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The Holy Trinity — A Gospel Doctrine
“There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7)
All three Persons in the Godhead are equally gracious. This is one of the many great Gospel truths the Holy Spirit shows us in the first chapter of Ephesians. As the three Persons of the eternal Godhead are equal in Divinity, but distinct in personality, so all three of the Divine Persons are equal in grace, but distinct in the operations of grace.
God the Father – The Fountain of Grace
God the Father is set before us as the Fountain of all grace (Ephesians 1:3-6). It was God the Father who, in the covenant of grace, proposed redemption, devised the plan, and chose the people he would save by his almighty grace. He found a way whereby his banished ones could be brought back to him and never expelled from his presence. Then, “in the fulness of time,” he sent his Son to be the Medium or Mediator of grace to his chosen (Galatians 4:4-6).
God the Son — The Channel of Grace
God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Channel of all grace (Ephesians 1:7-12). All grace comes to sinners through Christ the Mediator. In that first chapter of Ephesians, Paul tells us fourteen times that everything God requires of sinners, does for sinners, and gives to sinners is in Christ. Apart from Christ there is no grace! God will not deal with man, but by Christ. Man cannot deal with God, but by Christ. Christ is the Revelation of God, the incarnation of God, and the only way to God.
Are we chosen of God? We are chosen in Christ. Are we blessed of God? We are blessed in Christ. Are we predestinated by God? We are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ. Are we adopted as the children of God? We are adopted in Christ. Are we accepted of God? We are accepted in Christ. Are we redeemed by God? We are redeemed in Christ. Are we forgiven by God? We are forgiven in Christ. Are we justified before God? We are justified in Christ. Are we sanctified by God? We are sanctified in Christ. Do we know God? We know him in Christ. Do we have an inheritance from God? We have it in Christ. Are we called of God? We are called in Christ.
Do you see this? All grace comes to chosen sinners through Christ. There is no other way the grace of God can reach a sinner. Let no rejecter of God’s Son imagine that he shall be the beneficiary of God’s grace. It is the work of Christ upon the cross which has brought grace and justice together in the salvation of sinners. It is through his blood, only through the blood of the cross that “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10). Blissfully lost in the contemplation of God’s matchless grace in Christ, John Bunyan penned the following rapturous words…
“O thou Son of the Blessed! Grace stripped thee of thy glory. Grace brought thee down from heaven. Grace made thee bear such burdens of sin, such burdens of curse as are unspeakable. Grace was in thy heart. Grace came bubbling up from thy bleeding side. Grace was in thy tears. Grace was in thy prayers. Grace streamed from thy thorn-crowned brow! Grace came forth with the nails that pierced thee, with the thorns that pricked thee! Oh, here are unsearchable riches of grace! Grace to make sinners happy! Grace to make angels wonder! Grace to make devils astonished!”
God the Spirit — The Administrator of Grace
The Fountain of all grace is God the Father. The medium of all grace is God the Son. And God the Holy Spirit is the Administrator of all grace (Ephesians 1:13-14). It is God the Holy Spirit who effectually applies the blood of Christ to chosen, redeemed sinners. He regenerates the dead by omnipotent power (John 6:63). He calls the redeemed with irresistible grace (Psalms 65:4; 110:3; John 16:8-11). He gives faith to the chosen by almighty operations of grace (Ephesians 2:1-9; Colossians 2:12). He seals God’s elect unto everlasting glory.
Redemption was effectually accomplished for God’s elect by Christ at Calvary; and it is effectually applied to all the redeemed by God the Holy Spirit in effectual calling (Hebrews 9:12-14). Without the sovereign, gracious operations of God the Holy Spirit in conversion no sinner would ever become the beneficiary of grace. He takes the things of Christ and shows them to his people. He quickens those the Father chose, reclaims those the Son redeemed, and leads to the Good Shepherd every one of those lost sheep for whom the Good Shepherd laid down his life (John 10:11). “He,” as C. D. Cole wrote, “conquers the stoutest hearts and cleanses the foulest spiritual leper. He opens the sin-blinded eyes and unstops the sin-closed ears. The blessed Holy Spirit reveals the grace of the Father and applies the grace of the Son.”
The Whole Being of God
All three Persons in the Godhead are equally gracious; and all three must be equally praised. In fact, whenever the three Persons of the Holy Trinity are presented together in the Scriptures, it is always in connection with redemption, grace, and salvation. I have not found an exception.
Sometimes God the Father is presented alone, as when he stood upon Mt. Sinai, clothed with thunder and lightning, delivering the law to Moses. So terrible was his presence that the very mountain shook in the prospect of God’s awesome judgment (Exodus 20:18).
Sometimes God the Son appears alone, as when he appears in his glorious second advent. Then men and women who have despised and rejected him will cry for the mountains to fall upon them and pray in terror that they might be saved from “the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:16).
When God the Holy Spirit is represented alone, the consequences are the same. Those who blaspheme him, committing that sin which can never be forgiven, are reserved as reprobates unto everlasting judgment (Matthew 12:31-32). Whenever one Person in the Trinity is presented alone, the result is judgment.
However, when all three of the Divine Persons are set before us together, the consequence is always mercy, grace, redemption, and salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14; Revelation 1:4-6). In other words, — The whole Being of God, in all his attributes, in all his glory, in the Trinity of his Persons, is set for the everlasting salvation of his elect (Jeremiah 32:41; Romans 8:28-32).