Greetings once again to you, my Friends! Ever since mankind walked this earth, human life has been defined by the natural attributes they aspire and seek through the shared lens of their common humanity. These attributes are, freedom, dominion or identity, and physical resources. These three attributes reflect humanity’s common heritage given by the Creator. Freedom means the individual’s right to choose, mainly where one resides geographically, one’s occupation, the right to free speech, gathering, education, well-being, and other affiliations and relationships. These freedoms are protected in universal charters supported mainly by the United Nations and other institutions. Dominion means the human identity that’s distinct to a nation, tribe, ethnicity, culture, language, etc. It is usually geographical. Physical resources means the material riches, tangible or otherwise, that’s particular to a dominion and enjoyed by its people.
No matter who we are, or whatever our nationality or color, wherever we live, these three attributes defines our commonality as humans. Without any one of these three attributes humans cease to enjoy having a substantive and meaningful existence as humans. They define who we are as a people. That these attributes are claimed to be God-given, is never disputed by people throughout the world. The unique expression of each attribute may differ from nation to nation, depending to a large extent upon their geography and resource, nonetheless, they are identical attributes which form the foundation for human existence in all peoples.
The history of mankind has shown how peoples have disregarded these God-conferred attributes, sadly, to humanity’s detriment and untold suffering. Humans have coveted dominions not theirs, subjugated and destroyed people’s God-given freedoms, and raped the natural resources of others and regrettably their own. When God created humans, He not only gave us free-will to choose, but supplied us His nature of Love to guide our liberties so we will not misuse much less abuse our prerogatives. God did this so humanity will show respect and honor for each other in these three attributes that God has so richly blessed peoples the world over. In short, God wanted humans to Love others as they Love themselves. (Gal.5:14) If everyone did that, individually and collectively, the ‘golden rule’ would form the cornerstone of our relationships: “Therefore, whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them, because this summarizes the Law and the Prophets” (Matt.7:12, ISV).
But humanity has disregarded their Maker’s Love and rebelled against His Loving will. Of all species created by God, only humans are given the mind with the freedom to choose good and evil. Other species are given preset instincts to live according to the Maker’s distinct and intended purpose for them. From herbivores and carnivores, from the avian to the insect species, from reptiles to marine life, and all the variant species in between, every species are gifted differently and magnificently to live according to God’s purpose for them. Of all species, only humans have lived in rebellion to his Maker. Why is this? This can be explained through the three mandates given to humanity at creation.
In the beginning when creating humans, God gave mankind three mandates to live by which would guide them in their relationship with God and with other humans and the world around them. The three mandates are found in the Book of Genesis which records human creation. They are: 1. the ‘Triune Love mandate,’ 2. the ‘dominion mandate,’ and 3. the ‘helper mandate,’ Let me expound on each in relation to three ascents (steps), depicting God’s Tri-Personal Being in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, with each dovetailing into one another showing how all three Persons of the Godhead are in the relationship of Love with humanity. (Matt.28:18-20) Through the ascents we can understand the dynamic of the human spirit in relation to God’s Spirit, where humanity has gone astray, and make the necessary changes in relationship with His Maker and his fellow humans.
Ascent 1: Triune Love Mandate – The Father: The first ascent is centered in God the Father. The “Triune Love Mandate” speaks of the purpose of human creation in relation to mankind’s primordial nature at creation. God said this about humanity, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them. Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen.1:26-27).
So, God created humans in His image. What is God’s likeness or image? John tells us this, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8). Love is God’s image and likeness. Love is His divine nature. We can say it in the reverse, ‘Love is God,’ and it conveys the same inseparable meaning. God is not made of Love, He is the uncreated everlasting Creator Being who is Love. So, humans were created in God’s divine Love – that is mankind’s primordial nature. God said at the creation of humanity, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen.1:26-27). If God’s divine image is Love, then there is no other way humans could reflect God’s likeness except, in His Love!
There is another aspect of God’s nature which defines His Love-nature, God is a Trinity. That’s to say, God consist of three free Persons in one Godhead – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:18-19) When Jesus commissioned His disciples to take the Gospel message into all the world, He told them, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt.28:18-20).
To ‘baptize’ means to ‘induct’ into the life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, or in short, the Trinity. Recall what God said at creation, He said, “Let Us…Our image…Our likeness.” This highlights the plurality of God’s Trinitarian divine nature. Paul said this about God’s Tri-Personal nature, “For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. ” (Eph.4:4-6; also, Jud.1:20-21). God is not a solitary God, but Is the Triune Godhead in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He is not three Gods, but One God. (Mar.12:29; Deut.6:4)
Besides fulfilling His mission as mankind’s Savior and Redeemer, Jesus came to reveal the true nature of God, that God is His Father, and He is His Son. He told the disciples at the last supper before His death upon His cross, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14:1-4).
The disciples were puzzled, so Thomas asked, “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” (John 14:5). Then Jesus replied, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him” (John 14:6-7). The disciples were even more perplexed now, primarily because of the novelty of Jesus’ teaching of God the Father, as their view of God was derived from and grounded in Judaism. God the Father is a central tenet of Christian theology. The Jewish concept of God is that God is non-corporeal, transcendent and immanent, the ultimate source of love, and a metaphorical “Father.” Jesus taught that God is the real and true Father of mankind, not a metaphorical Father. So Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” (John 14:8).
Jesus reply was one of the most important He ever made in revealing the Father to the disciples and His followers, “Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing his work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it” (John 14:9-14).
Here, Jesus was revealing the Triune nature of God, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing his work. Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me” (John 14:9-11). Jesus cannot be separated from the Father because they consist in one substance of Love, One Godhead with the Spirit. When He taught the disciples to pray, He opened His prayer with the words, “Our Father…” (Matt.6:9). Today, as believers we take God as our Father for granted, but it was not so in the time of Jesus where people live under the teaching of the Jewish leaders.
Then, at the point of death when the Jewish council charged Jesus with blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God, He was unjustly sentenced to death. In a prior encounter with the Jewish leaders about this touchy subject, Jesus told them, “Do you say of Him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father” (John 10:36-38). Even then, He maintained His mission to proclaim the truth of the Fatherhood of God in His Triune existence.
The members of the Jewish Sanhedrin were looking for any reason to put Jesus to death. They did not believe Jesus’ claim of being the Son of God as consisting of one Godhead, but their disbelief did not mean Jesus made an untrue statement. He was asked a direct question, and He gave a forthright answer. Even at His last moments of death, He prayed for His tormentors, saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He continued, “Father, why have You forsaken Me?” Then finally, He called out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. When He had said this, He breathed His last” (John 19:30; Luk.23:46). Until His final breadth, Jesus never shrunk from His commitment to declare God as His Father, and our Father. (Matt.26:63-66; John 20:17)
Author Jon Tal Murphree gives us a profound description on how the divine nature of the Triune God in the three Persons exists in the divine pattern of the Triune Life, “Each Person of the Trinity transposes Himself into the others without confusing His own personality with the Others…. the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist as persons alongside each other as much as they exist in and through each other.” (Pg.29, “The Trinity and Human Personality”). Murphree gave us a succinct explanation of God’s Triune nature, “the Father, Son, and Spirit do not exist as persons alongside each other as much as they exist in and through each other” showing God is indivisibly One in His Triune Nature.
Yet, Each Person of the Trinity is distinctly gifted and free Person manifesting unique Love-tasks that are special to Each Person within the Godhead. They live freely as Personalities , or as theologians would precisely render as hypostasis, but united in One Godhead. And herein we discover the origin of human freedom – the cradle of human freedom springs from the very divine nature of the Godhead consisting in three free Persons. It is also from the Godhead that multitude of human gifts and talents spring forth to emphasize our human freedoms, imitating the different Personalities of the Tri-Personal Being of God.
So, we see God’s divine nature of Love as having a flip side – freedom! Therefore, freedom and Love are flip sides of the same divine nature of God. Within their collective freedom are three gifted Personalities. So, our freedoms come with the responsibility to Love God and our fellow humans through our divinely-conferred gifts. For the two characteristics, Love and Freedom, are indivisibly one! There is no Love without freedom, and no freedom without Love, for they are one and the same. The Bible says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through Love serve one another” (Gal.5:13; 2 Cor.3:17).
The heart of the Triune Love Mandate speaks of the message of the deification of mankind. What does that mean? You may read my appendix below under the heading Triune Life* for a complete commentary on what ‘deification’ mean. In a nutshell, the Bible tells us this about deification, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Cor.15:51-53; 1 Thess.4:16-18). Yes, mankind’s ultimate destiny is to be made immortal (deified) conforming to the image of Jesus who took our fallen humanity, saved and immortalized (restituted) and presented it before the Father. (Rom.8:29-30; Act.3:19-21, KJV)
Humanity become God’s children because we have a God who is a Loving Father, and Jesus is God’s Spokesman, our Loving Savior and elder Brother, while the Spirit is our Loving Friend and Helper who enters human life to manifest God’s Love, freedom, and power. (John 20:17; John 3:16; Rom.5:5) They act indivisibly as One Triune God. Paul’s parting benediction upon the Corinthian church was, “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God (Father), and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Cor.13:14).
I have dwelt on the topic of God’s divine nature at some length for a vitally noble and consequential reason. That is, our concept of God is pivotal to our spiritual health, besides our physical well-being, I might add, and ultimately for humanity’s eternal destiny. Can we profess to believe in and follow the teachings of the Bible, while our concept of God’s nature is incorrect and unquestionably misleading? This is fundamentally important because the right concept of God and His divine nature will shape everything we read and understand about Him in the Bible. All our assumptions and conceptions are faulty if our concept of Him is equally flawed from the start. It is from this conceptual foundation of God’s true nature that we form every aspect of our understanding of the Bible and its teaching, and our eternal destiny.
The Bible says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is the closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18). Many times, humans and believers present a concept of God sitting solitarily and remotely alone on His throne, passing judgment and exercising control over our lives. Jesus corrected that image and showed God to be a relational Being who is our Loving Father in His Trinitarian nature. In His Love for mankind, He did not spare His Son, but gave Him up for our salvation. That is the kind of God we are talking about. He never stops Loving mankind, and would not spare any pains to prove His Love for us.
The Bible makes a plea for our understanding as to the greatness of God’s Love for each one of us personally, saying, “That Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s Love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His Love is. May you experience the Love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Eph.3:17-19). How awesome and how personal to each of us the Father’s Love is!
The proper concept of God as the Loving Triune God stands in contrast to the view of the ‘solitary’ God. This solitary life of fallen humanity was inherited from Satan resulting from Adam’s rebellion and sin in Eden. From that time forth, humanity’s journey throughout the earth and his relationship with fellow humans and especially with God has been dictated and crafted in his ‘solitary’ mindset, philosophy, and resulting self-centered way of life. This is exactly the opposite from the ‘trinitarian’ perspective that is based upon God’s Triune Love and outgoing way of life. (You may want to read my blog on “Loving God First” at: http://bulamanriver.net/11833 and http://bulamanriver.net/12043 )
I wish to share a parable given by Jesus, which I would like to apply here. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven (God) is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matt.13:44, italics mine). The kingdom of heaven is essentially about God, and if it is, then it begins with the true concept of God. That “treasure” is our knowledge and understanding of God as revealed in the Bible. Therefore, our concept of God is a “treasure” which we ought to be willing to pay whatever price to procure. For it is from this wellspring that all things relating to God and His purpose blossom and grow spiritually for humanity. And our collective responsibility in the areas of our human freedom, dominion, and indigenous resource, will be generated by the influence of His divine Triune Love.
Ascent 2: Dominion Mandate – Jesus Christ: The second ascent is centered in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The “dominion mandate” was given to humanity at creation. Let’s read it, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen.1:26-28, KJV, italics for emphasis).
The word “dominion” is here mentioned twice as it relates to man’s dominion over God’s earth. Other translations have rendered this term, as, “Let them be masters…;” and “They will have power over…” The Psalmist repeats humanity’s dominion, “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen—Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” (Psa.8:6-9). So, dominion relates to rulership over God’s creation and by extension earth’s other resources.
Ambitious people have driven themselves to great lengths motivated by the “dominion mandate” to do great things upon this earth. (Gen. 1:26, 28; Ps. 8:6-8). Whether they are all good and done in the service of all, or for human harm, is the burning question. In the exercise of human dominion upon earth, we do so under God, for He is Creator. The Bible utters God as saying, “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty” (Hag.2:8). Further God says, “For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it” (Psa.50:10-12). Therefore, the Bible speaks about stewardship, hence, our God-given dominions exists as such. (1 Pet.4:10). If we were to let history be the judge, we will have to say that much harm than good has flowed under the river of time in our human history. The history of humanity concerning the God-given dominion of people has been one where people’s freedoms have been trampled on with impunity. Thus, we are reminded of God’s Love which can never be divorced from His freedom which cannot be applied without the other for they are one and the same.
With Adam and Eve, God gave them an immediate stewardship over the Garden of Eden which God personally planted for them. God brought various species of animals, of birds, and other life forms to Adam to give names for them. (Gen.2:18-20) Then God instructed them, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (Gen.2:15, KJV). So, the dominion mandate came with God’s direction to “dress and keep” their dominion. That command is still valid today where we are responsible stewards of this earth to look after all life forms and species, the resources of the earth, and respecting people’s dominion. Yes, this earth and all in it is given under the stewardship to mankind to dress, keep, and protect.
Today, humans celebrate ‘Earth Day’ in honor of our blue planet which hangs like a jewel in outer space. Yet, today mankind is facing serious environmental issues which threaten life as we know it upon this earth. Issues like the choking pollution of our air, water, oceans and land, of climate change, deforestation of the tropical rain forest, the melting of the polar ice-caps and rising sea levels, the loss of earth’s biodiversity, to name a few. Mankind has obviously not done a good job of maintain and keeping our only collective dominion and home – this earth.
In the final analysis, God has determined that dominion of this earth has been given to the human who will do what is necessary to save it from destruction – His Son Jesus. He came to save us – not only from human sin, but for all things that has to do with human dominion upon this earth. (Rev.11:18) Today, Jesus sits glorified at the Father’s right hand in heaven as mankind’s Savior and Mediator. (Mar.16:19; Heb.10:12; Psa.110:1) At the climax of human dominion and civilization in the Book of Revelation, the Seventh Trumpet is blown, and we read, “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom (dominion) of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever'” (Rev. 11:15). Revelation goes further, and says this, “On His (Jesus’) robe and on His thigh He has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16). Yes, Jesus will reign over all the dominions of earth forever, and humanity will reign with Him. (Rev. 22:5).
There is an all-important proviso we must not omit to take away as it relates to our fellow humans and how we are to relate with each other concerning the dominion mandate. The dominion mandate was given with a stipulation we may have overlooked and ignored to our detriment and harm. The dominion mandate covers God’s created species and resources, however, humanity is never mentioned in the context of this mandate. The text we read above is crystal clear on this point. That means, there is a separate mandate concerning how we relate with our fellow humans.
What then should govern human to human relationship. Paul gives us a peek which we will cover in depth later in the helper mandate. He told the Romans, “Owe no man anything, except the debt of Love” (Rom. 13:8; Gal. 6:2, KJV). Why is this human proviso important to observe? Of all the species, only humans were created in God’s Love image and likeness. Therefore, humans are deserving of nothing less than God’s Love. Only humans were created to live this outgoing way that is based upon God’s Love. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8) God has Loved us dearly and did not spare His Son, but gave Him up for us. We must be willing to do the same for each other.
Therefore, humans are subjects of God’s dominion (kingdom) under Christ, not man’s self-driven, self-imposed, solitary, dominion. God is humanity’s Savior and therefore answerable to Him, not another human. God is mankind’s Ruler, not another man or woman. Therefore, we violate the dominion mandate when we try to include humans when there is no mention of humans in the dominion mandate.
Let us be clear, the dominion mandate was given to be exercised over the earth and over species and resources excluding humanity. Every single human is given a shared dominion over the earth under Christ, even on an individual basis, as God reminds us, thus, “Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken” (Mic.4:4; Psa.24:1; Eccl.5:9, NKJV) That brings us to the third attribute in Genesis of the “helper mandate.”
Ascent 3: Helper Mandate – Holy Spirit: The third ascent is centered in the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune Godhead. What is the helper mandate? Like the previous two mandates, this third mandate was uttered by God in Eden at the creation of humanity. The word ‘helper’ conveys the existence of other human beings with whom the ‘helper mandate’ may be contrived and carried out. However, Adam was alone. Then God created the second human upon earth, and with that the helper mandate was born.This is how the mandate was decreed and given by God, “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him…So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.” “At last!” the man exclaimed. This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man’”(Gen.2:18, 21-23).
In short, the helper mandate helps regulate the ‘dominion mandate’ where humans are prevented from exercising dominion over another human, but rather become “helpers” of one another in their God-given dominion upon earth.
Whenever we read the 23rd Psalm, we are reading the King Jesus’ philosophy of being a Helper in His rulership over His dominion. (Psa.23:1-6 – “The Lord id My Shepherd”) So, God is first a Helper and calls upon humanity to imitate His likeness. (Gen.1:26-27)
Even though this passage from Genesis concerning the “helper mandate” is often quoted on matrimonial occasions between a man and woman, nonetheless, it applies to every human being, regardless of who they are in relation to sex, race, language, nationality, culture, and whatever walk in life. Recall, that Eve was the only “next” human after Adam with whom the helper mandate can be applied. Be that as it may, it must be appreciated that it is from the foundation of families proceeding from the matrimonial bond of a man and a woman, that humans are raised from childhood to become “helpers” in the larger human society. But why was the helper mandate established first through the marriage union? Paul gives us insight and has this to say to husbands, “Husbands ought to Love their wives as their own bodies. He who Loves his wife Loves himself” (Eph.5:28). What was Paul saying? When God made Eve, He did not create her separately like He did with Adam directly from the soil of the earth, no. God took Eve from Adam’s side or rib. (Gen.2:18-23)
Thereby, all of humanity proceeded from Adam’s single creation through Eve. Therefore, by extension every human is indivisibly part of the greater humanity, and our own bodies proceed from the single creation of Adam. This shows that God created humanity to reflect Himself, where He is One in three hypostasis in the Father, Son and Spirit. Each reinforce the oneness or unity of God. Therefore, when we help other humans, we are in effect helping our self. Many today don’t have a clue, much less conceive of the sheer wonder of this awe-inspiring ‘mystery of our one humanity consisting in one body’ from the single creation of Adam. Paul calls it a mystery. (Eph.5:31-33) It is from the mystery of our ‘hypostatic’ union consisting of one humanity from Adam, that the helper mandate springs forth. That’s to say that all humans are part of each other in the same body, and what we do to others, we do to our own selves. This is a principle based upon God’s trinitarian principle: “the act of one is the act of all, and the act of all is the act of one.”
What does the helper mandate call upon our common humanity to do? First, let us read how the Jesus Himself has showed us the example of the Helper. In line with the 23rd Psalm, Jesus told His listeners, “I am the good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd sacrifices His life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so, the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd; I know My own sheep, and they know Me, just as my Father knows Me and I know the Father.
“So, I sacrifice My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to My voice, and there will be one flock with one Shepherd. The Father Loves Me because I sacrifice My life so I may take it back again. No one can take My life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what My Father has commanded.” (John 10:11-18) So, the helper mandate is founded upon the principle of ‘self-sacrifice,’ and self-sacrifice is the heartbeat of the divine Love-nature of God. And the Son of God led the way by sacrificing Himself for our redemption.
How does God manifest Jesus’ helper mandate in humanity? Jesus gave the answer when He said to His disciples, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). What Jesus meant was the Helper was the Holy Spirit who would come and empower humanity to become true helpers in His mold. Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you” (John13:15; also 1 Pet.2:21).
Jesus said humans must go through a rebirth in the Spirit to live the Triune Life and manifest the three mandates. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (experience the God-Life at the Triune level) (John 3:3, italics mine). For emphasis Jesus repeats Himself, “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5). Paul said this of the Spirit, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5).
So, we see the Spirit is the very Personification of God’s divine nature (Love) and power in humans. It is He who liberates and enables the Helper Mandate in mankind. He also inspires the other two mandates in us. When Jesus said “If I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you,” it presumes specific events to take precedent like His sacrifice (death), resurrection, ascension, and office of our heavenly High Priest, which gives passage for the Helper (Spirit) to come and indwell humanity as God’s very temple. Paul uttered a profound statement about the Triune Life, when he said, “Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Cor.3:16; 6:19).
The Spirit enters and live in the temple of saved humanity and empowers them with the fruits of Love. It is through the fruits of the Spirit that we make the helper mandate come to reality in humanity. What are these fruits? Paul teaches us by way of his letter to the Corinthians. We utilize the Love-fruits of the Spirit in the exercise of the helper mandate through our divinely-conferred talents and gifts each person is born with. Like Joseph of the Bible, our dreams (gift/calling/work) will always be consistent with God’s purpose for each of us. We perceive and achieve our dreams by living the Triune Life of God through the dynamic of the three mandates.
As we will see, God reveals to us clearly what Love means in the expression of its fruits, so we are without excuse. We see this revealed to us in 1 Corinthians 13. Here is a summary of God’s Love-fruits: *patience, *kindness, *contentedness, *the fruit of being modest and unboastful, *humility, *the fruit of honor, *the fruit of unselfishness, *the fruit of calmness and dignity, *the fruit of forgiveness and compassion, *the fruit of delighting in good and shunning evil, *the fruit of tolerance, *the fruit of responsibility, *the fruit of enduring hope, *the fruit of steadfast perseverance, *joy, *peace, *goodness, *faith, *gentleness, *self-control, *the fruit of zeal and spiritual fervor, *The fruit of gratitude and thankfulness, *the fruit of friendship, *the fruit of sharing and generosity, *the fruit of prayerfulness, *the fruit of hospitality, etc. (1 Cor.13; also Gal.5:22-23; Rom.12:9-21) You may go to: http://bulamanriver.net/9199 to find the Spirit’s Love-fruits and their antithesis to help us see at a glance the work of the Spirit as opposed to the fruits (works) of the enemy. Think about and meditate on these fruits and see how you and I can exercise the helper mandate through them.
4th Ascent “Triune Life Mandate” – Humanity: the Triune Life Mandate is centered in humanity. It is where the three mandates and human life intersect. It is where the dynamic of human life and the spiritual energy of the Tri-Personal Being of God come together in the bond of Love, and so fulfill our responsibilities to the three attributes common to our humanity: to honor other humans because they are made in God’s Love-image, to respect their freedoms and rights, and to be faithful and honest stewards of the resources our Maker has blessed all peoples.
The three Love relationships we saw in the three mandates comes alive where God engages humanity and takes the human mind and spirit to new levels of creativity. In short, a person experiences what it means to be reborn in the power of the Spirit. The first manifestation is one of sheer joy which springs from engaging God in the fullness of His Love and we’re made to reach out to our fellow humans in the flow of Christ’s Love in the areas of people’s freedoms, dominion, and resources.
The 4th Ascent is about God bringing the three mandates which reflect the divine Love energies through the presence of the Spirit. (Rom.5:5) So, the Triune Life Mandate is the constant flow of the divine Love energy of God from the three Persons of the Godhead into humanity energizing us to find God’s will for our lives and making it a reality through the three mandates. In short, it is the miraculous life that is lived at the human level in the power of God’s Love to fulfill our responsibilities in the three attributes of freedom, dominion, and indigenous resource. This is the activity of deification even in our human fleshly existence. Paul explains it succinctly, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image” (2 Cor.3:18; also 1 Cor. 13:12; Rom.8:29).
Yes, fundamentally humanity’s conformity with the Triune God at the primordial level is only made possible by man’s compliance to the three mandates through a surrendered life to Jesus in the Spirit’s power and Love. But God has not left this awesome divine purpose in humans to do on his own. He understands our fallen state of being which came through Adam and Eve’s rebellion from the start is an insurmountable hurdle to mankind. He knows that in our deceived and sinful state, we are blindly led by Satan who stands as the barrier between man and God. Satan introduced rebellion and brought fear and sin as a way of life. This has blinded humanity to the Love of God hidden in the deep recess of their being. Jesus taught the disciples, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luk.17:21). Yes, God had placed the reflection and image of His kingdom in mankind at creation, but Satan has blinded humanity through deception and sin starting with Adam. How can humanity defeat this crafty and evil unseen enemy? He has given that responsibility of bringing humanity from the path of destruction into true life to His Son, the second Adam, Jesus. (1 Cor. 15:45) You will read about Jesus’ role as Savior and Mediator of humanity, at: http://bulamanriver.net/15813.
Through Jesus, as the second Person of the Triune Godhead, He opens the way for the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Godhead, to enter our fallen world saved by Jesus, to unite Himself with humanity and defeat Satan and fulfill the provisions of the three mandates as God had predestined for mankind from creation. Humans are now back on track to the path of becoming divine offspring of the Almighty. (You may read of humanity’s new birth in the Holy Spirit at: http://bulamanriver.net/10075)
On a human personal level, the Helper Mandate becomes the dominant feature of the Triune Life we live in the 4th Ascent. The preliminary Triune Love and Dominion Mandates are preparatory steps which energizes the Helper Mandate in humanity. Jesus reiterated man’s helper mandate when He said we are to “Love our neighbors as we Love ourselves” (Mark 12:31). Paul does the same and encouraged the Corinthians, saying we are “helpers of your joy” (2 Cor. 1:24, KJV). He goes on to say, “Owe no man anything, except the debt of Love” (Rom. 13:8; Gal. 6:2, KJV).
When humanity has fundamentally conformed himself to God’s primordial Triune Love nature through the three mandates, humans can now rule all creation under Christ as God would have him.
Having said all of the above, let me conclude with the following. The most basic and pivotal knowledge a person must have is to understand God is Trinitarian. The mention of the name of God, must always convey His Loving Tri-Personal Being in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is from this vantage point that we see God, out of Love and sheer generosity of His divine Triune Being chose to reproduce Himself by creating a species who can freely choose to follow His outgoing way of Love, joy, and generosity. Thus, all our human interaction with others will find their just and proper place as it concerns people’s freedom, dominion, and their indigenous resources. We continue to live by and are sustained by His Triune Love image when Jesus instructed the disciples before He ascended back to His Father in heaven, to induct humanity in the life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:18-20)
Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven at His Father’s side ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious humanity made children of God forever. You can privately and quietly pray this prayer in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination – into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the temple for God’s dwelling:
Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon me and all humanity. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net. You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, may the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love,* be with you and your Loved ones always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the Triune Life. Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Farewell for now,
Kiang P. Lee (Your Servant In Christ)
*Triune Life: “Triune Life” speaks of the process of theosis or deification of humanity. What is theosis or deification? “It refers to apotheosis, meaning “making divine.” Theosis or deification is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God (as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Church).” (Wikipedia.org) The belief in the process of ‘deification’ is understood in accordance with Jesus’ teaching, when He said, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If He called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside (cannot be broken)” (John 10:34-35; Psa.82:6). (You can read about the Triune Life at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199, and other posts)
I have written about this subject of ‘deification’ in my blogs under the theme substitution and attribution (see, http://bulamanriver.net/564), where I showed how Jesus came as God incarnate (Immanuel) to take the place of sinful humanity to save mankind from sin and death for the express purpose of deification. (Matt.1:23; Rom.3:10-12, 18, 23; John 3:16) Further, we read the following, “As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of catharsis (purification of mind and body) and theoria (‘illumination’ with the ‘vision’ of God). According to Eastern Christian teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy (or cooperation) between human activity and God’s uncreated energies.” (Wikipedia.org)
So, the “Triune Life” reveals the intersection of human activity and the uncreated divine energy flowing from the Tri-Personal Being of God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a way of life which explains that process of theosis whereby humans are transformed in body, mind, and spirit by the Love of God. God’s uncreated energy is His Love. So, the foundational tenet of the “Triune Life” is based upon the Love of God, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Thereby, it can also be called aptly, the “Triune Love.”
I had coined the term “Triune Love” and “Triune Life,” to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We see God’s Tri-Personal Love move in an inward, outward, and upward trajectory, in this process of theosis which I have called the three ascents. The three ascents dovetails into one another showing how all three Persons of the Godhead are in the relationship of Love with humanity – where God reveals the fullness of Himself to humanity, both individually and collectively. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2) That’s to say, the act of one is the act of all three, and the act of three is the act of one, making them unified in Love. (Mar.12:29; Deut.6:4)
Every aspect of human living follows this three-step format revealing the three-dimensional aspect of how the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit, directly and collectively involved in the life of human believers, individually and collectively to bring humanity to salvation. These three steps move in an ascending order, so I will call them ‘ascents.’ Each ‘ascent’ dovetails into the next and finally reveals the ‘manifestation’ of the topic, which we will call the fourth step, in this case, Love!
Hence, all my articles are framed within this three-step format, or ascents. The subject of the article dovetails into each ascent and spontaneously lead to the manifestation of the divine Love and reveals how humanity is enlightened by God, and cleansed in mind, body, and spirit. The ascents reveal three doors one must enter to attain the manifestation of God’s Love relationship with humanity. The ascents are not to be misconstrued as some ‘secret knowledge’ or mystical activity. Rather, each ascent represents the relationship of Love a human enjoys with the Triune God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, throughout a person’s life. In fact, the ascents are actually three Love relationships the believer encounters with the Tri-Personal God. This three-way relationship is what I have called by the term, “Triune Life” or “Triune Love.” These ascents represent the movement of God’s Love in an inward, outward, and upward, trajectory to bring God’s enlightenment in a person. The fourth step reveals how the article is made to manifest in the life the person, both individually and then collectively in humanity.
Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living/Loving,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune Godhead. (John 1:1-2) He took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead by cleansing it of all sin and rebellion. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit (Love) in humans. (Rom.5:5) The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27). The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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