The Lord Jesus led me to read John 17 (vv. 20-26 NIV).
Continuing with Jesus’ prayer for those who were already his, by faith, and for those who would yet come to know him as their Lord and Savior…
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Our Lord’s primary goal in saving us from our sins is that we be united (like-minded) with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For, if we are of one mind with God, then we will hate what he hates and love what he loves. We will willingly leave our lives of sin behind us, turn around (repent), and then follow him in a walk of obedience to his Word. We will want to submit to him in all his ways, and we won’t want to continue in our sins, floundering, having no direction for life, and wasting our lives on what is meaningless.
If we are one in mind and heart with God, we won’t see God’s grace to us as liberty (license) to continue on a sinful course, nor will we go about trying to prove that God does not require repentance or obedience of us. We will not promote the idea that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, or that God no longer sees when we sin against him. Instead, we will see that God’s grace instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives while we await his return.
When we are united with Christ, and with the Father, in thought, word, and deed, which will be evidenced by how we live our lives, day in and day out, then the world will know that Jesus Christ came from the Father, and that he is our Savior Messiah. How will the world know? They will know it by the fact that we love and obey our Lord, and that we love one another, as Christ loved us, and gave his life up for us. They will also know it, because, if truly we are united with Christ and with the Father, we will be telling people about Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation, so they can be saved from sin, too.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we die with Christ to sin that we may live with him to righteousness. We are reborn of the Spirit of God, spiritually speaking, to new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
The Holy Spirit of God then comes to live within us, to teach us all things, to counsel us in the way we should go, and to empower us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. This “new birth,” i.e. this new life we have in Christ Jesus is eternal. Thus, eternal life begins the moment we are born again of the Spirit of God, it continues throughout our lives on this earth, and it is also what we have to look forward to when we leave this earth.
Yet, according to God’s Word, this eternal life with God is not based on a one-time event in our lives, in which we believe in Jesus Christ, at which time we are given the promise (hope) of eternal life with God. But, it is based on a lifestyle of faith and commitment to Christ which endures to the end. For, you see, believing in Jesus Christ must be continuous, not just past. And, our lifestyles must reflect that true faith in Jesus Christ actually is evident in our lives (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Not only was this true of Jesus Christ, that he made God the Father known to the world, so that the people of this world might have the love of God, and Jesus Christ, in the person of his Holy Spirit, living within them, but this must be true of us, as well. We must reflect God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in all that we are, do, think and say. We must make God known to the people of this world, too. We are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we must proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. If we don’t tell them, who will?
But, we can’t do this if our lifestyles don’t reflect Christ, but the world. We can’t be the light of the world if we are still walking in darkness. We can’t help other people to be turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, if we haven’t turned (repented of our sins). We can’t help them to come out from the world and to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, if we haven’t done this, and if we are still engaging ourselves in the same sinful practices the world is engrossing themselves in. So, we have to change. We have to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God if we are going to help anyone else to be free from sin and to walk in holiness and righteousness.
We also can’t make God known to the world if we are lukewarm about our own faith, or if we have accepted a diluted gospel as true, so that we can continue in sin without guilt. If we are going to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, in making God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – known to the world around us, then we need to follow Jesus’ example for how he did this. We also need to follow the example of the NT apostles and other godly men and women in the scriptures who followed Jesus, who followed God with their lives, and who told others about him, too. We can’t soft sell the gospel in order to make friends with the world, and then expect to impact lives for eternity.
Yet, if we do follow in our Lord’s footsteps, and we do choose to obey him in doing what he says, and in saying what he tells us to say, then we should expect that we will also be treated like Jesus was treated. We should be prepared to be hated, rejected, mistreated, falsely accused, mocked, gossiped about, and even killed for our faith in Jesus Christ. But, we must also be ready for some of that mistreatment to come, not from the world, but from the worldly church, and from its leaders. For, if you stand strong on the Word of God, and you proclaim the truth of the gospel, you will make enemies, even within the church.
But, our God is all powerful, completely sovereign, and able to accomplish his will and purposes even in our worst set of circumstances. For, if God is for us, then really, who can stand against us? It doesn’t mean that they won’t, for they will, but that God’s purposes will always prevail. Amen!
Our God / Chris Tomlin / Jesse Reeves
Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman
Our God is greater; our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Saturday, November 18, 2017, 12:22 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for bringing this song to my mind this afternoon, and for speaking your words to my heart through this passage of scripture. I thank you, and I praise you.