We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… Colossians 1:3

Barely into the opening of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, we find once again that Scripture is a treasure chest of truths and insights into the heavenly domain.  It is always worth our time to carefully read and consider each passage of scripture with a humble and open heart as the Spirit leads us into all understanding.

This passage begins with the apostle Paul stating, “we always thank God.”  The “we” here likely refers to his beloved gospel worker and assistant, Timothy, who may have transcribed this letter for Paul.  It may have also included Epaphras, the presumed founder of the church in Colossae, who came to Paul for help leading the church to truth. Paul says that they collectively “thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”   

Throughout scripture we see the relationship in the Godhead clearly defined in this manner, where there is God the Father and Christ the Son.  Scripture does not combine these two distinct persons, nor does it mix-up their relationship.  The Father is always the Father, and the Son is always the Son.  The Father is most often referred to in the New Testament as “God” (Greek theos), while Christ is given the title of “Lord” (Greek kyrios).  

When we consider this distinction, we find that the New Testament teachings make far more sense than if we blend the two persons, blur their roles, or make them out to be one entity manifesting in different forms.  While they share the same Spirit, it does not make them the same person. 

Of marriage, Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24 when He said, “and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh,” (Mark 10:8).  But does this mean the wife becomes her husband or the husband becomes his wife?  No, they remain distinct personalities but are now unified spiritually and physically through marriage.

Christ never said that He was the Father, and this is important to keep in mind when we think of the Godhead.  Considering biblical context, when Christ said He and the Father were one (John 10:30), He was not saying they were the same person nor that He was the Father, but that He and the Father were perfectly united in spirit and purpose, which He candidly explained to the Pharisees in the proceeding verses (cf: John 10:31-38).

During His time on earth, Christ said He was here to do the Father’s work (John 4:34), that He was submitting to the Father’s will (John 6:38), that He was not acting in His own authority (John 12:49), and we see that He even had to push aside His own will to accomplish what the Father required of Him (Luke 22:42).  Christ sits at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19, Col. 3:1). Christ makes intercession to the Father on our behalf (Heb. 7:25).  Christ even calls the Father “My God” (Rev. 3:12).  And so on. 

None of Jesus’s statements here make sense unless the Father and the Son are separate persons, each with their own will and role in the heavenly realm, and yet working together perfectly to bring about our redemption and salvation.

The relationship of the Father and Son is extraordinary and exclusive in heaven, and it is no mistake that Scripture defines it accordingly.  God the Father retains the utmost authority over everything and everyone – yes, even His Son (cf: 1 Cor. 15:28).  However, because of Christ’s position as the only begotten Son of the Father (John 3:16) and His perfect obedience to the Father’s will (cf: Heb. 5:8-10), the Father granted Him all of His own power and authority to rule and reign over every creature in heaven and on earth (cf: Eph. 1:19-23).

At His coming, Christ will bear the title of King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16), which is also His Father’s title (cf: 1 Tim. 6:15), and every knee will bow to Him and His Father, confessing Christ as Lord to the glory of the Father (cf: Phil. 2:10-11, Rom. 14:11).  In every way, Christ is God and the exact image and representation of His Father (cf: Matt. 1:23, Col. 1:15).  He speaks and acts with the full authority of the Father, and is to be adored, worshipped, and obeyed just as much as we would His Father. 

If you have struggled with the concept of the Trinity or how the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit works, don’t worry – many of us have.  I would encourage you to search the scriptures for yourself.  Read the very words of our Lord Jesus and see how He spoke of His and the Father’s roles.  And read through the New Testament epistles, looking closely at what the apostles wrote about them. 

The Godhead is not nearly as mysterious or cryptic as we may have been told, and it’s not something we should just gloss over, because it is a very prevalent topic throughout the Bible.  But to get a better understanding, we must put aside man’s interpretations and our own ideas, and instead approach God’s word with an open heart and mind to what scripture really says. 

I hope this moves you in your prayer and study time to be more intentional in giving honor and praise to both the Father and Son, as they are each instrumental in our salvation and sanctification, through their unity and oneness in the Holy Spirit.