Jesus Saves, But He Had Help: Trinitarian Hymns

Arise-My-Soul-Arise1The slogan “Jesus Saves” is completely true–but it is incomplete.  Jesus’ death on the cross was the atonement for our sins, and we should never cease to praise Him for his willingness to become the sacrifice in our behalf.  However, salvation is not a one-man job.  Jesus has two partners in crime: God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  The entire Triune God was at work to save God’s children.

Listen to how Peter succinctly puts in the opening to his first epistle:

“To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.”

-1 Peter 1:1-2

Did you catch that?  In one sentence, he mentions how each person of the loving Trinity was intimately involved in saving those of us who believe.  God the Father laid out the plans, the Holy Spirit set us apart and claimed us for God, and Jesus provided the necessary sacrifice and called us to obedience.

This is why I love worship songs and hymns that have a Trinitarian focus.  Take “Come Thou Almighty King”, for instance.  Each of the first three verses is dedicated to one of the three persons of God: the “Father all glorious”, the “Incarnate Word”, and the “Holy Comforter”.  The final verse climaxes in praising the unified God whom we will love and adore for all eternity.

I want to commend a particular Trinitarian hymn: “Arise, My Soul, Arise” by Charles Wesley.  I believe there is a new Indelible Grace rendition of this song with a chorus added, but I would encourage you to consider the original melody.  It has an appropriate sense of awe that accompanies this story of salvation well as the song narrates the loving exchange of the Trinity.

I love the way the verses communicate the interaction of the persons of the Trinity in accomplishing our salvation.  Wesley helps us to see that salvation was not just about God showing us love, but it was about God drawing us into the love that is shared between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus comes before the Father pleading on our behalf, and because the Father loves the Son, his Spirit responds by making us the sons of God.  Read the lyrics below, and see if it doesn’t stir your heart:

Arise, My Soul, Arise

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands,
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear Anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

(photo credit)

Published by Chad C. Ashby

Instructor of Literature, Math, and Theology at Greenville Classical Academy Greenville, SC

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