Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Trinitarian Blessing

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

~2 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSV)

“Trinity is the Christian name for God.”

~Karl Barth

There is always far more to the mystery of God, as revealed by the Holy Scriptures, than we can beforehand tell; this is never more known than by a freshened reading of a long-acquainted text, one we thought we knew back to front, yet God thrusts a new idea regarding those very same words to the forefront of our thinking.

Think, for instance, of John 3:16—we’ve all heard that spouted hundreds if not thousands of times. Do we believe God can show us something new in those 27 holy words?

The Word of God operates many levels above our understanding—much like the fact of the salvation our Trinitarian God designed for us in love, gave us in grace, and continues to empower for us with fellowship.

The love of the Father, the grace of Jesus, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit; these three, in divine unity, compel upon us a salvation never fully understood, but all the more ever full in its reality.

Let us break down the beneficence of the Trinitarian blessing:

The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ

What might seem inordinate is the placing of Jesus before the Father, both by the Apostle Paul’s concluding benediction to the Corinthians and by this structure herein.

On the subject of salvation, the central licence of the gospel, the Lord Jesus was seen to cause the effect of something so personally, yet universally, wonderful—a word much understated.

Such knowledge is astounding:

Jesus hung on a shameful cross – for you and me, sinlessness for sin, for all eternity – is perfect, unalterable grace.

This grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, in sum, was the igniter of salvation—an eternal fact, and an event of eternal significance like no other—that vouchsafes our reconciliation into the steadfast love (hesed) of the Father.

The Love of God the Father

In and through the realm of time the Lord God is separated from all supposed deity by the fact of the covenant love (hesed) offered, originally Israel, but now to all humanity.

Not only is this God—Creator of heaven and earth—the consummate living Lord, by a Spirit given, which we shall soon cover, but this God surpasses mere need of doctrine—requiting the way to live life—that other religions major on. This God is love, and turns the entire world by love, and judges it by no other rule but love. When we reject love, we not only reject God, we reject life itself. And there is no sense in that.

This God of ours—the God of all humankind—is set apart by love. The Father Heart of God requires not simply detachment-toward-peace but investment in relationship—with God, others, and finally ourselves. There is neither simpler nor grander means to the meaning of life.

This love of God, in sum, underpins divine motive for salvation, eternally. It has sought to bless us with no better blessing than the matchless gift of fellowship with the Spirit of God.

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

What would life be without the Person of the Holy Spirit impelling our lives forward?

We can but wonder, pre-salvation. This fact alone compels acts of evangelism. Life without the fellowship of the Spirit is correspondingly void.

It is truly a wondrous concept that this Presence of God is not just the power for grace, love, and the capacity to live the saved life, but He is everything of God given in full quantity to each saved person. We have fellowship, and one without comparison, with the Spirit of God; an intimacy forever untapped.

In practical terms, and we don’t think this way, or at least I don’t very often, we are wedded more so to God—an eternal fact—than we could ever be wedded to another human being. The oneness in such a betrothal cannot, at a human level, be comprehended; yet we are blessed to simply marvel at it!

This fellowship with the Holy Spirit, in sum, underwrites life in a marriage covenant of salvation that can, now, never be broken.


Trinity is the name of our God—Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Trinitarian blessing is the fullness of knowing all Three-in-One: the grace of the Son; the love of the Father; and the intimate fellowship of the Holy Spirit. By One we are known; by Three we are saved.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: Gordon D. Fee, Listening to the Spirit in the Text (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000), pp. 24-32.

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