This is an excerpt from Sonny Hernandez's new book, "The Glorious Triunity of God," which is available on Amazon.
Regenerate saints believe that the glorious Triunity of God is not only an essential of orthodox Christianity, but is also the object of their faith. Trinitarian doctrine articulates what God is (ontology) and what He does (economy), and it is the foundation or source of the gospel, as the elect of God for whom Christ died are infallibly secured by the Spirit. Thus, the gospel only makes sense to those who understand and affirm the Trinity, because the gospel is grounded in the glorious Triunity of God.
What is the gospel? The gospel means good news, and it does not point to mankind’s egregious decisions, but to divine election (Eph. 1:4-6), nor does it appeal to mankind’s corrupted religions, but to Christ’s righteousness (Phil. 3:9), nor does it refer to synergistic sanctification, but to the sealing of the Spirit (Eph. 1:13). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, whereby the Father elected, the Son redeemed, and the Spirit seals. Put another way, the elect were chosen, redeemed, and sealed, which indicate that God’s elect have assurance of their salvation (John 10:28-29), and that perfect unity exists in the operation of the Godhead.
As the prime agent, God the Father ordained all things without exception (Is. 46:10; Eph. 1:11; Col. 1:16), including the fall of man (Gen. 3). The creation account reveals that Adam acted as the federal head or the representative for the entire human race, and he willfully disobeyed the law of God that was given to him (Gen. 2:16; 3:6-7). Consider the following consequences of Adam’s willful disobedience: sin and death entered into the human race (Rom. 5:12); the guilt of sin was imputed to all of Adam’s posterity; all without exception are totally depraved and are desperately wicked as they can be (Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9), and all without exception are completely unable and unwilling to save themselves (John 6:44,65; Rom. 3:10-11). The active verbs in Romans 8:30 prove that salvation is of the Lord!
God Almighty also ordained the salvation of His elect and the condemnation of sinners (Rom. 9:18). This means that God actively chose His elect for salvation and actively reprobated the wicked for perdition. Divine election signifies that God eternally loves His elect (Rom. 5:8; 8:39), but has an unremitting hatred for the wicked (Ps. 5:5; 11:5-6). God elected His particular people, not because they exercised their supposed free will, but on the grounds of the Savior’s meritorious work. Why has God actively reprobated the wicked? God reprobated the wicked to show His power in them and to declare His name throughout the earth (Rom. 9:17), and to, “…make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory” (Rom. 9:23).
God did not leave all of mankind in an estate of sin and misery. Before the foundation of the world, God chose His particular and peculiar people on the basis of His efficacious love (Eph. 1:4), and in accordance with the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5), to the praise of the glory of His grace (Eph. 1:6). The Lord’s vessels of mercy, the elect of God, are the ones that the Father will justify by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. In regard to the doctrine of justification, God the Father is the author, the meritorious work of Christ or His righteousness is the grounds, and the gift of faith is the instrumental cause.
God the Father sent the Son—who is very and eternal God (John 1:1)—into the world per the stipulations in the covenant of redemption or the eternal agreement within the Godhead. Christ was begotten (not made or created) of the Father before all ages, and was born of a virgin and conceived by the Spirit, without division of essence (Luke 1:27; Gal. 4:4). Christ is not two persons, but is one person, and Christ does not have one nature, but two natures; thus, the person of the Son is wholly man and wholly God.
God eternally loved His elect, and He imputed the guilt of their sin unto the Son who died in their stead. The person of Christ suffered and died as a substitute for all that His Father had given to Him (John 6:37). Christ died for the sheep (John 10:11,15), not the goats (John 10:26), and His death was not a hypothetical atonement, nor does it mean that He only made salvation possible. The death of Christ was an actual atonement because it was effectual, eternal, and immutable, and it accomplished the following: Christ’s death redeemed His sheep (Rom. 3:24; Col. 1:14); the blood of Christ placated the Father’s justice (Rom. 3:25-26); and Christ’s sacrificial death reconciled the elect to God the Father and to their vicarious Savior (Rom. 5:10).
Christ said in Matthew 5:20, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” This text is perplexing for those who do not understand the gospel, because Isaiah 64:6 says “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags,” but then Christ said that one’s righteousness must exceed the righteousness of others or else they can never enter into the kingdom of God. The righteousness that one must possess to enter into eternal life is not self-righteousness, but the Savior’s righteousness. As previously stated, God loved His elect and He imputed their sin unto the Son, but God also imputes the perfect righteousness of Christ to those who He will legally declare to be just (2 Cor. 5:21). In the same manner that He justified Abraham (Rom. 4:3), God does not justify anyone on the basis of their works (Rom. 4:6), but on the grounds of Christ’s righteousness as Paul eloquently stated:
and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith (Phil. 3:9, emphasis mine).
The elect of God for whom Christ died are sealed by the Spirit. The Spirit is not an impersonal force, but is the third person of the Trinity. Regenerate Christians have assurance of their salvation, because the good news of the gospel teaches that Christ perfectly obeyed the law, whereas they have and will continue to break every one of them, and the gospel teaches that only Christ's righteousness is perfectly acceptable to the Father, whereas their righteousness is putrid and abominable before the tribunal of God (Is. 64:6). The elect of God who have heard the word of truth, and have believed in the righteousness of Christ, are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13), and can never be separated from the love of Christ (John 6:37; 10:28-29; Rom. 8:38-39). Praise God that regenerate Christians can say, “God took my wretchedness, and gave me His righteousness,” because they trust in the meritorious work of Christ alone as the grounds of their justification. Amen.
Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ ἡ κοινωνία τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἀμήν πρός Κορινθίους δευτέρᾳ ἐγράφη ἀπό Φιλίππων τῆς Μακεδονίας διά Τίτου καί Λουκᾶ
For His Glory!