In Mark chapter 12, the scribes are questioning Jesus. He answers them by telling them where they are right and where they err. One of them asks him “What is the first commandment?” We see Jesus’ answer in verse 29 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:” He was quoting the Shema of the Old Testament. It is in Deuteronomy 6:4.
The Jews believed that God was one and was indivisible. He was not three beings, but One with a physical presence seen as Jesus in human form. The Holy Spirit could only be sent to indwell believers after Jesus ascended into heaven. Jesus said repeatedly that He and the Father are One. In John 10:38 “But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.” The Jews could never really understand this “oneness” nor could his disciples until after the resurrection.
Ryrie in his scripture comments ends that paragraph with the following: “The New Testament, even with its clear revelation of the Trinity, affirms the unity of God (Eph. 4:6; 1 Cor. 8:6; 1 Tim 2:5). This means that the Persons of the Trinity are not separate essences within the one divine essence. God is One in number and uniqueness.” We may not fully understand the Trinity, but it is there in scripture and when we get to heaven, it will be fully understood by all believers.
Ryrie makes a point in his concluding thoughts: “But the only actual God who exists is the One who is revealed primarily in the Bible and revealed by these attributes or perfections of His being.” Man loves to make his own gods, but El Elyon, Possessor of Heaven and Earth, makes himself known as the only God. This Jewish name for God leaves no room for other possible imitations.
On this thought, let’s look at a quote from SpiritQuest 2: “God the Father and Jesus the Son are both existent in the same person but only one can be physically seen with eyesight. Yet, both exist as one in unity. If the Triune Godhead was present at creation when God spoke and light was created, then Jesus was also present and active in that event. Not only was God the Father and Jesus the Son present but the third member, the Holy Spirit, was also involved in the creation event.” A study of Old Testament and New Testament scripture tells us that God is a unity even as we see evidence of the Trinitarian Godhead. We may not fully understand this, but think of the tripartite being of man. There is the physical man, the mental man, and the spirit being of man that is eternal. This is a reflection of the triune Godhead. When we get to heaven, we will fully understand this.
“Man creates his own false gods who he can manipulate and control” says Ryrie in his concluding remarks. He then goes on to say that “Christian people sometimes concoct a perverted or deficient concept of God for the same reason—to be able to manipulate Him or not to have to face up to the true and living God. But the only actual God who exists is the One who is revealed primarily in the Bible and revealed by these attributes or perfections of His being.” While his comments seem harsh, scripture bears out his thoughts.
In SpiritQuest 2, there is a thought along these same lines on page xvi, second paragraph, which says “Why is this important for us? Beliefs and values create stability and unity. Without a solid footing of truth, we will see stability and unity give way to lies, deceptions and perverted – self seeking actions in a select few. Hitler’s Nazism was an example of this.” Believing in the wrong values and those who support them will always lead you astray. The values that God puts into His Word will lead you in the right direction. Do not be guilty of perverting what is in scripture. To do this will lead you to err.
People concoct their own ideas of god so they can manipulate them. Mary worship by the Catholics is a good example of this. Scripture says little about Mary except that she is the mother of Jesus and nothing about her being a mediator between man and God. This is Satan’s deception to deflect attention away from the sinless Son of God who made a way of salvation for sinful man.
The following scripture verse states: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;…” (1 Tim 2:5 KJV) This verse contradicts the Catholic teaching of Mary being a mediator. This is just one example of Catholic teaching that perverts God’s Word to mean something that was never intended. Christ Jesus is our only mediator who stands before us at judgment. God’s Word is consistently unified in what it teaches throughout the Old and New Testament.
Ryrie starts by defining Unity. By his definition, “unity means that there is but one God who is indivisible.” Because we are human, we tend to see things physically and forget that spirit and being can be sensed in more than one way. A man can be a father, a son, and a husband that are all in one person. So it is with the unity of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are unified in one being that to us is God.
It is this idea that is given to us in the following scripture: “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6) Behind the unity of God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is only one idea that God is the supreme being and extends to us, his creation, that if we obey His commands, that we will spend eternity with Him. That means that once we are “in Him” we will never be apart from Him!
“One important concluding thought about the perfections of God: they describe the only true God who exists.” Ryrie closes the foregoing thought with this remark: “ …But the only actual God who exists is the One who is revealed primarily in the Bible and revealed by these attributes or perfections of His being.” When we consider the perfections of God, we also have to keep in mind what He intended.
Perhaps Oswald Chambers said it best with the following comment: “The Cross of Christ is the revealed truth of God’s judgment on sin… It was the supreme triumph, and it shook the very foundations of hell.” The very focus of God’s perfections is that His Creation know that He and He alone is the source of eternal life. Without His perfections, and His oversight, nothing would last for eternity.