We must see the doctrine of election as involving the entire Trinity, even though we generally speak of God the Father as the one who elects His people. This doctrine must be studied in connection with the eternal covenant (or “council,” which is the agreement made between the three members of the Godhead before the foundation of the world). While we do not have the revelation of this inter-trinitarian council as such, we clearly can see the results and the references made to it (eg. I Thess. 1:4-6; I Pet. 1:2).
In regard to our salvation this is carried out in this manner: the Father chose out of all the world of lost sinners (whom He had ordained would fall through Adam) a definite number of people (His elect) that He would save (Eph. 1:4-6). It is also revealed that God had chosen His Son as the Mediator or Redeemer (see Hebrews 1:1-3; I Peter 2:6). The Father gave the elect to his Son that He might redeem them as His people. The Holy Spirit’s task was the application of redemption for the comfort of every believer (Jn. 14:16-18; 16:7-15).
The Son, Jesus Christ, under the terms of this covenant did all that was necessary to save those who were chosen by the Father. This involved coming in human flesh, living in perfect obedience, laying down His life for the elect, and rising from the dead. We see that Christ is very conscious of His mission in behalf of those “given to Him” by His Father.
We see this in John 6:39, 40 and chapter 10:17-18. We notice this especially in the High Priestly prayer of our Lord in John 17, particularly in verses 2-4, 6, 9, 11, 12, and 24: “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (emphasis mine).
The Holy Spirit’s part in this covenant is to apply (by creating faith through regeneration and the preaching of the gospel) to the elect the salvation secured for the sinner by the Son, Jesus Christ. This application is made to the elect only, and not one of them is lost. Romans 8:11-17 speaks about the new life that the Holy Spirit breathes into God’s people (see also Gal. 3:2, 3, 5).
The Spirit also brings us the comfort of the gospel and sanctifies us to walk in thankful, good works which God had before ordained that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).
Ephesians 1 speaks first about the election by God the Father (v. 4), the redemption of God the Son (v. 7) and then the sealing of the Holy Spirit in that salvation (vv. 13, 14) See also II Cor. 1:22; I Jn. 3:9, 24; Rev. 7:3; 9:4.
I Peter 1:2 shows us the involvement of the whole Trinity in the matter of our salvation. Here Peter addresses the Church as “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
Blog post content is taken from Rev. Paul Treick’s book, Faith of Our Fathers, Living Still: A Study of the Five Points of Calvinism, available for purchase. It is posted with the gracious permission of the author.
If you’d like to read the blog series from the beginning, start here.