Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Trinity
Volume 6 No. 350 May 20, 2016
II. Featured Articles on Trinity

God in Trinity - A Communion of Persons

by Rev. Antonios Alevizopoulos, Th.D., Ph.D

We Orthodox Christians believe in a Trinitarian God. God is not an isolated being, but communion and love. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit; He is not one Person but three. Between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit there exists a pre-eternal communion of love. This does not imply, however, that we Christians believe in three Gods, but in One. There is but one divine essence and it is indivisible. This is why we speak of one God in Trinity. The unique source of the one divine essence is the Father. He it is who transmits pre-eternally, (προαιωνίως) i.e. without beginning, existence to the Son through pre-eternal generation, and to the Holy Spirit, through pre-eternal procession.

Here we must note that in the Orthodox Church "procession" is contrasted to "sending". The Holy Spirit proceeds pre-eternally from the Father alone. "In time" (temporally) He is sent from the Son for the salvation of man. In other words a distinction is made between the pre-eternal transmission of the divine essence from the Father, and the Divine Economy, i.e. the mystery of man's salvation (John 15,26). The Orthodox Church does not accept the so-called "Filioque", the teaching that the Holy Spirit proceeds "and from the Son".

Our faith in the Triune God is not a man-made discovery, but revelation from God. He who is unapproachable for man, reveals Himself to man and becomes approachable.

Already in the Old Testament the Triune God appears as the Creator of man and the entire world. He is created not by the Father alone, but from the Father through the Son and is perfected "in the Holy Spirit", with one will and one energy. "In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth...and the spirit of God was moving over the face of the water", the Old Testament tells us characteristically, using in Hebrew the word Elohim for God, which is a plural form. And for the creation of man God spoke and said: "let us make man according to our image and likeness" (Gen. 1,26).

We confess that there is only one will and one energy for the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. The Father wills and acts those things which the Son and the Holy Spirit will and act. Many passages in Holy Scripture manifest the unity of will and energy of the divine Persons which make up the One and Trinitarian God. That is why they are characterized as "Lord" (Kyrios), "The Lord God" or even " The Lord Pantocrator" (Almighty). These characteristics are at times attributed to the Father, at other times to the Son and at other times to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the "Lord" whom Isaiah saw (Isaiah 6,1-10) is, according to John 12,36-41, the Son, while according to Acts 28,25-27, the Holy Spirit.

This Trinitarian faith is expressed by Orthodox Christians by the manner in which they baptize and in the way they glorify God: they are baptized "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (Mtth. 28,19) and they glorify the Triune God: "glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit". Orthodox Christians then are baptized in the way that they believe and glorify God: in harmony with their Trinitarian faith. The three Persons of the Holy Trinity are not separated, neither are they confused; they exist one in the other (perichoresis); i.e. each one of the divine persons is always within each of the other two. There where the Father is, is also the Son and the Holy Spirit. And wherever the Son is, there also is the Father and the Holy Spirit. Where the Holy Spirit is, there also are the Father and the Son.

As we have mentioned, there is only one source which pre-eternally provides the divine essence: the Father. That which has been revealed to us concerning the distinction of the divine persons is the manner in which the divine essence is imparted: to the Son: through pre-eternal generation; the Father pre-eternally begets the Son; to the Holy Spirit: through pre-eternal procession; the Holy Spirit pre-eternally proceeds from the Father.

This divine revelation of the Triune God was given for man's salvation and not in order to satisfy his curiosity. According to the Christian teaching, man was created according to God's image. Knowing therefore that God is a communion of persons, man delves into the knowledge of his own nature; he realizes that he also is not condemned to isolation, but created for communion and love. If God, who is man's archetype, were not Triune, then man could never realize that which he so deeply desires: communion and love. His entire life would be without any release. This is why we declare that our faith in the Holy Trinity constitutes man's only hope: "we have found true faith in worshipping the Trinity undivided; for the Trinity has saved us" epigrammatically states one of the hymns of the Divine Liturgy.

In regard to this faith, the Orthodox Christian does not try to convince others with logical arguments so that they will accept it. For should he do so, he is obliged to move about in the field of purely human searching and not on the level of God's revelation.

Addressing himself to the Corinthians, St. Paul underlines: "God has revealed [these things] to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God...So also no one comprehends God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed upon us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one." (I Cor. 2, 10-15).

In unity with the Trinitarian faith the Orthodox Church chants:

"Come, Ο ye peoples, let us worship the Godhead of three Hypostases:
the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son,
Who is co-eternal and of one throne; and the Holy Spirit was in the Father,
glorified with the Son; one Might, one Essence, one Godhead, which we all worship saying:
Holy God,
Who didst create all things through the Son,
with the cooperation of the Holy Spirit.
Holy Mighty,
through Whom we have known the Father,
and through Whom the Holy Spirit came to the world.
Holy Immortal, the Comforting Spirit,
Who proceedest from the Father and resteth in the Son.
Ο Holy Trinity, glory be to Thee.

(the Doxastikon of Pentecost Vespers)

Source: THE ORTHODOX CHURCH, Its Faith, Worship and Life by Rev. Antonios Alevizopoulos, Th.D., Ph.D
Translated by Rev. Stephen Avramides

Calling God Father

by St. Thomas Aquinas

Lord's prayer begins with 'Our Father.' We must consider two things here:

  1. In what sense God is our Father, and
  2. What we owe Him because He is our Father.

A. Why we call God Father

1. He created us.

We call God Father because He created us in a special way-namely, in His own image and likeness which He did not impress on other creatures here below: "He is thy Father Who made thee, and created thee."

2. He governs us.

We also call God Father because He governs us. For although He governs all things, yet He governs us as masters of ourselves whereas He governs other things as slaves of His will: "Thy providence, 0 Father, governs all things."31 "Thou disposest of us with great favor."

3. He adopted us.

We call God Father because He has adopted us. For He endowed other creatures with trifling gifts, but to us He granted the inheritance, because (as the Apostle says) we are His sons "and if sons, heirs also."33 "You have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear, but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons whereby we cry, Abba ('Father')."

B. What we owe God as our Father

Our debt to God is fourfold:

1. Honor. We owe God honor:

"if I am Father, where is my honor?" This honor consists in three things:

a. In reference to Himself, we should honor God by giving Him praise:

"The sacrifice of praise shall honor me." moreover, this praise should be not only on our lips, but also in our heart: "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."

b. In reference to ourselves, we should honor God by purity of body:

"Glorify and bear God in your body."

c. In reference to our neighbor, we should honor God by judging him justly:

"The king's honor loveth judgment."

2. Imitation. We owe God imitation, since He is our Father:

"Thou shalt call me Father and shalt not cease to walk after me."40 This is done in three ways:

a. By loving Him. We imitate God by loving Him:

"Be ye imitators of God as most dear children and walk in love." And this must be in the heart.

b. By showing mercy. We imitate God by being merciful, because mercy is bound to accompany love:

"Be ye merciful."42 And this must be in deed.

c. By being perfect. We imitate God by being perfect, since love and mercy should be perfect:

"Be ye perfect as also your heavenly Father is perfect."

3. Obedience. We owe God obedience:

"Shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits?" We owe him obedience:

a. Because of His dominion, for He is the Lord:

"All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient."

b. Because of His example, since His true Son was made obedient to the Father unto death.

c. Because obedience is good for us:

I will play before the Lord Who hath chosen me."

4. Patience. We owe God patience under His chastening:

"My son, reject not the correction of the Lord and do not faint when thou art chastised by Him: for whom the Lord loveth, He chastiseth even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."

C. What we owe our neighbor (our Father - same Holy Father)

From this we are given to understand that we owe our neighbor two things:

1. Love. We owe our neighbor love, because he is our brother, seeing that we are God's children:

"He that loveth not his brother?" whom he seeth, how can he love God Whom he seeth not.

2. Reverence. We owe our neighbor reverence, because he is a child of God:

"Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? Why then doth every one of us despise his brother?" "With honor preventing one another." We do this for the sake of its fruits, since God Himself "became to all that obey Him the cause of eternal salvation."

The Friend Closest to Your Heart - How well do you know the Holy Spirit?

By: Alan Schreck

Jesus' way of presenting the Holy Spirit made it evident that his followers were supposed to relate to the Spirit as a teacher, a counselor, a consoler - as someone who would help and guide them in their daily lives as Christians. In the Acts of the Apostles, we saw that Christ's followers were in a dialogue with the Spirit, who actively directed and assisted them in their missionary activity.

They knew the Spirit as the gift of Jesus and the Father to help guide and strengthen them, and they knew how to call upon the Spirit for his assistance. May we hope for the same experience?

Jesus taught us to relate to the Father as "Abba." The apostles and disciples - Peter, Mary and Martha, the "beloved disciple," and all the others - learned to relate to Jesus with warmth and friendship, each in his or her own way. How shall we imagine the person of the Holy Spirit in order to relate to the Spirit with the same depth of love and intimacy that we can have in our relationship with Jesus and the Father?

Recall the meaning of the term "paraclete": one who is called to be at one's side, a companion, a friend. Then, remember that, in John's gospel, Jesus says that in some ways the Holy Spirit will be even closer to the apostles than he was - as a teacher, counselor, and witness within their hearts. On the basis of those characterizations, I would like to suggest a personal image of the Holy Spirit that embodies all that he is and does for us: the Holy Spirit is "the friend closest to our hearts."

Granted, this is not a biblical image, but it is found in the fathers of the church. St. Cyril of Jerusalem taught that "the Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console." The Catechism describes the Holy Spirit as "the interior Master of life according to Christ, a gentle guest and friend who inspires, guides, corrects and strengthens this life" (1697).

Our friend the Holy Spirit is close to our hearts in order to set them aflame with love for God and with zeal to witness to our faith. He is close to us to convince us of our sin and to cleanse and purify our hearts. He is a friend strengthening us with virtues and gifts for the good of others and the church.

But most of all, this image of the friend closest to our hearts reminds us that the Holy Spirit is someone with whom we can speak and relate in an intimate, personal way. This image does not force us to put a "face" on the Holy Spirit, for he is a friend who is within us. It would be impossible, as well as unnecessary, to attempt to picture what the Spirit of God looks like as the gentle guest of our souls. We can simply speak to the Holy Spirit as that divine person who dwells within us, who is God's love poured into our hearts (see Romans 5:5).

Just as we come to the Father and the Son in prayer, then, we can also pray to the Holy Spirit. The Catechism poses the question, "Since he [the Holy Spirit] teaches us to pray by recalling Christ, how could we not pray to the Spirit, too? That is why the church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and end of every important action" (2670).

Our conversations with the Holy Spirit need not be lengthy or involved. As well as expressing the beautiful formal prayers of the church to the Holy Spirit, we may simply use short "aspirations" such as "Come, Holy Spirit"; "Holy Spirit guide me, give me wisdom"; "Spirit of holiness, show me my sin; help me to make a good confession"; or "Holy Spirit, give me patience." And, in times of urgent need or temptation, a simple "Help" will do! Anyone who has ever struggled with the formulation of a prayer can surely appreciate the Holy Spirit, for as St. Paul taught:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

God dwells in the hearts of Christians, and so the Holy Spirit is there, praying with us and for us and in us.

As Jesus assured his followers, Christians have not been left alone, desolate, or orphaned. Called to the side of Jesus' followers, the Spirit has become our teacher, advocate, counselor, consoler, and friend. He is a sort of second

Emmanuel - "God with us" - but even more profoundly, God within us. As St. Paul put it, we actually become "temples of the Holy Spirit" where God resides and abides (see 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19).

About The Author:

Dr. Allen Schreck is a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville. This is excerpted from 'Your Life in the Holy Spirit: What Every Catholic Needs to Know and Experience'.

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit

by Fr. Jack Peterson

Let us examine the fundamental role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual Christian as well as the life of the Church as an institution.

Pentecost was marked by an abundant release of the gift of the Holy Spirit. The first major consequence of this outpouring is that it initiates a radically new relationship between the individual and God. God's love for us is so real and personal that He desires to come and dwell within us. Jesus refers to this great mystery in John 14. Our Lord says to His disciples, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him." (john 14:23-24) The divine indwelling is made possible by the Holy Spirit which is poured into our hearts through faith. We are made temples of the Holy Spirit at our baptism when we are anointed with the Holy Chrism and filled with the Holy Spirit. Love desires intimacy and God's love for us leads Him to choose to make a home for Himself in the hearts of His children.

A second major consequence of the coming of the Holy Spirit is the transformation of our lives. Knowing and experiencing that God is near, we are greatly strengthened and filled with His peace, even in the face of life's many challenges. Immediately after speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit in John 14, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you . Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid." (John 14:27) The lives of the saints bear witness to a marvelous strength that enabled them to endure enormous crosses and face tremendous persecutions with unexplainable peace and courage. St. Clare's ability to stand strong in the face of a band of Saracens at the door of the monastery comes to mind as an example of peace and courage in the face of great physical danger.

A third major consequence of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is guaranteed guidance. Christ's teaching was a critical part of His saving work. "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Jesus established the Church for a variety of reasons, one of which was to preserve, protect, and defend the truths necessary for our salvation as well as apply them to new cultures and future realities down through the ages, like advances in science and medicine. The Church needs clear guidance for this part of Her mission. The Holy Spirit, poured out upon the Church, is the guarantee of that guidance. Jesus refers to this role of the Spirit when He says to His disciples: "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." (John 14:26)

This promise of God's guidance to the Church is a tremendous grace for the Christian. It only makes sense that God would have a plan for preserving and handing on the great deposit of truth that He bestowed upon the world when He sent His only begotten Son among us. It is a comfort to know that the Church was given the grace of the Holy Spirit to teach infallibly on matters of faith and morals for all of history. So many of the saints have given up their lives and countless others have endured persecution because they were willing to stand up for the true faith. St. Athanasius is one example that comes to mind. He spent great time and energy in the fourth century as a bishop defending the divinity of Christ against the growing heresy of Arius. He refused to tolerate the supporters of this heresy and spent seventeen of his forty-six years in the episcopate in exile.

As we approach the end of the beautiful Easter season, it is fitting to ponder anew the many graces and fruits of the Holy Spirit. We do so in order to deepen our faith in this vital gift that was the culmination of Jesus saving work. We do so also to stir into flame the fire of the Holy Spirit that has been given to each of us in baptism (and confirmation), that is renewed every time we receive holy Communion, and that sends us into the world to be living witnesses of the Risen Lord.

A Trinitarian Pentecost

by The Rev. Charles Henrickson

Scripture: Acts 2:14a, 22-36

Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them. . . .

"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know--this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,

"'I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'

"Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

"'The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.'

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
(Acts 2:14a, 22-36)

Our text today is from the second chapter of Acts. Now if that sounds familiar to you, it should. We said the same thing last week, when our text likewise came from Acts 2, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the beginning of Peter's Pentecost sermon. Today our reading continues on with Peter's sermon. But wait a minute: Last week was Pentecost. Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. What are we doing with a Pentecost text on Trinity Sunday? That's seems odd. Well, not really. And the reason is, as our text will show, this was a very Trinitarian Pentecost.

"A Trinitarian Pentecost": What do I mean by that? I mean that in the event of Pentecost itself and in Peter's preaching on that day, there is a very strong emphasis on the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And not as just some abstract doctrinal concept, a theory. No, this is reality going on here, a most blessed heavenly reality that is, at the same time, entirely down to earth. This is God in action, acting to save sinners, the likes of you and me. Today let's find out more of the God who saves us, the God in whom our salvation rests and in whom we can have complete confidence. Today it's "A Trinitarian Pentecost," on Holy Trinity Sunday.

The place in this sermon where the Apostle Peter most directly and explicitly preaches the Holy Trinity is in verses 32 and 33, as follows: "This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing." Here we have all three persons of the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all involved in what's going on. God the Father, raising up his Son Jesus. This Jesus, exalted now at God's right hand. And then Jesus, receiving from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, pouring out the Spirit on his disciples. A very Trinitarian Pentecost, as I said. Let's explore this a little more deeply and see how it all applies to us.

"This Jesus God raised up," Peter says. Peter is speaking of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. The relationship of the Father and the Son is woven throughout this sermon--specifically, in the will and action of the Father in sending his divine, eternal Son to this earth, in the flesh, to suffer and die and to be raised and exalted again, having completed his saving mission. You can't talk about God the Father here without talking about what he has done in and through his Son. The Son glorifies the Father, and the Father, in turn, glorifies the Son. That's how it goes.

What has God the Father done in and through his Son? Peter gets there in this sermon by working his way out, starting with the man who was on everybody's mind, that man Jesus of Nazareth--you know, the one who had been killed there in Jerusalem, crucified, in fact, just a couple of months earlier. It was a well-known case that had been the buzz of the city at the time. Yet Peter says there was more going on there than his listeners had realized: "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. . . ."

So Jesus' works, the works that he did during his public ministry--things like healing the sick, casting out demons, feeding the multitudes--these mighty works and wonders and signs attested to the fact that Jesus came from God, that God was working through him, that Jesus was operating with divine power and approval, to bring God's mercy and help to people in distress. Jesus' ministry of bestowing unmistakably divine blessings upon people pointed to his identity as a man come from God.

Even so, what happened? "This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men." Peter is saying: You guys blew it! You should have known better. Instead of welcoming him and believing in him, as you should have done--instead, you guys rejected Jesus and, more than that, had him killed, put to death, in a most shameful, outrageous manner: crucified, like a common criminal.

But Peter is also saying: This all happened according to God's plan. Don't think that this was just some tragic error or that you were in charge of those events. You may have had your reasons for having Jesus put to death, but God had reasons of his own. And so God the Father used your hatred and rejection of Jesus for his own purposes, to achieve something very great, something that required the death of God's own Son. This happened, Peter says, "according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God."

Dear friends, what was that great purpose of God, that required the death of his own beloved Son? It was your salvation, my friends, your forgiveness. For you had blown it, too. Oh, maybe you weren't there in Jerusalem, participating in the handing over of Jesus to be crucified. But it was because of you that Jesus had to suffer and die. For it took the death of God's own Son, the shedding of his holy blood, his innocent suffering and death, to be the atoning sacrifice for your sins. You sins separated you from God, and there was nothing you could do to get back to him, to make up for your sinful nature that leads you into all sorts of specific sins. This was too much for you to deal with. Only God could fix your problem. That's why God sent his Son in the flesh, so that he could die as your perfect substitute, thus serving the full punishment for all sinners--all of them, in all times and places, including you here today. Christ's sacrificial death purchased your full and free forgiveness.

The proof of that then showed up in Christ's resurrection. "God raised him up," Peter says, for it was not possible for the divine Son of God to be held by death. And God the Father approved so much of what his Son had done by dying for the sins of the world that he raised up Jesus, raising him from the dead on Easter Day.

That brings us to the verse we started with here a few moments ago: "This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses." The apostolic band there in Jerusalem had seen Jesus raised from the dead, on Easter Day and then over the forty days until he was taken up into heaven at his ascension. This was all part of the Father glorifying, exalting, his Son, in divine approval of Christ accomplishing the mission he set out to do when he came to earth from heaven, as a man.

Here we are getting to the great mystery of the person of Christ, how he is true God and true man in one person, the eternal Son of God from eternity, and now, from his incarnation on, also true man, who lived and died and rose again and ascended into heaven and is seated the right hand of God the Father. That's who this Jesus is. There's a lot more going on with this man than you may have realized, Peter is saying.

Listen to what he says. Peter goes on to say that Christ's ascension into heaven fulfills the ancient psalm of David, wherein the Lord God of Israel says to David's Lord, the Messiah: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool." This Jesus, exalted to God's right hand, now is ruling and governing all things with divine, royal authority. That's what it means to be seated at God's right hand, to exercise that authority. And Christ is victorious over all of his enemies--sin, death, the devil, hell, all defeated and conquered by the mighty Lord Jesus Christ. All that remains is for the final outcome of that victory to become apparent at the Last Day. That's when God will raise up you, dear Christian, all of you who believe in Christ as your Savior--you will share in Christ's victory over death and the grave, the victory he so graciously shares with you, when you too are raised from the dead unto life everlasting. Christ has defeated your enemies for you! What wonderful news this is!

"Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." Yes, this is the exaltation of Jesus, the God-man Savior, that Peter is preaching here. And it is only according to the fact that God's Son came in the flesh, with a fully human nature, that we can talk about the Father "making" him Lord, exalting him to his right hand of power and authority. For the Son of God had all that power and authority and glory from eternity, as the Second Person of the Trinity. Christ didn't need to be "given" anything or "made" anything, in that sense. But according to his human nature, yes, Jesus is declared to be Lord and Christ and is exalted and seated at the right hand of God.

Now we said that this was a very Trinitarian Pentecost, and we have spoken at length about the Father and the Son, but we haven't said much yet about the Spirit. So let's do that now. "Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he [Jesus] has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing." You see, it all ties together. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The exalted Son receives from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, and then he bestows the Spirit upon his church. That's what happened at Pentecost, and it continues to this day. Jesus gives the Spirit to his church to empower her preaching of the gospel, bringing salvation to untold millions of people around the world, from the day of Pentecost up until this day, and till the day of Christ's return. The Holy Trinity is doing something, actively rescuing sinners, giving us salvation, by bringing us the saving gospel. You yourself are among those recipients. By faith we receive the good news, in joy. By the Spirit's working we believe in our Savior Jesus and so share in his victory. And by that same faith we now have and now a loving heavenly Father. It's all good!

Yes, this Holy Trinity Sunday is a day for us to celebrate all that the triune God has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us, as Peter so rightly declared on that very Trinitarian Pentecost. You know a God, the triune God, in whom you can have complete confidence, in whom your salvation rests secure. And so now we can say with David the psalmist--and with Jesus our Messiah--these wonderful words of praise: "Therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. . . . You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence."

Malankara World Trinity and Pentecost Supplements
The concept of Trinity is difficult to understand; but it is the cornerstone of Christian Faith. Malankara World has an infocenter specifically devoted to Trinity. You can find it here:

You can also learn more about Pentecost, Holy Spirit and the Birthday of the Church in our Pentecost Infocenter.


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