“The glory which thou gayest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.” —John 17:22

BECAUSE there is so much imperfection around us, it is difficult to appreciate the close relationship Jesus had with his Heavenly Father. Time after time he said he was not speaking words of his own, or performing acts of his own. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”—John 14:10

This scripture describes an intimate oneness between the Father and the Son. When he walked this earth, the Son fully shared the Father’s will and was filled fully with the Father’s Spirit. The result was that he offered himself as an acceptable sacrifice. “Christ, who through the eternal Spirit [the Father’s Spirit dwelling in him] offered himself without spot to God.”—Heb. 9:14

For Jesus to experience this relationship of oneness, it was also necessary that the Father have full confidence in him. And we know he did, because long before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the Father, through the prophets, declared both the sufferings of Jesus and also the glory that would follow. (I Pet. 1:10,11) When Jesus was baptized, the Father’s confidence was further expressed in the words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”—Matt. 3:17

How sweet this fellowship must have been between Father and Son. This oneness was so complete that Jesus could say, “All things that the Father hath are mine.” (John 16:15) Who of us would not desire to enter into this circle of fellowship? In fact, the Scriptures hold out that very promise!

We Are Included

In our theme scripture, Jesus prayed “that they [his disciples] may be one, even as we are one.” The next verse reads: “I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” (John 17:23,24) This is not an empty prayer. It expresses the reality that God has in reservation for those who love him so much that they are willing to speak only his words and do only what is pleasing to him.

The Prophet Isaiah speaks of a future time when Jesus shall be an offering for sin. “Therefore will I [Jehovah] divide him [Christ] a portion with the great [with himself—glory, honor, and immortality], and he [Christ] shall divide the spoil with the strong.” (Isa. 53:12) And who are the ‘strong’ who will share in the spoils Christ gains by his victory over sin and death? They are his faithful followers.

What an amazing statement, that frail and imperfect human beings should be called strong! They are not strong because of their own strength. Paul said, “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”—II Cor. 12:10, NIV

When Paul acknowledged his weakness, then by faith he looked to the Lord for his strength. The strength he had was not his own. Paul set an example for all who would be footstep followers of Jesus.

The Process

Those who desire to become one with the Father and with the Son must follow the process described in the Scriptures. It is illustrated by Jesus.

First we hear the call of God lovingly inviting us: “My son, give me thine heart.” (Prov. 23:26) We accept this offer by presenting ourselves to God, laying down in sacrifice our earthly hopes, ambitions, and even life itself. Paul expresses it this way: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”—Rom. 12:1

Accepting the call and presenting ourselves to God in consecration is the first step. Then we must faithfully carry out what we agree to do. Jesus said to his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) In Jesus’ day, those who carried a cross were on the way to their death. They ceased to be part of the world because their earthly life was over. In that respect, all consecrated followers of Jesus may be considered as ‘bearing their cross’.

But we are expected to do more than just bear the weight of what comes upon us. We must develop the same character as Jesus. His character was such an exact reflection of his Father’s that on one occasion he said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”—John 14:9

Developing our characters is also called “bringing forth much fruit.” Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8) Paul lists the fruits of the Spirit as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. (Gal. 5:22,23) When we develop these fruits in our characters, we draw ever closer to the Father, and into a condition of oneness with him and his Son.

Consider the fruit of love. Just before he was to die, Jesus said to his disciples, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:34,35) For three and a half years the disciples had personally experienced the love Jesus had for them. Now he told them they were to show this same loving interest in each other.

Jesus showed his love in the greatest way possible: he gave his life so others might live. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (I John 3:16, NIV) This is the standard: as disciples of Christ we are expected to lay down our lives for our brethren.

But can we really love one another to this extent? Not at the beginning of our new walk as followers of Christ. But as we become filled with the Spirit of the Lord, we become more Christlike and filled with Christlike love. Having love for the brethren is one assurance we are pleasing to God. John writes, “We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” (I John 3:14) When we develop the fruit of love, we become like the Son, becoming one with him.

One Family

The prospect of actually being with Christ and sharing the oneness he has with the Father is so transporting! Our hearts would faint at such a prospect if we did not have the scriptural assurance that it is so. Furthermore, we are told why the Father is doing this: “The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps. 132:13,14) The Father desires a divine family—one possessing character qualities like his own. Only a creation like himself, sharing the brightness of his glory, can have the capacity of mind and heart for full fellowship with him. This is being one with the Father and with the Son.

The New Creation will be a divine family, beings like God himself, far above principalities, powers, dominions, and every name that is named. Only such a creation can satisfy the Father’s desire for full and perfect fellowship.

When the Father accepts the consecration of those who present their bodies as living sacrifices, he does so with full confidence that they will carry out their consecration. He takes them at their word, and makes them his sons. “Here and now, dear friend, we are God’s children; what we shall be has not yet been disclosed, but we know that when it is disclosed we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”—I John 3:2, NEB

The Scriptures use the metaphor of a body to illustrate our relationship with Christ “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.”—I Cor. 12:12-14, NIV

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” (Rom. 6:3,5) What a glorious resurrection that will be. ‘Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power.”—Rev. 20:6

Isaiah spoke about the intimacy the new creation will have with the Father: “Thou shalt be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” (Isa. 62:2,3) As a crown of glory, the church will be a thing of beauty, and a joy forever! As they have in this life, they will continue to do the Father’s will throughout all the ages to come.

What joy and gladness will be ours to be one with the Father and with the Son for all eternity. We will dwell together in love in the full oneness of this divine family. What a favored lot is ours!

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |