Trinitarian Missions

November 9, 2011

Calling, Mission, Purpose, The Trinity


Understanding the Trinity is foundational for Christian mission. The basis for all mission inevitably originates in, and flows from the triune God himself. 1 John 4:8 states that God is love. It doesn’t say that God loves, though He does, or that God is loving, though He is. John doesn’t refer to the love of God as a mere action. Instead he refers to the love of God as an aspect of His being. God is the fullness of love and since God is immutable, He has always existed as such. The triune nature of God is what makes this possible. If God did not always exist as Trinity then He would have become love instead of always being love. C.S. Lewis articulates this well.

“All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love.’ But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.”

It is out of His eternally existent love that God’s mission of restoration flows. It is His nature. I love the way that Jonathan Edwards illustrates the natural overflow of God’s love into saving mission. “It is no defect in a fountain that it is prone to overflow.” God does not reach out to humanity from a place of relational need. His mission is the natural outflow of the overabundance of perfect love already found in the Divine Community. It is His joy to cause His creation to share in His love. This is the origin and impetus behind all Christian mission. Each Person of the Trinity is intimately involved in God’s mission.

The Father, in love, creates the world and then sends the Son to restore His fallen creation to Himself. The Son redeems creation through His perfect life, substitutionary death, and resurrection. The Holy Spirit is then sent by the Son, proceeding from the Father, to convict the world of sin, sanctify the Church, and empower the Christian for the continuation of God’s mission. Though each Person of the Trinity is missionally minded their mission is acted out in humility, always placing the focus on the other Divine Persons. The Father tells humanity to listen to the Son. In Acts Jesus tells the disciples that it is better that He leaves so that the Holy Spirit can come. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the glory of Christ, who then directs our gaze back to the Father. Within the Trinity there is a constant deferring of one to another, with no one Person seeking glory but instead, in love and honor, each gives glory to the others. Self-sacrificial, loving mission defines the life of God. Therefore, to being on mission is to self sacrificially be involved in the life of God.

A correct understanding of inter-Trinitarian relationship informs the way we do mission. Mission becomes the natural outflow of intimacy with God. It is a joining in the life of God, defined by a “partnering with” instead of a “doing for.” We begin to look for what God is already doing instead of what we believe He should be doing. In the same way that the Godhead is self-deferential so we too become others centered, reaching out in love to welcome people into the Divine Community that we have become a part of. Mission ceases to be about the plight of humanity or the commands of scripture and instead becomes an active participation in the outflow of the Father’s heart.

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About Brandon Cantello

Husband to Nicole, Lover of God, Dependent on the Spirit, Passion for His Church. My name is Brandon. I love Jesus. For more visit My Blog

View all posts by Brandon Cantello

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