And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:18-20).
In his very helpful book, Father, Son, and Spirit, Bruce Ware writes:
Many Christian people will one day stand before the Lord aware as never before that they spent too little time getting to know the depth and the wonder of who God really is—including his revelation of himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the one God over all (p. 16). Dr. Ware goes on to say that “the doctrine of the Trinity is both central and necessary for the Christian faith to be what it is. Remove the Trinity, and the whole Christian faith disintegrates (p. 16).”
Growing up, I thought of the Trinity as a necessary, but relatively inconsequential doctrine. I knew it was important but wasn’t quite sure why. “God in three persons, blessed Trinity,” was about as far as I got in my thinking. Because it was incomprehensible I assigned it to the category of things I’d understand better after I died.
While I have no doubt I’ll understand everything more clearly when I see the Lord, my attitude towards the doctrine of the Trinity has changed significantly in recent years. I want to know the God I worship. The fact that we can’t know God completely doesn’t mean we can’t know him truly in ways He has revealed Himself to us.
In his high priestly prayer, Jesus stated that eternal life is knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent (Jn. 17:3). The very nature of our faith involves knowing that God is one way and not another. He is one God, but three persons. This isn’t a man-conceived doctrine but emerges from the life and worship of the New Testament and the early church. We worship the Father, Son, and Spirit Who exist fully, completely, equally, and simultaneously as the one true God.
One of the passages this emerges from is Ephesians 5:18-20, referenced above. Our singing to God is a result of being filled with the Spirit of God. But we sing in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, as though He Himself were singing through us. But as He sings through us, we find that we are also singing TO Him – “Making melody in your heart to the Lord.” And all this is done with gratefulness in our hearts to the Father. We see here that worship is a gift to us before it is a response. God – as Father, Son, and Spirit – initiates, fills, enables, and receives our songs of praise and thanksgiving, allowing us to enter into the joy of the Godhead that has existed from all eternity.
How often we think of singing God’s praise as a chore, or a duty, or a responsibility, or something that we need to work ourselves up for. Everything changes when we see it as God’s gracious gift of Himself to us. How can we not take advantage of this amazing privilege by singing often, singing loud, and singing long for the glory of the triune God?
For a reader-friendly introduction to the Trinity I highly recommend Dr. Ware’s book. It can be purchased here.