The Work of the Trinity in Salvation

God SavesIn Christian theology, the Bible reveals there is one God who exists as three distinct Persons (Gen 1:26; 11:6-7; Matt 28:19; 2 Cor 13:14; 1 Pet 1:2). The members of the Trinity include God the Father (Gal 1:1; Eph 6:23; Phil 2:11), God the Son (John 1:1, 14, 18; 8:58; 20:28; Col 2:9; Heb 1:8), and God the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor 2:11-12; 2 Cor 13:14). God is three in Person, but one in essence, sharing the same attributes. All three are co-equal, co-infinite, co-eternal, and worthy of all praise and service. When studying the Bible, we learn that our eternal salvation is the work of the Trinity. It was planned and initiated by God the Father, agreed upon and executed by God the Son, and imparted to believers by God the Holy Spirit. According to Lewis Chafer:

[It] is essential to recognize that the “salvation [which] is of Jehovah” includes the three Persons of the Godhead as actively engaged in the realization of this stupendous undertaking…In every aspect of saving grace the three Persons are concurring. Even when hanging on the cross, the Son was not alone in His vast achievement. It was God who was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself; the Father was offering His Lamb; and that sacrifice was offered through the eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14).[1]

Robert Lightner states:

Evangelical Christians, in harmony with the historic orthodox Christian faith, worship God who is one in three and three in one, one in essence and three in person. The entire Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—is involved in the salvation of the sinner. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for sinners. He is the Savior! It is customary in evangelical circles to put such emphasis on the second person’s part in our salvation that the roles of the Father and the Spirit are often slighted…Even though it is not always expressed in the same way, evangelicals agree that man’s salvation is the product of the Holy Trinity.[2]

Warren Wiersbe adds:

You will note that all three Persons in the Godhead are involved in our salvation (see also 1 Peter 1:3). As far as God the Father is concerned, you were saved when He chose you in Christ in eternity past. But that alone did not save you. As far as God the Son is concerned, you were saved when He died for you on the cross. As far as God the Spirit is concerned, you were saved when you yielded to His conviction and received Christ as your Savior. What began in eternity past was fulfilled in time present, and will continue for all eternity![3]

In the following articles, special attention will be given to the specific members of the Trinity and their work in salvation. First will be a consideration of the role of God the Father, then God the Son, and finally God the Holy Spirit.

Dr. Steven R. Cook

Related Articles:

[1] Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 207.

[2] Robert P. Lightner, Handbook of Evangelical Theology: A Historical, Biblical, and Contemporary Survey and Review (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1995), 190–191.

[3] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 11.

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