A Trinitarian Benediction

Image source: www.pixabay.
Image source: www.pixabay.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14

In this benediction, we not only have a statement of the doctrine of the Trinity, but also an expression of the way we encounter the Trinity. We encounter the Trinity first in Christ and the grace he imparts, through whom we experience the love of the Father, and which we enjoy through the communion of the Holy Spirit.

It is not without reason then that the apostle opens the benediction with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, for it was with the appearance of Christ, the God-man, the Son of God, that the early Christians were forced to come to grips with a Trinitarian monotheism. He is kurios (Lord), the Greek translation for the name of the God of Israel in the Septuagint. So this really is an affirmation of his divinity. In Christ, we experience the grace of God, the free gift of salvation, for it was purchased by him upon the cross, in the eternal redemption he obtained for his people. We therefore can come to God and find salvation without money and without price, for the price was fully paid by the Lord.

In Christ, we see most fully the love of the Father, for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16). Hence, the apostle goes on pray for the blessing of the love of God upon the people of God. This really is a gift of breathtaking magnitude: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God!" (1 Jn. 3:1). The grace of Christ is a blessing precisely because it bequeaths to us the very love of the Father, and united to Christ we experience the love of the Trinity itself.

Finally, the apostle prays for the communion of the Holy Ghost. It is through the Holy Spirit that God's love is shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). It is the Spirit who applies the redemption purchased by Christ. It is the Spirit who mediates the presence of the risen Christ (Jn. 14:18). Our God is not a God afar off, but draws near to us in the person of the Holy Spirit, who indwells God's people and gives them grace and strength and joy and holiness, indeed, all the fruits of the Spirit.

The very structure of the benediction implies that the persons of the Trinity are distinct. And yet they are united in the Godhead, the Son eternally generated from the Father, and the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son. You can see their union in the salvation of the elect, for they are all united in this one object: securing the love of the Father for his chosen ones, through the grace of the Son and the communion of the Spirit.

My friend, if you are a Christian, these realities: the grace of Christ, the love of the Father, and the fellowship of the Spirit, are yours. May you embrace them today by faith and live your life in the comfort and strength that comes from the grace and love and fellowship of God who is the Three-in-One.

By: Jeremiah Bass