2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
On the memorial day weekend, when so much is focused on what those who served did for the country - it is perhaps good for us to remember that the first memorial day was not about anything we did, but it was about what God had done in bringing his people out of Egypt, and as great as that was - it only pointed to something greater - and that was what God had done for us in Christ - who as the last great Passover sacrifice, by his death and resurrection made peace for us with God. And ever Sunday, when Christians gather, we remember how the blood of Jesus has washed away all our sins, and has given us everlasting life.
The great difference between the Christian religion can be summarized this way, in every other religion the focus is on what we do for God, with the hope that if we do enough, we can find peace. In the Christian religion the focus is on what God has done for us to bring us peace by grace through faith in Christ, and to keep us in that peace though the gift of the Holy Spirit, who creates faith and sustains faith.
This Sunday we celebrate a great mystery, for while we all believe in one true God, we also confess that there are 3 distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We may not be able to understand how 3 persons can be one God, that is in part why it is a mystery - because that's the way it is, whether we can understand it or not. Sometimes we look at the Trinity in terms of the 3 great works. So we speak of the Father and how he has created and still sustains all things. We speak of the Son, who by his death and resurrection, has redeemed us from sin death and the devil, forgiven us our sins, and opened for us the gates of heaven. And we speak of the Holy Spirit who creates faith, opens our minds to understand the scriptures, and keeps and sustains the church.
Our text however looks at the Trinity is yet another way, for our text speaks of how we experience the Trinity. Our experience of the Trinity is Christ centered. What does the text say? The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ - it all begins with grace, that is, the gift of God which is ours in Christ. What is this gift of God - certainly it is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that are ours in Christ through his death for our sins - but there is much, much more - for it is in Christ that the rest of the Trinity is revealed to us. That is why we spend so much time on Christ, because not only did he come to show us the way of salvation - but to reveal to us the person and nature of the one true God in 3 persons. For Jesus tells us again and again, that he did not come on his own, but that he was sent by the Father.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God - what we have learned from our Savior, in not about an angry God, or a vengeful God, but the God who so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. These days, it seems many have a hard time loving even themselves, and it is hard to imagine how God could love us, or why God should love us - but we don't need to understand this either, for we are not saved by understanding, but we are saved by grace through faith.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. - and if we have a hard time loving ourselves, how incredible that God could want to be with us…