How to Understand

Click for desktop background

Painting by Philippe de Champagne

Daily Reformation, John 3:1-17

From the Reformer

Now, although this article seem strange or foolish, what matters it? `Tis not the question whether it be so or no, but whether it be grounded on God’s Word or no. If it be God’s Word, as most surely it is, then let us make no doubt thereof; He will not lie; therefore, let us keep close to God’s Word, and not dispute how Father, Son, and Holy Ghost can be one God; for we, as poor wretches, cannot know how it is that we laugh; or how with our eyes, we can see a high mountain ten miles off; or how it is, that when we sleep, in body we are dead, and yet live. This small knowledge we cannot attain unto; no, though we took to our help the advice and art of all the wise in the world, we are not able to know the least things which concern ourselves; and yet we would climb up with our human wit and wisdom, and presume to comprehend what God is in his incomprehensible majesty.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk, “Of Idolatry”

Pulling It Together

In terms of limited human comprehension, the doctrine of the Trinity is and will remain a mystery. We cannot understand how it can be that God is One God and yet three persons. This doctrine requires faith. Imagine that! God gives us something of himself to believe by faith alone. Do not require of him that you understand it first. Believe! Surely, many kick against the goads and say, “I will not believe unless you first prove it to me.” They might never be enlightened with that attitude. Again the admonition of Augustine sheds some insight to those who have ears to hear: “Do not demand understanding so that you might believe; believe so that you can understand!”

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

Leave a Reply