Tomorrow is designated on the church calendar as Trinity Sunday, and in many of our CLC churches the Apostles’ Creed will be replaced with the much longer Athanasian Creed. It is fitting since the Athanasian Creed delves into the mystery of how God is one God and yet, at the same time, three distinct Persons.
But does it matter? There are many people and churches who have no interest in the Athanasian Creed or the Apostles’ Creed, for that matter, because they believe it’s irrelevant. Some even propose that the Trinity is a product of mankind fine-tuning theology over the centuries. Religious radio programs, websites, and prayers offered at public events will speak of “God” and the “Lord,” but how often do they mention Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
But again, does it really matter? Isn’t there just one God, so that even when the Trinity is not mentioned, the true God must be meant? Not at all. The Pharisees said they believed in and worshiped God, but rejected Jesus as God’s Son. Jesus said, “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him” (Jn. 5:23). To deny that Jesus or the Spirit is God is to deny the only true God.
All three Persons are one God and united in their will and work. Yet each one has a unique, vital role in our salvation. The Father created the universe in six days by the power of His Word and has given us life. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps. 139:13). In love the Father sent His only begotten Son to rescue mankind from the condemnation of sin. The Son, not the Father or the Spirit, became man to be obedient to the Father, even to the extreme of dying on the cross in payment for all sin. The Spirit has been sent to reveal Jesus as Savior, create faith in the heart, and to dwell in us as our constant sanctifier and comforter. Apart from the Three-in-One God, there is no lasting hope, life, or salvation.
So tomorrow when we confess our faith in the words of the Athanasian Creed, remember that it is not a statement of a difficult, abstract doctrine without any significance for everyday life. Rather, it is an expression of faith in a wondrous, divine truth that goes beyond the grasp of our mortal minds. It is a means of praising Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: one God now and forever—our loving Savior God!
Yours in Christ,
Our service is at 9 a.m. tomorrow.