Summary: This is the second message in our series "Desperate Households." Our goal is to help us live more God-honoring lives in our homes.
This is the second message in our series “Desperate Households.” Our goal is to help us live more God-honoring lives in our homes. To do this, today we’re taking a close look at Ephesians 5:21-24. As I begin, I’m going to ask you to listen carefully. What I’m going to share in the introduction involves some extremely important theology. But I think it will help provide a framework to better understand what’s going on in Ephesians 5.
What really matters most in life are relationships. This begins with our relationship with God and then flows to our relationships with other people. In part, this is because God is relational. One of the unique revelations about God in Scripture is that God is one, yet he’s manifested in three persons. This doctrine is known as the Trinity. The Trinity is one of the foundational truths of our faith, yet it involves mystery because human categories always come up short. When we think of three persons it inevitably conjures up ideas of three different people, but God is not three. He is one. We believe in one God, the Maker of heaven and earth. So when we speak about the Triune God, we stand on holy ground that we accept by faith but we freely admit involves mystery.
Yet one thing is clear: The Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) demonstrates the relational essence of the Godhead. Thus, when the Bible says in Genesis 1:27 that we were created in the image of God, part of what this means is that we were created with an intrinsic capacity for relationships. As image-bearers of the Most High God, human beings are essentially relational creatures. We see this played out in the creation narrative. After God created Adam, he said, “it is not good for the man to be alone” and then he created Eve. Adam’s aloneness was not good because he could not experience fully what it means to be created in God’s image as long as he was alone. Why? Because the Triune God is relational! Therefore we need relationships to experience the fullness of his image. This is about much more than just the marriage relationship. None of us, whether we’re married or single, were created to live life alone. We were created to live in community with other people. That’s part of what it means to be created in the image of God. This is why we place such an emphasis on Life Groups at Summit. It’s within the context of relationships that we experience the fullness of what God has created us to be.
Now, it’s interesting to observe in Scripture how the relationships function within the God-head. Above all, there is perfect harmony. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have never had a disagreement or a cross word. There’s been no disharmony within the God-head throughout all eternity. Jesus put it like this, “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” In other words, there’s perfect unity between God the Father and God the Son. And this perfect unity also extends to God the Spirit.
But there is also an ordering of roles within the God-head. For example, God the Father sent God the Son to accomplish the work of salvation. In his prayer to the Father in John 17:4 Jesus said, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” Do you see? The Father assigned work for Jesus to do. That was the work of showing us the way to heaven. Paul describes this order in the God-head in 1 Corinthians 11:3. He writes, “the head of Christ is God.” This means God the Father is the head of God the Son. And the Son’s headship over the Holy Spirit is evident by Jesus sending the Spirit to continue his work after he ascended back the heaven. In other words, there’s a hierarchy in the God-head. In descending order, God the Father is over God the Son and God the Son is over God the Spirit. We could also describe this in ascending order: God the Spirit submits to God the Son. And God the Son submits to God the Father.
When I was sharing this with Roger Yount, he said, “But Steve that sounds like you’re making Jesus to be less than God!” I said, “Hold on Roger, let me finish.” And I don’t want to lose you either, so keep tracking with me. This is important! God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are equally God. Remember: there is only one God. But among the three persons of the God-head there’s an ordering of roles. Yet this ordering of roles in no way diminishes the deity of any member of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is not less-than-God because his role is subordinate to Jesus. And Jesus is not some sort of inferior God because his role is to do the will of the Father. All three persons of the God-head are eternal, all-knowing and all-powerful. In essence each person of the God-head shares all of the divine attributes. But in function they serve different roles in subordination to one another.