by Dr. Anne Davis
If you believe in God’s son, then God has given you the promise of future eternal life with Him. However, this gift comes with a critical responsibility. Do you know what this vital assignment is? If so, to what extent have you honestly acted upon it?
To explain this awesome responsibility, I am going to take you to a verse that is rarely understood in the Christian community because it has been painted with traditional Christian theology. Carefully consider this verse, which begins….
“The glory which You [God the Father] have given Me [Yeshua the son] I have given to them [we need to identify ‘them’], that they may be one, just as We are one. John 17:22
The critical concept is what it means for Yeshua to be “one” with God the Father, and especially what it means that God wants us to be “one” with His son. The context of the verse will help us understand this urgent message.
Let us begin by identifying “them” to whom God has given His glory through their faith in His son.
In John 17:18 we hear Yeshua speaking. “As You [Father] sent Me [the son] into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, so they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”
So, the ones identified as “them”, to whom God has given His glory, are not all believers in Christ. Nor are they all Yeshua’s disciples. They are a much smaller number of believers who have committed themselves to submitting in humble obedience to their Lord Yeshua. He (Yeshua) has been sanctified by God, which means he is now holy. And they (this much smaller number) have become sanctified by their commitment to walk in the TRUTH of God’s Word.
You may be concerned because it is impossible in this world in which we live to be completely holy without sin. However, based on my research in Scripture, I have concluded that God only sees the heart. He knows those who have a dedicated commitment to walk in His ways. He has sent His son and the gift of His Holy Spirit to help them in a maturing process that allows them to grow closer and closer to God in righteousness. We cannot be completely perfect, but God only sees the heart, and the ones to whom God has given His glory through their faith in His son are committed to walking in the truth of God’s Word.
Now we come to the vital understanding of what it means for the son to be “one “with the Father, but especially what it means for us to be “one” with the son.
Christian theology has taught that God and Yeshua are the same based, in part, on this phrase we have just heard from John 18:22: “We [Father and son] are one.” The same concept appears in John 10:30. “I and my Father are one.” But remember, not only is Yeshua one with the Father but it is possible for us to be one with our Lord Yeshua. Does that mean that we become Yeshua? Certainly not!
There are two aspects of meaning conveyed by this concept of being one with another. The first is a literal meaning which means one and the same. That is the Christian theology. The other meaning is to be so similar in thought and action that one becomes a mirror image of the other, and that is what it means when Yeshua said “I and the Father are one.” Why have I drawn this conclusion? Because of the following verse.
Yeshua declares, “I in them [the ones whom God sees as holy] and You [Father] in Me, that they may be perfected in unity.” So, what does it mean that God is “in” Yeshua? The Apostle Paul offers an explanation. He tells us, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor 5:19). Now let me ask you. Is God a person that we can see? No. We are told that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24) which “no man can see” (1 Tim 6:16).
So, what was in Christ? It was God’s Spirit. Then we learn something really exciting. “Christ is in you” (2 Cor 13:5). Does that mean that Christ is literally in you? Of course not. God’s Spirit that He placed in Yeshua is now in those who believe in the son.
So, what does it mean when Yeshua declares, “I and my Father are one”? Well, they are one in thought and action as Yeshua explains. “I can do nothing on My own initiative….I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 5:30).
And what does it mean that some of Yeshua’s disciples, the ones who are committed to walking in the truth of God’s Word, are “in Yeshua”? They are not physically in Yeshua. It means that they are speaking as their Lord Yeshua would speak, and acting as he would act, and treating others as he would treat others. Is that you? What does God see when He looks in your heart?
Please give us your thoughts on this article!
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Dr. Anne Davis is a professor of Biblical Studies who enjoys working with graduate students to enhance their exegetical skills for exploring the depth of Scripture.