God is Our Salvation – The Triune Work of God in Soteriology
Salvation is about coming into a relationship with God. It is about knowing God personally as your Lord and Savior. God is a being of triune relationships. He is a community of persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The triune work of God in our salvation is about coming to know God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Coming to Know God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
It was upon the Incarnation, in which the Eternal Son of God exclusively became incarnate (i.e., became a man), that a personal relationship could become a reality with the Father, the Son, and with the Holy Spirit. For in becoming a man, the Eternal Son of God experienced what it is to have an ultimate and sinless relationship with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, as a man. By virtue of being a man without any taint of sin [Heb. 4:15], who was possessed of that divine nature [2 Pet. 1:4] that belonged to the Eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ became that Elect One to Whom it was said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matt. 3:17; 17:5; 2 Pet. 1:17].
The Oneness of God [Deut. 6:4], which is how the three Persons do not constitute three Gods (i.e., Tritheism), is answered in the mutual indwelling of the eternal Persons within the Godhead. The mutual indwelling of one another, called Perichoresis by early theologians, manifests itself not only in the expression “the Father is in Me, and I in the Father” [John 10:38; 14:10,20; 17:21,23] but also in how the Eternal Persons exclusively make known each other:
- Jesus exclusively makes known the name of the Father
- the Father makes Jesus known as His Son in giving His name to the Son
- Jesus exclusively makes known His own name
- Jesus exclusively makes known the Holy Spirit
- the Holy Spirit exclusively makes known the glorified Jesus
Jesus Alone Makes Known to Us the Father
As a man among men, Jesus Christ made manifest the Name of the Father, as no else has ever done or ever will.
Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
John 5:43 “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.”
John 10:25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.”
John 14:6,7 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
John 17:6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”
John 17:12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”
John 17:26 “and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
- it was the Father’s name that was manifested by Jesus
- the Father gave His name exclusively to Jesus
- the Father makes Jesus known as His Son
- the world does not know the Father
- only Jesus knows the Father and alone can reveal the Father to us
The expression “Your name which You have given Me” does not undermine Jesus’ divinity, on the contrary, it emphasises it! Only a Trinitarian conception of God makes this possible. For no mortal or created being could manifest or make known the name of the Father. The only begotten Son has exclusively explained Him [John 1:18]. When the Father bestowed His name upon Jesus, that is, upon His humanity, the Father was saying that Jesus alone knew Him personally as His Eternal Son. As the Eternal Son He always made manifest the name of the Father, as the Persons of the Godhead mutually indwell one another (e.g., “the Father is in Me, and I in the Father” [John 10:38; 14:10,20; 17:21,23])
When the Scripture says that the Father gave His name to Jesus, it is synonymous with giving Jesus that ‘life in Himself’ [John 5:26]. Again, similar to exclusively manifesting the Father’s name and the glory of God, we also find that the Eternal Son of God has always possessed that Divine Life, and therefore, could not have been given it in any other sense than in connection with His humanity [John 1:4; 1 John 1:2].
Jesus, as our ‘Wonderful Counselor’ and with the name of ‘Eternal Father’ [Isa. 9:6], brings us into that fellowship that He enjoys with the Father, as only the incarnate Eternal Son of God can do [1 John 1:3].
Jesus Alone Makes Known to Us Himself (i.e., the Eternal Son of God), veiled in the flesh of a man
As a man among men, Jesus Christ made manifest His own Eternal Name, as no else has ever done or ever will.
John 5:17-23 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes. For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
John 8:12-18 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me. Even in your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true. I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.”
John 14:13,14 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
John 15:16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
John 16:23,24 “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.”
- Jesus makes Himself equal with the Father
- all are to honor the Son even as they honor the Father
- His testimony about Himself is true because He knows where He has come from and where He is going
- the disciples are to pray in the name of Jesus ‘so that the Father may be glorified in the Son’
Herein we see the other part of “the Father is in Me, and I in the Father” [John 10:38; 14:10,20; 17:21,23]. Jesus does not just make known the Father’s name, but He also makes known His own name to us. This is the mutual indwelling of the Persons of the Trinity, presented to us in the Scriptures as Jesus makes known the name of the Father and as He makes known His own name, as the Eternal Son of God.
Jesus Alone Makes Known to Us the Holy Spirit
As a man among men, Jesus Christ made manifest the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as no else has ever done or ever will.
John 14:16,17 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
John 15:26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.”
John 16:7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
John 16:13-15 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.”
Acts 2:33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.”
- the Holy Spirit cannot be known by the world because it does not see Him or know Him
- the Holy Spirit was known by the disciples because He was abiding with them in Jesus and was soon to be in them
- the Holy Spirit comes because Jesus asks the Father
- the Father sends the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus (proceeds from the Father)
- the Holy Spirit testifies about Jesus and glorifies Jesus
- the Holy Spirit cannot come unless Jesus returns to the Father
- the Holy Spirit does not speak from His own initiative
- the Holy Spirit continues Jesus’ work for the good of disciples (guide you into all truth..brings to remembrance..He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you)
- as Jesus was glorified with the Holy Spirit, so all those who were members of His body were glorified with the Holy Spirit (not fully, but in part)
Our only hope of having the Holy Spirit personally indwelling us is because of Jesus Christ. Just as the world does not know the Father, so the world does not know the Holy Spirit. In regards to Jesus’ humanity, only Jesus can bring us into a relationship with the Holy Spirit, as Jesus alone was that man that was full of the Holy Spirit and was fully glorified with the Holy Spirit after His ascension at Pentecost. In regards to Jesus’ divinity, Jesus can bring us into a relationship with the Holy Spirit because He has known the Holy Spirit for all eternity as the Eternal Son of God.
Jesus’ ultimate glorification of His humanity with the Holy Spirit is the very cause of our initial glorification [2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14] and the basis of our ultimate glorification [Rom. 5:2; Eph. 1:18; Col. 1:27; 2 Thess. 2:14]. The Scriptures teach that the first giving of the Holy Spirit and consequent enlightenment for the disciples was related to Jesus’ glorification [John 7:39; 12:16; Acts 2:33].
The Holy Spirit Alone Makes Known to Us Jesus, as the Glorified Son of God
Upon Jesus’ glorification, the One and Only Holy Spirit [1 Cor. 12:12,13; Eph. 4:4] works exclusively through the only Word of God upon the hearts of sinful men and women, wooing and convicting their hearts of that truth that is in Jesus.
John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
John 16:8-11 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
Acts 5:32 “And we are witnesses of these things; (i.e., Jesus’ life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification) and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.”
1 Corinthians 2:10-13 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 10:3,4 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
Ephesians 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
Ephesians 6:17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Hebrews 3:7,8 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness….”
Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit….
1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look.
- there is no ministry of the Holy Spirit except that which is united with Jesus Christ
- no one can come to Jesus except by the Holy Spirit
- the Holy Spirit does not use anything other than the Word of God to bring sinners to Jesus
- the Holy Spirit can be resisted
The Salvation that our Triune God has accomplished for us is about coming into a relationship with God, as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is for this reason that we are to be baptised in the name of the Trinity.
Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
God the Father, together with God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, created mankind to partake of His glory and goodness. In response to the reality of mankind’s finite nature, which was necessarily subject to the possibility of corruption, and with perfect omniscience that mankind would certainly be corrupted, the Trinity purposed the way of salvation by means of the Eternal Son of God’s incarnation, obedience, suffering, death, and resurrection, for all of mankind.
The Father sends the Eternal Son of God into the world to be born as a male, in order that He might be a second Adam [Gal. 4:4]. He was born under the Law of God that was given to Israel, in order to fulfil the Law of God and to fulfil that corporate expression of the ‘son of God’ and the ‘servant of God’, namely the nation of Israel. [Ex. 4:22; Isa. 41:8 to 53:11]
The Father loves the Eternal Son of God as a man and delights in Him [John 3:35; 5:20; 17:26]. At John the Baptist’s baptism of Jesus Christ, the Father publicly manifests Jesus as that Elect One [Isa. 42:1], in contrast to all the sons of Israel seeking repentance for their sins, namely, that Jesus is His only begotten Son, who alone has pleased Him, fulfilling the Law of Israel [Rom. 10:4], and that One that has justly been filled with the Holy Spirit as one according to the flesh.
The Father gives authority to the Son, in His state of humiliation, as a man, to lay down His own life and to take it up again [John 10:18]. The Father gives all judgment to the Son of Man [John 5:22], authority over all flesh [John 17:2], His glory [John 17:22], His life [John 5:26], His Word [John 17:8], and the manifestation of the Father’s name [Isa. 9:6; John 17:6,12,26]. These things are exclusive to the Incarnation, as the Eternal Son of God possessed all attributes of divinity according to His own eternal nature.
Upon the cross, the Father, in inexpressible pain and suffering does abandon His dearly beloved Son, as a vicarious and substitutionary atonement for sin. 2 Cor. 5:21 ‘He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ Upon His death, the Father immediately received the Son into paradise in both His naturally divine estate and with the spirit of His human nature. Upon His ascension, after His resurrection, the Father received the Son as that perfect Son of Man, whole and complete. The Father, on the day of Pentecost, did fully glorify the Son with the Holy Spirit and has enthroned His Son over all mankind [John 7:39; 12:16; Acts 2:33].
Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son of God as a man. The Eternal Son of God, in accord with the will of the triune God, was sent from heaven to earth to be under the constraints of this creation and of human nature in the natural order of space and time, in which He did freely empty Himself of the form of God, to the end that He became incarnate in the womb of the virgin Mary, who had no sexual relations with any man. The Eternal Son of God came into the world as Jesus Christ so that He might accomplish salvation, as the exclusive and only Savior of mankind, by fulfilling the Law of God as a man born according to the flesh, under that particular Law that was given to Israel. [divine; incarnation; virgin birth; without sin]
Jesus Christ is one person with two natures. The divine Person of the Eternal Son of God became fully human and yet retained, by right, His divine nature. He “emptied” Himself of His divine power by His own will, continuously or moment-by-moment [Phil. 2:6,7]. Jesus Christ was a man with a full and complete human nature, while incarnate in both His estate of humiliation and in His estate of glorification. His divine Person, though “emptied” of the powers of divinity, so that He willingly subjected Himself to ignorance (e.g., “Who touched Me?” Luke 8:45) and suffering (e.g., “I am thirsty” John 19:28), was nevertheless the same Person Who was immutably divine. [fully divine; fully human]
Jesus Christ fulfils and brings to an end all of the great offices of Israel and therefore is absolutely established as the only Savior who can bring us to the Father. He fulfils the exclusive roles of Israel that were meant to convey that ‘salvation is from the Jews’ [John 4:22]; namely, the Priest, the Prophet, and the King. He fulfils and obtains His three-fold office of Priest, Prophet, and King, by means of being the Way, the Truth, and the Life [John 14:6]. ‘No other name under heaven…has been given among men by which we must be saved’ [Acts 4:12], because He is…
- Our High Priest – Jesus alone is the Way, in that He has opened the way into the Father’s presence as the veil of His flesh was “torn” on our behalf, by means of His High Priestly offering of Himself [Heb. 10:19-21]
- Our Prophet – Jesus alone is the Truth, in that He has made known to us the Person of the Father, being the eternal life which was with the Father [1 John 1:2], as that only Prophet who said, “…but I say to you…” instead of “Thus says the Lord” [Matt. 5:22,28,32,34, 39, 44]
- Our King – Jesus alone is the Life, in that He has defeated mankind’s ultimate enemy – death [1 Cor. 15:26], destroying the works of the devil [1 John 3:8] even crushing the head of the serpent [Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20], by means of His victorious resurrection, as the ultimate King of kings, and Lord of lords [1 Cor. 15:55-57]
The Holy Spirit comes to indwell all those who have believed in Jesus Christ, so that their very bodies become a temple of the Holy Spirit, fulfilling the role of the temple that was given to the nation of Israel.
The Holy Spirit’s part in God’s work of salvation is summarily understood as Glorification. As it says in ‘the chapter of the Holy Spirit’, Romans 8:30 ‘…and these whom He justified, He also glorified.’ The believer’s very first experience of the Holy Spirit is understood as ‘Glorification,’ which is synonomous with being ‘Baptised with the Holy Spirit’. The Holy Spirit’s act of glorifying the believer is three-fold: Regeneration, Sanctification, and Adoption.
- Regeneration – a permanent new birth in the believer in which there is a new creation of an inner man (i.e., born again, born of the Spirit), which is coupled with a spiritual death of the believer’s former self
- Sanctification – a singular infusion or a permanent sealing in the believers regenerated inner man with a principle of holiness, so that he or she is now a slave of righteousness
- Adoption – a permanent bonding of the believer into a fellowship with God as a beloved child and fellow heir with Jesus Christ
All are instantaneous at conversion, and, because they are founded upon God’s certain Justification of the believer, they are permanent and cannot be annulled. Anyone who has been justified is most certainly glorified with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit furthermore works an on-going work of sanctification in the life of a believer (not to be confused with that instantaneous sanctification at conversion). The Holy Spirit does this by means of promoting faith in the Word of God, and by many inward works of conviction, correction, admonition, warning, and also by affirming and persuading, and furthermore, by helping the believer to grow in faith and in all godliness.
The Holy Spirit initially glorifies the believer with the pledge of the Holy Spirit, in view of ultimate and full glorification. This ultimate glorification shall only be obtained upon the last day, at the resurrection, in which the believer will be made perfect, unable to sin and so completely filled with the Holy Spirit that his or her body will illuminate the glory of heaven.