"Unity without verity is no better than conspiracy." - John Trapp

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Owen and Paul on the Trinity and Salvation

In January a small group started meeting monthly to read and discuss Communion with the Triune God, John Owen's classic work edited by Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor. In January we reviewed the historical context and biography of John Owen and we had our second meeting this morning and discussed Chapter 1. Owen specifically aims in the book to discuss how we have communion with each member of the Trinity distinctly. In fact, his original title for the work was Of Communion with God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Each Person Distinctly, in Love, Grace, and Consolation: or The Saints Fellowship with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Unfolded.

This evening, Pastor Williams preached on Ephesians 2:11-22. I've always thought of Ephesians as a very Trinitarian epistle. Primarily this was based on Paul's discourse in the 1:3-14 about the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in salvation. But look at Ephesians 2:18-22:
for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (NASB)
Twice in these five verses Paul elaborates on how some aspect of our salvation is through each Person of the Trinity acting on our behalf. We have access through Jesus and His flesh. The access is to the Father but it is in one Spirit. It is the Spirit who applies the work of Christ so that we might enter into the presence of the Father.

We are also becoming a temple. This building occurs as we are united to Jesus and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Paul sees not just Jesus but also the Father and Son working in our lives and restoring us to fellowship (communion) with God. Owen recognized this emphasis in the Bible and sought to convey this great truth to his readers.

Do we know this? Do we spend time dwelling on how God is for us as believers? That the Father has set forth the plan of redemption? That the Son humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross for our redemption? That the Spirit has applied the work of the Son and indwells us to secure our redemption? May God shine the light of this truth into your heart and mine.

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