“What have you done for me lately?” That may be a question you have heard or with which you are familiar. Some people may ask that of their supposed friends. Employers may wonder that about an employee. Politicians and negotiators may wonder that of allies with whom they are negotiating. People, Christians, may even ask that of God. Yet, consider our Triune God and His ongoing work in our lives.
The Trinity works together for our good. This is the case in the completed work of the Triune God. The whole Trinity worked in unison in the creation of the world, the entire universe and everything in it including you and me. The Triune God also accomplished the plan of salvation by sending Jesus to earth to die to redeem us. The Triune God has accomplished the work of regeneration by forgiving our sins and giving us faith in the rebirth in Baptism.
But again, that work of God is all completed. Does the Triune God continue to do things for us in the present time and in our lives? Thanks be to God, He certainly does. All Three Persons of the Trinity are actively at work in the ongoing work of the Trinity in our daily lives.
God the Father did not finish the work of creation in six regular days and then decide in essence, “Not only am I going to rest on the seventh day, but I’m finished. They’re on their own now. My work here is done.” No, God the Father continues His work of watching over, caring for, and providing for His entire creation in His work of preservation. In the words of The Creed itself, we confess the completed work of creation. Maybe that is why Dr. Martin Luther in his (explanation) What Does This Mean? uses significantly more words to describe God’s ongoing work of preservation: “…[and] that He richly and daily provides me with…” and Luther goes on to specifically list the many blessings by which the Lord preserves us. The ELS Small Catechism titles chapter sixteen “God’s Providence” in referring to God’s preservation. Another aspect of God’s care for us is “that He protects us from all danger, guards and keeps us from all evil.” We know we deserve none of this loving care and protection, so we echo Luther in saying, “and all this purely out of Fatherly, Divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.” (emphasis added)
God the Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, completed everything necessary for our salvation as He cried out from the cross, “It Is Finished,” completing the work of redemption, thereby conquering sin, death, and the Devil. But Jesus then did not ascend to His rightful place at the right hand of God in heaven and stop caring for us or stop working on our behalf. No, He continues to forgive our many sins and acts as our Advocate to God in His ongoing work of mediation. Of course, our High Priest—Liaison, Jesus, is able to do this as He is the One who became one of us and experienced everything that we do.
Finally, God the Holy Spirit is continually at work in our lives in His work of sanctification, literally “making (us) holy” by working faith in us and strengthening that faith. We know and must confess, “We cannot by our own reason or strength believe… but that the Holy Spirit has called us by the Gospel, enlightened us with His gifts, sanctified and kept us in the true faith.”
For all this ongoing work of our loving Triune God, “We are duty bound to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.”
Reverend Andrew Burmeister
Our Savior Lutheran Church