God’s Dramatic Action

God wants to make himself known to us as he is within himself. And he shows us who he is through an unfolding drama. That means we don’t try to grasp who God is by trying to get our heads around abstract ideas about the Perfect Being. We focus on what God does within his unfolding Drama. As we are attentive to God’s personal and dynamic action, we see something of who he is within his own inner life.

Dramatically, the Father sent his own Son as the lowly servant. The Son came in deep humility making himself nothing as he served his Father in the power of the Spirit even to death on the cross. And as he did so, he was always the Father’s delight, his beloved Son with whom he is well pleased. In the lowly Son, God reconciled the alienated world to himself. And having accomplished this reconciliation through his Son God brings it to completion in us by His Spirit. So now, through the Son and by the Spirit we enjoy real togetherness with our Father.

Dramatically, the Father raised Jesus exalting him as the Son of God in power. As exalted Son, Jesus received from the Father the promised Spirit pouring out that same Spirit on us so that we might participate in the drama. We don’t look at the drama as an audience merely to be entertained. No! We actually take part in the drama. The Spirit brings us inside the Triune Life so that we share in the Son’s relationship with his Father in the Spirit and become real players in the ongoing drama as partners with God in mission.

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Participating in the Triune Drama

The Triune God is a communion of joyful love. Within this communion there is a purpose that the three share in together. The purpose is to include others within the communion. The three want others to share in the joyful communication within the communion of love. This purpose is worked out in a great drama that reaches its goal in the new creation with God and humanity together in God’s new world.

We don’t just look at the unfolding drama like an audience at the theatre.  No! The Triune God of the drama brings us into the drama for the sake of communion.  He wants us to enjoy ongoing communion with him within the drama.

This begins for us as the Living Word speaks to us personally through the drama portrayed in the written word. As the Living Word speaks to us, we respond with the Yes of faith. This is itself drama. Your experience of it may not have felt so dramatic, but the communication that brought you to faith was dramatic. And it was part of the ongoing Triune Drama today. In this way, we participate in the great drama of Father, Son and Spirit.

But this is only the start. The Living Word continues to encounter us personally today through the drama portrayed in the written word. As we indwell the drama, the Living Word shows us more and more of the Triune God himself so that we might grow in our communion with him. This ongoing encounter with the Living Word is a big part of the ongoing drama.

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Triune Communication

Within Scripture we see the unfolding Triune Drama. In this drama, the Father moves into action reconciling and restoring the world through his Son and by his Spirit. The three are always moving together in dramatic speech and action to accomplish their shared mission.

As we indwell the drama, we meet God as three persons – Father, Son and Spirit. These three relate to one another as a communion of love. And as this communion of love they relate to humanity. Only through this drama do we know anything at all about God as Triune Communion. Left to our own thinking about God, we could only project philosophical ideas about “the most perfect being” infinite, eternal, and unchanging. But within the biblical drama God opens himself in Jesus as Triune Communion – Three persons who mutually indwell each other in self-giving love.

As we indwell the drama, we also meet the triune communion in communication. Through the drama, God communicates with us, but before we move in that direction, we must highlight God communicating within himself as Triune communion. The Father communicates with his Son out of his love for the Son. He communicates with his Son in joy and delight as they move together in mission. The Son communicates with his Father out of his love. He too communicates with his Father in joy and delight as he serves his Father in mission. And both Father and Son communicate with one another in the communication of the Spirit. The God of the drama is not the God of eternal stillness and silence; he is the communion of dynamic and personal communication within himself.

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The Triune Creator

God created all things through his Son and by his Spirit. He did so simply because he wanted to out of the overflow of his own fullness. The Triune Communion did not have to make us. There was no pressure from the outside saying he really ought to create something else. And, there wasn’t something lacking in God that meant he needed to create. He is in need of nothing beyond himself. It would be wrong to say God created because he was lonely, unfulfilled, bored or under compulsion. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and therefore each person within the Triune Communion is always with and for and in another. So, within the Triune Communion, there is complete self-sufficiency. He made us and all things simply because he wanted to out of the fullness of his own inner communion of joyful love. Within the happy home of Trinity, God desired to create with the purpose of making creatures that would be included within his happy communion.

The Triune communion is able to go on forever with fullness of joy and pleasure. But out of his fullness and in celebration of his fullness he created all things. As T. F. Torrance says, “…God is not solitary, for as Father Son and Holy Spirit he is an eternal communion of love and personal being in himself… Far from grudging the creation into existence and reality beyond himself, God freely brought it into being out of his sheer liberality, in order to lavish his love upon it.”

We respond to all this first by praising the Creator himself who is worthy of our praise. And in this praise, we feel his pleasure.

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The Love God Wants

Father and Son love one another deeply in the love of the Spirit. So God does not need to move beyond himself to love and be loved. He is THE fullness of love within his own Triune life. Nevertheless, the God who loves us out of his own fullness of love wants to be loved by us in return. Just as he does not need to love us, he does not need to be loved by us. But that is what He wants. As our one and only true Lord, he wants our exclusive love. However, the love that God wants from us is the love that he works in us by his Spirit.

The indwelling Spirit does not create within us a love that arises out of fear. While true love includes fear of God as reverence and respect, it excludes fear as sheer dread. Terror may have once been a force which drove us to obey. But obedience freely expressed is our joyful response of love as those who are loved. And such love is worked in us by the Spirit.

Furthermore, the indwelling Spirit does not fix our attention on the gifts of God as rewards for loving him. True love to God in the Spirit is focused fully on God himself as the one we love. And this love is expressed in the desire that his will should be done. We are drawn into the circle of God’s love in Jesus by his Spirit. And within this circle of love, we respond joyfully and freely with willing obedience.

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Resting in God’s Communal Love

God wants to be with us personally. He also wants us to be with him personally. He wants communion with us. And whatever God wants he gives himself to freely and fully so that he might have what he wants. We might say that he gives himself to us with what looks like reckless abandon. But it isn’t the reckless act that arises out of folly, but rather the free expression of abounding love.

God wants a large family that shares in the communion of Father and Son in the Spirit. Beyond this, there can be no greater good. There is no greater good outside of this communion that we still have to discover. There is no greater good within this communion that is even better than sharing in the Son’s relationship with his Father.
In loving us into this communion God does not give us something greater than himself. He gives himself and in giving us himself he gives us everything.

There is nothing more that we need for true life because this communion is true life. Sadly, we do strive after other things in order to live life to the full. And so we become restless. Nevertheless, the God who is love turns us back to himself so that we might find rest in his communal love. And we really do find deep rest in this love, for the love of God has only to be HIS love to be everything for us. And as we learn to rest in his love we enjoy the life for which we were created.

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God Loves us Freely

In the Jesus story we see the Father loving his Son in the Spirit. We also see the Son loving his Father in the Spirit. Jesus reveals God to us as a Triune communion of love. Furthermore, when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we see the love that God is within himself moving towards us desiring communion with us.

God does not have to do this. There is nothing lacking in God that makes him say, we really must add to our circle of love. The more the merrier, lets expand the communion. No! There is nothing lacking within the circle of love that God is within himself. The communion of Father and Son in the Spirit is a fullness of shared life and love. He doesn’t have to move towards us seeking communion with us in order to fulfil himself. On the contrary, rather than lacking anything, the communion of Father and Son in the Spirit is so full that it simply overflows towards us.

Furthermore there is no obligation on God that drives him towards us in love. He doesn’t express his love to us because he ought to do so. God is not under a law that obligates him to go out of himself to include us within his own communal life and love. No, the overflow of love comes from within himself. He is an infinite fountain of self-giving love that overflows from the inner depths of who the Triune God is. God loves us freely. And he loves us this way simply because he IS love.

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Returning God’s Love

As God gives himself to us in love he wants our love in response. But can we ever return God’s love out of ourselves. We are always turned in on ourselves if left to ourselves. It is impossible for us to return God’s love.

However, God doesn’t give himself to us in Christ and say there’s, my love for you now you must respond to that love out of yourselves. No! In union with Jesus, he takes us into his own Triune communion of love. And within that communion of love we share in the two-way movement of love. God’s love moves towards us from the Father through the Son and in the Spirit. Our love for God moves in the Spirit through the Son to the Father. The Spirit loves both Father and Son and our love arises from the Spirit’s life and love within us. It is our love expressed from our own hearts with our own will, but it is our love that moves from the life and love of the Spirit.

Looking honestly at our own love, we have to admit that we seem far away from all this. Even our best efforts to love are stained with self-interest. However, in union with Jesus, our love is offered to the Father THROUGH Jesus. And so, even though our love in the Spirit is lacking, the perfect love is always offered to the Father in our name through Jesus. We take seriously the call to love God in the Spirit, but we do not despair over our own lack of love. For Jesus offers his perfect love to the Father as our love.

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Sharing in the Triune Communion

The God who is love gives himself to us seeking fellowship with us. He wants to be ours and he wants us to be his. But we mustn’t think that this fellowship as a “something” that God wants us to enjoy. No. In joyful love, God gives HIMSELF to us. He opens himself to us and in opening himself to us he shares his own life with us – the life of love in communion. Thomas Torrance writes, “God has opened himself to us…and established an intimate two-way relation between himself and us and us and himself, making himself accessible to us and giving us entry into the inner fellowship of God’s own life”

The living God is not a solitary being. From all eternity he has lived in relationship. We even say that he has lived as relationship. At the centre of the universe is not cosmic power or force. No, at the centre of the universe is relationship. From all eternity the living God has been a communion of three persons mutually indwelling one another. Furthermore, from all eternity the three have wanted to include us within their own communion of joyful love. And now they have actually drawn us into their own circle of love.

I have to say this communion is the very reason for my existence and for yours and for every other person who lives or has ever lived on this planet. God always wanted a large family like his Son who would share with him in the communal life of God. And that is where we now belong.

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Joy Meets Joy

The God’s of grace seeks and finds us through Jesus by the Spirit. We respond in joyful faith as those who are found. And God is also joyful in finding us because his love has reached its goal. His joy meets our joy and our joy meets his joy. And as we go on finding the God who finds us, we taste afresh his joyful love in ever new ways.

The God of Grace does not allow us any boastful self-righteousness. We are to boast only in him. In living encounter with the God of Grace we see clearly that all is of God and we are called to simply trust in him. As Karl Barth says, “The God of Grace demands of us that we trust only in his grace, and live only by his grace — and by his grace really live”. Who among those engaged in religious self-effort ever rejoiced in this message of free grace?

As we rejoice in free grace, we are no longer driven by guilt, but rather drawn by grace into joyful living for God. We have been found by the joyful God and our joy in being found moves us evermore towards God as the living centre of our lives. We want to please him by aiming to do his will in all areas of life. And we gladly acknowledge his Lordship over us as we continually find the One who continually finds us. That is true freedom!

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