20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them,that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
The phrase “that they may become perfectly one” speaks to the unity of the believers as the body of Christ and the unity of believers with God. So the question begs asking of ourselves, “Is my life in unity with God?”
I think that if anyone immediately answers boldly, “Yes, I am one with God” – they might have more to fear than even the lost sinner. If there is no tension pressing them to examine themselves and identify those areas where they fall short of the glory of God so they might come to the foot of the cross with a humble and repentant heart – we might have to ask them whether or not it is their faith or their pride that is strong.
Yes, Christ has made known to us not only the name of God, but the perfect example of His righteousness. And His righteousness looks quite different to us than the judgmental, religious, ritualistic, and hypocritical self righteousness of the proud and the wise. His righteousness shines so brightly against the contrast of our imperfect lives that we are humbled by the opportunity of being called Children of God. If we have anything to boast of, it is Christ alone, not our own works, words, actions, or victories. Because what victory is there to be had that is not built upon the foundation of Christ the cornerstone?
So like Paul, I don’t yet claim to have yet achieved it, but I press on towards the upward goal of following in the footsteps of my Christ. I do not oppose you friend, because you are not my enemy. Just because you see me standing firm against sin, doesn’t mean that I stand against you, friend. I too know the battle that rages between flesh and spirit. I too know the temptations that are common to all men. I don’t stand as a perfect example for you to follow, but I follow the one who is. And we each have this same opportunity.
And do you know that as we follow our master, we become more like him? Those who follow another master into destruction, their deceit, wickedness, selfishness, and pride – it grows up and chokes the joy out of their lives – and it tries to choke the life out of those around them. They are diseased trees bearing deadly fruit into this world. But you who follow the good shepherd who lays down His life for the flock – His love, His spirit, His very nature comes and abides in you and remains – and that love infiltrates the darkness of this world and overcomes it.
Examine your life. Not so that you can become either proud or guilt stricken, but so that you can realize your need for the grace that this Good News of Jesus Christ offers those who would humbly see themselves in their fallen condition, and who would submit themselves in faith to be raised to new life, to follow a new master, to live free from sin – not free to sin.
We are not dogs who return to their own vomit. We are not slaves to sin. We are free indeed – not by our own strength, but by the grace of God. We do not walk alone. We are one with Him, and He is one with us.
“Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” – Revelation 22:15
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with itspassions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.