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The Roles of the Trinity in Salvation and Worship

June 8, 2012

I read something this morning on the roles of the Trinity in salvation and worship that I thought I’d share. The text referred to is Colossians 3:16, below:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Gordon Fee, commenting on Colossians 3:13-17:

“…Paul understands Christ to have the central role in both conversion and worship; but in so doing, Christ does not usurp the ultimate role always attributed to God the Father.

“Just as salvation in Christ is predicated on the love of God, effected through the death of Christ and made effective through the Spirit, so now in worship these roles are played in reverse: the Spirit inspires the singing that has the glory of Christ as its content, all of which is directed ultimately with thanksgiving to God the Father.”

—Gordon Fee, Pauline Christology (Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 2007), p. 329, paragraphing mine.

You might think, “but where is the Holy Spirit in Colossians 3:16?” As I understand it, Fee argues that whenever Paul uses the word ‘spirit’ (πνεύμα), he refers directly to the Holy Spirit, not an abstract concept (ie. spiritual songs). I’m interested to see his argumentation if/when I get around to his work on the Holy Spirit, which is on my wishlist.

The point is, when Paul says ‘spiritual songs’, Fee takes him to mean ‘songs led by the Spirit’. If this is the case, then each member of the Trinity is directly involved in our response of worship.

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