I understand, at least from a theological perspective, how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons, all individually truly God, yet one in essence. If you are like me, there are times when it takes real concentration to wrap my brain around this reality. It’s never the three persons aspect that I have a problem with, it is the specifics of the one God in essence aspect that doesn’t, at least for me, give me the same level of understanding. Please don’t misunderstand me, I do understand the one God aspect, but not with the same level of understanding that the three persons aspect presents itself to me, within the scriptures. Using prayer as an example, we pray to God in and through the name of Jesus (our intercessor), who sits on the right hand of God the Father in heaven and our prayers are aided or assisted through the work of the Holy Spirit within us.
Because I have a tendency to be a bit of an analytical person I basically try to explain to myself the realities of this functionality in words that I can grasp easier. I hope this makes sense.
I find the Biblical union of a husband and wife, where the two become one, to be an analogy that works for me. Two people, who are so in tune with each other, that they can start and finish each others sentences. Their two minds work as one, there is no deviation in their love, their thinking or their values and objectives. Of course, with human husbands and wives, that “oneness” does have it’s limits but with God there would be no limits, then I just extend the “two” to “three”. Anyway, for what it’s worth, that is the way I explain the three persons of God but one in essence functionality to myself.
We have to remember that we are dealing with spiritual realities here, because as we know, God is a spirit. At some level, the Godhead will always be a bit of a mystery to us while we are in our physical bodies.
I Corinthians 13:12 NIV always comes to mind “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
When we read the New Testament, the interaction between God the Father and Jesus (God the Son) is everywhere. There are many verses where Jesus deliberately explains the functionality between Himself and our Father. I will just list three:
John 6:38 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
John 5:19 “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.”
John 12:49 “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.”
In these three verses alone we know that Jesus came to do the will of the Father, to speak the words that the Father commanded Him to speak and to do the things that the Father does. And the kicker is the verse where Jesus says that the Son can do nothing of Himself. So everything, everything that Jesus did was direct from the Father.
The verse that always comes into my mind when I run across verses that illustrate this functionality between Jesus and God the Father is John 15:5 where Jesus says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
“Nothing” is pretty inclusive. The linkage between what Jesus could do and what we can do is absolute. If Jesus could do nothing of Himself, then it stands to reason that we can do nothing of ourselves. Jesus did what God the Father wanted Him to do and we need to do what Jesus wants us to do. That’s where the abiding in Jesus comes in.
That’s also where the “oneness” comes into play. He is the vine and we are the branches. We need to be in union with Jesus, in following His commandments, in believing His Word, in living in His strength. That union with Jesus is vital because abiding in Jesus is what it is all about. There are three practical functions that help us move in that direction that I am aware of.
- Live in God’s Word, daily.
- Pray, at all times and in all circumstances.
- Move forward in obedience and faith on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
That’s where my analogy of “oneness” breaks down because I fall short in each of these functions. But …… there is hope because I can attest that this equation produces growth, in direct proportion to the degree of time and effort I expend in each of them.
As John 15:5 says “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.”
The last verse I am going to share with you is from the Apostle Paul, where in Philippians 3:10-14 NIV he says “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
All of Paul’s words are key words but the words “press on”, “take hold”, “forgetting what is behind” , and “straining toward what is ahead” all point in the direction to which we are to continue. This is our calling, our marching orders per sec, where the rubber hits the road. And in spite of my failures, it is a beautiful journey.
Worthy is the lamb! Blessings!
Bruce, thank you for sharing your wonder of our great and mighty triune God, all of which I need daily. Knowing my weakness even to take hold, or to press on, He is able to bring us where He wants us to be. Even as Jesus, the image of the invisible God could do nothing on His own, so all that I need depends on Him ~ all three.:) Have a blessed day and week-end.
Thanks Fran, best to you and Jerry for the weekend!
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