TRINITY: Faith Is Our Fortress by Corwin C. Roach

Faith Is Our Fortress by Corwin C. Roach

From In Spirit and In Truth

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; we beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.

The original form of the Trinity Collect which was retained until 1662 prayed “that through the steadfastness of this faith, we may evermore be defended from all adversity.”  Our present form separates this clause into two.  We pray that we may be kept steadfast in the Faith and that God may defend us.  Although most commentators criticize the change, there is an important truth in each of the two texts.

In the first place, our faith is not something that we have chanced upon ourselves.  It is the gift of God.  He has granted us the grace which enables us to acknowledge his glory and to worship him aright.  That was manifested in Jesus Christ.  He revealed to men the love of the Heavenly Father and he has sent to them the Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth who will teach his disciples all things.

The doctrine of the Trinity is not something abstract and theoretical; it springs out of the act of worship and begins with the person of Christ whose victorious life and death have been the theme of the first half of the church year now concluding.  So Saint Paul teaches us in his prayer with which Morning and Evening Prayer end: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all everymore.”  We need to repeat this prayer very often.  It is easy to water down the Faith to the point where God becomes either an absentee landowner, or, on the other hand, a well-intentioned but ineffective fumbler in the stuff of life.  The doctrine of the Trinity is the antidote to our lopsided theologies.  We worship an imminent God whose glory fills the Earth.  At the same time, he is a transcendent being of power and majesty.

In the midst of the temptation to worship something less than the Christian God, comes the petition of our Collect, “keep us stedfast.”  The reason for that prayer comes out in the older text of the Collect.  It is by our steadfastness in this faith that we may be saved.  So Isaiah counseled the Jews in the day of crisis (Isaiah 7:7).  Our faithfulness and our faith will be our fortress.  We are reminded also of Habakkuk 2:4.

Contrary to the popular slogan, it does make a difference what you believe.  The Christian will be defended from all adversities as he believes in the doctrine of the Trinity and lives by it.  It is because men have followed lesser deities that the world is as it is today.  The same God who created us will deliver us from the evil of our wrong choices and will give us the strength to lead better lives in the future.  This is the three-fold activity of God as the Catechism indicates.  No man can understand completely the mystery of God’s infinite Being, but every man can live by the light which God has given him.  To him who walks steadfastly with God, that light will increase; there will come glory and power sufficient for his need.

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