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Gospel Series: The Trinity and the Gospel

Posted On April 28, 2014

Editors note: This is a brand new series on the Gospel designed to help our readers think through what the Gospel is and what it demands.

****************

There is a lot of buzz on the Internet these days about the Trinitarian nature of Christianity. Is the doctrine of the Trinity true? Is it important? Is it essential? For many Christians, the doctrine of the Trinity is given very little thought. We affirm it to be true, but we fail to recognize its importance and its implications for the gospel and all of life.

However, Don Stewart reminds us:

It is important that people have a correct understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity since it is an explanation of the nature of God. The Christian needs to know exactly who God is in order to have a proper understanding of the one they serve.

Fred Sanders, associate professor of theology at Biola University, adds further comment: “Our beliefs and practices all presuppose the Trinity, but that presupposition has for too long been left unexpressed . . . and taken for granted rather than celebrated and taught” (The Deep Things of God, Crossway 2010)

The doctrine of the Trinity is crucial because it reveals who our God is and is revealed in the pages of Scripture to show the inner workings of God’s nature, attributes, and personhood.

Here are a few examples:

The Father sends the Son

God the Father sends God the Son into the world as a propitiatory sacrifice on the cross. This means that He absorbed and appeased the Father’s just wrath against sin and extends mercy to repentant sinners.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
(Romans 3:23-26 NKJV)

On that note,

The Incarnate Son is the God-man

The reason that the Son is able to provide this substitutionary atonement is because He is both God and man. Only the God-man can conquer sin, Satan, death, and the powers of darkness. In His glorious resurrection, we have new life.

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 NKJV)

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily
(Colossians 2:9 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit and the New Birth

The Holy Spirit is given to us through Christ and is actively responsible for the sinner’s new birth in Christ (regeneration) and life journey unto holiness (sanctification).

not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit
(Titus 3:5 NKJV)

“Nevertheless 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 depart, I will send Him to you…”
(John 16:7 NKJVJesus speaks of sending the Spirit)

The Trinity and the Gospel

Therefore, the Biblical gospel message of God’s grace toward sinners is initiated by God the Father, accomplished through God the Son, and is applied by God the Holy Spirit. There is no work of salvation apart from our Triune God. This Triune nature does not bring confusion but clarity to the gospel that we believe and proclaim. Rather than be a source of controversy it should, when properly understood, fill us with joy.

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
(Galatians 4:4-7 NKJV)

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