JOHN SEVENTEEN, DEVOTIONAL
Compiled and Edited by Edward J. Reiter
From: John, Chapter Seventeen, by Robert B. Thompson Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The more Christ grows in us the more we become aware the goal of our Christian discipleship is to become one in Christ in the Father. The true goal makes clear to us that godly behavior is a necessary part of salvation. The goal of salvation is not as much to get people into Heaven as it is to get the Life and ways of God into people.
This booklet has the same content as John, Chapter Seventeen but abbreviated and arranged as a set of thirty daily readings.
DEVOTIONS FROM JOHN 7
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: (John 17:1)
One of the evidences we are becoming spiritually mature is the strengthening of our awareness of the Lord’s timing. While we are immature we tend to rush about in ignorance of God’s will concerning the time during which we should attempt to accomplish our duties and desires. As we grow in grace we come to realize there is a time, a season for the events of the Kingdom of God.
As we submit to Christ’s will and learn to flow in resurrection life, our sense of the Spirit’s timing becomes increasingly clear. This is where patience and trust are required.
In some ways the Christian discipleship is a "dance" in which Christ does the leading. When we attempt to lead and direct Christ, confusion and discord result.
Christ was thirty-three years of age at the time of this prayer. The hour had come for Him to leave the world and return to the Father in Heaven. The Presence of God and of faith were so strong in Christ that He did not weep and mourn because He was "too young to die." He understood that the hour of His departure was now and He was content to abide in the will of the Father.
The wise person seeks the face of the Lord until he understands the Lord’s will for himself. In all his ways he acknowledges the Lord and commits his desires to Him—even concerning the duration of his physical life. Then he abides in that will as Christ gives grace.
The honoring and exalting of Christ results in the honoring and exalting of God the Father. Christ leads people to the Father. This always is true. The nature of the Personality of Christ is such that His glorification always results in the glorification of the Father.
This is not consistently true of Christ’s followers. Sometimes we seek Christ’s glory so we may glorify ourselves.
The mature saints live only for the glory of Christ. When they are honored and exalted the praise flows past them to Christ to God the Father. To God be the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
As thou hast given him power over all flesh (John 17:2)
Christ owns all the peoples of the earth. He possesses authority over all mankind. We need to hold this fact firmly in our minds during the days to come.
Great spiritual darkness even now is coming upon the world. We can feel this heaviness today. We can behold the filthiness of the flesh as human beings attempt to rid themselves of all restraints on their behavior.
God’s response is to laugh at the pitiful spectacle of the dust of the ground trying to shake off the bounds set by its Creator (Psalms 2:4).
We shall witness wicked, self-seeking men vying with one another for preeminence, each man hoping other people will think of him as God. This striving for mastery will continue in the world and in the churches until God permits a Satan-filled human to sit on the Mercy Seat in the Temple in Jerusalem—a human who works miracles and proclaims himself God Almighty. Then the Jews are to flee from Jerusalem into the wilderness because great tribulation will result from this abomination that creates desolation.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who, in the wisdom and power of God, is permitting these abominations to take place. He is the One who has been given authority over all flesh. The offenses are necessary for they are bringing into being the perfect Bride of the Lamb and the Kingdom of God.
But woe to the persons through whom the offenses come!
We are not to fret ourselves concerning the behavior of the wicked in the earth (Psalms 37 and 73). Rather, we are to lift up our heads because our redemption is drawing near. Christ will allow wickedness to come to maturity in the earth. Then He will reap the harvest, gathering it into the ovens of judgment to be burned. But the righteous will shine in the Kingdom of God.
Let us be of good cheer. Our Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world. He is Victor and Lord. He will bring us into glory as soon as we have been prepared.
That he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. (John 17:2)
Christ gives eternal life to each person whom the Father has given to him. The doctrine of election, of Divine choosing, runs throughout the Scriptures. Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand how God can elect some people and not others. We cannot grasp how God can do this and yet leave us with a choice. Also, the doctrine of election goes against our idea of what is fair and what is unfair.
If we think about it, each human being makes choices throughout his life depending on the circumstances in which he finds himself. The human drama is far too large a canvas for us to comprehend. The Scriptures teach us that each person is judged in terms of his opportunities, in terms of what he has seen and experienced. Little is required of those to whom little has been given.
As for our idea of what is fair, what is equitable, on what basis are we to determine this? Our doctrine of fairness has been warped by the teachings of the past four hundred years that have attempted to make man into God. Rebellion against God, against all authority, has been implanted deep in us. We find it difficult to accept the doctrine of Scripture that God is the Potter and we are the clay. We cannot grasp the "fairness" of it. We are unable to judge righteous judgment.
We do know God is all-powerful and absolutely righteous. It is fitting for us to trust His righteousness and "fairness." God Himself is the Standard of all equity. All men are wicked. God alone is good. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Christ gives eternal life to each individual who has been given to Him by the Father.
In the seventeenth chapter of John we behold the outlines of the highest, thickest, mightiest, most impenetrable wall in the universe—the wall between the world and God’s elect. The wall stands before us in its power and glory. It is the division between the nations of the earth and the Church of Christ—the towering wall of the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
What is life eternal? Life eternal is not perpetual existence. All spirits will live forever. Ten billion years from now, Satan, his angels, and the unrepentant of mankind will be suffering torment in the Lake of Fire. They will be consciously alive. The deadly virus of sin, rebellion, and stubbornness still will be present in the universe. But none of these rebels will ever possess eternal life.
It is the knowledge of God that is life eternal. When we first receive Christ we pass from death, which is separation from God and ignorance of God, into life, which is reconciliation to God and a beginning of our knowledge of God.
Being "saved" by believing in Christ should not be viewed as a "ticket to Heaven." We do not receive the fullness of eternal life when we accept Christ. Eternal life is not merely eternal existence, as we have pointed out.
Christ Himself is the Resurrection and the eternal Life from God. It is as we embrace Christ in our daily life that we embrace Eternal Life more completely.
Eternal life is gained by running a race—a race against all the tides and currents of the world. The Christian race is an uphill, upstream push every inch of the way. If we would obtain the knowledge of God we must forsake all else and give ourselves wholly to the pursuit of Divine Life.
The Father and the Son come to the believer who guards and observes the Words of Christ. The Son knows the Father and reveals the Father to whomever He will. The knowledge of the Father brings rest to our soul. The knowledge of the Father satisfies the deepest longings of our heart. The knowledge of the Father is eternal life.
Today we, joining the Apostle Paul, exclaim fervently: "That I may know Him!" No matter how many years we have been pressing forward, following on to know the Lord, we keep discovering there is far more in Christ than we can comprehend. He is grander and more glorious than we thought possible. He is far above our ability to imagine—far above the highest heavens.
Truly, Jesus of Nazareth is Christ, the Son of God. To comprehend and possess Him is to comprehend and grasp eternal Life. He Himself is the Resurrection and the Life.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. (John 17:4)
Christ, while He was on the earth, honored and exalted the Father. One could say the inhabitants of Judea never really beheld Jesus. What people witnessed was the Father.
Christ did not seek His own will, His own pleasure, His own ambitions. He performed faithfully, exactly, conscientiously, diligently what the Father assigned Him to do. Christ set aside His own life. He gave Himself to the will and work of the Father. As a result, the people of the earth who are believers realize God Himself has visited our death-ridden planet.
Will we continue in that sacrificial love?
It is not possible that the will and work of Christ can be accomplished in the earth unless some human beings are willing to set aside their own desires and ambitions, their own personal preferences, their own likes and dislikes.
If we do not we will leave only the fragrance of our personal attempts to accomplish religious works. If we are willing to go to the cross of self-denial we will leave among men the fragrance of the Lord Jesus Christ, as Christ has left among us the fragrance of God the Father.
We cannot imagine a more marvelous hope than that of hearing the Lord Jesus tell us we have diligently and successfully completed our assigned task and now can pass over joyfully into the Presence of Christ, there to await with all saints the Day of Resurrection.
Every member of the Body of Christ without exception has been assigned a part to play in the building of the Body, a talent to spend in the market place (Romans 12:6; I Corinthians 12:11). If we will seek the Lord in sincerity, committing our way to Him, acknowledging Him in all we do, He will lead us into the Divine plan for our life (Proverbs 3:5,6).
Then our daily food will be to do Christ’s will and to finish His work.
Christ died that we may live. Now we are to die so He may live in and through us, so His Divine Life may touch the people with whom we come in contact.
If we decide to save our life we will lose it. If we are willing to lose our life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s we will save it. Our life then will multiply because Christ will bless the offering of our life and feed the multitudes of the earth with the pieces of it.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (John 17:5)
The meaning of the word with, as used in the above passage, appears to be "along with": "Glorify Me along with Your own Self"; "Glorify Me at Your side."
The Lord Jesus Christ is glorified as God the Father is glorified. The Son is not glorified apart from the Father. The Son is glorified as the Father is glorified, partaking of the same glory. The glory of the One is the glory of the Other. This has been true from eternity.
There are different ways in which Christian people attempt to bring honor and glory to themselves and to the works of their hands, hoping this will also bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ and to God through Him.
The wisest choice is to seek the Lord Jesus and to share in His glory, to flow in His resurrection Life, to be, act, think, and speak along with Him. For us to seek to glorify Christ by glorifying ourselves, whether our efforts are in the physical or supernatural realms, can lead directly to religious babylon (man-directed Christianity) and to the False Prophet (spiritual life governed by the soul).
If we choose to please Christ by our own efforts, our works will be consumed when they are tested by fire. But if we live by His resurrection Life we become indestructible and incorruptible, because His Life is indestructible and incorruptible.
Let Christ be glorified along with God the Father. Let each saint be glorified along with Christ, along with the Father.
In Christ we behold all God Is; we hear all God says. We come to perceive the mind of God, the will of God, the eternal purposes of God.
The greatest fact of world history is that God, our Creator, became a man and lived with us for a season. Eternal Life was born as a human baby in a stable in Bethlehem of Judea.
Before God created the heavens and the earth, the Lord Jesus Christ dwelled in the fullness of glory with His Father.
In addition to being with the Father from the beginning, Christ also is the beginning of the Kingdom of God. No person entered the Kingdom of God or was born again until the Lord Jesus rose from the dead.
Christ is first in eternity and first in the Kingdom of God.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. (John 17:6)
There are two ideas here: (1) the revealing of the name of God; and (2) the separating of the elect from the world and the giving of them to Christ as His special possession, His peculiar treasure among mankind.
The Lord God of Heaven revealed various aspects of Himself to the Jews. He showed to them, His chosen people, that He is One and not many; that He Is the Shepherd, the Healer, the Warrior, the Provider, the powerful and fruitful One; that He will become whatever He chooses to become.
The revelation given to the elect, the Church, through the Lord Jesus Christ, is that God is to be worshiped as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are baptized in water into the names of these three Divine Personages.
The above statement, "thine they were," suggests to us that part of mankind belongs to the Father in a special way. Abraham, and those who are called in Abraham including every person on earth who is "in Christ," belonged to God originally.
God is so great that He has planned all things from the beginning. God completed all of His works through to the new Jerusalem and then rested on the seventh day. The names of the elect were placed in the Book of Life from the beginning.
However, each person has a "room" of decisions in which he or she operates. Within this area of choice he can choose to fulfill his God-ordained destiny or he can neglect to pursue his "mark." Redemption always is an opportunity.
The Lord’s true remnant, His elect, are distinguished by the fact that they guard and protect Jesus’ words. They listen to what Christ has spoken, and then seek God’s wisdom and strength so they may be able to do what the Lord has commanded.
Those who hear Christ’s Word and then do what He has commanded will stand in the day of shaking. Those who hear Christ’s Word and do not do what He has commanded will not be able to stand in the day of shaking. They will be deceived by Antichrist.
Let us read God’s holy Word with the express intention of obeying it. If we will continue to come confidently and joyously to the throne of grace we will receive mercy, and also Divine grace that will enable us to forgive our enemies and do all the other things we have been commanded.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. (John 17:7,8)
When we are first confronted with the Gospel the question comes to us, "How can we be sure Christ truly is from God?" It is not always easy for the seeker to assure himself he is not putting his trust in fables.
John 7:17 has proved to be a blessing to some who have had this problem: "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
Here is a contract: If we will receive and practice what Christ has spoken to us in the name of God, we will find for ourselves, to our own satisfaction, whether Christ is speaking from the Spirit of God or out from Himself.
Those of us (including the original disciples of the Lord) who have received Christ’s words and who live by them know Christ came from God. We know it was God who sent Christ to the earth.
When the author first came to Christ fifty years ago he questioned whether Christ actually was from God. The decision was made to obey what Christ has stated, hoping to determine whether the Gospel is true.
The circumstances of our life from that moment are undeniable evidence that Christ has come from God and is alive today. Christ is from God. We have done what He said when it was pleasant and when it was unpleasant; when we understood what was happening to us and when we did not understand what was happening to us.
We now know beyond all doubt that Christ is what He claims to be and what the Apostles claim He is—the Word and Son of God. Christ neither spoke His own words nor performed His own deeds. What He said came from God Almighty. What Christ did proceeded from the Creator of all.
We know also that Christ will come again in clouds, just as He departed in the sight of many witnesses. We know one day the heavens and the earth to which we are accustomed will pass away and there will come into existence a new heaven and a new earth in which will dwell righteous behavior and praise to God through Christ. We know the words Christ has spoken to us shall never pass away.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (John 17:9)
Here again we behold the massive wall God has established between His elect and the peoples of the world. Christ is not praying for the world. One would think the plight of the masses would have been weighing on the heart of Christ—and no doubt it was.
But the solution to the problems of the world will be found only in the mature and unified Church. Therefore the emphasis of the past two thousand years should have been (and has been, from God’s point of view) on the building of the Body of Christ.
The churches are determined to save the world. God is determined to perfect the Church. The churches are putting the cart ahead of the horse.
Two thousand years ago Christ prayed for our perfection, and He still is making intercession for us in the Presence of God.
Christ is concerned about us because we are being made an integral part of Himself. As we are brought to maturity and unity it is He Himself who is being brought to maturity and unity, because we are the fullness of Him who is destined to fill the heavens and the earth.
As soon as the members of the Body of Christ have been brought to maturity and unity the world will believe Christ indeed has come from God. The elect already know Christ has come from God. The world will believe as soon as the Church has been perfected in Christ.
Today the peoples of the world are suffering injustice as those who rule over them rob them, cheat them, abuse them, murder them. When the Lord Jesus returns He will bring justice and righteousness to the nations, ruling over them in and with His saints.
Christ does not pray for the world but for those whom the Father has given to Him. Christ prays for the elect whether they are Jews or Gentiles by physical birth. The elect are called from among mankind to belong to God in a peculiar way. The elect are the light of the world, the salt of the earth.
It is not that Christ does not care for all the peoples of the earth. In fact it is the peoples of the earth, the nations, who are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus and also of the coheirs. But the nations cannot be reaped until the elect, who are the firstfruits to God from the earth, have been gathered into the barn.
And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. (John 17:10)
This is what the cross does for us. The death of the cross, which we die as we enter the sufferings of Christ, brings us into total giving to God and total receiving from God.
We begin to desire that all we are and possess be from God and be found in God, and that all God is and possesses be found in us. We are fervently seeking total union and total image. We give all we are and possess to God and He gives all He is and possesses to us.
This is why the individual who holds back part of himself from God suffers such tremendous loss. He holds back his pittance. In return, God holds back the wealth of the Godhead. It is only as we empty our cup in God that God can fill our cup with Himself. Consider Esau, who traded the inheritance of Abraham for a bowl of lentils!
Christ will not be glorified apart from us. It is not that the Father is not able to glorify Christ apart from us; rather it is true that God has chosen to glorify Christ in the Church.
Let us think about Adam and Eve. Adam’s inheritance was that of fruitfulness—filling the earth with people in his image. But such fruitfulness was impossible apart from Eve. God made Adam dependent on Eve to obtain his inheritance.
In like manner, Christ’s inheritance is total fruitfulness—a filling of the heavens and the earth with His image. Such fruitfulness is not possible apart from His Body. God has made the Lord Jesus Christ dependent on the saints, the holy ones, to obtain His inheritance.
Christ is the Vine. We are the branches. Men gather grapes from the branches of a grapevine, not from the vine itself.
The true saints do not attempt to "get something" from God. Rather, we are being incorporated into God’s Life so all we are and possess belong to God and all God is and possesses belong to us. Because of this, the glory never leaves the Father. God never will give His glory to a person who is not an integral part of Himself.
If we are willing to share in His sufferings, in the self-denying labors of the ministry, in the reproach of the cross, we will share in His glory at His appearing with the saints and elect angels.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, (John 17:11)
This statement reveals to us the extent Christ lived in the spirit realm. He knew His days on earth were finished. He realized that soon He would be experiencing agony. He was aware also that eternal glory would be His portion as soon as the work of atonement had been completed.
Jesus never was overcome by physical death. He allowed His body to be crucified. Then, through the Holy Spirit, He took His body again. This indeed is spiritual authority and power.
We Christians tend to become so involved in the pursuits of the flesh that our body is a prison rather than a vehicle for our spirit and the Spirit of God. We view physical death as a horrible tragedy, a nightmare that will come true at some dreadful point in the future. How sad that we needlessly permit ourselves to be bound by the fear of death! The Gospel of the Kingdom includes release from the fear of physical death.
Are we in this world? Are we in the next world? It does not matter. The only reality is the Presence of God. It is supremely important that we are serving Him and accepted of Him.
We are in His Presence and serving Him now while in the prison of our earthly flesh. We will continue to serve Him in the glad moment when we are set free from the body and are entirely in the spirit realm. When the Day of Christ comes, our spirit and soul will be reunited with our flesh and the whole will be clothed with a body fashioned from incorruptible eternal life.
What we are in Christ does not change as we pass from one form to the other. The reality we must pursue and guard is our relationship to God. If we are in His Presence, serving Him and rejoicing before Him, all is well with us. What form or vehicle we are in is of little significance. Our concern is that God is pleased with us. If we are in rebellion against God we already are in death and Hell whether we are in the body or out of the body.
We must also learn to place the people whom we love in the care of Christ and God. We take care of them and pray for them while we are with them. If we should be separated from them for a season, or if we or they should die, we have complete confidence that our loved ones are safe in God.
The Spirit of God seems to be speaking that a period of great tribulation and danger soon is to come to the nations of the earth. In such an hour it will be critically important that we know how to place our loved ones in the hands of Christ for safekeeping.
And I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. (John 17:11)
The Lord Jesus was returning to the Father in order to prepare a place in the Father for the saints. It is important to recognize that the Lord stressed that He was returning to the Father, not to Heaven as such.
The saints look forward with joy to being released from the physical body and entering the spirit Paradise. Such joy is understandable when we compare the pain, dread, and unrest of the world with the peace and beauty of the spirit realm.
But the more Christ grows in us the more we become aware our Christian discipleship is not leading us primarily toward Heaven as a place. Rather, our goal is rest in the Father through Christ. There is a practical difference between viewing Heaven as our goal and the Father as our goal.
Christ kept speaking of going to the Father, not of going to Heaven.
The goal of the New Testament saint is union with the Father through Christ. The way of the New Testament saint is that of a disciplined walk in the Spirit of God: denying one’s self, taking up one’s cross, and following Christ each day.
The wrong goal and wrong way will cause practical mistakes in the Christian life. A multitude of believers are holding their "ticket to Heaven" while they continue to live in the flesh instead of pressing forward each day to union with the Father through Christ, which is eternal life (John 17:3). They are missing the plan of redemption while they are waiting to go to Paradise.
Our goal as a victorious saint is to enter that rest in Christ, whether we are on the earth or in Heaven. We too are waiting until Christ’s enemies have become His footstool. When He returns to earth to receive His inheritance we shall return with Him. We shall be revealed in glory together with Him.
The effort, the goal, of the Kingdom of God, is not to get people into Heaven, it is to get the life and ways of Heaven into people.
Christ has given each of us into the keeping authority and power of His Father in Heaven. No person or spirit can force us from the Father’s hands. That keeping authority and power are bringing us into the Oneness that exists only in the Divine Godhead.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition [destruction]; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12)
The doctrine of keeping, of guarding, appears several times in Chapter 17. The Apostle John employs this term in the sense of our keeping and guarding the Word of Christ (John 14:23; Revelation 3:10), and of Christ keeping us safe in His care during seasons of temptation (John 17:15; Revelation 3:10).
While the Lord Jesus was on the earth He kept His disciples safe from the wiles of Satan. Christ accomplished this through prayer, praying that the authority and power of the Father’s Name would be a wall of protection, an unmovable rock surrounding each member of the little band of disciples.
We understand from the Spirit of God and from the conditions of the world about us that fearful days are ahead for all the inhabitants of the earth. Another war may be just around the corner. In many countries the value of money is unstable. Multitudes of human beings are suffering famine and homelessness. God is testifying that judgment is coming on the world because of our sin and rebellion.
The saints are in the world. We know as long as we are in the world we shall experience tribulation—much tribulation. We must never forget that the Name of Almighty God is protecting us.
The saints will suffer and the sinners will suffer. The difference is, the hand of God is covering the saints, and their tribulations result in the perfecting of their personalities in Christ (if they receive them correctly, praying to the Lord continually for strength and guidance).
Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples. There was nothing unusual about Judas except his love of money. He carried the bag of money, the common purse of the disciples. Money meant so much to Judas he would steal the money belonging to his comrades, his fellow disciples.
Judas was not a man without a conscience. His future conduct portrayed conscience and remorse. But Judas loved money. The love of money provided the door through which Satan was able to enter him.
The holy Scriptures by commandment and example teach us to flee from the love of money, from the deceitfulness of riches. It is impossible to serve God and money. We must choose between these two masters.
We have made our choice. How about you? Have you chosen to serve God instead of money?
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. (John 17:13)
Most people wish to have joy. In the opinion of the world, joy is gained by the acquiring of material possessions or by eating, drinking, and making merry in a festive atmosphere. Some persons seek power, or success and the accomplishment of their endeavors. Others strive continually to gratify the lusts of their flesh. Joy is the goal.
The true saint turns away from the temporary pleasures of this life. He chooses to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and to share in Christ’s suffering. He embraces the way of the cross, of self-denial, of discipleship.
The sincere Christian is not too concerned with acquiring material possessions beyond the immediate needs of his family and himself. Having food and clothing he is content. He does not participate in revelry because he has learned that any time spent in abandoned gaiety provides a direct opportunity for Satan to strike him. The experienced saint much prefers to watch continually in prayer.
Christ while living on the earth was a man of the greatest joy and peace. He possessed enough joy and peace for Himself and for all His followers as well.
Jesus owned few material possessions. He was not a carouser. Although Christ ate and drank with people He certainly was not a glutton or drunkard. His nights were spent alone in the mountains in fellowship with His Father in Heaven.
Christ alone possesses, and is able to give to others, the joy and peace that all the world is seeking.
This joy can be experienced only by those who have forsaken all and are following Jesus. Lukewarm Christians can know moments of peace and joy. But the deep, pervading, eternal joy and peace of which Christ speaks is known only by the single-minded, intensely consecrated disciples of the Lord.
Those who have forsaken material possessions experience the joy of having the Lord supply their needs miraculously. Those who give themselves to prayer and waiting on the Lord come to know the close fellowship of the Father and the Son—and there is no other joy like that!
Christ overcame all things and is seated on the Father’s throne. He was able to endure the cross because of the joy set before Him. If we choose to live victoriously through Christ, one day soon we will be seated with Him on His throne. We too can endure the cross because of the joy set before us.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)
Again we come to the Divinely constructed wall that stands between the elect and the world. The passages of Scripture that control the destinies of each of the Lord’s chosen can be found throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. These passages are clear: there is a Divinely ordained difference between the elect and the remainder of mankind.
Each member of the elect must keep his part of the covenant by cleaving with all his strength to the Lord who has called him out of the world. If he does not, the Lord will bring him under discipline. If he refuses to be disciplined he will discover he is facing an angry God even though it had appeared he was a member of the elect.
In John 17:14, Jesus acknowledges to the Father in Heaven that He has given the Father’s Word to the elect. Hasn’t Jesus given the Word of God to everyone? Not in the sense meant here.
Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables but He explained the meaning of the parables to His chosen. Only three from among the chosen disciples were allowed to behold His transfiguration. We can see three levels of opportunity displayed here: the multitudes, the chosen, and the three from among the chosen.
A level of opportunity in the Kingdom of God is not earned, it is assigned by Divine election. (Although who can say what God will do on the behalf of any individual who seeks Him with a perfect heart?)
It is the giving of the Word of the Father to the elect, to the chosen, that causes them to be separated from the world. As a result, the world hates God’s elect. Every member of God’s Israel was called out from the world. Israel is an elect, a chosen, a remnant of mankind. The world, and the church people who never were called of God, hate God’s chosen and will murder them because of envy.
The citizenship of the saint is in Heaven, and until the Lord returns he is a stranger and pilgrim in the world. It is the Word of God that separates each of God’s elect from the world.
God’s elect of today who can hear His voice must redouble their efforts to walk carefully and prayerfully before Christ, turning to Him in sincere repentance and humility of mind.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)
"I do not ask that You should take them out of the world but that You should keep them from the evil one."
The term keep contains the idea of guarding in protective custody. The word from, as employed in the King James, no doubt conveys the thought accurately: "keep them from [out of] the evil [one]."
Christ is praying, not that the Father would remove us from the world but that He would protect the elect from all the influences of Satan.
If it is true, as we maintain, that we are moving toward a Person rather than merely toward a place, is it true also that we are moving from a person rather than from a place?
Are we being redeemed from the earth or are we being redeemed from the image and power of Satan? Is God redeeming us from the land or from the enemy? Is our journey from earth to Heaven or is it from Satan to God?
There is an important difference between these two concepts. Our understanding of what we are being saved from, as well as the destination we are moving toward, directly affects the manner in which we apply ourselves to our discipleship.
The common understanding of the work of salvation is that we will be removed from the world of pain and fear and brought to a different world (Heaven) where there is no pain or fear.
The scriptural description of the work of salvation is that we are being removed from the person and power of Satan and brought into the Person and power of God in Christ. Whether we are in the world or in Heaven has little to do with the plan of salvation, with the work of redemption.
The common understanding of the Christian redemption is that our salvation primarily is a journey from this dark planet to the light and glory of Paradise. The scriptural description of redemption is that our salvation primarily is a transformation of our personality such that we become the Temple of God instead of the slave of Satan (John 8:34-36).
The first doctrine stresses movement from one place to another. The second doctrine emphasizes the transformation of all that we are and do and our absorption into the Divine Godhead.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:16)
God’s elect are in the world. Now His Word has come to them and separated them from the world, just as the Word of God called out Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees.
To what extent are the elect not a part of the world system? To the extent the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is not part of the world system.
The Lord’s people always have resisted this separation, this uniqueness. God warned the Israelites repeatedly that if they did not keep themselves separate from the Canaanites they soon would be worshiping demons and would come under the wrath of God. The Jews refused to cleave to the Lord and sought continually to enter alliances with the tribes and nations around them.
This stubborn refusal to be separate is true also of the Christian churches. The Lord’s people are determined to be accepted by the world and to be a part of the world. Some scholars believe the involvement of the Christian churches in the world is the "deeds of the Nicolaitans," mentioned in Revelation 2:6. The believers fall into sin and come under the wrath of God when they do not keep themselves separate from the world.
Jesus prophesied that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations and then the end of the age would come. The time of the worldwide witness is here now. Now is the hour of the Kingdom testimony.
Jesus prophesied also that whoever believes in Him would perform the works He performed, and greater works, because He was returning to His Father. The time for the same works and the greater works is here now.
The Lord’s army of witnesses are to keep themselves separate from the world. We are not part of the world system. Whoever would seek the world’s friendship makes himself or herself the enemy of God.
We do not seek the help of the world or the friendship of the world.
Our help comes from God. Our help and comfort come from the Spirit of God. We need no other assistance, no other comfort.
Our availability to the Lord to work such miracles of grace depends on our willingness to come out of the world system and stay out of the world system. If we will remain separate from the world there is no limit to the glory the Lord can channel through us.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17)
The term sanctify means to set apart to the Lord as belonging peculiarly to Him for His special ownership and purposes. Those who are sanctified are holy to the Lord. They are to abstain strictly from the spirit of the world, from sin, from Satan, and from self-will.
It is the Word that comes to the elect that sets them apart for God’s possession and use. The understanding of the truth of God is given only to His chosen, the remainder of mankind being left in spiritual darkness for a season.
Those who have been called out from the world have been given much. Of them will much be required. If they turn away from the holy calling they will be beaten with many lashes.
The supernatural strength of any saint, or any assembling of saints, leaves the moment the world pollutes his or their separation unto the Lord.
God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. From that time until now, God has desired that His elect be separate from the world. God will not accept any mixing of His elect with the peoples of the world.
We have a testimony to give. Our testimony is a witness against the ways of the world. Whoever will come out of the world and receive Christ shall be saved. Woe to the person who, having heard the Gospel, refuses Christ, choosing to remain a part of the world system!
The Day of the Lord is near in the "valley of decision." The Lord’s people are being forced down into the valley of decision. Let us make a clear choice. We must choose to go into the world or into the Lord. We cannot serve two masters. The lukewarm will be vomited from the Lord’s mouth.
There is no way in which we can hold to both the Lord and the world. In our day we have doctrines that show the Lord’s people how to be a success in the world and in the Kingdom of God at the same time. This word is not from Christ. It is nothing more than compromise, the ancient unwillingness of God’s elect to be separate from the world.
We are not of the world as the Lord Jesus Christ is not of the world.
As thou hast sent me into the world (John 17:18)
Each of God’s elect, His saints, has been sent into the world by the Lord Jesus, just as the Father sent the Lord Jesus into the world.
The Father sent Jesus into the world to bear a true witness of the Father. The Lord Jesus has sent each of His chosen into the world in order to bear a true witness of the Lord Jesus. Such is the calling of the saint.
We hear people say, this Christian is called to be a doctor, or that Christian is called to be a construction worker. This is not a scriptural concept. No Christian is called to be a doctor. No Christian is called to be a construction worker.
A Christian may become a doctor or a construction worker in the leading of the Lord. This may be God’s will for him or her. We all must do heartily to the Lord what our hands find to do. But this is not our calling.
Jesus’ calling was not to be a carpenter. Paul’s calling was not to be a tentmaker. Peter’s calling was not to be a fisherman.
The calling of every disciple is to be a saint, a holy one, a revealer of the Nature and will of Christ. Every other employment is for practical, temporary purposes.
Our calling as a saint, a servant of the Lord, is our true, significant, eternal calling.
The calling of each saint is to reveal the Glory of God in Christ. This does not mean every saint is a preacher or teacher or is called to leave his job and trust in Christ for his wages. It does mean the foremost responsibility of every member of God’s elect, his purpose for being on the earth, is to show Christ in his life and behavior.
Each of us deplores the condition of the world of today. Each of us ought to be willing to do what he can to make a better world in which people can live in righteousness, peace, and joy.
However, a better world cannot come about through humanistic endeavors or through alliances with secular organizations. Only by the Spirit of Christ working in the saints can righteousness, peace, and joy be brought to the nations of the earth.
The greatest assistance any member of the Body of Christ can give the world is to seek the Lord with his whole heart. Our occupation in the world provides food and shelter for us and for those who are dependent on us. But such necessary work is our practical responsibility, not our calling.
Even so have I also sent them into the world. (John 17:18)
Our calling as a Christian is not to better the living conditions of mankind, neither is it to demonstrate that we are more capable athletes or more successful salesmen. Our calling as a Christian is to bear a true and faithful witness of the Person and will of God in Christ. We command people everywhere to repent, by what we are and by what we do and say.
If people will repent and serve the Lord, their living conditions ordinarily will improve. Or, they may be persecuted and die for their faith. In that instance we have not improved their living conditions at all. We have brought suffering and death to them.
We are not called to bless the world or to make it comfortable. We are called to rebuke the world, to warn it of the Day of Wrath that is on the horizon. When we cease to do this we are false prophets. We are not true friends of the peoples of the world when we refuse to warn them of the terror of the Day of the Lord or to point them to Christ as the only way of salvation.
The world of today is blind. The nations are bound in mind, spirit, soul, and body by Satan. They are destroying themselves while they are groping for truth, for justice, for peace, for joy.
The only source of truth, justice, peace, and joy is the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ has sent us into the world so through His Spirit we may continue His work of destroying the works of the devil. It is only through the destruction of the works of the devil that truth, justice, peace, and joy can come into the world.
We saints, as Christ dwells in us, are the light of the world and the only light of the world. The world never will be released into the liberty of the glory of the children of God until the Church has been made one in Christ in the Father.
The horrible condition of the world today is not the fault of the world. The world is being victimized by Satan, and only Christ dwelling in the saints is able to overcome Satan. The churches are not waiting for the world to repent. It is the world that must wait until the churches repent.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (John 17:19)
Christ had every right to lead a normal life. He was a righteous, law-abiding Jew. The promises of long life and abundance of material blessings were His. Under the Law he deserved to pursue His trade of carpentry, build a home, buy some livestock, marry a wife, and settle down to enjoy the respect of His neighbors, children, and grandchildren.
If Jesus had done this the witness would not have been borne, the atonement would not have been made. You and I would be dead in our sins.
Instead, He sanctified Himself. He set Himself apart to the service of God. He bore witness to the truth. The truth of Christ has set you and me apart today—many centuries later.
Saul of Tarsus had every right to lead a normal life. After his conversion he continued to be a righteous, Law-observing Jew. The promises of long life and abundance of blessings were his. Saul deserved to pursue his trade of tentmaking, buy a home, marry a wife, and pass his days enjoying his family and the work of his hands (Ecclesiastes 2:24).
But Christ sanctified Paul to the work of the Gospel. Therefore, this righteous Jew was denied the material blessings the Scripture promises to the righteous Israelite (Deuteronomy 28:1-13).
Paul suffered much hardship as we know. He spent his latter days in prison writing his Epistles. But no human being could estimate the amount of spiritual fruit borne by the Epistles of Paul.
The abundance of the material environment makes it difficult for the believer to determine his role in the Kingdom of God. The world expends time and energy attempting to convince him he must buy this or that. But he can never possess these "needed" things. They will possess him. They will dictate his joy and sorrow. They will determine the use of his time. They will require his attention and energy.
Each saint must wrench himself away from the distractions of the surrounding culture. He must seize the time and energy to seek the Face of God continually. He must turn away deliberately from the material and seek the spiritual. Such an action requires strength and wisdom on the part of the saint, and God will provide such strength and wisdom if they are requested.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; (John 17:20)
Christ’s faithful Apostles chose to set themselves apart to His work. They were called by the Lord. They then passed into the ranks of the chosen by their determination to abandon all else in order to follow the Lord Jesus. Their faithfulness was demonstrated as they spent the remainder of their lives spreading the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire.
Christ was praying for them and also for the millions of the elect who since have believed in Christ because of the faithfulness of the first apostles in holding forth the Word of Life. Where would you and I be today if they had not set themselves apart to Christ’s service?
The prayer of the Lord Jesus in John, Chapter 17 reaches out to include the entire elect, the Bride of the Lamb, the Body of Christ. He does not pray for the world. Christ prays for those whom the Father is creating in His image as a part of Him, as brothers of His, as fellow heirs of God’s salvation.
Jesus’ prayer shall be answered. Not one detail will remain unanswered. The course of the entire world is being regulated in terms of the creating of the Wife of the Lamb. All people, events, and things are being governed by the hand of God so they will bring about the answer to this prayer. The maturing and unifying of the elect is the significance and focus of world history.
The Word of Christ still is coming forth from the saints today. It sets all of God’s chosen apart from the world and consecrates them to the eternal purpose of God. Those who were not given to Christ by the Father may start out among the believers but they will not be able to endure to the end. No person can come to Christ as one of His chosen unless it was given to him or her to do so by the Father in Heaven. The elect are the elect!
The religious activities of men and women will proceed with full vigor until the Lord returns. But the only work that will stand will be that which was created by the Word of Christ proceeding through the Lord’s chosen remnant. Those who have not been touched by God will eventually go out from us so it may be revealed that they never were truly of us. But what Christ has done will stand forever.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: (John 17:21)
The above statement may be the most significant of all of the inspired Scriptures. It is a promise so stunning, so surpassingly Divine in origin and intent, that we have to take hold of our spirit so we do not stagger at the promise of God through unbelief.
If Christ had prayed that we all become one in mind and heart we could grasp that. Unity is the aim of all organizations—that the membership will be united in motive and action. What is being prayed here is as far above the idea of membership in a group as the heavens are far above the earth.
What Christ is asking here is not unity but union—the union of the saint with the Godhead. Can you grasp that? We are being invited to become an eternally inseparable part of God Himself.
It is not unusual for Christian people to speak of unity among themselves or unity with Christians of other affiliations. Their motives may be of Christ or of Antichrist. When Christian people join together the same danger is present that the Lord perceived in the building of the Tower of Babel.
It is not that the Christians become one that is supremely desirable. It is that we become one in Christ in God. This is a specific kind of oneness. When Christians join together, people among them seek positions of prominence. But when we become one in Christ in God, the Lord alone is exalted. That is the difference between oneness in Christ and human unity.
When the Church becomes one in Christ in God we shall have the purity of the eternal Person and purpose of God. All else in Christianity pales beside the sublime prospect of the Lord’s people being enfolded by the God of Heaven. Compared with union in God, going to Heaven merely as to a place is insignificant.
The man-centered churches will become unified in the days immediately preceding the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will merge by means of doctrinal compromise. The leading men and women will strive for the high positions. The true saints also will become unified but, unlike the man-centered, the oneness of the saints will be brought about by the Father and the Son entering them in fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles.
The oneness coming to the Church in the near future is the oneness in God for which the Lord prayed. The way will be made straight for the coming of the Lord: the wicked will mature fully in wickedness and the righteous will mature fully in righteousness.
That the world may believe thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
At the time of the coming of the Lord from Heaven, the Father and the Son will take up Their eternal abode in the heart of each saint. Then the Lord Himself will appear in the clouds of the heaven. There will be light in each of the true saints and then the greater Light will appear in the heavens.
The lesser lights will be drawn up to the Greater until there is one blazing manifestation of the Glory of God in Christ in the saints.
The Body will be joined to the glorious Head and will be an inseparable part of Him forever. The peoples of the earth will witness the ascending of the saints to meet the Lord in the air just as some witnessed the ascending of the Lord into the heaven as described in the first chapter of the Book of Acts.
When the world perceives that the saints are one in Christ in the Father, the world will believe God indeed is the one who sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world.
God the Father, the Creator of all, dearly loves the peoples of the earth. They are His creation. God has given the elect to Christ as a firstfruits of the inhabitants of the earth.
One of the main purposes for the perfecting of the elect in Christ is that the remainder of mankind may behold the Glory of God through the elect.
The Christian churches have labored a little to bring about God’s eternal purpose but a great deal to bring about their own conflicting purposes. The people who are called by the Lord’s name have largely ignored the Spirit of God and have placed human beings in control of their efforts.
We see in our time the product of man’s efforts to use the Gospel in order to glorify himself. We have an immature set of believers who are divided into a thousand factions, each group seeking its own glory.
It is time now for the nation of God to be born "at once." God will quickly bring into maturity and unity every believer who will abandon his own program of righteousness and obey the Holy Spirit of God. The release of the nations from the bondage of wickedness is dependent on our becoming one in Christ in God. The saints are the only light of the world, the only salt of the earth.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:22)
Who can comprehend a promise as tremendous as this?
God the Father has given to Christ His own glory—the very Glory of God. It is the awesome, blazing majesty that the firmament declares. Christ in turn has given this same glory, this supreme majesty, to the saints. Each saint who receives of the Glory of God becomes one with every other saint and one with Christ in God.
Here is the crucial element of the Kingdom of God. All else is secondary. It is important that the individual believer seek and find his or her place in the Being of Christ. This is the central issue of Christianity.
Doctrine and practice that do not bring us into union and identification with the Godhead are not of the Holy Spirit.
God’s eternal purpose is to express Himself: first in Christ; then in those who are in union with Christ; finally in every member of the saved creation. Such fruitfulness and dominion are created in and by the fires of Divine love. Only in union with the Father through Christ can any human being find rest. All other goals are of self, of Babylon (man-directed, institutional Christianity), of confusion.
Many forces will be applied to the people of God in order to bring us into the one Body of Christ. The greatest of these forces is the Glory of God. There will come into being a perfect and complete Body of Christ. When the perfected Body is joined to the Head and filled with the Presence of the Father and the Son, then the world will believe God has sent Christ into the world.
Those who have come into the Charismatic movement are in the place of the greatest danger and also of the greatest opportunity. If we seek to use the things of the Spirit of God we will fall into deception. If we use our gifts and knowledge to enter union with Christ in God we will be brought to the fullness of Divine Life. We then, as Christ guides, will be able to release the material creation into the liberty of the children of God.
We are God’s firstfruits. We shall receive the double portion of the Spirit of God, not so we can become proud and self-seeking but so we may assist each member of the elect, and eventually the people of the nations of the saved, as he or she seeks to find righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit of God. This is the Kingdom of God that is coming into the earth at the appearing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)
Why is it so important that the world understand God has sent Christ and that He has loved the elect as He loves Christ? It is because it is only through the elect that the world can gain release.
Christ and we who belong to Him are God’s servants, God’s witnesses, God’s covenant. We are the new testament, living epistles, the flesh being created the Word of God. Christ is the Word made flesh. We are the flesh being made the Word.
God’s saints are the only light of the world, the only salt of the earth. Only in the Christian Church can be found the Light capable of enabling every person born into the world to see the truth and Person of God.
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the nations of saved peoples of the earth will come of their own will to seek God in the saints. During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ the light of the Glory of God in the Church will guide the nations of the saved (Revelation 21:24).
The holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, is the complete and perfect expression of the Glory of God given to the elect.
When the world comes to understand God has sent Christ and that He loves the elect as He loves Christ, many nations of the earth will accept the light, life, and love of God that the saints will bring to them.
Today the nations of the earth are imprisoned in a dungeon, bound in the chains of spiritual darkness, awaiting the maturing and unifying of the Church of Christ. There will be no true, lasting solution to the world’s problems until Christ appears in the Glory of the Father in and with His saints.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
Where is the Lord Jesus Christ? He is in and with the Father and the Father is with and in Him. This is where Christ wants us to be—in and with Him and the Father.
Our attention may be fixed on the hope of dying and going to the peace and joy of the spirit realm—and indeed this is a wonderful hope! But the attention of the Lord Jesus Christ is fixed on us, on our being with Him where He is. This is an even more wonderful hope.
We do not love the Lord Jesus as much as He loves us. Therefore we cannot appreciate His great desire that we be with Him always. As spiritual children we still are occupied and fascinated by the things of Heaven. Some day we will understand the true importance of redemption is found in our relationship to God and to people.
It is Christ’s prayer that the elect behold His glory. Our capacity is so limited in this area! We envision Jesus as the gentle Rabbi holding children in His arms; the watchful Shepherd tenderly leading the nursing ewes. These are true understandings of the Lord.
The Lord Jesus appears to us as a gentle Teacher so we may be able to relate to Him and communicate with Him. If He so desired He could appear as a powerful Emperor, a cunning, fearless, ferocious Warrior compared with whom the Caesars would appear as cooing doves.
If we ever should behold Christ in the fullness of His glory we would be witnessing the light and power of a million suns. He has prayed that we may behold His almighty, galactic, universal glory. Jesus is Christ, the Son of God. He is King of all kings; Lord of all lords.
God loved Jesus long before the creation of the world. Jesus was the One through whom God created all things, including all the angels. Jesus is the Word of God from eternity. Apart from Him there is neither truth, nor light, nor life, nor joy, nor true love, nor lasting peace, nor wisdom, nor knowledge, nor power, nor any other thing of value to God’s creatures.
God’s eternal purpose is to fill the universe with Christ. We of the elect are the firstfruits of the fulfillment of that purpose. No authority or power in the heavens, on the earth, or under the earth can in any manner prevent the total, perfect, complete fulfillment of God’s plan to fill the universe with Christ.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. (John 17:25)
The world is ignorant of the Character and purpose of God. Religiously inclined people seek God in one manner or another. But God never will be found or pleased through means of the varied efforts of the religious people of the world.
The ways of God are an abomination to the world and the ways of the world are an abomination to God. The world through wisdom or religious rites will never find God.
Christ knows God because He is of God and in God, and God is in Him. Christ always does the things that please the Father.
We of the elect know Christ has come from the Father. Our lifetime of trusting Christ has removed all doubt as to Christ’s Divine Nature and origin.
There was an individual who was raised as a heathen. His parents sincerely desired his good but they did not know the Lord. They never had received Christ as their Lord and Savior.
At the age of nineteen, while stationed in Hawaii during World War II, the Lord brought to him through some fellow marines the understanding of the Gospel. It was clear that the Gospel of Christ was superior to other philosophies and he wished to believe in it. But it was difficult to believe in the existence of God.
He prayed one evening that if there was a God He would grant him enough faith to believe God existed. The prayer was answered at some point during the night.
Then one day the Scripture came to his attention, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself" (John 7:17).
The challenge was easy to understand. The task was to do the will of God as set forth in the Scriptures. God’s responsibility was to prove Christ indeed had spoken from the mouth of God.
He resolved to follow the Scriptures and see what happened, since it appeared there was nothing else in the world worth giving one’s life for.
That was more than fifty years ago. With many mistakes he has followed the Scriptures from that day to the present time. He now can say truthfully that he is convinced there is a God and that Christ came from God and is His only begotten Son.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:26)
Jesus came to reveal the Person of the Father to the elect, to God’s sons whom God has chosen to bring to glory.
The saints realize God is our Father. He is not an abstract force in the universe. He is a Person who loves us. He knows every detail concerning each of us and He cares for our welfare.
God’s Spirit dwells in our hearts and cries, "Dear Father." We know God has given Christ, the Lamb, for our salvation and that we now belong to God forever. Each day of our life Christ brings us to a more intimate knowledge of Himself and the Father.
The love of the Father dwells eternally in Christ. Now God’s love is being formed in us as Christ is formed in us. It is the love of Christ that passes knowledge that is in us, as Paul stated.
Faith and hope are pillars of the Kingdom of God. But the most important aspect of the Kingdom of God is the love of God that is in Christ in us.
Perhaps the most abominable aspect of life in the present world is the hatred that abounds. Murder, robbery, violence, self-seeking, envy, strife, and every other vicious spirit fill the peoples of the earth. Murderous envy and hatred are the personality of Satan. They caused the first man born on the earth to murder the second. Satan was a murderer from the beginning.
The believer who becomes a conquering saint is the one who learns to overcome evil with good. No human being possesses in his personality enough good to overcome the bitter hatred, perversity, and envy with which he is attacked constantly.
Christ has overcome the world. God’s love that is in Christ flows to us. Indeed, it is a mighty force! God’s love overcomes all envy and strife, all hatred and selfishness.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:26)
Christ is being formed in us. God’s love is being created in us. God’s love flows through Christ to us, and through us to other people. In this manner the whole creation will become a part of God’s love that is in Christ. God is enlarging Himself in love and making Christ central to all relationships, events, circumstances, and things.
The flowing of the love of God is the principal force of the universe. All that is desirable in human existence results from God’s love. Whoever would possess eternal life must receive the love of God into himself by receiving Christ into his personality.
God is love and dwells in love. The love of God in Christ reaches out and brings us into that love. We become an eternal part of the Divine love. It does not stop there. The love of God in Christ in us reaches out to others as God directs. They also become one with us in Christ in God.
The Kingdom of God is based on two laws: our relationship of love to God through Christ, and our relationship of love to other people as God’s love in Christ in us flows to them. All the other laws of God are fulfilled in us when our personality is brought into harmony with these two principal laws of the Kingdom.
When we have been made perfect in God’s love we have boldness in the Day of Judgment. Then we are of the Nature and Life of God. Then we have attained the highest goal of the human being: we have become one with God and are in His image.