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Graphic of II Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV with quilting drawings.

Graphic: Martha G. Brady

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Don’t you love the great themes we find in these benedictions? Blessing, hope, love and encourage. These themes don’t wear me out at all! Another thing I am noticing is they often mention the work of the Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. This one doesn’t specifically mention the Holy Spirit. But if the Father is present as well as the Son, Jesus, we know the Spirit is also there.

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,

encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  

II Thessalonians 2:16-17 ESV

Splitting up the Trinity can make for some artificial concepts that can border on being false.

I was recently reminded in a Sunday School class that it can be easy to think we have the Trinity all figured out. We think we know what each Person in the Trinity does, but then we read a passage that blows our whole concept, like here and here and we realize we don’t really get it at all. It is a total and complete mystery. In the end, that is a really good thing for us. We’re trying to understand something about who God is, but we are finite and He is infinite.

This was going to be the third of the linked passages. The first section is somewhat parenthetical to show who the “He” is in the second section. I know you don’t want to take my word for it. Here it is talking about Jesus’ total involvement in Creation. Yet as you look at the Genesis link above and the John link above, the only way you can find Jesus there is as the Word, speaking Creation into existence. Wow!

The mystery of all of it is that when you have one of them, you have them all. When Jesus was here on earth, the fulness of God was here. Even though His disciples didn’t have the Holy Spirit as they did after He left, they definitely had the Holy Spirit present when they were with Jesus…and probably at other times too.

But I will move on. This isn’t a post on the Trinity. It is a reminder that each of these Benedictions come with a powerful blessing. When God is present with us, He is fully present. Each one promises the Father, Son and Spirit in some way. It is also a reminder that we do ourselves a disservice when we try to separate them too much. thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and
transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—
all things were created through him and for him.

Colossians 1:12-16 ESV

Understanding how He can be three Persons, yet one God is mind-blowing. It is good that He isn’t bound by the ways we try to box Him in and separate Him out into three separate parts that are never meant to be totally separate. Yes, it’s a bit of a ramble, but not a far enough ramble to distract you from the grandness of God, I hope.

This infinite, complex God loves and encourages us. It is difficult to imagine that He should care…but He has shown us over and over that He does.

And yet…He loves us, undeserving as we are. He has graciously loved us and encouraged us. That will continue through eternity as well as hope and blessing. He wants to encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good deed and word along the way. Often, that work is done by the Holy Spirit as He prompts us along the way to do what is good and right. He also reminds us of truth from His Word. But this benediction reminds us that it isn’t limited to only the Holy Spirit. All three are involved in this process. It is part of the mystery. What hope!

Change Point:

  • In what ways do you find it encouraging that all three members of the Trinity are involved in blessing your life in the ways we talk about each week? Specifically, this week, that they are each involved in loving you, encouraging you, strengthening you to do good?
  • Write out some specific ways that bring you hope and encouragement in some specific areas of your life. Then find a way to share it with someone to encourage them.