Posted by: Jonathan Stepp | December 4, 2008

The Trinity is the Gospel

It is good news for humanity that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In fact, this is the gospel that Jesus reveals to us.

In my post on Sunday I suggested three ideas that are at the heart of the neo-reformation I see taking place in 21st century Christianity:

  1. The Trinity is the Gospel.
  2. The plan of God is adoption.
  3. Adoption includes everyone.

In the comments on that post one reader suggested I unpack these ideas further, so I intend to do so in the next three posts.

Today I want to expand on the idea that the Trinity is the gospel. Generally we have been trained in Western Christianity to think of the gospel as the good news that Jesus died for our sins, taking our punishment for us, and that if we will believe in him we will be forgiven and get to live forever.

Inherent in this version of the gospel is the image of God as a great librarian in the sky, cataloging human beings into various categories: lost, saved, good, bad – and then shelving us in the appropriate storage place, either heaven or hell.

That’s why Jesus’ revelation of God is such good news (gospel). Jesus tells us that he and his Father live in each other, together with the Holy Spirit, in an intimate relationship of joy and love. The very heart of God’s nature is a relational, inclusive, loving embrace.

Therefore, when God relates to humanity in Jesus it means that the Father, Son, and Spirit are relating to us in a relational, inclusive, loving, and embracing way. As the Son of God, who is fully God, Jesus cannot be anything or anyone other than who he truly is with the Father and the Spirit.

When the Son became human as the man Jesus, while never ceasing to be God the Son, he opened the circle of the Trinitarian life and extended the inclusive, loving embrace of God’s nature to include humanity.

The good news (gospel) for us is that God is not a forensic categorizer who is obsessively checking to see what we have done to earn his love. He is love. His very nature as the Father who embraces and loves the Son in the Spirit means that he will never relate to humanity in any other way than who he really is: the God who includes, embraces and accepts others into his life.

This coming Monday: The Plan of God is Adoption.

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