Lesson Four – Deity

Introduction to Deity

An overview of I Peter chapters 1 & 2.

Deity

Peter introduced the Three Persons of Deity in the role they serve the elect in the introductory order of his first letter (I Pet. 1:2; Col. 2:9; II Cor. 13:14).  The elect are the Christians “who have been chosen” by God to be His children eternally.   God’s purpose in creation is to have young immature children and faithful Christians as His sons.  This is the express will of God (Luke 18:16, 17; Rom. 8:28-30).  We want to understand the distinctiveness and purpose of each Divine Person’s role in God’s story about mankind.   Since the express reason for God’s creation is for all people to be His children; God, is the Father.  This is His role; however, He is Father only to those who love Him and desire to be His children.  For other mature people living on earth, He is God Almighty.

Recovering people from sin and death from Satan’s world of darkness is the will of God and His will is sovereign (II Pet. 3:9).  Although each Person of Deity is distinct, it is the will of the Father the other two Divine Persons champion in motive and behavior.  Jesus spoke often about His willingness to submit.  He desired to assure the Jewish people of His mission.  See John 4:34; 5:30; 6:44; 8:26; 18:36, 37.  Christians humble ourselves “under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”  I Pet. 5:6.  We like Jesus, say, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Luke 22:42.

The Holy Spirit perfectly understood the thoughts of God (I Cor. 2:10, 11).  This is why the information He supplied to the apostles and other Spirit filled people is called the “gospel of God.”  I Thess. 1:4-6; 2:8, 13.  In like manner, the message Jesus preached, and passed on to others after He returned to the right hand of God, is the word of God (John 7:16; Gal. 1:12).  All discussions about the role of the Three Persons in Deity should be studied in the light of the following scripture.  Please note the words from and through.

 Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.  I Cor. 8:6

Peter said, “Through Him (Jesus) you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”  I Pet. 1:21.  Christians must not get distracted about “in whose house we belong” in our zeal for preaching Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:6).  God, the Father, chose the members of the church according to His own “foreknowledge.”  I Pet. 1:2.  Foreknowledge has been translated from the Greek word proginosko (pro, before, ginosko, to know).  It comes from the root of the Greek phrase that translates “having been foreknown.”  This phrase has been translated “chosen” in the NIV and “foreknown” NASB  – followed by “before the creation of the world.”  I Pet. 1:20.  This is where our Bible study must begin – in the mind of God before the foundation of the world (John 1:1, 2; 17:5, 24; Heb. 1:10; I Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:4; II Tim. 1:9; Tit. 1:2).

Foreknew can best be understood in Rom. 8:29: “For those whom God foreknew (proginosko) He also predestined (Gr. proorizo, meaning to mark off before hand) to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.”  God planned before He created the world to have more sons like Jesus in character and personality of their inner man – their “self.”  Since God foreknew it, it would happen in spite of the fall of mankind “in Adam.”  I Cor. 15:22.  Peter reminded the recipients how Jesus had been chosen by the Father “through whom” God would offer grace necessary to support His plan.  He planned this before He created the world and mankind through Jesus Christ (I Pet. 1:18-25; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:10).

The Three Person of Deity can be understood to be involved in creation by the plural pronoun “us” found in Gen. 1:26; 3:22.  The Apostle Paul explained what God predestined and foreknew is being worked out “in Christ” for those who love Him (Eph. 1:3-14).  His explanation is the answer to how “God’s secret wisdom” about mankind’s inherent need for glory can be found in the church that functions as the body of Christ (I Cor. 2:7; Eph. 1:22, 23).

The Father’s program Paul revealed in his letter to the church in Ephesus required the assistance of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Those who have been called must obey Jesus as our Lord.  He also serves His priesthood with His own blood (I Pet. 1:2).  He is Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36).  The Christ served as Prince and Savior for the church (Acts 5:31).  We learn about Jesus as king in the Hebrew document: “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’”  Heb. 1:8.  We learn about Jesus as high priest: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.”  Heb. 4:14.  This is Jesus’ present role for accomplishing the will of the Father as He serves “from the right hand of God.”  Acts 7:56.

The Holy Spirit’s role is sanctification of each Christian for God’s sonship program (Luke 6:35; Tit. 3:6).  “Be ye holy for I am holy” is the will of God and the Holy Spirit’s prime dedication is for the holiness of members of the church (I Pet. 1:16; Gal. 5:16-18, 22, 23; Eph. 3:14-19).  One of His tools is the word of God (I Pet. 1:12; II Pet. 1:20, 21; II Tim. 3:16, 17).  Paul said, “I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.”  Gal. 1:12.  He explained how the word of God came to him by the Holy Spirit in I Cor. 2:10-13.

Another tool of the Holy Spirit is His fellowship with each faithful Christian (II Cor. 13:14).  The “sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth” has a key part in God’s program for the salvation of Christians’ souls (II Thess. 2:13-15).  Please study Romans 8:5-17 to learn about other ways the Holy Spirit serves children of God to help us “put to death the misdeeds of the body.”  Rom. 8:13.  Let it be noted: Without the work of the Holy Spirit for Christians’ holiness, faith that is only focused on the roles of Jesus Christ will not result in “the salvation of our souls.”  I Pet. 1:9.  The sanctification work of the Holy Spirit for Christians’ holiness is a part of the will of God for our individual soul’s security; that is, salvation (I Pet. 1:15, 16; Heb. 12:14).  Sanctification and holiness are both translated from the Greek word, hagiasmos.

Please review the foregoing chart to help us appreciate the task the Three Persons of Deity serve for Christians’ soul salvation.  The salvation of the souls of mankind involves much more than attaining the forgiveness of our sins (I Pet. 1:9).  See the scriptures under the captions of “Sanctification” and “Sinners” on the chart.  Christians do die to sin but we “live to righteousness.”  I Pet. 2:24.  This is our Father’s will.

Questions for Discussion

1.  How did God’s purpose for the creation of mankind determine that certain roles be fulfilled by Deity?

2. How many different roles does Deity serve mature people who do not accept God’s purpose in creation?  How many different roles does Deity serve for Christians?

3.  How did the Apostle Paul help us in I Cor. 8:6 to have a clear distinction between the role of God and Jesus Christ?  How did Peter add to what Paul presented in I Pet. 1:21?  Is Jesus Christ God?

4.  Who made all the choices about mankind before the world was created?  Though whom was the world created?

5.  How did Jesus Christ cause what was foreknown to become a possibility?

6.  How can we know at least two Persons of Deity had a role in the very act of creation?

7.  Why has the Holy Spirit been able to be more involved in God’s purpose for creating mankind in the last days of time?

8.  Why was it critical to have the Holy Spirit become more involved with Christians than with God’s people in previous generations?

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