For the last two Sundays of November, I taught on the Trinity in Sunday School. I want to share with you the importance of the truth that God is love.
There has never been a time when love did not exist, because there has never been a time when God did not exist. I John 4:8 says that “God is love” – not just that God loves.
This is why the Trinity is crucial. Could a God who was solitary – not three persons – be said to be love? Absolutely not. Before He created anything, He could not have loved, for love requires an object outside of the self. We could not trust such a God, for He would act toward us in ways that were not loving. He would be an entirely self-centred God.
This was the perspective I heard from a used bookstore owner in Halifax. I walked into the store and overheard a conversation he was having with a customer. Basically, he said this: “God [the God of the Bible] is so self-centred and narcissistic. He is always wanting our praise and compliments, and is so needy.” This could be true of a solitary God; but it cannot be true of our God, for He needs nothing; He does not take in; He pours out. He gives and gives and gives again!
I love the quotation from C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, which is a collection of letters from a senior demon to his demon apprentice with advice about how to tempt his “patient” – the human to whom he is assigned. Here is how Screwtape, a demon, compares demons to God in how they view human beings: “We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over” (p. 39, emphasis mine).
The Father has always loved the Son; the Son loves His Father; and the Holy Spirit personifies that love. So to know God is to know love. Do you want love? Then you need to come to God, for He is a fountain of love.
And not just love – Joy, happiness, peace, life… all these have existed from eternity past in God. And, as C.S. Lewis wrote, they are not “prizes which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone” (Beyond Personality, p. 27). No, “[t]hey are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up from the very centre of reality” (ibid.). Therefore, as one author said, “God cannot give us happiness apart from Himself; there is no such thing.” No, we must be brought into the eternal relationship of the Trinity. “If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire” (ibid.). And “[i]f you are close to [a fountain], the spray will wet you: if you’re not, you will remain dry” (ibid.). So, “[i]f you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them” (ibid.).
And, Christian, you are in this God! The Bible says that if you are a Christian, you are “in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3-6 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
This means that you, like Christ, are a son – or a daughter – of God. God is now your Father, and He loves you as He loves His own Son! He is an overflowing fountain of love and joy and peace and life.
Not only are you “in Christ,” but Christ is “in the Father.” He said to His disciples in John 14:20, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.”
This means that our life is intertwined with the life of the Trinity. You cannot possibly lose your life until God loses His. Which will be never! Let me quote C.S. Lewis one more time here: “Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?” (ibid.).