articlesqa April 12, 2018 holy love
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of

In The Wid­ow’s Oil, our last ar­ti­cle about dis­ci­ple­ship, I said that Je­sus re­vealed The Holy Trin­i­ty when He said, “I Am The True Vine and My Fa­ther Is The Vine­dress­er.” I only hint­ed at the ex­pla­na­tion which will be com­plet­ed in this ar­ti­cle. Now as I write, I will of­ten say sons which means sons and daugh­ters. But I re­main with sons be­cause Je­sus Is The Son of God. Now this ar­ti­cle is lit­tle long. But if God Gives you in­sight into Him­self, then you will per­ceive how short it is.

“I Am The True Vine and My Fa­ther is the Vine­dress­er.” So many Names Eter­nal­ly robed in that sin­gle Name, “My Fa­ther”. It is tempt­ing to think that “fa­ther” is a role and not a name. But this is not true. Fa­ther is a name. Many cul­tures prop­er­ly cap­ture this. As an adult, I still call my fa­ther dad­dy. Even in my dreams, I only call him dad­dy. Dad­dy is the name he re­ceived from me when he and my moth­er gave birth to me. On the day when my moth­er be­came preg­nant, his iden­ti­ty was for­ev­er trans­formed. Through my moth­er’s preg­nan­cy, Michael Eley­i­nafe en­tered into the womb and over the course of 9 months he grew into my fa­ther. By cleav­ing to my moth­er, he plant­ed his name, his very be­ing, into the soil of mar­riage and he grew. Like Abram who cleaved to God and grew into Abra­ham Gen­e­sis 17:5, my fa­ther be­gan as Michael and grew into dad­dy. Michael is not dad­dy. My Dad­dy is a man also hap­pens to be called Michael.

Now God is not a man. He does NOT grow. Who He Is, He Al­ways Has Been and Will Be. But in times past, through His prophets, God had Re­vealed Him­self as Shad­dai(Almighty), Ely­on(Most High), Raah(Shep­herd). But now through His Son Je­sus, we know His Name Fa­ther. Now we come to un­der­stand that all the oth­er Names by which God had been known and will be known can only flow out of His Name “Fa­ther”.

Je­sus Is God

God is NOT a man like my fa­ther. God did NOT change when Je­sus called Him Fa­ther. God did NOT change when Je­sus was born to Mary. God nev­er changes James 1:17. He Is Eter­nal, with­out be­gin­ning or end. This means God Is, Has Al­ways Been and Will Al­ways Be Fa­ther. Yet a fa­ther only be­comes a fa­ther by hav­ing a child. So if God Has Al­ways been Fa­ther then He Has Al­ways Had a Son. Je­sus Has Al­ways Been The Son. There­fore, al­though born at an ap­point­ed time and in a manger to Joseph and Mary, Je­sus Is, Has Al­ways Been and Will Al­ways Be God’s Be­got­ten Son. Je­sus, like His Fa­ther, Is with­out be­gin­ning or end. And as God’s Son, He Bears His Fa­ther’s Na­ture. Je­sus Is Om­nipo­tent. Je­sus Is Om­nipresent. Je­sus, as His Fa­ther, Is Love. Je­sus Is God.

But what ex­act­ly al­lows us to des­ig­nate a fa­ther as fa­ther and a son as son? The son has lips like his fa­ther. The son has hands and feet, a soul and mind but so also does his fa­ther. Maybe it is time. Maybe the fa­ther is a fa­ther be­cause he came first and had a hand in the mak­ing of his son? Or maybe be­cause the fa­ther, at least at first, is big­ger, smarter? than his son? These ques­tions of­fer a hint as to an­swer but still don’t make it clear how to tell fa­ther from son. This re­la­tion­ship be­tween par­ent and child is so great a mys­tery that the Bible says all fa­thers de­rive their name from God The Fa­ther Eph­esians 3:15. So let us look at God to learn about how our re­la­tion­ships work.


How can a bab­bling child so eas­i­ly say, “dada” and yet, though we see that the lit­tle one is right, we have dif­fi­cul­ty ex­plain­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween fa­ther and son. Let us put into words what we so eas­i­ly see.

A fa­ther and son have a re­la­tion­ship. It is only with­in the con­text of their re­la­tion­ship that a fa­ther can be told apart from the son. By study­ing this re­la­tion­ship a lit­tle more, we ob­serve that it has three parts which I will call: or­der, syn­tax and love.

Now the or­der with­in the re­la­tion­ship al­lows the fa­ther to see the son and for the son to see the fa­ther. When Ife calls Michael “dad­dy”, he is de­clar­ing that his na­ture and iden­ti­ty comes from Michael. The son is say­ing to his fa­ther, “I grew out of you.” Sim­i­lar­ly, when a fa­ther says, “son”, he is say­ing, “Your iden­ti­ty and na­ture are grow­ing out of mine.”


This or­der per­me­ates and gives struc­ture to the en­tire fa­ther-son re­la­tion­ship. Yet this does not mean that the re­la­tion­ship is a frozen stat­ue or a stag­nant pond. A good re­la­tion­ship is liv­ing and ac­tive. Like a mighty rush­ing riv­er, a good re­la­tion­ship is a con­stant ac­tive con­ver­sa­tion. The fa­ther speaks and the son re­sponds. The son speaks and the fa­ther re­sponds. There­fore, the or­der that per­me­ates the re­la­tion­ship must also be ac­tive. This or­der in mo­tion is known as syn­tax.

How can we ob­serve syn­tax in the fa­ther-son re­la­tion­ship? Sim­ple. The son lifts up the fa­ther and the fa­ther lifts up the son. For the son, syn­tax means obe­di­ence. When his fa­ther says, “Eat your peas” or “clean your room”, the son does as he is told. Even­tu­al­ly, the fa­ther no longer has to speak. The son be­gins to speak to him­self and to oth­ers just as his fa­ther would. The words are com­ing from the son but he is speak­ing as if he were his fa­ther. The son lifts up his fa­ther by al­low­ing his fa­ther to speak through his voice and act through his hands John 12:49, John 5:19.

From the per­spec­tive of the fa­ther, syn­tax means glo­ri­fi­ca­tion. When his in­fant boy says, “Waaaa”, the fa­ther hears him and maybe changes his di­a­per or gives him more food or more at­ten­tion. Lat­er on, the son’s “Waaaa” be­comes the more ar­tic­u­late, “Dad­dy, I need a bike.” And the fa­ther gives him the bike. Even­tu­al­ly, the son stops need­ing tan­gi­ble things and starts need­ing con­fi­dence and sup­port. On those days the fa­ther will say to the son, “You are my son. You can do any­thing. I be­lieve in you.” It may look like obe­di­ence but let us re­mem­ber the or­der of the re­la­tion­ship. The son comes from the fa­ther. There­fore, the fa­ther is NOT obey­ing the son. The fa­ther com­mits his pow­er and time to en­sure that his son is sup­port­ed and af­firmed. The fa­ther is lift­ing up and glo­ri­fy­ing his son.


Syn­tax is or­der in mo­tion. Syn­tax takes on the form of obe­di­ence or glo­ri­fi­ca­tion de­pend­ing on the or­der. Yet when we look at a fa­ther or son, no one men­tions or­der or syn­tax. Some­times we ob­serve obe­di­ence from the son or dot­ing(glo­ri­fi­ca­tion) from the fa­ther. But more of­ten we com­ment on how much they love each oth­er. When­ev­er there is joy­ful obe­di­ence and joy­ful glo­ri­fi­ca­tion in any re­la­tion­ship we see love. Here then is the equa­tion for love: love = or­der + syn­tax or more ac­cu­rate­ly, if you are a math nerd, love = syn­tax(or­der).

Now you may have heard that love as a feel­ing or some­thing that can­not be de­scribed in words and so on. But this is not so. Love in ac­tion is ac­tu­al­ly quite sim­ple as we have shown above: love = or­der + syn­tax. How does the equa­tion work? Well, if you want to love some­one, first fig­ure out the or­der in the re­la­tion­ship. It may vary from mo­ment to mo­ment de­pend­ing on the re­la­tion­ship. Here is the or­der in a fa­ther-son re­la­tion­ship: the son pro­ceeds from the fa­ther. Next, we plug in the or­der into the syn­tax to fig­ure out what the son should do and what the fa­ther should do. Syn­tax: the son loves the fa­ther by obey­ing him and the fa­ther loves the son by glo­ri­fy­ing him. When this is com­plete, we can tru­ly see love be­cause love = or­der + syn­tax [syn­tax(or­der)]. This is how Je­sus and God The Fa­ther Act To­wards One An­oth­er. In John 14:31 Je­sus says that He obeys His Fa­ther so that all may know that He loves Him. God Glo­ri­fies Je­sus Christ by de­clar­ing His Love from Heav­en Matthew 3:17.

This equa­tion for love holds for hus­band-wife re­la­tion­ships as well. I am bare­ly echo­ing Paul who said, sub­mit to one an­oth­er ... wives sub­mit to your hus­bands ... hus­bands die for your wives Eph­esians 5:21-25. First Paul es­tab­lish­es the or­der. In the hus­band-wife re­la­tion­ship, the hus­band pro­ceeds from God like Adam came from God. The wife pro­ceeds from the hus­band like Eve came from Adam. Then Paul gives the syn­tax: wives sub­mit to(obey: 1 Pe­ter 3:1,6) your hus­bands and hus­bands glo­ri­fy(hon­or: 1 Pe­ter 3:7) your wives (by dy­ing for them). It is not sur­pris­ing then hus­bands typ­i­cal­ly de­sire re­spect from their wives while wives typ­i­cal­ly de­sire ro­mance from their hus­bands. It is also not sur­pris­ing that mar­riages suf­fer when these de­sires are not ful­filled. Ro­mance is love ex­pressed through glo­ri­fi­ca­tion. Re­spect is love ex­pressed through obe­di­ence. Do not think on this too long but this is the dy­nam­ic that gov­erns sex as well. In­fi­nite­ly more im­por­tant­ly, this de­f­i­n­i­tion of love ap­plies to the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Je­sus and The Church. The Church sub­mits to Je­sus by obey­ing Him and Je­sus dies for the Church.

The Holy Spir­it Is God

So far, we have learned from John 15:1 that Je­sus Is God’s Be­got­ten Son with­out be­gin­ning or end. We then ex­plored the fa­ther-son re­la­tion­ship to learn about or­der, syn­tax and love. We learned the equa­tion that gov­erns all re­la­tion­ships: love = or­der + syn­tax [syn­tax(or­der)]. Now in hu­man re­la­tion­ships, this or­der, syn­tax and love are vis­i­ble only by the ex­er­tion of our spir­it. But for God, Holy Or­der, Holy Syn­tax and Holy Love Is Humbly, In­vis­i­bly Pre­sent in The Holy Trin­i­ty. We Know Him as The Holy Spir­it. The Holy Spir­it Is The Love be­tween The Fa­ther and The Son. [See The Place of The Holy Spir­it In the Trin­i­ty by John Piper] He Is NOT an idea or a feel­ing but A Per­son. Since God Has Al­ways Been Fa­ther to Je­sus Christ His Son, then The Holy Spir­it Has Al­ways Been as well. He Is Om­nipo­tent, Om­nipresent, Om­ni­scient. The Holy Spir­it is God. Je­sus is God. God The Fa­ther Is God.

He Is The Spir­it, The Pow­er by Whom Je­sus was raised from the grave Ro­mans 8:11, Eph­esians 1:19-20. He Is The Spir­it, The Pow­er by Whom sons be­come sons and all sons learn obe­di­ence John 1:12. He Is The Spir­it Who show­ers us with The Love of God Ro­mans 5:5. As The Spir­it of Love, it is not sur­pris­ing that He Is The Spir­it Through Whom mir­a­cles and won­ders are done. For these mir­a­cles and won­ders are God’s Way of Glo­ri­fy­ing His sons and daugh­ters John 15:7-8, Acts 1:8, He­brews 2:4. Now I fi­nal­ly un­der­stand why Je­sus told us to re­joice that He was go­ing away John 16:7. For by send­ing The Holy Spir­it, Je­sus in­vites us into His Fam­i­ly. It is by The Holy Spir­it that we are em­pow­ered to be obe­di­ent sons and also through Him that God Glo­ri­fies us in this life and res­ur­rects us to live in the age to come.

Let us then abide in the Holy Or­der and Holy Syn­tax so that we abide in Holy Love. This is what Je­sus tells us in John 15:10. “If you keep my com­mand­ments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Fa­ther’s com­mand­ments and abide in his love.”

Rays of light care­ful­ly craft­ed to pierce the dark­ness of any sor­row, the words of Je­sus in are Bril­liant and Strong. With the Almighty Pa­tience of The Eter­nal God and the pas­sion­ate brevi­ty of a Man about to die, Je­sus Christ en­com­pass­es the en­tire­ty of the dis­ci­ple’s walk. Je­sus speaks here only to be­liev­ers. For them, these words are open doors. In the midst of the val­ley of the shad­ow of death, these vers­es are the rod and staff; they are a house where the dis­ci­ple calm­ly rests as she walks with Je­sus Christ. Those who go fur­ther with­out abid­ing here will only find them­selves by com­ing back. Those w...
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“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3