When you hear the word love, is there a specific relationship or a group of people that you immediately think of? Or is it a song lyric, a romantic novel, or movie scene that comes to mind?
Think about the relationships that define love for you: Is it the young couple taking their wedding vows? Or the parent gently trying to soothe a crying baby? Maybe it is brothers and sisters serving in Christian unity in this dark world? Or the man who quietly and humbly works in the background to meet the needs of a small community?
Love is everywhere. We love to love. We need love. We crave love. We sometimes exalt it above all else. We can sometimes love love more than the Creator who showed us this wonderful gift through the life, death and resurrection of His Son.
But do we love well? In our relationships, do we love each other the way our Creator loves and commands us to love?
From Scripture, we know that “God is love” (1 John 4:16, NIV). He has also existed in perfect relationship for eternity. The relationship within the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) models perfect and holy love for us. So what does this perfect love and relationship look like?
The Father has existed in eternity and is seen through His creation. “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-His eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20, NIV). When we marvel at the majesty of the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, or enjoy the serenity found in a solitary walk at the beach in the winter, He is revealing Himself to us, and we glorify Him in our enjoyment of these things. The Father also reveals Himself in the pinnacle of His creation, mankind. We were created in His image: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26a, NIV).
Did you see what He did there?
The pronouns used here in the account of creation are plural: Us, along with two uses of the plural possessive, our. This is not to say that there are many gods, simply one God in three persons-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is further evidence of the perfect relationship of the Trinity at the beginning which brings us to the next person of the Triune God.
The Spirit is also known as the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost, depending on different church traditions. He was there in the beginning. Genesis 1:2 describes the scene, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” The Spirit is God and He is also our Comforter and our Healer. He guides and instructs us through our days with loving convictions or promptings to encourage and exhort us to become more like the Son, once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. According to the Christian worldview, babies are not born innocent. We are sinners from birth and are only made new by putting our faith in Jesus. If you have ever seen a toddler reach for something they have been told not to with a look of mischief or defiance in their eyes, you understand this fact of life. As Tertullian, one of the early fathers of the church, wrote, “Men are made, not born, Christians.” This brings us to the third Person in the Trinity.
The Son, Jesus Christ. The promised Messiah. The Word. All of Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament, point to Him. In the miracle of the Incarnation, Jesus came to redeem mankind and creation. In a short 3-year ministry here on earth, He revealed these truths to twelve courageous men and revealed Himself in His resurrected body to them and to hundreds of others. The twelve-who witnessed Jesus’ life and His great love for God the Father, God the Spirit and for them-risked everything, including their lives, to bring this Message, this Good News to the world.
John the Apostle opens his testimony in the book of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:1-4, NIV). John’s epistle testifies to the Truth that Jesus was there in the beginning, along with the Father and the Spirit. In perfect obedience and holy submission, He endured pain and suffering for all mankind; “For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2b, NIV). He is the light of all mankind and our only hope for redemption.
This relationship within the Triune God existed in the beginning and exists in eternity. He promises eternal life for those who believe, and He demonstrates the beauty of perfect and holy relationship. Despite our own sinfulness, those who believe are being made perfect through the forgiveness and mercy of our Redeemer. How will you reflect this great love and perfect relationship this week with those you love?
“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight with evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor 13:4-7, NIV).
These are not my words, they are His. And His Word offers us so much more.
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