Love is a Person
In our sermon text for today, Ephesians 4, Paul exhorts us to “bear with one another in love” and later to “speak the truth in love.” St. Augustine spoke of the Trinity, describing the Son as united to the Father in the person of the Holy Spirit. In his description, the Holy Spirit was the personified love of the Father and the Son. If something like this is true, then it is the Spirit of God who makes the Son and the Father more truly who they are as each gives glory to each other. The Son gives himself to the will of the Father and gives Him glory through the Spirit, and the Father begets and glorifies the Son in the power of the Spirit. The Spirit is the bond of love between the Father and the Son. If this is the case, then when we are called to “bear with one another in love” or to “speak the truth in love” this means that our “bearing” and our “speaking” to be most faithfully Trinitarian must seek to give glory and honor to the other. It’s not good enough to just clench your teeth and hope for the best. It’s not good enough to go on lambasting your brother even with good intentions in your heart.
We begin our services of worship in the Name of the Father, Son and Spirit. You will notice that we do not begin in the “names” but rather in the one Name. All who have been baptized into this one Name have an obligation to show forth the Love of the Trinity in their actions and words to one another and to those outside the faith. The Reformed world is plagued with schism and suspicion, envy and spite for brothers within our own communions and denominations, and often even with the rest of Christendom. Hearty disagreement is acceptable; genuine difference can even be glorious; but the bitterness and anger which characterizes many disputes is tantamount to a Trinitarian heresy. Do you dare speak to your brother that way? Do you dare speak to your wife that way? Have you spoken about your husband in ways that lie about the Love of the Spirit? Have you dishonored your parents in such a way as to deny the Trinity? We serve the Triune God: the Father, and the Son who dwells together in the unity and love of the Holy Spirit. Therefore love one another.