Saturday, December 13, 2008

Joyfully Adoring the Mystery --- Heidelberg Q. 25


1) Heidelberg Catechism

25 Q. Since there is but one God, why do you speak of three: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

A. Because that is how God has revealed himself in his Word: these three distinct persons are one, true, eternal God.

2) Scripture

Matthew 3:16-17: And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”


The catechism teaches us that there are three distinct persons in the one, true, eternal God. At Christ’s baptism we see the three persons of the trinity working together in harmony. The Son is baptized. The Spirit descends upon the Son enabling him to offer himself to the Father to perform his redemptive work. The Father speaks of his eternal love and delight in his Son.

The words of the heavenly Father point to the deity of Jesus. For in calling Jesus his “beloved Son,” surely the Father is pointing to a unique relationship that goes back to all eternity. Thus the passage points to both the unity and diversity of the godhead, that is, a tri-unity.

There are so many places that teach the deity of Jesus in the New Testament that it is impossible to list them all. But even in the opening chapters of Matthew we learn that Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit (Mat. 1:18, 20); that he will be the Savior (a role reserved for the Lord in the Old Testament); and that he will be called Immanuel, which means God with us (Mat. 1:21-23). In Matthew 2, Jesus is said to be the ruler of Israel. Quoting Micah, we learn this ruler’s origins were “from days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). Later on in Matthew 2 the wise men worship the child Jesus, and are not condemned for their worship, but commended!

We could go on and point to how Jesus is shown to be the God-man on nearly every page of the New Testament. Therefore, what we learn from Scripture is that indeed there are “three distinct persons” of the trinity. But each of these distinct persons are fully God.

This is a mystery beyond our understanding, yet we gladly accept this mystery because this is “how God has revealed himself in his Word,” says the catechism. Instead of arguing with Scripture we bow our hearts (mind, emotions, and will) in joyful adoration as we recognize the transcendent mystery of the One we worship: Father, Son, and Spirit.

Discussion: How many persons are there in the trinity? Are each of these persons fully God? Should we argue with Scriptures’ teaching or submit to it?

Prayer Starter: Praise God for showing us his triune nature. Thank the Lord that the trinity is a mystery, so that the God you worship is greater than your own understanding. Resolve to let God be God in your life, and not your reason, so that you can take a lowly place before him.

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