The Church in St. Louis

But to Him who is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which operates in us. - Eph 3:20

TWO ASPECTS OF THE ONENESS OF GOD AND HIS BELIEVERS FROM JOHN 17

 

  John 17:20 And I do not ask concerning these only, but concerning those also who believe into Me through their word,

  John 17:21. That they all may be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that you have sent Me.

  John 17:22. And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one;

  John 17:23. I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one, that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.

  John 17:24. Father, concerning that which You have given Me, I desire that they also may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.


In this section of the word, I've enjoyed seeing two primary aspects of the oneness the Lord prayed for - our oneness with God and our oneness with one another.


The First Aspect: Oneness with God through the Word.


In verse 20 the Lord Jesus is asking the Father concerning not only the apostles but also those who believe into the Lord through the word of the apostles. In verse 14, Jesus says that He gave this word to the apostles. "I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world even as I am not of the world. " 

The Father gave the Word to the Lord Jesus. The Lord then gave this same word to the apostles so that it became their word (verse 20.) I do not believe it is incorrect to say that we believe into the Lord today through the word of the apostles. The apostles wrote the Bible. Anyone who reads the Bible or hears somebody speak the same word as the Bible believes into the Lord through the word of the apostles. Therefore the Lord's prayer includes us -  those who believe through "their word."


In verse 21 the Lord prays to the Father that those who have believed into Him through this word "may be one." The Lord likens this oneness to his own oneness with the Father - "even as We are one." This oneness consists of Jesus being in the Father and the Father being in Jesus. The Lord specifies that those who believe into Him can share in this relationship, "that they also may be in Us." 


This is the first aspect of our oneness; that man may be one with God. This oneness is necessary before the world may believe that the Father sent the Lord Jesus. Before the world would believe the word of the apostles this relationship had to be established. This happened on the day of resurrection when Jesus breathed Himself into His disciples in John 20, and then the testimony of this oneness was visible to everyone on the day of Pentecost when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.


The Second Aspect: Oneness with One Another in the Glory


Verse 22 speaks of the glory that the Lord received from the Father and has given to those who have believed into Him - "And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, even as We are one" The glory is another factor that makes us one. This verse is referring to the apostles and to those who believe into Him through their word becoming one with each other. 


The first aspect of being made one with God, "I in them and You in Me" results in the second aspect- "that they may be perfected into one". Here he speaks of the corporate oneness between the apostles and those who believe into Him through their word. Notice also that the result of the second aspect of the oneness is different, instead of the world merely believing that the Father has sent Jesus, the world will now know that the Father has sent Jesus. 


Also the catalyst for the second aspect of the oneness is different. In the first aspect it was the word which produced the oneness- from the Father, to the Son, then to the apostles. In the second aspect it is the glory which produces the oneness - from the Father, to the Son, then to the apostles.


Being where Jesus is to Behold His Glory


So we believed into the Lord through the word, and this made us one with God. Now that we are one with God, we need to experience the glory so that we can be perfected into oneness with one another. Verse 24 elaborates on the glory - "I desire that they also may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory" In order to behold the Lord's glory, they have to be where the Lord is. This is something related to position, not condition. The Lord was on the earth at the time that He prayed this, speaking of His disciples, who were also to remain on the earth. 


This positional reference reminds me of John 15:4 where the Lord says "Abide in me and I in you". Before Christ was resurrected, the disciples could not be where He was, or abide in Him. Even though Jesus and the disciples were both on the earth, before His resurrection, He was in God, and they were not. But after His resurrection, because He had come they would have a new position - In God, in Christ, and in the Spirit. 


This positional matter is altogether related to the Spirit. To abide in the Lord is to live a life in the Spirit. According to 1 Cor 15:45 "the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit". Christ lives in us now as the Spirit. According to Romans 8:9, because God in Christ as the Spirit dwells in us, we are "no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit. "Now we have the position both to abide in the Lord and to be with Him where He is, to behold His glory. This is illustrated in 2 Cor 3:18: But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit. 


Because we are now in Spirit, and because the Lord is the Spirit, even the Lord Spirit, we can behold His glory and reflect Him! In order for us to experience this second aspect of oneness, our oneness with each other, we have to have the first aspect of the oneness, which is our oneness with God, as the base. Jesus was 100% in the Father. His prayer was that we would be in Him even as He was in the Father. 


Through death and resurrection, Christ has done everything to put us into this position. Now, the more that we enjoy our oneness with the Lord, the more we are able to genuinely experience the second aspect of oneness, being perfected into oneness with one another.

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