Practical Lessons from the Trinity by Tony Cooke

Practical Lessons from the Trinity
by Tony Cooke

Lessons from the TrinityHaving grown up in a mainline denominational church, I was used to hearing about the Trinity. Every Sunday as church was being dismissed, we sang the Doxology, which ended with the admonition, "Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." After decades of studying the Scripture, I am more impressed than ever before with the majestic and harmonious working of the members of the Trinity.

Foundations of Pentecostal Theology says, "We approach the study of the TRINITY with a deep sense of awe. All study of the Nature of God defies our full comprehension, but the Tri-unity of God is the greatest of all Divine mysteries." It proceeds to say, "The Tri-unity of God is, in fact, the foundation stone of the Christian faith. Every time in Church history that the doctrine of the Trinity has been compromised, the other major Bible tenets have also been compromised or abandoned."

I appreciate John Wesley’s statement ("Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God."). However, I believe we should open up our hearts and minds to learn all that we can about God’s wonderful nature. If you’ve not read such great ancient documents as the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, I encourage you to do so. It’s even more important to study the Scripture diligently and notice how the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together for our benefit. Consider the following:

Matthew 3:16-17
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

J.C. Ryle said, "It was the whole Trinity, which at the beginning of creation said, ‘Let us make man’ (Gen. 1:26). It was the whole Trinity again, which at the beginning of the Gospel seemed to say, ‘Let us save man’ (Mt. 3:16-17)."

Matthew 28:18-19
18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Luke 1:35
35 And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

John 14:16, 26
16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever…
27 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

Acts 7:55
55 But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God…

Acts 10:38
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil…

Acts 20:28
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Ephesians 1:2-13 teaches us:

• the Father chose us
• the Son redeemed us
• the Holy Spirit sealed us.

2 Corinthians 13:14
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Hebrews 9:14
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 

1 Peter 1:2
2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ

These Scriptures reveal the cooperative nature of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit work seamlessly in concert with one another. There is no jealousy or competition amongst them. We see more of this cooperative nature in what has been called Jesus’ "high priestly prayer" in John 17.

John 17:20-22
20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one…

Jesus here is praying to the Father, and while the Holy Spirit is not mentioned by Name, we know that He is present. Who else would have been inspiring this prayer? Jesus prayed that our teamwork – the teamwork of the church – would be reflective of the teamwork displayed by the Trinity.

Stop and think about the teamwork of the Trinity!

• The Father plans – He is the Architect.
• The Son performs – He carries out what the Father planned.
• The Spirit reveals – He reveals and enforces what the Father has planned and what the Son has performed.

No member of the Godhead ever acts independently or out of sync with the other members.

Consider redemption.

• God the Father planned it.
• God the Son carried it out (by dying on the cross).
• The Holy Spirit reveals it to our hearts.

Consider creation.

• God the Father planned it.
• God the Son carried it out (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2).
• God the Holy Spirit, "…was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:2, AMP).

In addition to the great lesson of teamwork from the Trinity, we also learn what perfect obedience and submission looks like.

Philippians 2:6-8 (NLT)
6 Though he [Jesus] was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

R.C. Sproul said, "Within the Holy Trinity we see that in principle the notion of subordination does not carry with it the notion of inferiority… Christ willingly submitted to the Father, without a word of protest. It is precisely that willingness that we are called to imitate in submitting ourselves to authority."

John 5:19
19 I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.

John 5:30
30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.

John 7:16
16 My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.

While the Trinity is a towering, majestic doctrine of the Bible, it also has practical application in our lives! May we, the Church, operate in the same kind of teamwork as that of the Trinity, and may we, as individuals, exhibit the same kind of submission and obedience to the Father that Jesus did.