Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Trinity in Unity"

We recited the Athanasian Creed last Sunday (Trinity Sunday). I know it is long, but I think we should recite it more. It encompasses the identity of God as well as the mystery of three Persons in one God. The part that stuck out most to me this past Sunday is the text that says, quite bluntly, "Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly." This is clear profession of what the other creeds do not explicitly say, but is implicit. This warning goes back to 1 John 4 (NKJV):

1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

The test to determine if a spirit (or thought or creed or anything else) is from God is to determine if it holds that Christ is the Son of God come in the Flesh (incarnate). Explicit here is the warning that failure to hold Christ in proper orientation with God is evil. The Athanasian Creed holds likewise, and also provides a similar warning. This is why it is important to guard against the devil, the world and the flesh. This is especially true in "safe haven" such as a church body. Why should we be so cautious? Because warnings like 1 John instruct that is both wise and prudent. The Athanasian Creed brings that to remembrance, which makes it something we should often review and ponder.

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