Thursday, 11 September 2008

Trinitarian Spirituality

What a snappy name for a blog post!

The God we know is trinity: one God - Father, Son and Spirit. This isn't just meant to be a theological point but it has deeply practical implications for how we practice our spiritual lives. Our relationship with God is structured along 3 lines:

1. Knowing the Father means that we are adopted and have become sons of God.

2. Knowing the Son, Jesus Christ, means that we find ourselves "in Christ" - with the salvation and infinite number of blessings He has for us.

3. Knowing the Spirit means that we are born again and "walk according to the Spirit" and not according to the flesh.

Now, the fact that our God is One means that all these relationships are a unity and cannot be understood apart from one another. This means that we need to hold together all these relationships if we are to have a right relationship with God. When you read the Scriptures the one relationship through three relationships is seen everywhere and is intertwined. Salvation is a trinitarian work and we neglect the different aspects of it to our peril. This is implied by the whole reality of three persons and oneness, and particularly by the doctrine of perichoresis.

The fact is, though, that we, and our various subcultures and churches, regularly become less than trinitarian in practice and in our spirituality. We start to focus on certain aspects of the one relationship and ignore other aspects. So, we focus on the Spirit but ignore Christ, or we ignore the Father and focus on Christ, or we focus on the Father and ignore both Christ and the Spirit. The result is that our spirituality starts to veer off in a wrong direction. Our assurance disappears, or our trust in God's providence disappears, or our prayer life disappears or our sanctification disappears. One needs to be properly trinitarian in one's knowledge of God to practice a proper spirituality.