Functional Trinity

It’s useful sometimes to think of the Trinity in terms of the work that they do in the world, so:

  • The Father’s work is primarily Election and Providence;
  • The Son’s work is primarily Propitiation and Intercession
  • The Spirit’s work is primarily Conviction and Empowerment

Of course each one of those jobs is worthy of reams of discussion, and that wouldn’t even cover the more difficult items like how they relate to one another and how they can be “one” and “three” at the same time. But I think it’s interesting to see how the roles that each one does relates to the others. Election, Propitiation, and Conviction kind of go together under the heading “salvation.” Providence, Intercession, and Empowerment kind of go together under the heading “sanctification,” or possibly “building up the church.” At the same time, Election and Proivdence go together in a way that uniquely says “Fatherhood;” Propitiation and Intercession go together in a way that uniquely says “Sonship;” and Conviction and Empowerment go together in a way that uniquely says “Spiritual.”

Two final thoughts:

  1. Can somebody give me some other word than “propitiation” for “Christ’s unique giving of himself in my place as a sacrifice for sins by dying on the cross”? I keep thinking there should be another word, but I can’t think of any.
  2. I really like the above rubric. It ties things together in a delightfully simple, thorough, interrelated way. It also makes me feel cool because I thought it up all by myself. Therefore, I don’t trust it. Can anybody think of any other “works” that God does that don’t fall neatly into these categories, or in any other way punch some holes in the above? I’d be much obliged.

    Author: KB French

    Formerly many things, including theology student, mime, jr. high Latin teacher, and Army logistics officer. Currently in the National Guard, and employed as a civilian... somewhere

One thought on “Functional Trinity”

  1. I like the rubic too but I would also like a different word for propitiation. After rummaging through some on-line dictionaries here’s what I found: appeasement, atonement, placation,conciliation,reparation [which for some reason brings to mind mille borne]…unfortunately those are still pretty high-falutin’ words.


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