“God is Love. Whoever lives in Love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16, 8)
Greetings again Friends!
Whoever we are, and wherever we come from, we all observe a basic conduct or etiquette of behavior we would expect from people which governs our relationship with them. From a personal level where we develop friendships to a complex level between people and nations, this custom or conduct is called “protocol.” The dictionary defines the word as a code of correct conduct. You might say, it’s a right of passage to something or someone. On a personal level, it may not be so legalistic, but on a level involving organizations, companies, and nations, protocols are more detailed and procedural.
On a personal relationship level, the basic protocol would be a person’s basis for association with another. That’s to say, the next person regards you as a person with the inviolable right to life, self-determination, the pursuit of happiness, where you are an individual worthy of love, respect, and honor. This is the basis for genuine protocol for person-to-person relationships. You can say they are sacrosanct. If a person does not believe you are unquestionably entitled to these qualities of life, or thinks you do not deserve one or more of them, then your relationship with such a person will be problematic. Every wrongdoing or criminal act committed on a person is a violation against one or more of these human values and rights.
Many people are not what you may think they are, and you’ll find genuine friends through experience and observation as it relates to these basic personal values (protocol). For Americans, these are values enshrined in the nation’s constitution. That’s not to say the constitution is perfect. There’s more to God’s purpose than what any human hand can pen. Be that as it may, we can say there’s no national document (constitution) which lifts the aspirations of its people closer to biblical principles as the American one.
This is no different from our relationship with God. There is a basic protocol to be observed if our relationship with God is to be genuine and true, so the divine can respond to our plea for interfacing with it. There is a vital difference though, in human relationships we are relating with people who are all God’s human creation, whereas with God there is a divine/human, Creator/created, Father/child, relationship.
So what is this protocol which governs our relationship with God? The protocol answers the question of why God made humans in the first place, and to never deviate from His express divine purpose for human existence. What is that purpose? The Genesis account of creation says God made humans to reflect Himself in character and composition: “So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them” (Gen1:27). That means man’s destiny is to become Love as “God is Love,” and to inherit immortality as He is eternal, and to share His dominion over the earth forever. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16) God Himself is the mold and purpose for human creation: yes, He is Love, He is eternal, and He is the sovereign Ruler of all creation. Humans were created to become God’s children. Yes, He deals with each one of us as His own child with whom He can have personal, individual, relationship.
The protocol calls upon man to respond to His divine purpose in faith, and express a living faith through our actions. First, it requires we look to God as a Father who has begotten us because of His deep, abiding Love for us, who is in the process of bringing us into His eternal reigning family. Paul said, “There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him” (1 Cor.8:6). He expects us to live expressing His Love for all humans. Paul said it like this, “Owe nothing to anyone–except for your obligation to Love one another. If you Love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law (or, to conform to His purpose for human life)” (Rom.13:8, NLT).
It sounds simplistic, but it is not as easy as it seems. It is difficult to “Love neighbor as you Love yourself” (Mark 12:31). And I will share with you why and how it is possible to make His Love a way of life, and how we can know we have eternal life in us.
Let’s begin with immortality. This is what the Bible says about it, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:16, NASB). When you will have taken on immortality, you naturally would have Love as an intrinsic part of your being. In other words, they are one and the same expression of God-life which can’t be separated.
This passage asks man to believe in simple faith in Jesus who has Himself said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:26). You see, central to the issue of immortality is the prerequisite of faith… “do you believe this?” we are asked. That’s all… it is quite straight forward and is as simple as a child can know.
Do you think when God made mankind to become His immortal children, He would make it an overwhelmingly demanding task, (as some believers postulate), or an easy task that’s as simple as believing, to become His children? Yes, God has said it is as easy as believing in His Son, period! John can’t be more clear and simple when God inspired him to write, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” (John 6:47). Further, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).
But we know that simple believing has become just as hard because of confusion. Confusion breeds doubt, the reverse of faith. When you think about it, doubt tells of a vital aspect of our humanity, it means you have a choice. And choice means you have more than one option. This is not altogether a bad thing. Since having a choice means you have FREEDOM! Why is this important? Because Love and freedom originate from the same place – God’s very divine Being. You cannot have Love without freedom, nor freedom without Love. In other words, God wants for man to freely choose to Love Him. Love and freedom is an intrinsic part of His nature. “God is Love” (John 3:16). Paul said, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal.5:1).
God could well have made us like the other life forms so that we will respond to His purpose instinctively and automatically. But then, we would not be His children. We would be like beasts, fowls, marine life, and other kinds of life, but not children. So God gave His human children minds, which other life forms don’t have, so man can freely choose to Love Him.
So, God’s offer to be part of His eternal divine family is open to all mankind regardless of race, nationality, color, language, or whatever barrier we like to conjure. It is as simple as believing in what God has designed to accomplish in us through His own Son.
Why Jesus? Why is He central in God’s purpose of bringing humans into His divine family and imbuing man with Love and the gift of immortality? Is Jesus the only Savior of mankind? Is He the only one capable of undertaking the act of atonement for the sin of the world? Why is man’s faith in Jesus will bring to reality what God had set out to do when He first created humans in His likeness? Let’s dissect this…
First, God is offering something to man which only He can give: Love, immortality, and reign (Gen.1: 26-27; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8, 16). These are divine attributes which only God can confer upon humans. And amazingly, that was God’s singular purpose for making man. He created man for the purpose of being vessels of His Love, to be inheritors of immortality, and to be given reign with His Son over this earth. (2 Tim.2:11-13; Rev.5:10) Man cannot achieve his God-given destiny without God Himself being part and parcel of it. Thereby, only He knows the way to man’s destiny, and has made it abundantly clear to us in His word, the Bible.
Now, consider that Jesus was the only human to ever have been begotten by the Holy Spirit. There is an obvious reason why God did this, and it has everything to do with His Love for mankind. I will quote from Dr. Bruce Ware, an esteemed theologian and author in the evangelical tradition, “Christ alone was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38), and as such, he alone qualifies to be Savior. Why does this matter? Only as the Holy Spirit takes the place of the human father in Jesus’ conception can it be true that the one conceived is both fully God and fully man. Christ must be both God and man to atone for sin, but for this to occur, he must be conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a human virgin. No one else in the history of the world is conceived by the Spirit and born of a virgin mother. Therefore, Jesus alone qualifies to be Savior.” (www.jesus.org)
Jesus, who proceeded from the Triune Godhead of the Father, the Logos (Son), and the Spirit, became a human without ceasing to be God. (John 1:14; 1 John 5:7) Because Jesus is eternally of one indivisible substance in the Triune Godhead, He could not stop being God when He took upon Himself His human form through Mary His human mother. He was fully God and fully man. In other words, God and man are made one in Christ. Hence, the prophet Isaiah was inspired to state a unique name for Jesus: Immanuel, which means “God with us”, or “God in humans” (Isa.7:14; Matt.1:23). Faith in this revelation about Jesus’ origin makes our faith in God’s purpose for man possible for He has given Himself as a ransom for our salvation.
It is logical to conclude that the Spirit, who is of and from the same hypostatic union with the Father and Son in the Triune Godhead, was instrumental and responsible for the human conception of Jesus. For how else could the Son have sprang but from an eternal home. Micah spoke of Jesus’ coming and origin, saying, “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Mic.5:2, NASB). As a man, Jesus voluntarily suspended the exercise of certain prerogatives of His divine attributes in order to assume our humanity through Mary. (Phi.2:7; Heb.4:15; Matt.26:51-54)
Jesus proceeded from the Triune Godhead of the Father, the Logos, and the Spirit (Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity, Wiki Commons)
He lived a perfect life, was crucified as mankind’s Savior, was resurrected and ascended back to God and back to the glory He had with His Father in the Triune Godhead. By His bodily resurrection, He glorified our humanity in Himself and joined it to the Triune Life of God forever. He is the true and worthy human substitute doing the work of humanity’s High Priest from within the Triune Being of God for man’s physical and spiritual salvation.
So we saw that divine Love is God’s protocol which man must receive and accept in order to relate with God. That Love is expressed to man through His Son, Jesus. In other words, Jesus is the protocol man assumes which gives him the right of passage to enter into Loving relationship with God the Father. This is made possible through the power of the Spirit. Jesus told the disciples, “Very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7). Paul said, “God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom.5:5). In this we see man living the “Triune Life” in Christ instead of the “solitary life” in himself. Here we see the very Love of God being made part of man through the infusion of His Spirit in man. Jesus said, “You must be born again of the Spirit” (John 3:6-7).
Paul said this, “He (God) predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Rom.8:29). God has conformed Himself to us by becoming human, now man must conform himself to God by becoming like Jesus through faith. Remember, faith is an attribute which only a human can activate through his decisions and actions. No other living species has this ability to express the attribute of faith. Even an atheist lives by faith believing there is no God. Atheists have been judgmental of Christians for their ‘blind’ faith yet are themselves guity of the same. By conforming to the image of His Son through faith, we receive the protocol to enter into the very presence of the Almighty Father.
What this says is we are made children of God only by conforming to Jesus’ likeness, who is God’s Son, and we are made brothers and sisters of Jesus. The mold of God’s “image and likeness” which man must conform is seen plainly and unmistakably in His Son. The scriptures tell us, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being (“image and likeness”), sustaining all things by His powerful word” (Heb.1:3; Gen.1:26-27).
What exactly does this conformation mean? Jesus explains it in His prayer to the Father before He was crucified, “…That the Love You (Father) have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:26). Do we see that? Moments before, Jesus said in prayer, “You (Father) have Loved Me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24). There’s only one divine activity of the Father and the Son from eternity – they each glorified one another in perfect Love! So, to conform to Jesus image means we step into His life, and He into ours, so the same Love the Father has for the Son from eternity is something we can apprehend and enjoy through Jesus. Jesus is the only human who knows how to Love the Father perfectly and completely. And the only way the Father Loves us perfectly is the way He has Loved His Son from eternity. And that is how Love enters a human life when we conform to Jesus’ life. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal.2:20). Yes, we have been reborn and given new life in Christ by the Spirit’s power. (John 3:3, 5-7)
Listen, unless we see and believe Jesus Christ as the eternal Son of God who existed with Him in His Triune Being from eternity, and that He is the expression of God’s Love to man, yes, Jesus the Love protocol we must utilize to enter into relationship with God, we have not taken the first step of faith in life’s journey of transformation to God’s “image and likeness” by becoming Love as He is Love, and inheriting immortality as He is immortal. Jesus has eternally existed in the Triune Godhead with the Father and the Spirit. Before His death on Calvary, Jesus prayed to the Father these words, “And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began” (John 17:5: also see Micah 5:2; Heb.7:3). So, Jesus was fully aware of His own deity while in His human form.
Paul said to the Colossians that Jesus is the only One who makes us complete before Almighty God, the Father. (Col.2:10) You may Go to our “Mission Statement” at this link and find out more about the meaning of “Triune Life”: http://bulamanriver.net/?page_id=3381
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to write to me in the space provided below, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” as a Bulamanriver.* Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
* Bulamanriver” is the metaphor describing the union of man with the Love of the Triune God flowing in humans, making possible the “Triune Life” – the source of the miraculous life in man. To read the many facets of life of the Bulamanriver, go to my website www.bulamanriver.com where you can order a copy of my Book.
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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