God our Father always delighted in His Son, and the Son always delighted in His Father. The two delighted in one another in the delight of the Spirit. And the Father created us so that we might share in the delight of Father and Son in union with the Son by the Spirit. Our Father desired a beautiful creation filled with the delight of Father and Son in the Spirit.
We humans rejected the Father’s loving intention for us, but He persisted. He sent his Son to become one of us so that in union with the Son, by the Spirit, we might be included in the Father’s love for the Son. And the Father delights in our inclusion loving us just as He loves His unique Son, Jesus.
The Father’s Son desired to serve His Father in this way because he too delights in our inclusion. For just as the Father delights to include us in His love for the Son, the Son delights to include us in his love for the Father. The Father’s Son always wants to share with us the same love he has ever shared with His Father.
We sometimes speak about receiving Christ into our lives. But the good news is that the Father’s Son receives us into his life that we might share in the delight of Father and Son in the Spirit. With Christ we now delight in the Father’s pleasure in the Son and the Son’s pleasure in his Father as the Spirit opens their happiness to us. And we delight in the gladness of Father and Son towards us as we participate in their love in the communion of Spirit.
Did God create us because he was lonely, unfulfilled, bored or under compulsion? Or did God make us and all things simply because He wanted to out of the overflowing fullness of His own inner life?
Well, our God is a triune communion of love. An eternal circle of love in which there is fullness of joy in the happy relationships of the three. And in celebration of their shared fullness there was overflow in creating all things. For within the happy triune circle there was a free desire to create those who would be included within the contented communion of love and joy.
But humanity chose to reject this gift going the way of independence. We wanted to live our own way apart from God. But the triune communion did not give up on their purpose. Together they said we love them so much that we refuse to exist without them. We will go after them and bring them back into the fellowship that we enjoy together.
The triune One did not have to restore us. There was no external necessity imposed on Him. He did not restore us to rescue himself from sadness over our plight. He did not restore us to rescue himself from some lack within himself. No! God restored us to communion with Himself out of his own fullness. The fullness of love and joy within the triune Communion overflowed in coming after us to restore us to the eternal purpose of communion within the triune circle of love. It was all an expression of freedom out of fullness.
Our God is three persons mutually indwelling one another in other-centred love. Within this communion of three persons, there is one purpose born out of the self-giving love of the three. And the three persons move indivisibly as One to achieve this single purpose.
What is the One purpose shared by the three? We can state the purpose in a single word-inclusion. The three want to extend the communion of love to include us. They are fully satisfied within the Triune communion. They do not need to move beyond themselves in order to gain fullness. Nevertheless, they do not want to live within themselves and for themselves. They rather want to open up the Triune circle to include others.
Together the three decided that the Father’s Son would become human so that in union with him we might be included in the Triune Communion of love. And all things were created through Christ and for Christ so that in Christ we humans might share in the Son’s love relationship with the Father in the Spirit. Yes, the One purpose arising out of the Triune communion, before time, is our adoption into the Son’s relationship with the Father so that in the Spirit we might participate in the Triune Communion of love.
If we want to understand who we are and why we are here, then we must begin with the One purpose of the Three. This single purpose holds the answer to the “why” of creation, the “why” of your life and mine.
When we say God is Love we may focus first on God’s love towards us. But should we not rather focus first on God as love within himself? Our God is love because He is three persons in love relationship. In the gospel story we see the Presence of the One God in the dynamic and loving action of the three towards us but also towards one another. The Father loves the Son and always gives Himself to the Son in the Spirit. The Son loves the Father and always gives Himself to the Father in the Spirit.
God’s action among us in Christ is the profound demonstration of the love that He is within Himself. He does not act in love towards us because He needs someone to love. He acts freely out of the fullness of love that He is within himself. We must not, therefore, even suggest that God created the world so that He might have others to love, or that the Father sent the Son to redeem us so that He might once again have others to love.
In the gospel story we do see the One God moving together in self-giving love towards us. But they do so as three persons moving dynamically out of the self-giving love they are within their own Triune life. There has always been within God a movement of love between three persons. Each of the three is always with the others and towards the others and for the others in mutual self-giving. We are glad to see God as love towards us, but what God is towards us flows out of the Love He is within himself. All three persons give themselves freely and fully to us as the overflow of their self-giving love within themselves.
“The glory of God is a human being fully alive.”
Irenaeus of Lyon
The Father’s Son united himself to us by becoming fully human. The Spirit of the Father’s Son joins us to the Son so that we are in him as he is in us. We are one with Christ and he is one with us. We are so very deeply one with Jesus that we are never to think of ourselves as isolated from him in any way. Martin Luther says,
“by faith you are so cemented to Christ He and you are as one person, which cannot be separated but remains attached to Him forever and declares: ‘I am as Christ.’ And Christ, in turn says, ‘I am that sinner who is attached to Me, and I to him’”.
In this living union, we are not deified, as if our humanity were now mixed or intermingled with Christ’s deity. No, in union with Jesus, we remain fully human with our humanity lifted up into the life of God and filled with the life of God.
In union with Jesus, we are actually more authentically human because we become the humans God always intended us to be. God always wanted to be in relationship with others who would be united to Him sharing in his own life. And so, as we live in union with God in Christ by the Spirit, we become more authentically human. We become the humans that He intended all along. Humans in union with the human fully alive in God, with God, to God and for God.