“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.

John 17:20‭-‬23 RSV

“That they may all be ONE.”

This is a prayer for Christian unity, the great reason for Christ’s desire for such unity being immediately stated, “that the world may believe that thou didst send me.”

In answering the question of how the believers’ unity could effect the conversion of the world.

This would be to all thoughtful persons a moral demonstration that the Christian religion is not of men, but of God.

Photo by my Mom.

It is in Disunity that God’s church is most helpless in the present times.

Nothing is more productive of infidelity and unrighteousness than the conflicting doctrines of professed followers of Christ.

By multiplying divisions, Satan has hindered numberless millions from obeying the gospel.

Twice in my life, once as a child where my father preached, and again as an adult, I have had a front-row seat to the malicious works of Satan.

Working through selfish and weak christians in the church, there was the unnecessary splitting of the Lord’s body, and this led to untold spiritual destruction, and the potential loss of many souls, and baby Christians.

SATAN always aims for the best of us!

He already owns the worst!

Jesus Christ is the titular, singular head of the body of Christ, the church of Christ.

Christ MUST BE the Only head of every local congregation of Christians.

No greater need could be imagined than that of the unity of the church of the living God; but alas, only a certain kind of unity will avail anything.

That is the kind of unity Jesus identified in this prayer, a unity like that between the Father and the Son.

Satan has ever been busy advocating his own kind of unity, such as:

  • (1) The unity of authoritarianism, in which all blindly obey the ecclesiastics elevated above them.
  • (2) The kind of unity proposed by the snake to the frog, in which one entity is swallowed up in another.
  • (3) The unity in which each group of believers accepts his status under some system of allocation, and in which, like in the cemetery, everyone lies as complacently as possible and does not infringe on his neighbors.
  • (4) The unity in which many groups are submerged in a super-organization, thus containing every degree of contradiction and aberration under one pretentious banner, such unity being very similar to that exhibited by a barrel of scorpions.

Believers should always yearn for peace, but NEVER for peace at the expense of truth

For “unity” which has been gained by means of such a sacrifice is not worthy of the name.

“Thou Father art in me, and I in thee, and they in us”

This threefold unity is the only kind of unity that can avail. For notes on the profound implications of being “in Christ,” see under John 14:20. To be “in Christ” is also to be “in God.”

All Christians, partake of the glory of God from Christ.

They are partakers of his holiness (Hebrews 12:10), “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), and have received the reconciliation (Romans 5:11).

The perfect unity flows out of perfect submission to the total will of God in Christ, resulting in “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc.” (Ephesians 4:4f). God’s love of Christ means God’s love of Christ’s body, which is his church.

In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

John 14:20‭-‬21 RSV

Here is the whole prospectus of God’s kingdom in embryo, making this verse rank with Genesis 3:15 as a statement of the whole plan of salvation.

Here is the achievement of God’s righteousness, the secret of justification, and the basis of the redeemed’s avoidance of judgment – the whole works; it’s all here!

God’s way of accounting men righteous is that of totally identifying them with Jesus Christ who is righteous.

The righteousness God imputes to men is a genuine righteousness, a total and absolute perfection, achieved by Jesus Christ and made available to men “in him.”

Any so-called “righteousness” based upon anything else is spurious. Nothing that a sinner might either believe or do could make either his faith or his actions the grounds of his being accounted righteous in the sight of God.

“All spiritual blessings are in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

God therefore makes a sinner righteous by bringing him into Christ, identifying him with Christ and as Christ, thus enabling all the righteousness of the Holy One to be in fact the righteousness of the redeemed soul in Christ (Galatians 2:20).

No man can be saved as John Doe, Joe Bloke, or whoever he is. The only way any man can be saved is as Christ and in Christ.

The identification of believers with Christ is revealed in this verse to be exactly the same as the identification of Christ with God.

God is in Christ

Christ is in God

Christ is in Christians

Christians are in Christ

The loss of personal identity for purposes of procuring justification was what Jesus referred to in “He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in Unity!

Psalms 133:1 RSV

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