Trinity Sunday May 30, 2021
240, 246, 245, 248
Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) unless otherwise noted
+ In the Name of Jesus Christ +
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Have you ever noticed that some of the most important things in life are often the things we take for granted the most? Think of some of the absolute necessities of life, like oxygen or water for example. When was the last time you woke up and were concerned about whether you’d have enough air to breathe or water to drink? Thankfully, you probably haven’t.
What about some of the other blessings in life that maybe aren’t quite as essential as air or water, but nonetheless are extremely important for us to have a good life here on this earth? Think about your health, for example. That’s something we usually don’t even think about until we don’t have it, but over the past year I bet most of us have thought about the value and blessing of our health more often than usual. How about your home? Having a safe place to live and a comfortable place to lay our heads every night. That’s a tremendous blessing that many of us probably don’t think about too often, but just imagine how hard it would be to go through life without a home! How about your job, your business, or your career? What a blessing it is to be able to make a living and provide for your family. Think about your family: how often do we stop to thank God for the love and support—and even the friendship—we have with our family members? What a great blessing!
But perhaps the number one blessing that we all take for granted most often is God Himself! Don’t we often just take for granted that He’s always there, always merciful, always forgiving, always loving? Talk about an incredible blessing! But how often do we just simply stop and take the time to thank God for being God? Well, today, Trinity Sunday, is an excellent opportunity for us to think about God—who He is and what He has done for us—and to thank Him for all our Blessings from Our Triune God!
When we think of God and thank God for who He is, maybe our thoughts first turn to His greatness. Our God is so great, the Bible tells us, that the depths of His wisdom, His judgments, and ways are absolutely “unsearchable.” (Romans 11:33) It’s true, even His very nature as God is impossible for us to fully understand. God has revealed Himself to us as “One” (Deuteronomy 6:4), but as three distinct “persons” “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) How can that be possible? Three persons, but still one God? It’s “unsearchable” isn’t it? Can you completely understand it? I can’t either, and we never will in this lifetime. We can describe the nature of God and we can use words like “Trinity” or “triune,” which mean “three-in-one,” to try and explain Him, but we will never fully be able to comprehend God. Fortunately, God Himself does not call on us to “fully comprehend” Him. When He reveals Himself to us in His Word He simply asks us to believe Him!
And yet despite all God’s greatness, despite the “unsearchable-ness” of His wisdom and nature as the Triune God He has chosen to make each one of us a member of His family and has even invited us to call Him “Father!” (v.15) Paul mentions each person of the Trinity in our text for today—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—and he reminds us that each person of the Trinity had a hand in making us members of God’s family.
The Father created us and adopted us into His family by giving us His Spirit by bringing us to faith in His Son, Jesus through His Holy Word. This, Paul says, is the “proof” that we are the children of God, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God… The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (v.14,16)
Now, just think of all that this means for us, the fact that we are the children of God. That’s another blessing we probably too often take for granted. We get so used to the thought that we are children of God through faith in Jesus that we hardly ever stop to think about what it all means for us. Paul reminds us, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (v.15)
The fact that we are the adopted Children of God, first of all, should wipe out our slavery to our fears, our addiction to worrying, and trying to do everything and control everything on our own. Think about it: Our “Dad,” is God Himself! He loves us, cares for us, and has adopted us as His own sons and daughters. In fact, we are so near and dear to Him that Paul uses a phrase to address God that a child would use, “Abba, Father.” “Abba” is the Aramaic word for “Father” and this expression that he refers to, it has been said, is similar to the affectionate children’s term, “Daddy!” What do we need to fear, then? Do we have any need to worry? Not with God as our Father! We can cast all our cares and fears on Him; we can place our lives into His strong hands; and we can pray to Him “as boldly and confidently as dear children ask their dear father,” as Martin Luther explained it in his Catechism.
Being children of God has even more incredible benefits than just love, protection, guidance and provision. Paul reminds us in the last verse of our text, “we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (v.16b-17) If we are God’s children, then Christ, our Savior, God’s only begotten Son, is also our Brother. Whatever Christ has received from the Father also will be given to us as our inheritance.
How do you get an inheritance? First of all, an inheritance is a gift which is freely given and completely unearned by the inheritor. It usually comes to you simply because you are a descendant or relative of someone. Also, you usually receive an inheritance after someone dies. Jesus died for us in our place on the cross, and by His death and resurrection He also earned our inheritance for us. The inheritance we will receive from our Heavenly Father is not a home on this earth, but rather a “mansion” in heaven that Jesus Himself tells us He is preparing for us (John 14:2). The inheritance our Heavenly Father will give us is not money or land, but the very kingdom of heaven itself! By His suffering and death, Jesus made us “heirs” with Him of heaven!
But, wait a minute! Doesn’t Paul also say, “if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together”? (v. 17) Yes, it’s true, and we all know this from experience, that because we live in a sinful world we must go through some sufferings and difficulties in this life. As we know and have seen recently this suffering at times can be great, and can come in many different forms—sickness, death of loved ones, hatred, murder, racism, injustice, violence—all of these types of sufferings that we endure in this life are a result of one thing: sin—sin in the world around us, and sin within our own hearts. On top of that, because we are followers of Christ, we will also “suffer with Him” at times because we proclaim His name and live according to His Word.
But take heart! Paul reminds us, “we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (v.17) and he goes on to say in the very next verse, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us!” (v.18) How great is that glory we have to look forward to in heaven if the “sufferings of this present time” are not even worthy to be compared with it?! Thanks be to God!
Yes, the Triune God is “unsearchable”—even unreachable—by us mortal humans. Fortunately, He is also all-loving and all-merciful and He has reached down to us! He has called us His children and we call Him “Abba, Father” (v.15) through faith in His Son, Jesus. Faith which was created by His Holy Spirit, who “Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (v.16) When we think about our God and when we think about our Blessings from Our Triune God may we always respond with thankfulness in our hearts and in our lives. May we always sing with the psalmist, David, “Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…Praise the LORD, O my soul” (Psalm 103:1-4, 22). Amen!
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