Jun 10, 2011

Trinitarian Salvation

Ephesians 2:18

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18).

Because of our emphasis on personal faith, repentance, and the need for all people to have a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ, we evangelicals tend to stress the person and work of God the Son in our thinking and preaching. Certainly this emphasis is good and proper, but if we are not careful, we may forget that biblical faith is a Trinitarian faith. The Creator God whom we serve is a triune being, one in essence and three in person, and this confession sets Christianity apart from all other religions. With the saints of all ages we rightly sing the Gloria Patri: “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen.”

We witness the essential role the triune God plays in our Christian faith in that salvation is a work of the entire Trinity and not the Son of God alone. Although Scripture reveals the Trinity throughout its pages, we see in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians a distinct emphasis on the work of salvation wrought by the triune Creator. Jesus, we have seen, secures peace between God and His people, and between Christians and their brothers and sisters in Christ (Eph. 2:11–17); still, He does not work alone, but His ministry is effectual because the Father and the Holy Spirit work alongside Him. Today’s passage helps us understand how this is so. Through Christ Jesus, we have access in one Spirit to the Father. We are born into this world as orphans in relation to God, as far away from Him as we could ever be (v. 12; see also Rom. 3:23). By grace alone, our Father decided not to leave all people in this helpless condition but chose to save some. Christ atoned for their sin on Calvary, and His Holy Spirit works in the hearts of His elect to guarantee that they will trust in the Messiah. In so doing, He fulfills God’s ancient promise to bless all nations through the patriarch Abraham’s seed (Gen. 12:1–3).

There is no way to eternal fellowship with the Almighty except through the work of salvation effected by the triune God. All believers are united to Christ by the one Spirit, making us one with each other and ensuring that our adoption as sons and daughters will be consummated as we enjoy a glorified existence in the new heavens and earth (Rom. 8:18–30; Rev. 21).

Coram Deo

Adherents of other religions confess belief in one God, but orthodox Christianity alone affirms the existence of one God who exists eternally as three persons who all share the same essence. The love shared between the three persons of the Trinity guarantees God’s love for us, not because we are deserving but because He has graciously chosen to glorify Himself in His triune existence through the salvation of sinners.

For Further Study