And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16–17)
God’s nature was revealed at Christ’s baptism. Jesus rose up from the waters of the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, and a Voice bellowed from heaven, referring to the baptized as His own beloved Son. What was once shrouded in divine mystery is made manifest; now, at long last, God is seen for who He really is. And so we find that there is much more to Him than we could ever really fathom.
Indeed, the God who is revealed in Scripture and in Jesus Christ is the triune God. There is only one God, Deuteronomy 6:4 says: “The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” And yet this one God is three Persons: “…in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). How this is true we can’t fully explain, but the Bible calls upon us to believe it nonetheless—and so, by faith, we do. However, we must be careful not to believe it as a mere propositional truth, devoid of any real significance for how we live and worship.
You see, as God’s triune nature is revealed, its powerful significance for our lives comes to the fore. The New Testament speaks often of believers being “in Christ” (e.g. Rom. 12:5 or Eph. 1:3). By this, we understand ourselves to have been united with Christ in a way that is most intimate. And as a result of that intimate union, we receive two life-changing blessings that were on glorious display when our Lord was baptized—the blessings of identity and power.
What God says of Jesus, He says of those who are in Christ. Notice, therefore, what He says: “You are my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” He didn’t say, “This man can heal lepers,” nor did He say, “He can cast out demons.” Certainly, Jesus was able to heal lepers and cast out demons, but these things, powerful though they were, could not possibly be the source of His identity. No, His identity was based solely upon His beloved-ness as God’s Son.
Before anything else can be said of us, we too must see ourselves in light of what God says about us. Of us, He doesn’t say, “Look at this businessman with his professional accomplishments,” nor does He say, “See how great this mother is; her children are so well behaved.” While we tend to identify ourselves by these sorts of things, God identifies us in Christ. We are His beloved children with whom He is well pleased: “…it shall be said to them, ‘children of the living God'” (Hos. 1:10). This new identity frees us to live in the Holy Spirit’s power.
At His baptism, Jesus was anointed by the Spirit with power to do the Father’s will. In Him, we can partake of that same power, for we have received that same Spirit. Thus we too are anointed to do the Father’s will, not as the world’s Messiah of course, but in our callings as parents, spouses, employees, friends, church members, and neighbors. God has given you a specific calling, and with every calling there is an anointing available, which you must receive by faith on the basis of your identity in Christ.
With this, I encourage you to remember two things as we gather to worship our triune God this Sunday: (1) God wants to affirm your identity as you worship in His presence, and (2) He wants to anoint you to do His will. In these two things, we find the significance of God’s triune nature for our lives. As Father, Son, and Spirit He provides everything you need to live and worship as His beloved. Let’s not settle for anything less. Instead, by His grace, let’s apply ourselves to living in the fullness of the blessings we have received in Christ.
Set List for Sunday, September 30, 2018:
Good Good Father (P. Barrett, A. Brown)
Man Of Sorrows (B. Ligertwood, M. Crocker)
Yes And Amen (T. Brown, C. McClarney, N. Moore)
This I Believe (The Creed) (M. Crocker, B. Fielding)
More Like Jesus (B. Ligertwood, S. Ligertwood, K. Stanfill, B. Younker)