In the last section of Lesson 11 we worked through the reality of belovedness. In our text, Isaiah 5:1, we see it mentioned in triplet between the prophet and his God, Yahweh. We want to see this as more than a short introduction or more than a brief opener which means we do not want to move too swiftly past it to miss its DNA. In other words, the belovedness is not merely a thread of affectional joy woven between the prophet and his God. This belovedness is in the DNA of Divine Revelation. It is a thread that weaves it way all through Scripture. Belovedness is in the DNA of what it means to be human, in the DNA of what it means to be God.
In this section we are looking at grace and how the Song of the Vineyard displays grace. This grace is rooted in the belovedness we just looked at. These are not just abstract ideas. They are practical and very real for living. However, we need to take time to look into these Scriptural concepts so we can later move into wise application. We should not rush into application.
Trevin Wax, editor of the ‘Gospel Centered’ teaching series said recently that “rushing to application is a sign that we are bored with the Bible.” Actually, it is very valuable to think deeply about the reality of the Christian found in Scripture. Have you ever been doing something good or right and found yourself pondering why it is that we do this? Then, you realize that the reasons you can come up with seem superficial or at least seem superficial because there is more you should know, but you do not.
Again, so our thots are grounded in the text we want to carry with us the idea of belovedness in the Song of Vineyard as well as in its introduction. Not only is this disposition of affectional joy evident
between the prophet and his God. It is abundantly evident in how his God, Yahweh, sets up the relationship with the vineyard. In a word this relationship is in its full intention gratuitous. Gratuitous.
Notice the several things that Yahweh does to provide an advantageous start and life for the vine. Make a list of all the ways he does this. It is indeed generous and it is gratuitous in its generosity. It is as others have noted, extravagant. This is the essence of grace.
What is grace? We have heard the acrostic, Gods Riches At Christ’s Expense, used to describe or define. This is helpful, but only to a point. It places grounding of the idea of grace in an event in history. This is ok, but still insufficient. On the other hand what I am interested in is how the reality of grace is rooted in God himself.
This where the Doctrine of the Trinity shines. Some theologians and preachers have been reluctant to go deeper into the Doctrine of the Trinity. We have heard reasons that sound like it being too difficult or that it’s a doctrine for more experienced Christians or that it isn’t really explicit in the Bible. Although he was not an Evangelical by any means it is interesting that the famed theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher placed the Doctrine of the Trinity in the appendix of his systematic theology.
The Doctrine of the Trinity belongs at the front and it should even be seen as the welcome sign to further investigate the Christian faith. The Doctrine of the Trinity is so rich and beautiful it is not only a first order truth (rather than a second order or third order truth). It is the Core of Reality in, out, up, down, forward and all around. Here is a bold statement: There is no reality without the Trinity of God. There would be no Universe with the Trinity of God.
The god of the philosophers is a dead god. The god of Intelligent Design is a dead god. The god of Einstein is dead. The God of the Bible, Yahweh, is real because he is in relation to himself. Remember we said earlier that belovedness is what it means to be human and what is means to be God?
There is no better example of this belovedness than in the Trinity of God in eternity before time, before the world existed. You see it does matter than this reality been understood by us as rooted in God rather than in superficial sayings or easily digested quips. Here is profound that will enflame your joy in whatever you are doing – this belovedness is the self-giving of the Father to the Son, the Son to the Father and the
Spirit to the Father and the Son. You see grace is rooted in who God is eternally within himself before any world existed. Because the three Persons see themselves as beloved by one another in Yahweh’s unique being they have a gift-giving desire toward one another and with one another and thus from themselves to any others outside the Godhead. Grace is ground in God’s very Being, not just in events in history. John Zizioulas titled ‘Being As Communion’ develops this truth. He anchors the idea of “being” in the tri-personal fellowship of the Godhead. In other words, you can only know who you are thru others who know you.
Notice how at the Baptism of Jesus and at the Transfiguration (Matt 3:17 and Matt 17:5) we are given a glimpse of the eternal belovedness that exists in the Trinity without respect to time and place or any world. We see here the Father giving himself to the Son and the Son giving himself to the Father and the Spirit to the Father and Son with such ease and pleasantness it does indeed seem other worldly. That it is. But it does not remain otherworldly. The triune community of God, Yahweh, freely extends this belovedness to his creature, thus making us redeemable when we are not redeemable.
Notice next what happens between the Baptism and the Transfiguration. In Matt 12:17 the Gospel writer draws a straight line from Jesus to the eternal divine intentionality of Yahweh and his Sovereign Servant. This is full of meaning, but for our purposes on the subject of grace we see that in the Incarnation the Sovereign Servant brings the very presence of that belovedness into our midst. Notice also that this belovedness is linked with divine pleasure (see Jonathan Edwards on this point). “In whom I am well-pleased” the KJV reads. Literally the word in Greek, eudokeo, means “to be well thought of” which is no doubt an eternal state of enjoyment in the Trinity.
So grace is not something which God conjured when man rebelled at the Fall. Grace comes out of God’s perfect state of affectional joy within himself. Grace is the practiced life of Father, Son, Spirit. No other religion or faith so called has this. No other concept of God is so conspicuously related to reality both to organic matter and to the personal in humans. We are because God is relational, tri-personal. Thus, grace, God’s gift-giving desire, is his infinite belovedness extended beyond his transcendent Self to other selves. The Trinity is a fellowship of Persons vivifying each other and so in Christ we are brought into that belovedness (see Eph 1:6, Col 1:13) a life grace in which we too keep extending it to others.
“Our spiritual maturity will never exceed our knowledge of the Bible.”