038. THE CHARACTER OF GOD IS REVEALED IN THREE RELATIONSHIPS
God the Father has revealed His righteousness and holiness through His Son, Jesus Christ, who both taught and modeled the perfect relationship of love, peace and unity between the Son and the Father. Holy relationships were revealed so that the members of the body of Christ on earth, the church, could grow to be more like God by practicing Godly behavior toward one another. In these previous posts, it was theorized that these three relationships formed the basic functions of the church, in terms of behavioral expectations from holy people, by which the church, the body of Christ, would grow into maturity and into the fullness of Christ.
There has been much discussion over the years about the meaning of the “Trinity,” the “God-head,” “God in three persons,” “God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit,” etc. Is it one God, but three persons? This presents a confusing picture not only for many Christians, but also to some in other religions, such as Islam, who incorrectly interpret these things as meaning Christianity is polytheistic.
Perhaps an explanation is in the names, the Father and the Son, because these names implies a relationship. Perhaps even more important than three persons, the one God is illustrating His nature within three relationships. Perhaps it is not the separate forms of God that is important in the revelation of the nature of God as much as it is the relationship bonds between them. Perhaps God did it this way so that the relationship He wants to have with us as our Heavenly Father could be modeled between Jesus Christ, the perfect Son, and God the Father.
So, considering this theory, in the song, “Holy, Holy, Holy” (by Reginald Heber, 1826), might the repeated phrase “God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!” be better stated as “God in three relationships?”
There seemed to be a type of relationship, friendship, or fellowship between Adam and God in the Garden, which came to an end because of sin. At different times, places, and circumstances, God appeared in various forms through the Old Testament, but God revealed his nature of righteousness and holiness through the Law. Prophecies were made that the time would come when God would again live among His people and within the hearts of His people. Before these prophecies were fulfilled with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, Jesus Christ, while on earth in the flesh, revealed the nature of God through His example and through His teachings. He also modeled the Father-Son relationship that God the Father wants to have with us, having been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb so that we could receive His Spirit, be born again created in His image, and have fellowship with the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
We have fellowship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son did with the Father. That is one reason we are called sons, heirs according to the promise, children of God, and brothers of Christ. (Masculine gender reference includes both male and female). These are all references to a relationship between Christians and God and, collectively, the church and God.
One idea for conceptualizing the combination of three relationships is in the diagram below, which is built on the scriptures God is love (I John 4:16), the peace of Christ (John 14:27), and the unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3).
Not only has God has shown us His nature in three relationships, He has also given us three major relationships on earth by which we can develop behaviors that are like God in true righteousness and holiness.
These relationships, and our exercise of them, are discussed in the next three posts.
(A side, but rather interesting, discussion is all the different ways that God has chosen to reveal His nature using a pattern of “three.”)