Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Wonderful Works of the Triune God

Reading:

1) Heidelberg Catechism

24 Q. How are these articles divided?

A. Into three parts:
God the Father and our creation;
God the Son and our deliverance;
God the Holy Spirit and our sanctification.

2) Scripture

1 Corinthians 8:6: There is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Comment:

The catechism teaches us that the Apostles Creed has a three part structure. First, we say, “I believe in God the Father.” Second, we say, “I believe in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord.” Third, we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit.”

But the catechism also teaches us that the Apostles Creed has a three part structure in another way. First, there is a discussion of creation; second, a discussion of deliverance; and, third, a discussion of sanctification.

However, it is important to see that all three members of the trinity were involved in our creation, our deliverance, and are presently involved in our sanctification. For example, 1 Corinthians 8:6 says that the Father created all things (“from whom are all things”). But it also teaches us that the agent of the Father’s creation was Jesus Christ (“through whom are all things”).

The same is true of our deliverance or redemption. The Father sent the Son in love. The Son carried out the Father’s will by his loving obedience that took him to the cross. The Spirit enabled the Son to offer himself in love without blemish to the Father (Hebrews 9:14).

Or, take sanctification, which in the New Testament (NT) means either one of two things. First, sometimes sanctification in the NT refers to definitive sanctification, which is the idea that believers in Christ are set apart as holy. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to believers so that their new status is holy. This is why in the NT believers are called saints, which mean holy ones. But, second, sometimes in the NT sanctification refers to progressive sanctification, which is the process of growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, so that our desires, thoughts, and behavior are changed into his likeness.

Sanctification, like creation and redemption, is not just the work of the Spirit, but also the work of the Father and the Son. Sanctification occurs as we live in fellowship with the Father and the Son --- a fellowship enabled by the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer’s heart.

Discussion: In what two ways do we see a three part structure in the Apostles Creed? Are we to think of only the Father as involved in creation --- only the Son involved in redemption --- and only the Spirit involved in sanctification?

Prayer Starter: Praise and adore the triune God for his wonderful works of creation, redemption, and sanctification. Praise him doing a mighty, new creative work in your heart by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Eph 1:19-20).

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