38. God is relational

38. God is relational

Many people, even those who have been to church for a while, have difficulty understanding the concept of “Trinity”. It is understandable because the biblical concept of God who exists in three distinct persons (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) while being one in nature, character, and power sounds too mystical.

It is true that Trinity is mystery we cannot fully understand but what we really need to know is simply this: God exists in “community”. God is not a lone ranger who lives by himself; God exists in perfect harmony with other members of Trinity, in perfect love, honoring one another in humility. This idea of relational God is what is unique to Christianity, not found in other religions.

There were various reasons why Jesus was crucified but one of them was that Jesus called God “my Father” and claimed to the Jews that he and the Father were one. Jews believed (even today) that there was only one God (based on Deuteronomy 6) so obviously, they were infuriated by the idea of “multiple” persons of God that Jesus was implying. But who was more “loving”: Jesus or other Jews? What we believe about God does impact the way we live out our Christian life.

We are helplessly relational in our being because we are created in God’s image who is deeply relational. This is why nothing we do become satisfying if the relationship is not involved. For example, eating alone can still be pleasurable but the same meal shared with others gives incomparable pleasure and satisfaction. Praying alone can be meaningful but praying together with others feels so much more dynamic and divine.

However, western version of Christianity that emphasized too much on individual salvation and personal faith has produced many isolated Christians who are disengaged in their church communities. Isolated Christians tend to be doctrinal, arrogant and judgemental. Thanks to many Christian movements that tried to revive the communal aspect of Christianity, many people are beginning to understand the importance of relationship in Christian life.

Listen to what the writer of the Book of Hebrews says: “And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works, not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24–25 CSB) According to this verse, spiritually mature people are not only diligent in “gathering together” with others but also in promoting others to do the same. It is because they sincerely believed God is relational and communal in his nature.

Our church doesn’t have that many programs because we pour our energy in gathering together with each other in house church, both adults, and youth. House church is not just a fellowship meeting. It embodies who God really is and it is where we learn to live out Christian life together. It is not a coincidence that it is hard to find those who struggle in their faith while being deeply engaged in their house church. When someone seems to be losing faith, it is not difficult to notice their disconnection from the community as the primary reason.