The Trinitarian Salutation

In the salutation, we say, “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are fully Trinitarian in our theology, a question might arise- why just from the Father and the Son? Why not from the Spirit?

From the blog “Feeding on Christ” (, we find a quote from Jonathan Edwards that provides an interesting answer. From An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity ( Edwards says,

“I can think of no other good account that can be given of the apostle Paul’s wishing grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in the beginning of his Epistles, without ever mentioning the Holy Ghost, – as we find it thirteen times in his salutations in the beginnings of his Epistles, – but [i.e., except] that the Holy Ghost is Himself love and grace of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; and in his blessing at the end of his second Epistle to the Corinthians where all three Persons are mentioned he wishes grace and love from the Son and the Father [except that] in the communion or the partaking of the Holy Ghost, the blessing is from the Father and the Son in the Holy Ghost. But the blessing from the Holy Ghost is Himself, the communication of Himself. Christ promises that He and the Father will love believers (John 14:21,23), but no mention is made of the Holy Ghost, and the love of Christ and the love of the Father are often distinctly mentioned, but never any mention of the Holy Ghost’s love.

(This I suppose to be the reason why we have never any account of the Holy Ghost’s loving either the Father or the Son, or of the Son’s or the Father’s loving the Holy Ghost, or of the Holy Ghost’s loving the saints, tho these things are so often predicated of both the other Persons.)”

So Edwards says that the Spirit is present in the Apostolic greeting in that the grace and peace from the Father and the Son is itself the Spirit- the Spirit is the person of the Trinity who delivers to us the grace of God and works the knowledge of peace in us. The Spirit of God proceeds from both the Father and the Son, and the Spirit of God works in us the power of all of Christ’s gifts, opening our eyes to the truth. So when the Apostle wishes us “Grace and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”, He is wishing us the Spirit, since the Spirit is the way those things come to us.

As we worship the Lord our God, let us always keep sight of the full Trinity. The Father ordains our salvation; the Son achieves and accomplishes that salvation for us, and the Spirit applies it, delivering all the benefits of that salvation to us. That Spirit of God must guide our worship in particular, for without His illumination, our worship will be nothing but empty ceremony and self-glorification, but with His guidance we can begin to understand what it means to worship in Spirit and in truth.