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The Triune Benediction
A Theology in Miniature
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2 Cor.13:14)
This Trinitarian Blessing is the essence of my body of divinity. Here is the sum of my Gospel. This is the rich marrow of all my theology—pluriform gifts for the people of God. That is, the God who is Trinity in Unity is the communicative, self-giving Lord, who is pleased to share the glory of His blessed life with us.
The “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This takes us, first, into the redemptive economy. For it is there that we first come to know God the Father as He is most fully revealed to us in Christ. Beginning with the willful poverty of His self-emptying in the Incarnation, continuing with His humble exegesis of the Father’s own character, and climaxing at the cross; it is on yonder Tree that grace is portrayed in all of its gratuitousness; not merely the giving of all that Christ has for the sake of sinners, but the giving of all that He is for the sake of their reconciliation to the Lord of Life.
The “love of God.” Moving from economy to ontology, we are bidden to glimpse the hidden life of the Eternal God. This ineffable love finds its root in the mutual expression of adoration between the Father and His eternally begotten Son. All loving issues from this, as the Spirit forms the indissoluble bond which proceeds from the Father and the Son, and returns thither without diminution of strength. In the eternal counsel, Wisdom deigned to bind this lowly world of creatures by this most intimate and potent tether. Again, it is the Cross where we see the clearest demonstration of God’s shared love on display. The love between Father and Son was not severed there. On the contrary, the Spirit—the Bond of Love—drew the entire world to the Father’s bosom as the Son was lifted up from the earth. That curse-shattering, death-destroying, life-giving love is now shed abroad in our hearts by faith. It has become our birthright, our badge, our blessed ensign through which we conquer the darkness of unbelief. We hold this promise as the central truth of our eschatological hope: He will bring the nations, at last, into His banqueting hall, where His banner over us is love.
The “communion of the Holy Ghost.” Ah! The wondrous mystery! God the Holy Ghost broods over the darkened depths, forming cosmos out of chaos by pouring out the Love of Eternity into time. He brings an end to our warfare, peace to our striving, knitting our hearts to God’s own; fitting us all together as one new man, one body, one bride, one living temple, one holy nation, one habitation for the God whose name is Love. By this token, we are known of both God and of men—we are remade in the image of Love to have this testimony: that we love one another. Herein is love made perfect, and perfect love expels all fear. By this we have boldness to stand against the day of judgment, for Love has already triumphed in the courts of God.
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