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Jude 5

“I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.”

As a cornerstone of Trinitarian theology, the doctrine of inseparable operations was not abandoned by the Protestant Reformers but was embraced as necessary for maintaining an accurate view of God both in His unity of essence and diversity of person. This doctrine, which says that each person of the Trinity acts inseparably with the others in every act of God with respect to things outside Himself, helps us understand that each person is involved in everything God does in a manner that is appropriate to that person. Every action of God is from the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, and this is an order that is inherent to God’s triune identity. Each person exercises the same divine attributes, but each does so in a manner fitting to His unique personal properties.

We have seen the doctrine of inseparable operations in both creation and atonement, and today we will look at the doctrine as it is revealed in the work of redemption more generally. Although atonement is essential to God’s work of redemption, it is not identical to it. Redemption is a greater whole, of which atonement is one part. Redemption also involves things such as rescue from bondage, the resurrection of our bodies, and more (Ex. 20:1; Rom. 8:23).

Today’s passage attributes the work of rescuing the Israelites from Egyptian slavery to Jesus (Jude 5), a particularly strong way of asserting His deity since the Old Testament says that Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel, saved His people from Egypt (Deut. 5:6). Of course, we also know that the Lord went before His people as a pillar of fire when He led them out of Egypt (Ex. 13:21), pointing us to the activity of the Holy Spirit in light of the Spirit’s association with supernatural fire (Luke 3:16). Given that Jesus often refers to the God of Israel as “Father,” we thus see the involvement of all three persons in the work of redeeming the people of God from Egypt, and, more generally, from sin and death.

The Scriptures often associate particular aspects of redemption, such as sanctification, with the Holy Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13). This is because the work of sanctification reveals the Spirit in particular. Given inseparable operations, however, the Father and Son are also involved in everything the Spirit does. From start to finish, redemption is the work of the triune God. It is from the Father, through the Son, and in the Holy Spirit that we are redeemed.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

God’s people are important to Him. That is proven in the fact that all three persons act to save us. We are not important to the Lord because of anything we are in ourselves. Rather, having decided to save us, God makes us important to Him. Because all of God is involved in our salvation, we know that He pays attention to whatever we are doing, saying, or thinking.

For Further Study
  • Psalm 51:7
  • Ezekiel 37:23
  • Romans 14:17
  • 1 Timothy 4:1–5
Related Scripture
  • Jude

The Trinity and Atonement

The Trinity and Christian Unity

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From the January 2017 Issue
Jan 2017 Issue