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Why Is the Holy Spirit Listed Last?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority of the Spirit, Part 11

by Jeremy Ham on October 8, 2010

Have you ever wondered why the Holy Spirit is usually mentioned last when naming the members of the Trinity? Jeremy Ham, AiG–U.S., explores this idea.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19)

Today’s big question: why is the Holy Spirit listed last?

Many times when we talk about the Trinity, we state the members in a specific order—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Today’s passage also has them in this order, but why would the Holy Spirit be listed last? When considering such questions, we should always go to Scripture for our answers and not just make assumptions.

We should not assume they are listed in this order for a specific reason unless we see a reason mentioned in Scripture. From studying God’s Word, we can learn about various theological truths that are listed in a necessary order. For example, the individual pieces from the armor of God in Ephesians 6 are listed in necessary order, which we learn by studying Ephesians within the entire context of Scripture.

As we have demonstrated in previous devotionals, the Holy Spirit is God just as the Father is God and the Son is God. There is one God, yet three distinct members of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not listed last as result of being inferior to God in any way because He is God.

However, when we consider each member of the Trinity and their roles in salvation, we see a specific, logical order. In Ephesians 1, Paul describes each role of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, respectively.

The Father “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4), and to accomplish this plan, the Father “gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In Christ “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” because of His work on the Cross (Ephesians 1:7). Lastly, when we trust in Christ as our Savior, we are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1:13).

Perhaps the members of the Trinity are stated in a specific order because of the roles they play in salvation. Each role is just as important, as we can see when we study the doctrine of salvation. When we think of the amazing, wonderful truths of salvation, let us remember the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Today’s big idea: the Father gave His Son to accomplish the plan of salvation, and those who trust in Him are sealed by the Holy Spirit.

What to pray: thank God for each member of the Trinity and their respective roles in salvation.


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