A Four-Person Job

Have you heard any of these before?
• How many agnostics does it take to change a light bulb?  We can’t know.
• How many deists does it take to change a light bulb? None. If the light bulb no longer interferes with the world, why bother interfering with the light bulb?
• How many (insert denomination) does it take to change a light bulb? Seven. One to change the bulb, one to say an opening prayer, one to say a closing prayer, and four to bring salads and desserts.

Seriously, some jobs require more than one person. It takes two to tango, nine to play baseball and four to save a soul.

For those of us who take seriously what Jesus said in John 14:6 about Him being “the way, the truth and the life” and His claim that no one can get to the Father but by Him, today—Trinity Sunday—is a good time to revisit John 3 to be reminded there’s more to salvation than  Jesus and ourselves.

You’re already familiar with the most famous verse in the Bible—John 3:16—but let’s take a moment to consider its context. Nicodemus, a respected student of Scripture and leader of the Jews, came to Jesus by night praising Him for His unquestionably divine commission and unparalleled miraculous works. Jesus, knowing what Nicodemus couldn’t bring himself to ask, replied, “Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

That’s all it took. The door was open, and Nicodemus could ask what his heart really wanted to know. “How can these things be?”

No matter how many times you’ve studied Jesus’ answer, if you’re like me you probably still find yourself scratching your head over some of what He said. The so-called experts who write commentaries aren’t much help either. Some of them think they’re being deep when all they’re really doing is muddying the waters. Is it born again or born from above? What about being born of water and the Spirit—what does that mean? Then, there’s what Jesus said about the Spirit being like the wind. How does that fit?

I’m still unsure about parts of it, but this much I can say with confidence on this Trinity Sunday: Salvation is a four-person job.

God the Father Plays a Role in Salvation
It’s His kingdom to which salvation grants us access (vv. 3, 5)—not a make-believe kingdom as in a Disney movie, but a real kingdom that is here-and-now and not-yet. Given how our parents Adam and Eve rebelled against Him and all the terrible things their disobedience set into motion, it’s a wonder there’s still hope for any of us. Yet there is hope because of God the Father’s mind-boggling love that resulted in Him sending Jesus.

God the Son Plays a Role in Salvation
Jesus is the dutiful Son who came not to condemn but to save (vv. 16-17). Similar to the serpent in the wilderness, He was lifted up on a cruel cross to heal the effects of sin’s curse (vv. 14-15; Num. 21:4-9).

God the Spirit Plays a Role in Salvation
He is, in a mysterious way, the birthing agent of new life (vv. 5-7). Unseen, He goes about His work of convicting the world of sin, unrighteousness and coming judgment; of comforting, guiding and teaching God’s children; all the while glorifying Jesus (John 15:26—16:15).

You Play a Role in Salvation
Your role is the simplest of all. It is to believe (vv. 15-16)—not to stop at giving intellectual assent, but to trust; not to believe in salvation as a theological construct, but to receive it as a gift; not to make a choice on a whim, but to commit to a Person for a lifetime and eternity. It’s a serious decision, and not one to be put off for a later time.

So, how many people does it take to bring light into a sin-darkened world? Answer: four. It takes God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit and you.


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