Our God – a God of Majesty and Mystery
2 Corinthians 13:11-14
11 Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
People love a good mystery. Whether it’s a page turning novel that makes you read just that one more chapter before bed or a movie or play that keeps you guessing, “Who’s done it?” until the very end, it’s easy to get caught up in a mystery. I think part of the fun of a mystery is the inherent desire in all of us to try to figure out something before someone else does. You get a sense of accomplishment if you figure out the mystery before the author reveals it to you explicitly. That’s part of the fun of it. You test out your own detective skills to see if you can crack the case and solve the mystery.
Well, today we’re going to think about a mystery. It’s the mystery of our holy and infinite God, the mystery of the Triune God, the Trinity. The mystery of the Trinity is that God reveals himself to us as three persons and yet one God. Something that truly is a mystery. And here’s a mystery that we shouldn’t try to solve with our own detective skills. Because every time in history that human reason has tried to unravel the mystery of the Trinity, the temptation to go beyond what Scripture says is there. If we try to solve the mystery ourselves it either leads to saying that either there are 3 gods, Father, Son and Holy Spirit or that there is one God and that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are only part of who God really is. But neither of those explanations are what the Bible says. There is one God. And that one God is three persons.
But God didn’t give us this mystery for us to try to figure it out, but to enjoy the parts of the mystery that he has revealed to us. And that’s what Paul opens our eyes to with the closing verses of 2 Corinthians. Paul writes, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” God reveals himself as three persons to emphasize all the different ways that God cares for us and loves us.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the undeserved love of our Savior who was willing to come to this earth, leave his home in heaven, surround himself with sinners who would desert him and betray him, and then suffer the punishment of hell for those very people. Now that’s grace. And that’s what we think of when we remember Jesus, the grace that he showed for us.
And then comes the love of God the Father. The God who created us in his image, who adopted us as his children and cares for us in that very same way each and every day. That’s the love of God, and why God revealed himself to us as our Father.
And then there’s the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who unites us by dwelling in our hearts and who created and strengthens the faith in our hearts. That fellowship is what we connect with the work of the Holy Spirit. What a blessing it is to have a Triune God with three persons, where all these different and equally wonderful blessings can be emphasized.
But what is truly amazing about the Triune God is that even with these different qualities emphasized by Paul is that God is completely unified. All of these traits and qualities end in God’s blessing. Everything works for the good of those who love him. Each person of the Triune God was in our salvation is a remarkable thing.
But here’s something that is just as remarkable. That our God would love us so much that he would also have unity with us. We used to have unity with God. Adam and Eve had that unity long ago in the Garden of Eden where they walked with God together and talked with the holy God right in his presence. But then sin ruined it all. They hid from their God. They were driven from their home. In one minute they became enemies of God because they were corrupted by sin. And our sin that clings to us and creeps into our hearts, that separates us from God as well. And yet our God loved us so much that he wanted to restore that unity. And so Jesus came with his grace and sacrificed himself on the cross for our forgiveness. And because of God’s great love, God himself, the Holy Spirit, dwells within our hearts. The unity between us and God has been restored through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We have fellowship with our God once again.
And because of our fellowship with God, that leads to fellowship with one other. Paul emphasized this very thing in these verses. With his closing remarks to the Corinthian congregation Paul says, “Strive for full restoration, be reconciled, encourage each other, be of one mind, live in peace”…in one phrase “Be unified, because that’s what you are.” It’s as if Paul’s saying, “In fact since you’re so unified by your faith and your God that I want you to greet each other with a holy kiss.” Isn’t that an awesome thing? In Paul’s day the church was so conscious of their unity in Christ, so embracing of it, that they embraced each other every time that they saw each other. They greeted each other with a holy kiss because they saw each other as the brothers and sisters that they had become in Christ.
And when we heed Paul’s words and God’s words to you, to embrace the unity that the fellowship of the Holy Spirit gives us and to rejoice in the unity that we have with our fellow believers, God promises to bless us. Paul writes, “Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” That is the Triune God’s promise to you. Embrace that promise, as you embrace the unity we have with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pastor Nick Schmoller