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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
“Trinity in Unity”

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John 14:6–13

From the Confessions: The Athanasian Creed

Now this is the catholic faith: we worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.

Pulling It Together

The faith of the whole Church is based in whom we believe. We cannot know what to believe until we know who commands our belief. It stands to reason that we will never follow Jesus until we know it is Jesus whom we follow. Jesus said, “whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do” (John 14:12). This is the catholic faith, that we know Christ, and in knowing him, know the Father who sent him (John 14:7), and the Spirit whom they sent. All right doctrine springs from this, so it is essential to correct faith that we rightly understand the Trinity of God.

We do not worship the Father alone, for in worshiping him, we also glorify the Son and the Holy Spirit. We do not worship only Christ or Spirit, for the one is of the other—even though they are distinct from one another. They are different Persons but the same substance—the same Godness. Jesus is the same form (Phil 2:6) of being as the Father and the Spirit. He is the exact likeness of God (Col 1:15). Each Person of the Trinity is the one, pre-existent God. They cannot be separated in their Godness, their God-essence, though we know them in their Persons.

The more one tries to explain the mystery of the Trinity, the more dangerous the explanations can become. The conciseness of the Athanasian Creed is therefore very helpful. We confess God as the Trinity of One. Though three Persons, God is the same substance or essence or divine form of being. 

Prayer: Help us believe in the one who, without your grace, is beyond believing. Lord, help us believe in you. Amen. 

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