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Trinitarian Benediction

The apostle Paul closes Second Corinthians with a beautiful benediction in adoration of the three Persons in the Holy Trinity. This verse has been correctly called “the New Testament Trinitarian benediction.”

The apostle Paul writes, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).

This is the counterpart to the Old Testament benediction found in Numbers 6:24-26. “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace’” (Numbers 6:22-26). 

God exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Yet God is one. The Westminster Confession declares, “Three persons in the Godhead . . . the same in substance, equal in power and glory.”

The work of salvation is the work of the Triune God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The members of the Godhead deliberately and willingly submit themselves to another in the work of redemption. The Son submits to the Father, even in obedience to death to die as our substitute on the cross. The Holy Spirit submits to the Father and the Son. Second Corinthians 13:14 “presents the persons of the Trinity in full form,” just as Matthew 28:19 does, also. The three Persons of the Godhead are present at the baptism of Jesus as He begins His public ministry (Matt. 3:16-17).

Paul’s benediction clearly recognizes and teaches the distinct recognition of the three Persons in the Holy Trinity. Christians have recognized this great doctrine of Biblical Christianity in all ages.

The apostle Paul reminds us that the work of salvation is the operation of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in our lives. God the Son is our Mediator and Savior who gave Himself up to death for us. It is all possible because God the Father loves us and has chosen to save us by His grace. God the Holy Spirit has applied this great atoning sacrifice and love to us personally. We can now live in the sphere of this saving grace whose source and origin is the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

We praise the LORD God for “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Charles Hodge said, “It is the favor, the unmerited love and all that springs from it, of this divine person clothed in our nature, and who as the theantropos is invested with the office of Messiah, the headship over His own people and all power in heaven and earth, that the apostle invokes for all his believing readers.”

We receive divine favor when we receive “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” that has purchased and won us by His redeeming death. We now belong to the one who redeemed us. He is now our “Lord” and Master.

Jesus came to save His people as the name He bore suggests (Matt. 2:21).

The title “Christ” describes His office. He is the Christ, the Messiah, the “Anointed One,” and our long-promised Redeemer.

Lenski well said, “Each part of His name glows with grace . . .”

Moreover, not only are we blessed with “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,” but also with “the love of God.” His infinite love is the source of our redemption. Romans 5:8 tells us God manifested His love in giving His Son for us. It is also “the manifestation of that love in the pardon, sanctification, and salvation of men was conditional on the work of Christ” (Hodge). God is the source of love.

We are united to the LORD God in the bonds of the Holy Spirit. The bond of union is, of course, Jesus Christ through whom we became a member of the family of God.

“The fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” He gives to the Christian a sense of belongingness with the LORD God. We are united in one Body. The Holy Spirit has placed the believing sinner in the Body of Christ.

God redeemed us from the curse of the law that we might receive the promise of the Spirit whereby we are in a koinonia fellowship in God’s kingdom and work. We are joint partakers of the Holy Spirit. What an awesome fellowship we have with the LORD God. Jesus prayed, “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are” (John 17:11).

It is through the Spirit of God that we cry, “Abba! Father!” “Father, dear Father!” (Rom. 8:15).

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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