June 12, 2022
The Triune God is the God Who Saved Us!
“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (NIV1984)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
If you see smoke coming from your neighbor’s home, what do you do? You call the fire department! Why? Because firefighters have dedicated their lives to saving people in situations like that. If you hear someone trying to break into your home in the middle of the night, what do you do? You call the police department! Why? Because the police have dedicated their lives to saving people in situations like that! If you are badly hurt or become seriously ill, where do you go? You go to the hospital! Why? Because the hospital is filled with doctors and nurses who have dedicated their lives to help saving people in situations like that! When your conscience is bothering you because of things you have done in the past, when your own mortality becomes more and more obvious, what do you do? Where do you turn? Those are the questions that Trinity Sunday is designed to answer!
Trinity Sunday is designed to give us an opportunity to highlight a truth that we boldly proclaim each and every Sunday. That truth centers on the fact that there is only one true God— the Triune God, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Yes, we worship the God who has revealed to us that He is three separate distinct yet equal Persons in one divine Essence. Trinity Sunday is not designed to give us an opportunity to “wrap our mind around” the one true God. That would be akin to trying to drink the entire Pacific Ocean all at once. Nor is Trinity Sunday designed as an opportunity for us to explain the Triune God in a way that makes logical sense to us. That would be akin to trying to logically explain the virgin birth of the Child of Bethlehem or the physical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. No, my friends, Trinity Sunday is designed to comfort us with the truth that is proclaimed here in our text for today. That truth is this: The Triune God is the God Who Saved us!
John chapter sixteen is a part of Jesus’ “Farwell Address” to His disciples on the night before His death. (Pointing to the cross) Jesus had already told His disciples that He would be returning to His heavenly Father’s Home to prepare a place for them. (John 14:1, 2) Jesus had already told His disciples that as they serve as His faithful witnesses here on this earth they could expect to endure severe opposition from the unbelieving world— even to the point of death. (John 15:18-21; 16:2-4) And then in the opening words of our text Jesus also says to His disciples, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” Even though Jesus has so much more to say to His disciples, He knew that their hearts were filled with so much grief and so much sorrow that their faith was not yet strong enough to “bear” or to “appreciate” the importance of everything Jesus had to say to them.
For that reason Jesus gives His disciples a promise. He says, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” Note how clearly Jesus assures His disciples that God the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth.” Everything the Holy Spirit has revealed to us is “the truth.” This includes “the truth” about who the true God is! This includes “the truth” about our eternal salvation! “The truth” gives us the glorious comfort that comes from knowing that the Triune God is the God who saved us! Because our minds are so— how shall we say, limited— let’s look at that glorious comforting “truth” from the perspective of each Person in the holy Trinity.
In verse fifteen of our text Jesus says to us, “All that belongs to the Father is mine.” In the sphere of our salvation these words remind us that our salvation was decreed by God the Father who loved us from all of eternity. I often refer to this “decree” as God’s Plan of Salvation for this world. Even before the Creation of the heavens and the earth God the Father knew that His children, Adam and Eve, would rebel against Him and bring sin onto and into all human beings. Therefore, even before He created the heavens and the earth the boundless love that God the Father has for all human beings led Him to have a plan to save us! Even in the Garden of Eden God the Father decreed that His plan for our salvation would center on sending into this world a “seed” of the woman, a true human being, who would willingly suffer and die to “crush” Satan’s head. The Plan that God the Father decreed in the Garden of Eden is then brought into clear focus in the familiar words of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
The familiar words of John 3:16 remind us that the Plan of Salvation that was decreed by God the Father was accomplished by God the Son. The “truth” that God the Holy Spirit reveals to us is that God the Son fulfilled the Plan that God the Father decreed by pouring out His holy precious blood on the cross of Calvary’s hill in order to pay— in full!— the debt of sin that we owed to the Triune God. Here in our text Jesus brings out that “truth” to His disciples when He says, “He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.”
On the evening of Maundy Thursday Jesus’ disciples did not completely comprehend the full extent of Jesus’ “glory.” Yes, they had seen Him perform astounding miracles such as healing lepers, giving sight to the blind, and enabling the lame and the crippled to walk. Yes, they had seen Him raise people from the dead. Yes, they had heard Him teach God’s Word with an authority and a clarity that was unprecedented. But, they did not yet understand the full “glory” of the work that Jesus came into this world to do— the work of saving sinners like us from our sins, the work of securing us the holiness and the righteousness that we need in order to live in our heavenly Father’s Kingdom forever. The “truth” that God the Son perfectly fulfilled the Plan of Salvation that God the Father had decreed for this world— that is the “truth” that God the Holy Spirit “makes known” to us.
That brings us to the closing verse of our text. Jesus says to His disciples, “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” There is only one way for us to know that the love that God the Father has for us is so amazing that He decreed a Plan for our salvation. There is only one way for us to know that the love which God the Son has for us is so powerful that He fulfilled the Father’s Plan for our salvation by living a perfect life in our place and then innocently suffering and dying on the cross to pay for our sins. (Pointing to the cross) The only way we know this, the only way that anyone can know this, is when God the Holy Spirit uses His powerful Means of Grace to create and to strengthen the gift of saving faith in the hearts of sinners like us. Through the powerful message of the Gospel as it comes to us in Word and Sacrament, God the Holy Spirit enables us to take those well-known words of John 3:16, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” and humbly hear, “God so loved me that he gave his one and only Son….”
When we stop to realize that God’s Plan for our salvation was decreed by God the Father even before He created the heavens and the earth, when we stop to realized that God the Son perfectly fulfilled every last detail of that Plan through His life, His death and His resurrection, when we stop to realize that God the Holy Spirit used the power of the Gospel to take away all of our sins and give to us the holiness and the righteousness that Jesus won for us on the cross (Pointing to the cross)— as a free gift!— then it is very easy for us to rejoice in knowing that the Triune God is the God who saved us!
Why is it so important for us to know this, my friends? Because on any given day we are no different than the disciples who first heard Jesus speak these words of our text. Whether it’s sickness or the death of a loved one, whether it’s the loss of a job or the loss of our health, whether it’s troubles in our marriage or troubles in our family— we deal with grief and with sadness on an all too frequent basis. Then there are all the times when Satan bombards us with the sins that we have committed and we wonder— will God, can God, still forgive us?
That’s when we need to open up our Bibles and listen as God the Holy Spirit comforts us with the assurance that the one and only living God has saved us! Even if our sins are more numerous and more horrendous than we ever thought was possible, even if we have been the Prodigal Child more often than we care to admit, God the Holy Spirit faithfully points us to the cross (Pointing) and assures us of “the truth”— “It is finished!” God’s “goal” for you has been reached! Your sins are forgiven! Trust in your Triune God. Trust in what He has done for you. Trust in what He has revealed to you. Trust in the gift of eternal salvation that He has freely given to you.
On the flip side of that very same coin there are many many people who do not know that the Triune God is the God who has saved them as well! The Plan of Salvation that God the Father decreed for this world includes everyone— except? There are no exceptions! The forgiveness and the redemption that God the Son secured on the cross of Calvary’s hill is for everyone— except? There are no exceptions! The “truth” that God the Holy Spirit proclaims here in His holy Word applies to everyone— except? There are no exceptions! The fact that there are no exceptions, my friends, means that everyone— everyone we know, everyone we have ever or will ever meet— everyone needs to hear about what the Triune God has done for them!
Trinity Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays in the Christian church year. As far as I am concerned it ranks right up there with Christmas and Easter. If I had to stand up here and explain to you the mystery of the holy Trinity, I would probably tremble on each and every Trinity Sunday. The fact that I have the privilege of proclaiming to you what God reveals to us about Himself here in His holy Word— that is a joy! My prayer today is that while the teaching of the Trinity will always overwhelm our logical, limited, mortal minds, we will always rejoice in the comfort that comes from knowing that the Triune God is the God who saved us! (Pointing to the cross)
To God be the glory!