One of the most discussed and misunderstood passages in the New Testament is found in Matthew 28:18-20, where Lord Jesus shares with His Apostles what is known since ancient times as the “baptismal formula” for disciplic initiation.

Most Christians describe the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity with the language found in the classical hymn known as the doxology, which concludes by saying: “God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.”

A deeper analysis of this language (in comparison with the Bible and the Nicene Creed) will show that what we often describe as The Trinity- is actually describing four, rather than three persons.

I confess that the doctrine of “The God above all ascriptions” (a personality beyond Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is one that I have wrestled with for years due to the faulty language that we commonly use in order to describe the Holy Trinity. Of course, my studies of Hinduism and Sikhism has helped me to realize that the idea of a personality that transcends the Trinity to be foreign to the teachings of Lord Jesus.

In the literal sense, the New Testament refers to The Father as “God,” the Son as “Only Begotten” from the Father, and the Holy Spirit as “proceeding” from Him.

In other words, there’s no “fourth leg”  in the Trinity- just Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And while the personalities of Lord Jesus and The Holy Spirit are “God” in essence, only the Father is “God Proper.” (see John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; et al.)

BUT- that isn’t really the message that Lord Jesus is conveying in Matthew 28:18-20.

The purpose of what is known as “The Great Commission” is not so that we can study the Holy Trinity from an outside perspective, like scientists analyzing bacteria in a tube.

Jesus’ baptismal formula is given so that the new disciples can come into the realization of their new relationship with the Divine FROM WITHIN! An outside perception of the Trinity misses the point of why the Lord shares with us this mystery! Unfortunately most Systematic Theologies and Homilies fall into this error.

The point of the most holy doctrine is so that we can meditate upon the mystery of how in the resurrected Christ, a separated and spiritually dead humanity has been brought into the divine “community” of God!

From an incarnational point of view, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity also teaches us that if Christ is God incarnate- and we have been “immersed” into him, that while remaining separate soul-consciences, we are “One” with God as we share the “One Name” (Acts 5:41; 1 Peter 4:14, 16; James 2:7).

When we are immersed into “The Name” of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit, we are being immersed into God’s unutterable essence, which transcends all ascriptions, descriptions, analyses and formulations.

The main reason for this is because God is LOVE. Although the “fruits” or “evidences” of LOVE can be recognized, the essence of LOVE cannot truly be described with human or angelic words, or even comprehended by limited minds. LOVE can only be experienced.

The DIVINE LOVE we call “God”- can only be experienced within the “Koinonia” or “Fellowship” of the Divine Nature or essence of His unutterable Name.

The point of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is not an analysis of God (that is futile), but an analysis of our place and experience from within the Divine. That you are part of God’s inner family- and that you dwell in His heart, just as He dwells in yours! — jcr