The One God and the One Flesh

3 ways we partner with God

The more insane and chaotic things get in the world of men, the more I seek refuge in the natural world. Yesterday on a sunrise walk in a beautiful park near me, I returned to a meditation theme I’ve enjoyed for many years: the idea that nature parks are created through the partnership of God and Man.

Nature parks reflect the exercise of the power of dominion that God the Father gave to us all, through Adam, over the Creation: the power of naming and taming His wilderness of plants and animals. He invites us to share in the creative process with Him as a joint venture despite (or perhaps because of) our responsibility for having defiled His perfection with the corruption of sin. Creating a garden is an act of redemption.

Likewise, the creation of beautiful architecture like the ancient cathedrals of Christendom and, really, all art that is truly art, meaning a truthful expression of the divine spark He placed in us, is also a redemptive partnership with God the Father. And in a still broader sense, ALL human endeavor, to the extent that it benevolently augments God’s natural order instead of creating counterfeit alternatives (Lucifer’s fatal error) is a joint venture with Him.

Our second form of partnership is with God the Holy Spirit in the process of our own pursuit of Christlikeness. The Christian metamorphosis from justification through sanctification until glorification is one of my favorite topics to preach on.

Justification (eternal salvation) is by faith alone in Christ alone, while glorification – from the status of flawed physical human to perfected spiritual being “in the twinkling of an eye” – is by Christ’s power alone when he keeps the promise that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” We humans have no role in those events except the willingness to surrender to the control of our Savior.

Sanctification, however, is a joint venture in which we actively participate in the process of becoming more like Jesus. The very purpose of Christian life is to be conformed to the character of Jesus Christ through a life-long series of challenges uniquely designed for each person by God Himself. How we face those challenges determines the speed and quality of the changes within us, even including the possibility of backsliding along the way.

Never can we actually reach perfection through our choices and efforts (only glorification can produce that), but every step in the right direction increases our blessings and rewards in this life and in the Millennial Kingdom. Our works will be tested, and some lazy people and constant backsliders will only get into heaven “as through the fire” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), but while we remain in these human bodies, we can partner with God the Holy Spirit toward our own improvement and reap great benefit from it.

Our third form of partnership is with God the Son in the work of evangelism. God doesn’t need our help, but he wants it, like a dad wants his young child to help him do projects in the yard. He could get the work done faster and easier without us, but by including us in the process we are improved and blessed, and He has the enjoyment of fellowship with us.

I teach that all evangelism really comes down to nothing more or less than encouraging people to answer Jesus’ knock on their door. Revelation 3:20 says “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him and he with Me.”

We have no power to save anyone, but we do have power and opportunity to persuade others to answer the knock. And when we do that, either through the silent witness of our own lives lived openly for Christ, or through any form of active outreach (there is no set formula we’re obligated to use), we are true partners with God in “the good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

The 3 manifestations of God to Man

We who have been saved by His intervention in our lives perceive God in three ways, according to the attributes and functions of His Trinity. While we know that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, and that all three attributes belong to all three persons of the Trinity, it is helpful to recognize that Scripture indicates a special association of these attributes to the separate persons of the Trinity in the way they function.

We perceive the omnipotence of God the Father. Omnipotence is power, and it is manifested in its assertion. “So you are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Even from eternity I am He, and none can deliver out of My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:12-13) “Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes harmony in the heights of heaven” (Job 25:2).

We also perceive the omniscience of God the Holy Spirit. Omniscience is perfect knowledge of all things, and it is manifested to us in the channeling of power to produce effects, including the effect of human edification. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8). “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come” (John 16:13).

And, most importantly for our sakes, we perceive the omnipresence of God the Son. Omnipresence is God’s personal integration with and continual subsistence of all things everywhere. “He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made, and without Him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:2-3). All things means “all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).

The 3 components of the One God and of the One Flesh

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart [the seat of knowledge] and with all your soul [presence] and with all your strength [power]” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

“I and the Father are One” (John 10:30)

The One God

God the Father employs God the Holy Spirit to channel His power into the world, most famously in His visitation to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The effect of this exercise of power by God the Father is the introduction of God the Son to human form. The full Trinity of the One God is present at the point of conception.

“So the angel told her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end!’ ‘How can this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God'” (Luke 1:30-35).

The One Flesh

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

The union of a man and woman in marriage is metaphorically and spiritually the melding of the two persons into one. When Jesus recited this verse in Ephesians 5:31-33, he added, “This mystery is profound, but I am speaking about Christ and the church.” Just as He and the Father are one, He and the church are one. He was thus invoking the Trinity, in that the defining factor of “the church” is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit per Acts 2.

Lastly, the union of a man and woman in marriage is also the physical melding of two persons into one when a child is born of their union. He or she is literally one flesh from two by the miracle of DNA – 23 chromosomes from the man, and 23 from the woman. And thus One God and One Flesh both mean three persons.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.