As Apostolics do not believe in the trinity, what would be the point of three-type language in 2 Cor.13:14?
The clear language of this text is in harmony with Oneness or Apostolic belief. There are several points to consider when interpreting this passage, but I will address just a few due to the constraints of this article. There are over 30 salutations in the NT mentioning the Father and Christ, but tellingly only one salutation mentions the Holy Ghost. This is an important point for Trinitarians to consider.
But the biggest interpretive issue is one of context. The proof is in what the context itself says about the distinction. 2 Cor. 13:4 says, “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God,” showing the context of this passage isn’t about “persons” in a triune relationship, but in fact the man Jesus, who like all men was required to obey and serve God in covenant. By doing so and being crucified, the man Jesus provides opportunity for grace to be accessed.
The point is that’s why the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” is mentioned first! Paul is showing that we get not only the promise of covenant blessing from God, just like they did in the OT, we now also receive the blessings accomplished on the cross through the man Jesus who died for us. That’s why Paul says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” We have opportunity for fellowship with a holy God because of the sacrifice of His own life as the man Jesus! So, it’s clearly the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we need first.
That’s why Jesus name baptism is essential to salvation. You must come by way of the only door to salvation. John says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Now why not the “cometh unto the trinity” here? Again, any distinction is about the way God relates to us in different manifestations or modes. Through this grace provided by the man Jesus, we have and see the depth of the love of God. That’s why Paul wrote earlier in 2 Cor. 5:19, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…” (notice it was not themselves).
So, with covenant available to us now through Jesus’ work, which is the love of God on display, we now have opportunity for covenant union or “communion of the Holy Ghost.” This means communion must happen by the Spirit of God along with Jesus name baptism. It’s the same message of being born again of “water and Spirit” in John 3. That’s why Paul has already said in 1 Cor. 12:13 to this same Church, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” and again in Eph. 2:18, “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Through Christ the man’s work (applied in faith by repentance and Jesus name baptism), we have access by the Spirit (born again not just of water but also by the Spirit), unto the Father (fellowship and communion with God)!