On the one hand, the doctrine of the Trinity—God, one in essence, existing in three Persons—is mysterious beyond comprehension. To paraphrase Dr. South, if you try to comprehend the doctrine of the Trinity, you may lose your mind, but if you deny it, you will lose your soul. On the other hand, its reality has become such a commonplace in many minds that, though we cannot comprehend it and though we believe it, we have ceased to marvel at it. To think of tackling an examination of the Trinity in this brief space might seem absurd. But there is a single verse (perhaps among many) that will allow us to do so. What makes this verse particularly precious to the believer is that it draws back the curtain of mystery to reveal the Trinity working in unity to secure our redemption. We read this verse in Hebrews: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (9:14). We cannot delve into much that this verse addresses, but we will note some aspects of the work of the Trinity in providing us with salvation.
Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. The work of redemption has always centered upon the Person and Work of Christ. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (9:22) is God’s standard as set forth in Scripture. The context of our verse contrasts the efficacy of the shed blood of animals (which could effect the ceremonial cleansing of the flesh, but “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” [10:4]) with that of Christ’s shed blood, which truly cleanses the conscience of the sinner. We are further called to marvel at the fact that the sacrificed animals went to their deaths without engaging either their knowledge or their wills. But Christ “offered himself.” Such was the knowledge and will of this Sacrifice that, though He was “equal with God,” “he thought it not robbery” (“something to be held onto”) and “became obedient unto death” (Phil. 2:6, 8). We are further told that He made this offering “without spot,” thus indicating that His death was not in payment for His own sins and that He met God’s standard (Ex. 12:5) for a vicarious sacrifice.
The Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. Christ’s death on the cross was a visible work (though not its significance); however, we would have no way of knowing how or even if the Holy Spirit participated in the work of redemption were it not for revelation. We know that the Spirit of God “descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him” (Lk. 3:22) at His baptism. Our text makes clear that the purpose for which Christ came and was being introduced through the requisite baptism that prepared Him to be both the Offeror (High Priest) and the Offering (Sacrifice) was completed in conjunction with the power and volition of the Holy Spirit of God. Furthermore, that He is called “the eternal Spirit” underscores His divine nature and equal standing in the Trinity. Though Christ died as a man, he offered Himself through the Spirit, a fact that affirms the efficacy of Christ’s work and underlines its perfection and holiness.
God, the First Person of the Trinity. Redemption perforce must involve God the Father. It is His holiness that must be upheld and His justice vindicated. Therefore, at the cross God forsook His Son as the One who was “made to be sin for us” (II Cor. 5:21) in order that Christ might pay the full price for our sins (eternal separation from God). But the penalty having been met, the price having been paid, the sacrifice having been offered, God received it in full payment (“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied”—Isa. 53:11.).
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