the starting point.” (after Athanasius)
By parallel, the only “Doctrine of the One God” which can allow for a truly Trinitarian theology is one that begins with Triune relations.
If “the One God” means a mathematical singularity then Jesus must either dissolve into the One God (modalism) or descend beneath (Arianism)
But if we begin with Jesus then the Oneness of God is precisely the Father-Son union in the Spirit.
Preaching=proclamation like communion (1Cor11:26). We don’t merely cook, recommend the recipe or teach good nutrition. We feed the sheep
Preaching is not merely stating gospel truths. That’s like reading the recipe. It’s handing over the Bread of Life with the words “for you”
As Witness He sees yr suffering, as Advocate He sticks up 4u, as Intercessor He prays always, as Friend He sympathises. Job16 #EnjoyYourDay
“No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.” James Denney
Creation is gratuitous. Creation is purposeful. It’s both because the purpose is Christ. And what could point 2 Christ better than gratuity?
“Man needs to be Saved from his own Wisdom as much as from his own Righteousness, for they produce one and the same corruption.” William Law
When Lloyd-Jones said preaching was “logic on fire” he soon replaced the word “logic” with “theology”. http://choseninchrist.com/?p=770 Theology=Logic
Law-Gospel preaching does not leave hearers mid-way between Mount Gerazim and Mount Ebal. It takes them through Golgotha to Zion.
— Glen Scrivener ن (@glenscrivener) May 19, 2015
#Ps146 The LORD reigns. How does He reign? He liberates, restores, lifts, loves & watches over. No other King like Jesus. #EnjoyYourDay
God loves to name it and claim it, what do you think baptism is?
God doesn’t so much give gifts as give Himself.
We don’t so much possess the gift as be possessed.
Mary chose the better portion: to BE served by Jesus through His word. Luke 10:42 #EnjoyYourDay
‘”Holy” refers to life burning with an intense purity that transforms everything it touches into itself.” Eugene Peterson
Mad Max Warning: Spoilers Below pic.twitter.com/TCF9G9Mk8U
— Scrivolity (@scrivolity) May 21, 2015
I don’t a know why a they say it’s a magic, I never liked it when I saw a lady in a huff.
Tattoos are to dye for. Eyebrow rings are frowned upon
They never really named the White Cliffs of Dover – it’s just a description. I guess nobody wanted to call their bluff
Wait a minute, did seahorses invent water polo?
My baby’s clearly new age: no belief in object permanence, constant “out of body experiences” & loves the veil of illusion, AKA “peekaboo”.
Apparently Frank Spencer never said “Ooo Betty” so I dare say we’ve all been given a false impression.
Yes our lungs can cover a whole tennis court but I’m not sure it’s wise. Such a slick surface would produce incredibly serve-dominant tennis
- Had one too many brews last night.
– Nah, tea. 6 pots of Twinings now I’m feeling ropey
My maths improves when I give up my calculator. I know, it’s counter-intuitive
Unfortunately sauciers are often reduced to stock phrases. Jus saying.
- “…I know this… Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo…. Zeppo!”
– “Full Marx!”
Don't say never banksy. Find out! https://t.co/HK1l2PRKok
— Scrivolity (@scrivolity) May 18, 2015
“The Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to Streams of Living Water and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17)
For our anxious little realm,
for the fears that overwhelm…
There is a throne.
For mistakes we can’t forget
and the sins that still beset…
We have a Lamb.
For our lost and lonely hearts,
for our gnarled and tangled paths…
We have a Shepherd.
For our dry and listless souls
and our thirst for being whole…
We have a Stream.
For regret and ravaged years,
for all sweet and bitter tears…
We have a Father.
For treks through burning sands,
To our home in promised lands,
This hope till all is done:
Our God the three-in-one.
If I had one piece of advice for preachers it’s this: Trinity is not weird. If your people are Christians they already know the Trinity. If they’ve ever prayed to their Father in the name of Jesus, they know the Trinity intimately. If they’ve ever grasped that the Spirit brings them the presence of Jesus, they are deeply trinitarian. If they know that Jesus is the Way to the Father they are profoundly Trinitarian theologians. They may not know the grammar of technical Trinitarian theology but they know the Trinity. Trinity is the shape of their Christian lives, prayer and worship. Don’t come across like you’re telling them something strange and impossible to grasp. Trinity is a truth that has already grasped them and they know it even if they don’t quite know the language for it.
Here are some Trinity links with descriptions to get you thinking, praying, worshipping, preaching…
The Trinity means relationship, radiance, room and response in the life of God. The alternative to the Trinity is Satan, self-absorption, stoicism and slavery. It really is the Trinity or hell…
Trinity means the difference between slaves and sons. Miss Trinity and you’ll never be free.
One is based on “To God be the Glory” by Fanny Crosby, the other is a round.
A Trinitarian gospel outline that exists as a video, a course, a book, a tract and a T-shirt. Ok not a T-shirt but the other things are true
The Father is perfectly revealed, not by His Twin, not by a Clone, but by Someone who is His Complement. The Father is revealed in His Son, the Firstborn, His Image, His right-hand Man-Priest. Self-differentiation is at the heart of God’s revelation. Jesus is not the same as His Father and yet fully reveals Him. More than this – this difference is of the essence of the divine self-disclosure. Self-differentiation in communion is the being of God – all of this is perfectly revealed in, by and through Jesus of Nazareth….
The Creed has no interest in defining an ousia (being) of God first and then assigning this essence to each of the Persons. The Creed does not have a lengthy prologue before discussing the Father, Son and Spirit. It simply unfolds the being of God as the interplay of these Persons in their roles and relations…
The vital phrase which calls Jesus “of one being with the Father” does not follow a prior discussion of “the being of God.” Nicea does not first consider a general essence of deity and then apply it to Jesus. No the very first mention of “being” is in the relationship of Father and Son.
As TF Torrance says in Trinitarian Faith, “The Father/Son relationship falls within the one being of God.” This oneness upholds the distinction (as well as unity) of Father and Son…
There are genuine differences in Persons that in no way compromise their equality of divinity. There is never a time when the Son is not “one being” with the Father nor is there a time when the Son is not begotten of His Father. Therefore there is not a being of the Father that could ever be separately conceived and then assigned in equal measure to Father, Son and Spirit. Instead the being of God is a mutually constituting communion in which Father, Son and Spirit share. The being of the Trinity consists in three Persons who are one with each other. While Nicea does not say explicitly that the being is the communion of Persons, it points decidedly in this direction…
The divine nature is constituted by difference, distinction, mutuality, reciprocity – it is a divine life (a dance even!) not a divine stuff.
…Starkly put, who cares if the eternal Son is God if we can’t say the same of Jesus of Nazareth! It’s Jesus of Nazareth who says ‘If you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.’ (John 14:9) It’s Jesus of Nazareth who says ‘Son your sins are forgiven.’ (Mark 2:5) It’s the Man Jesus who lives our life and dies our death. If salvation is truly from the LORD then it has to be Jesus ‘born of the virgin Mary and suffered under Pontius Pilate’ who is declared fully God. Nicea necessarily and clearly does this.
And what does this mean? It means that before we’ve even gotten to Chalcedon we’ve affirmed that the Person of Jesus who is fully man and fully God exists entirely within the circle of divine fellowship which constitutes the being of God. Jesus the Man is of one being with the Father. If we could not affirm this then the revelation of Jesus would not be the revelation of God (contra John 14). If we could not affirm this then the salvation of Jesus would not be the salvation of God (contra Mark 2). But no, Jesus and the Father are one – not simply ‘the Son’ and the Father…
…Thus His full humanity in no way contradicts His full deity. The Man Jesus exists fully and without remainder within the circle of divine life. Chalcedon upholds the full integrity of Christ’s humanity, the complete perfection of His divinity, the absolute unity of His Person. What Chalcedon does not say, and what it must never be made to say, is that there is a humanity to Jesus that is beyond or outside the divine homoousios. Nicea has for all time assured us that the Man Jesus fully participates in the circle of triune fellowship which is the divine nature.
…With Arianism and Modalism, Jesus gets either squashed down or squished in. When the “One God” is defined without Jesus, He will always lose out. Arius will allow Him to be Jesus and not God, Sabellius will allow Him to be God and not Jesus. But fundamentally these errors are not so different because they both assume a pre-conceived ‘One God’ before they think of Christ.
This leaves us no option but to begin with a doctrine of God that expressly includes the mutual relations of Father and Son. The “One God” must accommodate relationship from the outset. Nothing else will allow Jesus to be Jesus and God.
When we unfold the trinitarian life of God in His gospel work, we’re not simply adding a level of detail to functionally unitarian ‘God’-speak. Trinity is not just a nuancing of more basic truths. To speak of trinity is to uncover a logic which alters the way we conceive of everything, from the ground up.
Have you ever heard someone say:
“Ah yes you’re emphasising the trinity. That’s well and good. But let’s not forget the unity of God.”
And I say…. huh!?
The trinity is the unity of God!! Trinity means tri-unity. In that one word (that one doctrine) we have both the oneness and the threeness of God. God is three Persons united. That’s what trinity means. Trinity gives us everything we need to articulate the One and the Three…
This post lists 24 OT Scriptures that must be understood multi-Personally or they are misunderstood…
My point is not that the OT betrays hints, shapes and shadows of triune structure,
My point is not that NT eyes can see trinitarian themes in the OT,
My point is not that we go back as Christians and now retrospectively read the trinity into the OT,
My point is not that the OT gives us partial suggestions of trinitarian life that are then developed by NT fulfillment,
My point is that these texts read on their own terms and in their own context (as the Jewish, Hebrew Scriptures that they are) demand to be understood as the revelation of a multi-Personal God. The only proper way to understand these texts is as trinitarian revelation. These texts are either to be understood triunely or they are mis-understood – on their own terms or any others…
Click the Trinity tag for over a hundred other posts.