BOUNDARIES, ROLES, AND CONFORMING
Life brings with it boundaries in all relationships. Individually, we can knowingly (or unknowingly) be destructive to the order God has established in relationships. We break and or at the least disrupt our fellowship with GOD. In a family or a community, the Word (Jesus) comes forth from God (Father) and then the Spirit comes forth through the Word to bring about the Father’s Will.
Likewise, man was created, and God took woman out of man and through women all humans are born. God has created the best way to reflect His likeness… through gender order. Gender provides us the boundaries to rule on earth like God in heaven (see Genesis 2:24).
Note, the above expresses the biblical intent. It is understood that in the fallen state of humankind people have struggles personal in orienting in varies degrees to that intent.
Nevertheless, when we live lifestyles that do not adhere to God’s ideal relational order (in terms of gender and relationships) things get twisted, go bad, and His love does not shine in the world. Hence, the biblical instruction to not bear God’s name in vain, commit adultery, or practice same-sex activity and/or any sexual immorality (see Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 6, Revelation 21:8). We are tested by such behaviors. We must flee from such sin. The message from the Word Himself (Jesus), in Matthew 16:24-26, is to deny ourselves pick up our cross and follow Him. The lasting way of life is found in believing obedience to Father God, provided by Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. This is a hard way forward in our present dying body of sin, but GOD is faithful.
So, our faith must be placed in and remain in His faithfulness. Otherwise, we will not abide in His boundaries.
God has both masculine and feminine characteristics (Psalm 103:13; Proverbs 3:11-12; Isaiah 9:6 | Deuteronomy 32:18; Isaiah 66:13; Hosea 11:3-4, 13:8). We see this in the Bible and in families if we can receive it. There are roles revealed in GOD. Scripture speaks about family and gender role language on purpose!
This language is strongly emphasized in the whole of Scripture because GOD is three in one… a family… a community being. He alone is that way. This is true even though God is not male or female. The gender decision is provided by God’s creative hand to reveal to us experientially His nature. His nature is relationally ‘three’ for us which means ‘family.’
Since we cannot fully know Him as individual’s being in family and in our roles is how we best mature to reflect God both individually and in relationships. For GOD is complete and equal in essence both individually and in relationship (self-existent) or as the Scripture states, God is One.
Unlike the Father the Son, and the Holy Spirit (GOD) humans are not self-existent, but humans have been created in God’s image. We can be in relationships that express an orderly counterbalance of love. Individually we must give priority to living with moral character keeping with biblical instruction. In relationships, we must also have a servant attitude whether initiating the pattern of love or taking the second person helper role. Love has an orderly nature. Since this is the way God brings forth life and then shares His love, we are to reflect this as we are family like God.
We are to give and preserve life like God created us in His image to do (See Genesis 1:26).
We are to meet needs (like Jesus) when people are neglected (see Matthew 25:45).
We are to multiply those that know Him as Savior like the Spirit (See Matthew 28).
In families and in faith communities, we should reflect the relational order of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is the relational pattern of the Being we call GOD. This is for us personally in our families, but also extends out into the whole of the Christ-community. We know humanity walks short of God’s glory, but the goal is to reflect GOD together as a human family.
Conforming (to the image of GOD)
In conforming to the image of God, we do this individually by believing in God the Father. Let me emphasize here I think we best carry out our individuality by recognizing God the Father as our source. Since He is the first individual. God the Father then is the foundation to individually. A good scripture example is Matt. 6:9,” Our Father in heaven hollowed be your name”. All follows from and or after Him. But the onlyaccess to the Father the son Jesus Christ. This, accepting Jesus Christ’s offer of redemption and being marked as His child by way of the Holy Spirit. This then begins the relational process of discipleship.
Therefore, in conforming to the image of God is carried out best in families birthing communities that abide in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Empowered by the Holy Spirit to have a relationship with God the Father. Relationships that reveal how much He loves us all.
As we summarize everything we have been speaking to, we keep to the multiplying Great Commission (Matthew 28) in mind until God brings our fellowship together as one. The Great Commission is the invitation into what Christians are to be about… bringing people into fellowship with God by making disciples. Disciples make disciples as we participate in the fellowship of God. Christians commune in the fellowship relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In addition, 1 John 1:1-3 (ESV) shares with us, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
This relationship one to another will be a success and even in the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21:43) the relationship is rewarded with fruit and everyone who comes to faith is accepted. Those that follow Christ are those new servants both as the fruit and in bearing fruit. The Apostle Paul also says as much in Ephesians 4 which includes both Jews and Gentiles in his words about God’s people. A ‘man’ (corporately speaking) will be a people mature in reflecting the LORD individually and collectively. The aim of fellowship with God and fellowship with one another is mature humanity.
This maturity in fellowship falls in line with the prayer of Christ Jesus in John 17. In John 17, as Jesus prays to God: “that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us” (verse 21). The way Jesus speaks is all about maturing fellowship of believers based on God’s own fellowship in Himself. Jesus then goes to be crucified so that such beings can have fellowship with God.
Being ‘one’ (as Jesus prays), is about a giving and receiving through interdependence that starts with God the God’s Word (the Son) is the authority that humanity is to live by and to which we submit regardless of our role. We then find equality in the counter balancing love that reflects the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit’s relational pattern.