How Well Do You Know God? (Part 11)

Tommy Thornhill

To some this series of lessons may seem tedious, but the more we study the Bible, which is God’s revelation to us, the more we learn about God, His nature, and His purposes. As said at the beginning of this series we can never know the infinite God fully because of our finite minds, but we can know more than we have known in the past.

Recently, in seeking to know more about God, it was pointed out that God is a triune Deity, i.e., that God exists in three separate persons of super intelligence, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are equal in nature as God, possessing all the qualities that make up God, yet each person in the Godhead is separate and distinct from the other two. While the triune God acts as one, in perfect unity in purpose and plan, there is a division in the work each one performs as we seen previously.

While the trinity God is a harmonious whole, in the matter of authority there is division in rank. God the Father is the Supreme authority over both His Son and the Holy Spirit. How do I know this? Let’s go to the night Jesus ate His last Passover with His apostles John 14-16. After the Passover meal He told the apostles He was going to leave them and return to His Father, but He would not leave them without sending them another Helper (Comforter) who would abide with them forever Jn.14:16-17. A few verses later He says, “I am going to the Father, for My Father is greater than I” Jn.14:28. Then He said, “”I love My Father, and as the Father gave Me commandments, so I do” 14:31. Forty days after His resurrection Acts 1:3, and just before His ascension, Jesus was issuing the Great Commission to His apostles He told them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” Matt.28:18. Who do you think gave Him this authority? In fact, while He was on earth, Years later, Paul affirmed the fact that the Father was the supreme authority in 1.Cor.15:28. “Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”

Some may think this matter of authority as unimportant, but Jesus didn’t. When you study the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth, note that He declared to His disciples He always did the will of the Father. We see this in His prayer of submission in the Garden of Gethsemane. Knowing the cross was just ahead, He prays, “Father, if it be Your will, take this cup away from Me, nevertheless not My will, but Your will be done” Lk.22:42. His will was subject to that of the Father. The same was true of the Holy Spirit and His work in the scheme of redemption. The Holy Spirit did not begin His work of revealing the Father’s plan until He was sent. Remember, Jesus had said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things that I said to you” Jn.14:26.  

Earlier I wrote that Jesus promised His disciples that He was going to return to His Father, and “pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper (comforter.” This Helper was the Holy Spirit. Take notice of the word, “another” Comforter? The word, “another,” (Gk. allos) is a pronoun which means, another person or thing of the same kind, sort, one who has the same character and quality. If Jesus had used the Gk.”hetoros,” (also translated another or different as in Gal.1:6, 7, where Paul uses hetoros in v.6, and allos in v.7), He would have been using a word that meant another person or thing of a different kind or sort, not of the same kind or sort. But, Jesus used the word that meant that the Father was going to send one just like Him, another one who was also God.

People might wonder if all three persons in the Godhead are equal in the nature and attributes that belong to God, then how can one have greater authority than the other two. Let me try to illustrate. God created the human race. The human race is composed of human beings. We generally think of a human being as composed of two parts, a physical body and an inner living soul. But, in reality a human being is composed of three parts, a body, a soul and a spirit 1.Thes.5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless…” (the underlining mine t.t.). What is the difference in the three parts?

We all have a body, and within the body is a living soul, that which animates the body. But the animating soul is composed of two parts, soul and spirit. The spirit within the soul is that which motivates the life-giving soul, which in turn animates or controls the body.

Now, compare the working of a human being with that of an automobile. We generally think of an automobile as having a body and a motor that runs the car. But, the motor also has a starter attached, and the motor doesn’t start until the starter activates the motor. Have any of you ever had a motor that started without a working starter?

With the above thoughts, let’s now make application to the operation of the Godhead. As we have seen, the human being is composed of body, soul and spirit. The spirit part of the soul is the starter, It thinks, reasons, wills, decides how the soul (the motor, life-giving force) will move the body. In the same manner, just as the spirit controls the soul and body of a human, God the Father is the starter of the Godhead. He is the supreme authority, and He controls God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

“Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee! Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in three persons, blessed Trinity!  

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