Tagged: Trinity

Trinitarian facets of salvation

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

Stated simply, salvation is God’s remedy for the sin that has ruined everything and alienated everyone from Him. The Lord reveals this remedy as soon as Adam and Eve rebel against Him. 

God promises a future Redeemer who crushes the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15). Then, He provides additional promises throughout the Old Testament, granting us more than four hundred prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowings of the Messiah, a King who comes as a virgin-born child in Bethlehem.

This child, Jesus of Nazareth, bursts onto the scene at just the right time (Gal. 4:4). He lives a sinless life and dies on a Roman cross, taking upon Himself our sins and paying the penalty of death for them (2 Cor. 5:21). Then, He rises physically from the dead on the third day, conquering Satan, sin, and death, and freely offering forgiveness of sins and everlasting life by grace through faith in Him. Before ascending into heaven, He promises to return one day to fulfill all things – that is, to complete His work of salvation and to set everything right (Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; John 14:1-3). 

For followers of Jesus, salvation is experienced as an everlasting, unbreakable relationship with Him. It has both temporal and eternal benefits. Consider, for example, that we are foreknownelected, and predestined in eternity past. Put another way, we are saved before time began. 

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Trinitarian praise for our salvation

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

Since the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute one divine being – one God – the work of salvation is shared among the members of the Trinity. No single member delivers all the elements of salvation, but together they accomplish all the work that produces redemption. 

Ephesians 1:3-14 is a good illustration of a Trinitarian expression of praise. In verses 3-6, Paul praises the Father for choosing us. In verses 7-12, he exalts Jesus for dying for us. And in verses 13-14, he honors the Spirit for sealing us. Let’s look more closely:

Ephesians 1:3-6 – “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.”

Whatever your views on the doctrine of divine election, it’s indisputable that the Father plays a vital role in our salvation. Specifically, He grants us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm. He chooses us in Christ in eternity past, so that we are reckoned as blameless before Him, just as Jesus is blameless. And He predestines us to be His adopted children through the finished work of Christ. 

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The Trinity and Salvation

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is our Savior. He is the promised “seed” of woman who crushes the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15). He is the Suffering Servant who bears our griefs and carries our sorrows (Isa. 52:13 – 53:12). He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). 

Further, Jesus comes to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6); the bread of life (John 6:51); the door (John 10:9); the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep (John 10:11); the resurrection and the life (John 11:25); and much more. 

Jesus came into this world to die – to give His life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28). Jesus is, indeed, our great God and Savior (Titus 2:13). 

A cursory reading of Scripture reveals God’s plan to redeem sinful and fallen people through the sacrificial and substitutionary death of Jesus of Nazareth. He truly is our Savior, and salvation is found in no one else (Acts 4:11-12). 

And yet, as in the Trinity’s work of creation, no single member of the Godhead acts alone. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all play important, complementary roles in saving us from sin and restoring us to a right relationship with God.

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The Holy Spirit as creator

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

If the Bible reveals the Father and Son as co-creators of everything, what role does the Holy Spirit play? Is He an instrument of creation – an impersonal force like the noonday sun hardening clay, or wind stirring up waves on the water? 

To the contrary, from the first chapter of Genesis onward, we see the Spirit as a personal, almighty person who puts His shoulder into the work of creation along with the Father and the Son.

Genesis 1:2 declares, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” 

The word translated “hovering” means brooding, as a bird hatching her eggs. It is the same word used in Deuteronomy 32:11, where Moses declares that Yahweh “watches over his nest like an eagle and hovers over his young; he spreads his wings, catches him, and carries him on his feathers.” 

As one commentary puts it, “The immediate agency of the Spirit, by working on the dead and discordant elements, combined, arranged, and ripened them into a state adapted for being the scene of a new creation.” 

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Jesus, the firstborn over all creation

This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” published by the MBC’s High Street Press (visit highstreet.press).

In the last column, we explored John 1:1-3 in our quest to understand Jesus’ role as the creator of all things. Now, let’s consider two additional passages.

Colossians 1:15-17 – “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.”

Those who seek to reduce Jesus to a created being argue that Paul refers to Jesus as the image of the invisible God, not God Himself. But this fails to recognize that Jesus and the Father are distinct divine persons. Further, no mere creature can serve as the true image of the invisible God. 

Humans are created to be image bearers of God, reflecting His character and attributes, but we are not divine. Only Jesus, who shares the eternal glory of the Father, can truly reveal Him in human flesh (John 17:5). 

Then, some contend that Jesus, as the “firstborn over all creation,” is the first of God’s created beings. Jehovah’s Witnesses are the primary promoters of this view today. 

But while the Greek prototokos (firstborn) can refer to the first person born into a family, it often signifies a position of supremacy. For example, Jesus is the “firstborn among many brothers and sisters,” the model of all saints bound for glory (Rom. 8:29). 

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