Proverbs 8: 22-31 

Psalm 8 

Romans 5: 1-5 

John 16: 12-15 

“The Simple Trinity” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

One of the most confusing things to talk about let alone  understand in our Christian faith is the Trinity. But what makes it  difficult isn’t that it is complex, it isn’t. Rather, what makes it  difficult is that it is quite simple; we just don’t like the simplicity of  the Trinity for we keep on asking how. We want the Trinity to be  complex and full of depth. We want images and metaphors and  example to help us understand. But we don’t necessarily get that  in Scripture. Instead we get brief matter-of-fact statements that  quickly dive into the importance of the Trinity. Most of the time the  Trinity is just a given as the narrative within Scripture progresses.  Such cases include the various times God says, “Let us…” Who is  this “us”? Well it’s the Trinity obviously. That’s the thing, the  Trinity is treated more as a given. Yet throughout history many  have grown dissatisfied with the lack of answers to the question,  “How is this so?” So out of a desire of answering this question,  which Scripture does not answers, many have abandoned  Scripture, using human knowledge to fill in the gaps. 

The picture you see in today’s bulletin, next to the sermon  title is a perfect representation of the simple Trinity. There is only  one God, not three Gods, but within God there are three distinct  separate persons who are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That  is the simplified Trinity.

The Father is not the Son nor is He the Spirit. The Son is not  the Spirit nor is He the Father. The Spirit is not the Father nor is  He the Son. But the Father is not one God not the Son a different  God and the Spirit another God, but that there is only one God  and all three persons are that one and only True God. What I just  there is no different than my prior simplified statement of the  Trinity, just with more elaboration. But the elaboration is  necessary because unfortunately in the quest to know more,  some heretical beliefs about the Trinity have risen, and it is the  addressing of these heresies that has led to the simple Trinity  being stretched out into what we now know as the Athanasian  Creed, which we will soon read. 

The simplicity of the Trinity still exists in this Creed, but it  unfortunately has to be repeated and reworded multiple times in  order to address each heresy that popped up during the times of  the early Church. Since then more new and interesting heresies  related to the Trinity have arisen. But if we just ignored all the  clutter of heresies in our age, to include all the attempts to explain  the Trinity by making it more complex than it needs to be, then we  get one simple explanation: There are three persons but only one  God. That’s all we need, but because we are uncomfortable with  having faith in God’s Word which doesn’t elaborate on such, we  must add counters to all the heresies which muddy the simple  Trinity. 

Faith in God’s Word… do you remember what I say  regarding the Lord’s physical presence in the Bread and Wine?  Lutherans simply believe and have faith in Jesus’ promise that the  bread is His body and the wine is His blood. We believe He is 

telling the truth. Then the question comes, well then how is it  true? We don’t go there. We never address how the Bread is His  literal Body nor the Wine Blood because He never told us in all of  Scripture; we simply have faith in His word. No fancy arguments  that have no Scriptural grounding; just faith. The same applies to  the Trinity. No fancy arguments; just faith. 

So what are some of the things we do believe regarding the  Trinity in accordance with our universal faith? One, we believe  that even though through the Creeds we acknowledge that God  the Father is creator of Heaven and Earth, we also affirm that all  three persons were involved in the Creation. In Genesis, God  said, “Let us.” In John 1:3, “All things were made through Him,”  aka Jesus. 1 Corinthians 8:6, “yet for us 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.” These are examples that affirm that God the  Father was not alone in the creation. And if the Son and Holy  Spirit were both involved in the creation then they are not  themselves created, but that should be implied if we believe that  all three are one God. Yes Jesus was begotten and the Holy Spirit  proceeds out of the Father and Son, but neither are created. Thus  from there very beginning there was one God and three persons. 

Another, we believe that all three persons are equal in power  and majesty, unlimited and eternal, and that not one person in the  trinity is neither greater nor lesser than any of the others. If one  was greater than another, then that would imply there are more  than one God, but because there is only one God then all three  persons must be equal. Now God the Father is the head of the 

Trinity, but that is not because he is more powerful or more  majestic or greater than the others. It also does not mean he has  more authority than the others, but out of respect to the  relationship the Son and Spirit have towards the Father, the  Father is the head and the other too honor Him. This is in line with  the fourth commandment, “Honor thy Father.” It is also in line with  Hebrews 5:4-5, “And no one takes this honor for himself, but only  when called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not  exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him  who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’”  The Father does not have more honor or authority than Christ, but  out of respect toward the relationship between Father and Son,  and because it is not proper to place honor upon yourself, the two  and the Spirit honor each other. 

And that leads to the final belief, we believe that the three  persons, though one God, are distinct from each other. Their  distinction is not found in their power or majesty as we  acknowledge that they are equal in all respects. Their distinction  is found in how they relate to each other and to us. There is only  one Father, not three. There is only one Son, not three. There is  only one Spirit, not three. The Father is the father in relationship  to the other two. He is the head of the Trinity, but only in  relationship and not out of prowess. 

The Son is the Son in relationship to the Father, and unlike  the Father, under the command of the Father, which He is not,  took the form of a man in order to die on the cross for our sake.  The Father did not, nor the Spirit, die on that cross, only the Son.  As God, whom the Son is fully, He is still equal in everything to 

the Father. As a human, whom the Son is fully and willfully took  on, He, like all humans, is subordinate to the will of God. His  divinity did not turn into humanity or the other way around. He is  not confused. He is in perfect unity with Himself as both God and  man. God did not become man, but rather God took humanity into  himself for it was the Son alone that became man. 

And the Spirit is the Spirit in relationship between the Father  and the Son, proceeding from both, but not created by either,  being in equal power to the two. The Spirit is to us the source of  our faith in Jesus Christ who is our Savior. Jesus is not the source  of our Faith in Him, but according to our Small Catechism, “I  believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in  Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has  called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified  and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers,  enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth,  and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” And in today’s  Gospel, the entirety of it, is all about how the Spirit of Truth, which  is the Holy Spirit, will testify to us on behalf of the Father the truth,  will reveal all this to us and within us, so that through the Spirit we  may see Christ for who He is and have true faith in Him. The  Spirit does not speak on His own authority, but of the Father’s.  This does not mean that the Spirit is lesser than the Father, but  that He respects the Father as head. The Spirit is still equal in  everything to the Father, but the Spirit’s role in this Trinitarian  relationship is not to be the head but the one who provides for us  faith in the salvation which was one for us through Christ.

So there are three persons in the Trinity. All three are distinct  in their persons, but all three are one and the same True God for  there is only one God, not three Gods. 

Everything I’ve said this far is the plain and simple Trinity  revealed to us in Scripture. There are many things about Him we  do not know nor could ever fathom as fallen human beings. There  are things about God that He did not reveal to us intentionally, but  there are a few important things that are revealed in Scripture.  Instead of making things up to describe God, which unfortunately  might lead to a complete misunderstanding of God, Why not just  refer to the few in number simple references God makes to His  Triune nature. And instead of becoming dissatisfied with the lack  of robust theological hooks, let us have a quiet faith comfortable  with the fact that there are many mysteries about God that we will  never truly grasp in this life, focusing instead on that which is  revealed to us in scripture: the Father is God, Jesus is God, the  Spirit is God, but there are not three Gods but only One God. 

Let us pray, 


Dear Heavenly Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all three of you  are equal in power and all are one. Guide us in the one and only  true catholic, or universal, Christian faith, so that in faith toward  you the Triune God and all the promises fulfilled in Scripture we  all may be sanctified and united as one holy Church. In your holy  name we pray, again: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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