Only God has absolute independence (Genesis 1:1), and, as the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, He is in an internal and an eternal relationship with Himself (Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3; 17:5). Thus, there is an eternally constant interaction within the Godhead (Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 10:7; Psalm 110:1 etc.). Even so, the Father is sovereign in regard to Fatherhood, and the Son is sovereign in regard to Sonship, and the Spirit is sovereign in regard to Spiritness. Thus, within the sovereign Godhead there are other sovereign spheres. This ‘Sphere Sovereignty’ reflects the One and the Many nature of the Triune God, i.e., the One does not Lord it over the Many, nor does the Many Lord it over the One. Here also we see illustrated the idea of distinction as opposed to separation. Theology never speaks of the three Persons in the Godhead (or the two natures of Christ) as being separate. However, clearly they may be distinguished.
The Triune God is independent from His creation. He is separate and distinguished from it (1 Kings 8:27), yet He constantly interacts with the works He has made (Matthew 10:29). The Triune God created us, male and female, in His image (Genesis 1:26). Therefore, though mankind collectively is in a relationship with God, all human beings will be judged by Him individually on Judgment Day (Acts 17:31; Hebrews 4:13). Therefore, as individuals we have a derived independence, i. e., we each are sovereign in our own sphere of operation. We are One but we are Many.
Ideally, and reflecting the Creator, each sphere of creation is under God. It may be stated thus: One Human Race Under God; One Individual Human Being Under God; One Nation Under God; One Church Under God; and, One Family Under God. Many other spheres may be identified and distinguished, but, collectively these spheres make up One Cosmos Under God (Ephesians 4:6). Creation is One but it is Many.
Though there is an internal relationship among the identified and distinguished contents of each sphere, each sphere has sovereignty (or independence) within its own arc of operation. For example, in the relationships of the State, the Church, and the Family, (as within the Godhead), each of these spheres must remain distinguished, i.e., sovereign and therefore without interference from the others. The State holds “the Sword of Justice” (Romans 13:4), the Church “the Keys of the Kingdom,” (John 16:19; 18:18), and the Family “the Rod of Correction” (Proverbs 22:15; Hebrews 12:9). The sword, the keys, and the rod, are not physical but symbolize the sovereignty or independence from each other. The Family, the Church, and the State are independent only in their respective spheres. They are One but they are Many.
Encasing the abstract in concrete as it were, the Family, the Church, and the State, if you will, are three pillars in the Temple of God, or, to change the analogy, three Captains in the same Army – God’s Army. And, as such, each sphere of activity is accountable to God for its actions, good and evil. It does not matter whether any or all of these three distinguished spheres ignores or even redefines God, it does not change the fact that their sovereignty is a derived independence, i.e., each sphere of activity is under God. Therefore, as a building inspector inspects the whole edifice including everything within, so God judges families as families (Exodus 20:5; 34:6-7, Numbers 14:18), churches as churches (Hebrews 10:30; Revelation 1:20-3:22), and whole nations as nations (Psalm 9:17; Isaiah 2:4; Revelation 21:24 KJV). He is the Judge of all the earth (Genesis 18:25). The rod, the keys, and the sword of all nations belong to Him. How they have been used and are being used by human beings will be assessed by Him. Thus God, the original One and Many, is Judge of the One and the Many of every sphere.
By merely focusing on the individual many churches today seem to be blind to the fact that the Gospel is designed to set cities and nations free from God’s judgment. But Jesus dispels this narrow-mindedness by speaking thus to various cities, ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you,
For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Bethsaida Tyre and ,
they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will
be more tolerable for Sidon Tyre and at the judgment than for you’ Luke 10:13-14;
cf. Matthew 11:20-24. Sidon
It is only when we become grounded in the Triune God that we will see that individual independence means distinction not separation. For each individual has many relationships. The Christian therefore must think beyond saving his/her own skin! For he/she is a member of some and perhaps all of the following: the human race, a family, a church, a city, a state, and a nation, creation etc. Remember that the Gospel has been designed by the Triune God to save much more than you the individual! (John 3:17)