Trifecta/Trilemma

Lexington, Kentucky, my geographic home area, is affectionately referred to as ‘The Horse Capital of the World’. The scenic farms and magnificent thoroughbred horses are common sights. The vernacular in the area is peppered with terms related to horse racing. One such term is ‘trifecta’. A trifecta is a parimutuel bet placed on a horse race in which the bettor must predict which horses will finish first, second, and third, in the exact order. That’s a long shot!

In the theological realm, the arena of my thought life, there is a similar term – ‘trilemma’. The term originates with C. S. Lewis, an intellectual giant of the twentieth century. The trilemma is an apologetic argument traditionally used to argue for the divinity of Jesus by postulating that He was either “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord”.

When confronted with the words of Jesus, a person must decide who they think Jesus really is. Scripture states, “For as he (a person) thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Deep down in your heart, who do you think Jesus is? Was Jesus telling the truth when He said:

  • I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51) As bread sustains physical life, so Christ offers and sustains spiritual life.
  • I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) To a world lost in darkness, Christ offers Himself as a guide.
  • I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7-9) Jesus protects His followers as shepherds protect their flocks from predators.
  • I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Death is not the final word for those in Christ.
  • I am the good shepherd.” (John 10:11-14) Jesus is committed to caring and watching over those who are His.
  • I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the source of all truth and knowledge about God.
  • I am the true vine.” (John 15:1-5) By attached ourselves to Christ, we enable His life to flow in and through us. Then we cannot help but bear fruit that will honor the Father.

We can’t just pay lip service to these incredible claims of Jesus. We are faced with a trilemma. Isaac Watts’ words in the hymn “When I Survey The Wonderous Cross” give expression to what our response should be, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21, NIV). If we profess Jesus is Lord and then affirm our profession by doing God’s will, we will enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s a sure bet!

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)

~ Brother Roy

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