Trinitarian Mission


Introduction
God is triune in nature, and the invitation God extends to us is to be a part of His community. The role of this community, then, is to enjoy fellowship with God and carry forward the mission of God into the world. Our triune God is at work as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the this work of reconciliation.

The Baptism of Jesus
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:13-17 NRSV).

A friend in Brazil, a newly-minted follower of Christ at the time, came to me about a co-worker who was a member of a “Jesus Only” denomination. This co-worker and his group believed that there is only one God, but that this God is Jesus only. There is, according to them, no trinity in the Godhead, other than Jesus taking the role of Father, Son or Spirit as the need arises. The ancient church called this belief modalism, and rejected it for the most part.

Besides what I’ve covered regarding the Scriptural basis for the doctrine of the Trinity in a previous post, consider the quote from Matthew 3 above. The baptism of Jesus involves all three Persons of the Trinity. God the Son is baptized in water, God the Holy Spirit descends and God the Father speaks from the heavens. Unless God is a divine magician and/or ventriloquist, this passage is affirming the triune nature of God’s being.

The Baptism of the Believer
“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38 NRSV).

“…for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27 NRSV).

God as trinity is also involved in personal salvation. The above verses are only two examples of numerous passages that show the overlapping activity of God in salvation. The verse from Acts shows baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ” and “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” while the verses from Galatians show this example of faith in action as the moment adoption takes place. God becomes our Father in the truest sense possible when we become His children by faith in Christ. Besides being adopted, these verses tell us we are thus “clothed…with Christ.”

Personal salvation involves the intimate and direct work of the triune God.

The Great Commission
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NRSV).

The mission of the church is the reconciliation of the world (2 Corinthians 5:14-20). Reconciliation of humanity with God and of us with one another is our mission, the mission of God. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit commissions all disciples for this work, empowers us and operates directly in the work of salvation and restoration to God’s image.

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