Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Are we offending the Father when we give Jesus all the glory?
There's something mysterious about the Trinity that's difficult for our minds to fully grasp. We can see differences in The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit easily enough, but the ‘oneness’ of the three is more elusive. For example, we know that when it comes to salvation, Jesus is the central figure; when it comes to wisdom and discernment, the Holy Spirit is the giver; and when it comes to sovereign reign in heaven, God the Father becomes the central figure.
The three parts each have distinct roles that are not interchangeable. For example, even though we may acknowledge the existence of God the Father, we enter in only through Christ. We cannot get access to God the Father from the Father or from The Holy Spirit; Jesus holds a unique role within the Trinity regarding salvation. This is understandable when we consider God the Father, being so Holy and just, cannot be in the presence of sin (or sinners), and therefore required a separation during the atoning sacrifice.
Of course, Jesus was always aware of the distinct roles of the Godhead. He shows an appreciation of God the Father as authority, himself as our mediator, and The Holy Spirit as our wise counselor and helper: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth (John 14:16). It is also possible for the three distinct parts of the trinity to have opposing wills. Jesus prayed to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane to remove the cup of wrath that he was about to endure, and after pleading three times, he concluded with “nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Of course, with Jesus’ pure, sinless nature, He always aligns his will to the Father’s, and never departs from that, as he demonstrated in Gethsemane.
This separation within the trinity is more than a theological nuance. If it's true that the three parts of the Godhead have unique roles and are independent in their own right, then shouldn't our Christian walk, wisdom and worship reflect that? For example, if we receive wisdom from the Holy Spirit, does it matter if we offer our praise for wisdom to Jesus? Or if we give thanks to the Holy Spirit, instead of Jesus, for our salvation is our praise misdirected?
Jesus came to save the world. He was born into a lowly family, lived an utterly humble life, suffered separation from the Father, was crucified, took on the sin of the world, died, and rose again, victorious over death. He was the means to tearing open the heavenly veil and allowing us access to the Father. He is indeed worthy of our praise. How sad though, if we remain in the outer room, celebrating that the veil is torn, but never actually going beyond the veil into the presence of God the Father, to fall on our knees in awe and adoration. Odd as it may seem, Jesus’ sacrifice was the means to an end, not the end in itself. Jesus died for a purpose: to provide the way to the Father so that we could glorify the Father.
If we look no further than Jesus, if we sing praises only to him for our salvation, we are being inherently selfish - focused more on our narrow escape from a life of eternal damnation rather than why we've been saved by Christ.
Our purpose as Christians is not to celebrate our 'free' ride to heaven, but to Glorify God, here on earth while we live, and for eternity in heaven after our resurrection in Christ. God is a jealous God - jealous for our perfect and complete adoration. I wonder if Jesus looks on the church celebrating its salvation, and is saddened that we've missed the point of worshiping the Father. Perhaps in his humility before the Father, Jesus intercedes on our behalf: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
How does biblical evidence point to the Trinity as shaping a three-fold approach to our Christian walk, wisdom and worship on earth?
How does your faith walk need to be rebalanced to more fully reflect the Trinity in your daily life, conversations, and adoration?
Why do Christians focus more on Jesus when sharing the gospel message than the Holy Spirit or God the Father? Is the balance ok, or does it need to change? Why?
Coming up: When God says 'No' Seminar on May 11th, Wallingford, PA. Click Events tab to register.