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The Triune Symphony

Handel's Messiah
Handel's Messiah

The great Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield once remarked that Ephesians 1 should never be read in church: it should always be sung. Indeed this passage is rich in both theology and doxology. What Ephesians 1 is describing is the active engagement of every Person of the Trinity for God’s plan of redemption. Salvation is a glorious symphony in three movements.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

In one great breath, Paul begins with praises for the Father. It is he who has blessed us in Christ and chose us in him before the foundation of the world. The Father’s role is that he administers our salvation. He is the origination of our salvation who purposely chooses, predestines and blesses his people. This is his sovereign election as he works all things according to the counsel of his will. God is sovereign in all things, including our salvation. In elegant transition, the next movement in the triune symphony is the second Person of the Trinity, Christ Jesus the Son, who accomplished our salvation. The location of our salvation is Jesus Christ. For, In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. The final movement is the work of the Holy Spirit who applies our salvation. He takes what Christ accomplished before and applies it to God’s people today. Paul says, we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance. This is a down payment for eternity as our salvation is secured by sealing us for God. It’s a permanent blessing. The Holy Spirit is often considered the forgotten member of the Trinity. However, this is because he is always directing attention to the Son and thereby fulfilling the Father’s plan of salvation. It’s the Holy Spirit who enables us to have the eyes of our hearts enlightened. This is what’s so comforting: If we see the glory of The Lord we know that we have The Spirit because without him we would still be spiritually dead. It’s God who does it all in his awesome triune symphony where the Father administers our salvation, the Son accomplished our salvation, and the Holy Spirit applies our salvation.

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Joshua Ambrose

Joshua Ambrose is a restless disciple of Christ and sometimes whimsical mischief-maker. When not writing about theology, he writes about philosophy, history, economics, finance and basically anything that involves being a good neighbor in a way that honors his Lord.

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