I am currently reading Donald McKim's new book, Daily Devotions with Herman Bavinck: Believing and Growing in Christian Faith (P&R Publishing, 2023). Here's an excerpt, from day #6...
The Heart and Core of Our Confession
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:19)
BASIC TO CHRISTIAN faith is our belief in God as the divine Trinity. We confess one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in one God in three persons. The Trinity is three distinct persons in the one divine being.
This belief emerged in the early Christian centuries. On the basis of the Old and New Testaments and consideration of the overall witness of the Scriptures, the church affirmed its faith in the triune God: God as three persons in unity. In the familiar Apostles' Creed, we confess that we believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as the three persons of the one God. The Trinity revealed to us is identical with the Trinity that is the very nature of God. We trust this God; we surrender ourselves to this God. This is the God of our life and our salvation. The church baptizes Christians in the triune name (Matt. 28:16-20).
Bavinck maintained that "the Article of Faith of the Holy Trinity is the heart and core of our confession, the distinguishing mark of the Christian religion, the [praise] and the consolation of all true Christ-believers." The doctrine of the Trinity is not abstract theological speculation. The Holy Trinity is the living God who is to be worshiped, adored, and served. The triune God is with us throughout our lives-in all situations-saving us, helping us, and bringing us comfort and hope. The three persons of the Trinity can be known; their work in the world, the church, and our lives can be recognized. God's presence with us--as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-is the deepest reality we know, in life and in death.
"Thus," wrote Bavinck, "the confession of the Trinity is the core and the main element of the entire Christian religion. Without it, neither creation, nor redemption, nor sanctification can be purely maintained." We cannot explain everything about the Trinity. But we can worship the triune God who is revealed as our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. We praise "God in three persons, blessed Trinity"!
Reflection Point: Think of the three persons of the Trinity and what Scripture says about each of them. Contemplate the ways you are aware of the work of the Trinity in the world, the church, and your own life.
The Divine Trinity
The church confesses... [that] God is above the world, distinct from it in essence, and yet with his whole being in it at the present time and nowhere, in no point of space and for no moment of time separated from it. He is both distant and near-highly exalted and at the same time deeply ingrained in all his creatures. He is our Creator, who, distinct from his being, brought us forth by his will. He is our Redeemer, who saves us, not by our works but by the riches of his grace. He is our Sanctifier, who dwells in us as in his temple. As a triune God, he is a God above and for and in us. (Herman Bavinck)