February 18, 2008

the trinity as a model for human relationships

Relationships are hard. I don't mean relationships as in dating relationships...I mean relationships in general: brother-sister, parent-daughter, boss-employee, friend, etc. The title of Tim Lane and Paul Tripp's book, Relationships - A Mess Worth Making, already captures the essence of relationships to me: very difficult at times, but something you don't want to live without. In the next weeks or months I hope to share various things I learned. Overall, may I just say that I highly recommend this book. I don't know if I'd want to sit under Lane or Tripp's teaching in all areas of Scripture, but this book, which falls in the Biblical counseling arena, was very profitable.

From cover to cover, this book reiterates that
1) sin has caused problems in relationships and
2) the only and wonderful solution to our relational problems is in Christ.
In the authors' words,
"Our aim is that this book will help you look through the shattered glass of our sin to see the glory of a Redeemer who is ever-present, always at work to rescue and change us....We are sinners with the capacity to do great damage to ourselves and our relationships... But we are also God's children, which means that we have great hope and potential...hope that rests in Christ.... our potential is Christ!
In this post I'd just like to make a few brief comments about the Trinity as a model for human unity in relationships. I don't know if I'd ever thought of it in that way, but there are some powerful implications. I love how this shows how important our theology is. I think that many Christians would think that a topic like the Trinity has no real implications in daily living. But it does!
Consider the following points:
  • Christ prays that believers will be one has God is one: their relationship is a model. (John 17:20-26)
  • God is the only properly functioning community in the universe. The Trinity is the only adequate model for human community. Our relationships are marred by sin. God is a model of a loving, cooperative, unified community where diversity is an asset and not a liability.
  • The perfect eternal love relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit was ripped apart to allow us to be reconciled to the Lord and to other people. Community for us came at the cost of temporarily broken community for the Godhead.
We were made by a community-oriented God and made to live in relationships (vertical and horizontal). The rubber of knowing God hits the road...
"Because the Christian God is not a lonely God, but rather a communion of three persons, faith leads human beings into othe divine communio. One cannot, however, have a self-enclosed communion with the Triune God.... Communion with this God is at once also communion with those others who have entrusted themselves in faith to the same God." (Miroslav Volf, p20)

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