Holy Trinity for Us
Friday of Pentecost 2
3 June 2016
"The external actions of the holy Trinity are not divided." So runs the doctrinal rule. This is not just some dusty, old theological rule, but touches intimately on our salvation. The long and short of this rule is that everything that pertains to our salvation is the undivided work of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The only exception to this rule is that neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit suffers and dies. Only the Son, who is the God-Man, suffers and dies.
 
However, when Jesus Christ, the God-Man, intercedes by praying for the church (Jn 17:20), this intercession is the work of the holy Trinity. The hearing and answering of such prayer is also an indivisible Trinitarian work. Augustine of Hippo says that the Son both intercedes and has no need to pray, but He Himself answers prayer. How He does these things is not for us to know and understand. We, however, ought to know and rejoice at the comfort we receive from this prayer given and answered. How comforting to know that the glorified Son of God prays for the faithful, even though He has no need to do so, and the whole Trinity sees to the fulfillment of His intercession. Thus when God the Son speaks of the love of the Father and the compassion of the divine Spirit for the world, He is also speaking of his own love and compassion for the world.
 
The holy Trinity is working harmoniously and continuously to the blessed end that we shall see what we now only believe and what we shall be in eternity. This blessed end is what we now only hope for and believe that is ours by the grace of God. For God's love is so full that He seeks and saves those who are infected by the sin that He hates, by placing that sin upon His Son. We do not remain objects of His wrath and hatred, but we, for whom the Son intercedes, receive by faith from the holy Trinity exactly what we shall be when he calls us to be with Him forever. It is our fervent wish that we should not remain what He hates but become like Him and in that becoming be both what we wish and what He desires so urgently that He gives up His Son's life to pay for it. So when we say that through faith we deserve this blessed end, we are merely saying that we merit nothing, but that God the holy Trinity has given us all and everything. The holy Trinity is for us. Faith merely grasps what God has long ago worked in His Son and has now shared with us through the determined will of the holy Trinity, the undivided Unity, God blessed forever. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo

"[Christ's] faithful ones, whom He has redeemed with His blood, are called His kingdom, for whom He now intercedes; but then, making them to abide in Himself there [in His heavenly kingdom], where He is equal to the Father, He will no longer pray to the Father for them. 'For,' He says, 'the Father Himself loves you.' Indeed He 'prays,' in so far as He is less than the Father; but as He is equal with the Father, He with the Father grants the prayer.
 
"Therefore He certainly does not exclude Himself when He says, 'The Father Himself loves you;' but He means it to be understood...that for the most part each person of the Trinity is so named, that the other persons also may be understood. Accordingly, 'For the Father Himself loves you,' is said in such a way that therefore both the Son and the Holy Spirit also may be understood: not that He does not now love us, who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all (Rm 8:32); but God loves us, such as we shall be, not such as we are. For those whom He loves, He keeps eternally. They shall be, when He who now intercedes for us shall have 'handed over the kingdom to God the Father,' those who no longer ask the Father, because the Father Himself loves us.
 
"How have we deserved this, except through faith, by which we believe before we see that which is promised? For by this faith we shall arrive at sight; so that He may love us. He loves us in order that we may become such as He loves; and not such as He hates, because we are what He hates, and exhorts and enables us to wish not to be always what He hates."

Augustine, On the Trinity, 1.10
Romans 8:31-39

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died-more than that, who was raised-who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
 
         "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
 
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
Prayer
O God and Father, give us graciously what belongs to this body and its life. O Son of God, free us from sin and mercifully grant us Your Spirit. O God the Holy Spirit, heal, comfort, and make us strong against the devil, and finally give us the victory in the resurrection from the dead. Amen.
 
For all those who reject the doctrine of the holy Trinity, that they may be converted to the true faith, and confess the catholic teaching unto life
 
For Mary Lewis asking Christ's full intercession for her, that her rehabilitation might return her to full mobility
 
For all those who are suffering dislocation and property loss as a result of the flooding in the Houston area, that the Lord who commanded the waters to be still would bring them rescue
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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