Did you know that God as Love has three dimensions to it?
Earthly speaking, there is nothing more important than to have the love of a father. Secular, and Christian, social workers tell us that most of the psychological sufferings of people are a direct result of the lack of proper relationship with a father. A recent study brings together more than 35 international research projects around the globe and involves nearly 11,000 parents and children. The resulting analysis indicates that kids who endured rejection or perceived rejection, from a father are more susceptible to behavioral issues, substance abuse problems, imprisonment, hostility issues, aggression, low self-esteem, emotional instability, and a pessimistic worldview, to name a few.
Here is the irony of the study.
A mother can dish out the same rejection, and the child will be quick to forgive and restore the broken relationship. The child's loyalty to the rejecting mother overwhelmingly outweighed that of the father. A mother can commit a rejecting offense habitually while the child maintains commitment and forgiveness. Whereas a father can commit one single rejecting offense and the child will hold it against him indefinitely. Not only does this appear to be unfair but this hard data begs the question. Why?
The answer is found in the triune of God is Love.
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (1 John 3:1)
My logic in using this title is, even though God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit are all One, their Biblical role of function is diametrically different. Since God is Love (1 John 4:16), love becomes the common thread that connects each of the Trinity members represented as God. As for their identity markers, we have this:
God the Father = parent, Law Giver
God the Son = seed bearer, representative of the Law (Grace)
God the Holy Spirit = representative of the Son (actions of fulfilled Law)
Now that we have our definitions in place, we can look at the individual functions of each title.
The primary role of the Father, as well as earthly fathers, is to be the Law Giver. Contrary to many grace teachers today, the Law is not a negative thing. In Hebrew, Laws describe the character traits of the Father, which is also true with earthly fathers. This is why God assigned fathers to be heads of their homes. Their primary job is to establish the rules and guidelines of the home, thus proving their love for each member. A father who does not put the Laws of God in place within their home & provide discipline for breaking those guidelines is covertly confessing that they don't love their children (Heb. 12:7). God can never be accused of this. He spent the entire Old Testament to accomplish just that, while committing to discipline His children throughout the New Covenant (Heb. 12:5).
Jesus as God (love) has a different function. He was placed here on earth to fulfill the Father's Law, not remove it, to be the representative of His Father's character, thus manifesting God is Love through His acts of grace. What many believers don't understand is, Jesus had to earn (pay the price) to obtain His Father's love for all humans who fell short of it. Grace in Christ became a gift for all potential converts to join Jesus's preexisting love-life with His Father. Keep in mind there was a condition to this gift. After Jesus fulfilled all the requirements by removing the barriers, the perfect passageway was provided. Although, there was one step He didn't remove. The only way to inherit God is Love, the potential believer had/has to come into it by means of being born-again in Jesus. As Jesus communicated to the Nicodemus, a man of the Pharisees, unless you become born-again, no human can have eternal life.
Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)
As confusing as that was to Nicodemus, the same questions are being asked today by Christ-followers as well as most humans.
Nicodemus *said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" (John 3:4)
Jesus's reply is classic and profound. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'” (John 3:5-7)
The Truth Jesus is presenting is conditional; everyone outside this formula will never see the Kingdom of God is Love. The only humans that can love one another are those who meet the expectations of the Law Giver, God. While God fully knew that all humans fail on this point, He sends His son to fulfill the Law to remove the barrier of the immovable qualifications of being a part of the Kingdom of God is Love. This is what Jesus as the representative of the Law Giver came to do so that all would be without excuse.
All of this should raise a simple question. How does one become born-again?
Holy Spirit as God (love) has the most practical function of the Trinity – at least here on earth. The Law Giver (Father) and the Representative of the Law (Son) could not finish the final work of the Cross without the Holy Spirit. As one of my friend's states, "Only the Holy Spirit can make real our co-crucifixion, co-burial...and give us a new spirit and a new heart!" Well said, Armando!
Let's review the deception of a man choosing Christ.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (John 15:16)
This statement rises against the modality of all those who pray the "sinners prayer" as a way to make it into the Kingdom of God. Even though I am an advocate of making the salvation prayer available to all, I am a firm believer that it is only for those whom the Holy Spirit moves upon by way of obedience in fulfilling the "I chose you" mandate through Christ Jesus. This step is probably the single most misunderstood in the born-again formula. If Satan is successful in this, he can lead many to claim a "salvation" experience with Christ but remain dead as a doornail.
“Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'“ (Matthew 7:22-23)
This past week I was asked to minister to an inmate on the east coast. He was recently incarcerated for allegedly burning down an apartment complex. When they were providing me the background data on this young man, it communicated that he prayed the "sinners prayer" last year. As you might guess, this meant very little to me, outside of the fact that it reveals a sensitivity to Jesus Christ, which has eternal value. Timing in evangelism is critical – God's timing. Most "get people saved" because of their fears. Worst yet, they try to scare the hell out of the "lost" to save them from eternal damnation. Not me! Those details are needed for True and authentic born-again experiences.
Just in case you didn't notice in the aforementioned passage, Jesus emphasized on, that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain. It may sound overly simplistic but, I watch for four primary doctrinal points in observing all self-proclaimed Christians, you shall know them by their fruit, you shall know them by their deeds, you shall know them by their love and those who endure to the end, those shall be saved.
Those living within our The Post-Truth culture propagate the nasty habit of breaking the Trinity into individual salvation pieces, while rarely keeping the Law Giver in play (God the Father). Bummer! This nasty habit is what formed the "gracialistic" movement, the Millennial Jesus era & the exaggerated pew-jumping, barking in the spirit, Holy Spirit charismatic movement. Cultural stability requires the Law Giver (God the Father), the Representative of the Law (God the Son) and the One (God the Holy Spirit) who helps carry out the Law through believers indwelt by Christ. If you recognize how this is accomplished through real Grace in Christ, you might be one of the authentic believers.
The bottom line is this. We live in a culture where children hate their parents, particularly their fathers. As a result of this, authority, and its guidelines has been diminished – if not eliminated. If Satan continues to be successful in his objective, he will be able to cause the children to rise and kill their parents, thus eliminating the representatives of the Law Giver, God the Father.