Daily Devotionals: (March 13th) Patrick’s God

by Aaron Dunlop

Patrick of Ireland: A Devotional History

Reading: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Titus 3:4–6

For the first three hundred years of the New Testament church the doctrine of the Trinity was the subject of much debate as the church grappled with a definition. The biblical doctrine was finally affirmed in A.D. 325 at the Council of Nicaea. Patrick, writing his Confession (sec. 4) around 450, gives us his thoughts on the work of the three persons of the Trinity.

Of God the Father he says, “For there is no other God, nor ever was before nor will be hereafter except for God the Father, unbegotten, without beginning, from whom all beginning, possessing all things, as we have learned.”

Of Christ he says, “Jesus Christ, whom we declare to have existed always with the Father, before the beginning of the world spiritually with the Father, begotten ineffably before all beginning; and by Him were made things visible and invisible; He was made man; He conquered death and was received up into heaven to the Father; and He gave Him all power over every name of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, that every tongue should confess to Him that Jesus Christ is Lord and God; in whom we believe, and we look to His imminent coming, as judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each one according to his deeds.”

Of the Holy Spirit he says, “He poured out on us abundantly His Holy Spirit, the gift and pledge of immortality, who makes those who believe and obey to be sons of God and heirs along with Christ; Him we confess and worship as one God in the Trinity of sacred name.”

What incomprehensible love, that this God, so far above us is Immanuel—God with us—in order to save us from sin. Awe and respect is not enough for this God; there must be love and worship so that we can say with the psalmist, “This God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death” (Psalm 48:14).

“Bring me a worm that can comprehend a man, and then I will show you a man that can comprehend the triune God.”—John Wesley

All quotations from the Confession or Letter of Patrick are taken from the edition by A. B. E. Hood, 1978.

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