By Pastor Mike Gudka, St. Paul United Methodist Church
In this series of articles for the month of July, I am going to explore some of the basics of Christianity. These concepts form the foundation of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Some of these concepts will be easy to grasp, some more difficult, and some might even challenge what you believe. So enjoy these articles and feel free to visit me at St. Paul United Methodist Church if you have any questions, or even if you disagree. I would enjoy the conversation.
Let’s start first with the understanding of the Triune God. We believe in one God, made up of three eternally distinct Persons. And these three Persons include the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three Persons are in such a perfect relationship with each other, that they are one God. Now I know this is hard to comprehend. So let me share with you the best analogy that I have found, and even this one falls a little short. I want you to think about a chair. As you look at the chair, you quickly realize that it is only one chair. But you will also notice that in order for the chair to exist, it must have three dimensions: height, width, and length. Without one of these dimensions, the chair does not exist in a three-dimensional world. And we never confuse height, with width, with length. These are three distinctly different measurements that together, make up one chair. The same is true for God. There is only one God AND there are three eternally distinct Persons that make up that one God. And you cannot have the one God without all three Persons. I hope this analogy helps with understanding our Triune God.
But here is where my simple chair analogy does not work so well. Because of the perfect relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; when you meet one of the Persons of the Trinity, you will at the same time have met all three. And this is part of the mystery of God. So don’t worry if we as finite people cannot fully comprehend God. After all He is eternal, omniscient, and omnipresent. So if someone comes to you and says they can answer all of your questions about God, my advice would be not to listen to them. Anyone who thinks that they can fully comprehend an infinite God is probably worshiping a false god. But here is the great news. How long do you think it will take a finite person to learn everything about an infinite God? The answer of course is it will take an eternity. And for those who believe in Christ, that is exactly how long God is going to give us. Pretty cool, huh?
Ok, now for a trick question. Is there anything that God cannot do? And the answer is, “Yes!” God cannot do evil. God cannot lie. God cannot break His promises. The very essence of God is truth, love, goodness, and commitment. He can see all things past, present, and future and when He makes a promise, He knows that He will fulfill it. I would encourage you to think about what it means to follow a God that can only do good things? Can only love?And only wants the best for you? Giving ourselves completely over to the Triune God is a wonderful experience.
The last aspect about God that I want to discuss is His eternal existence. There has never been a time when God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit did not exist. And there will never be a time when they don’t exist. Many people get confused and believe that since the Son, or Jesus, was born over 2,000 years ago, that He must not have existed before that time. But this is not the case. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are eternal; with no beginning or end. So God sees time very differently than we do. After all, God made time. God stands outside of time. And God is the first cause. In other words, God existed before anything and it was God that started the ball of creation rolling along. Everything that happens has to have a first cause. It has to have something that started it. God is the first cause of everything.
Next week I am going to explore one of the Persons of the Trinity; Jesus the Christ. So between now and then, my hopes and prayers are that you have an incredible week as you contemplate just how much this good God loves you and wants the best for you. I hope it brings a smile.