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What Is the Trinity For?

[T]he first and clearest answer has to be that the Trinity isn’t ultimately for anything, any more than God is for the purpose of anything. Just as you wouldn’t ask what purpose God serves or what function he fulfills, it makes no sense to ask what the point of the Trinity is or what purpose the Trinity serves. The Trinity isn’t for anything beyond itself, because the Trinity is God. God is God in this way: God’s way of being God is to be Father, Son, and Holy Spirit simultaneously from all eternity, perfectly complete in a triune fellowhip of love. If we don’t take this as our starting point, everything we say about the practical relevance of the Trinity could lead us to one colossal misunderstanding: thinking of God the Trinity as as a means to some other end, as if God were the Trinity in order to make himself useful. But God the Trinity is the end, the goal, the telos, the omega. In himself and without any reference to a created world or the plan of salvation, God is that being who exists as the triune love of the Father for the Son in the unity of the Spirit. The boundless life that God lives in himself, at home, within the happy land of the Trinity above all worlds, is perfect. It is complete, inexhaustibly full, and infinitely blessed. 

—Fred Sanders in The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything.

When it comes to the study the Trinity, or the study of God in general, we’re too quick, I think, to run straight to the practical implications and ask ourselves, “What does this doctrine mean for me? How does it affect my life? And what should I do in light of this truth about God?”

Of course, learning about God does have practical implications. But first, because God as he is in himself is “the end, the goal, the telos, the omega,” we should desire to know God for his sake. To get at what God is in himself, we can ask, “What is he like ‘without any reference to a created world or the plan of salvation’?” Priority #1 is simply gazing for a while on the answer to this question and marveling at what we see.


Sunday's Hymn: There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood

There is a fountain fill’d with blood
Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plung’d beneath that flood,
Loose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoic’d to see
That fountain in his day;
And there have I, as vile as he,
Wash’d all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its pow’r;
Till all the ransom’d church of God
Be sav’d, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply:
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

Then in a nobler sweeter song
I’ll sing thy pow’r to save;
When this poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe thou hast prepar’d
(Unworthy tho’ I be)
For me a blood-bought free reward,
A golden harp for me!

’Tis strung, and tun’d, for endless years,
And form’d by pow’r divine;
To sound, in GOD the Father’s ears,
No other name but Thine.

—William Cowper


Sovereign Grace Music

Red Mountain Music (new tune)

Aretha Franklin

Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Book Review: Can We Still Believe the Bible?

An Evangelical Engagement with Contemporary Questions by Craig L. Blomberg

My pastor recently asked me to purchase this book for the church library because he thought there were people in my church who would benefit from it. He also suggested that I review it for the church newsletter. This is the review I wrote. If I had been reviewing it just for my blog, it would have been a different review. For one thing, I would have had no word limit! And the readers of this blog are different than the general membership of my church (and yours, too, probably!). If I had been reviewing for the blog only, I would have mentioned a few places where I disagree with certain remarks Blomberg makes. He’s an egalitarian, for instance, and a bit combative in his approach to the egalitarian/complimentarian issue. But it seemed inappropriate for me to get into those issues in the newsletter, and they have very little bearing on the arguments he makes for the reliability of the Bible, anyway. 

I also would have mentioned that this is not an easy read, something I took out of the review because I needed to shorten it. 

As you might expect from the title and subtitle, this book addresses several specific recent objections to the reliability of the Bible. You may have seen or read some of these arguments against the Bible’s trustworthiness in television documentaries, magazine articles, or books written by skeptics. In each of the six objections Craig Blomberg tackles, he shows that “new findings, or at least more intense study of slightly older discoveries, have actually strengthened the case for the reliability or trustworthiness of the Scriptures, even while the most publicized opinions in each area have claimed that there are now reasons for greater skepticism!”

The first chapter addresses the reliability of the biblical text we have now, nearly 2000 years after the last of the books of the New Testament were written. Is it true that all we have are hopelessly corrupt copies of the original New Testament writings, copies so full of variants—400,000 is the number some give—that it is impossible to know what the authors originally wrote?

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Thankful Thursday

A few things I’ve been thankful for this week:

  • for a productive day today. Life had been busy lately, so I had to rush a project to meet a deadline. Thankfully, everything worked out better than I anticipated. I am thankful for God’s help when I am overwhelmed by the things I need to do.
  • for the beautiful weather. It was warm and sunny when I walked the dogs this afternoon, and I was feeling thankful that this winter been mostly good, weather-wise.
  • for the tulips on the coffee table. 
  • for a fridge full of leftovers so I don’t have to cook. 
  • that God has caused me to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for me. I’m thankful for the blessing of new life and the sure promise of an enduring inheritance.

Also thankful today:

What are you thankful for? 


Theological Term of the Week

The Hebrew word for lord or master, and one of the names used for God in scripture. This name emphasizes God’s absolute authority over all creation, including all people.

  • In scripture: 

    Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” (Genesis 18:30-32 ESV)

  • From Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology:
  • 2. ’ADONAI. This name is related in meaning to the preceding ones. It is derived from either dun (din) or ’adan, both of which mean to judge, to rule, and thus points to God as the almighty Ruler, to whom everything is subject, and to whom man is related as a servant. In earlier times it was the usual name by which the people of Israel addressed God. Later on it was largely supplanted by the name Jehovah (Yahweh). 

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