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John 17 – God’s gift

John 17 (NET)
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that your Son may glorify you – 2 just as you have given him authority over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him.  3 Now this is eternal life – that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.

Jesus was sent into this world with a task, with the work that the Father gave Him to do.  What was that work?  It was to give eternal life to everyone the Father has given to Him.

In a way this sounds a tad like the concept of the predetermined elect.  But we shall see John will deviate from any concept of predetermination.

John 17:5-8 (NET)
5 And now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created. 6 “I have revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they understand that everything you have given me comes from you, 8 because I have given them the words you have given me. They accepted them and really understand that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

Couple of points here.  We still see this concept of “the men you gave me.” Seems predetermined.  But, it says “they have obeyed your word.” What if they hadn’t. Were there any that didn’t?  In a predeterministic world, they are the elect so of course they obeyed.  They were given “Irresistible grace.”  This means that although it is (or seems to be) their own choice, the grace that was given them is so pervasive that they really only have one choice and that is to seek the righteousness of God.  They will obey — by their own choice born from a grace that they simply cannot resist.   In other words, they don’t really have a choice.

But scripture in verse 8 tells us that “they accepted [Jesus’ words] and really understand.”  It is really their choice.  They accepted because they understand what is going on here.  Jesus was sent from God.  They get it.   They accept it.  They desire it from their own heart.  Not because of an irresistible, pervasive grace that draws them to a single conclusion.

John 17:9-10 (NET)
9 I am praying on behalf of them. I am not praying on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 Everything I have belongs to you, and everything you have belongs to me, and I have been glorified by them.

Now, Jesus is praying for us — the ones that the Father has given to Jesus.  So how is it that there are those who the Father gives and then there is the world?  Remember how salvation works.  First, men have no desire for righteousness, but rather only carnal self.  God steps in and calls men, giving them a measure of faith with which they can make a decision.  In this grace, with this faith, we have the ability to choose between light and dark, blessing and curse, Life and Death.  (See Duet 30:19.)

This is not a pervasive grace.  It simply is undeserved.  That is what grace means.  We get something that we don’t deserve to get.  But it is still our choice to make.  What Jesus speaks of here are the people who have been given this choice (which will be the whole world according to John 3:16) but only those who have accepted the gift.  Whoever believes on Him will have eternal life (John 3:16).  So those the Father turned over to Jesus are those who accepted (verse 8 here in John 17).

John 17:11-17 (NET)
11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safe in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. 12 When I was with them I kept them safe and watched over them in your name that you have given me. Not one of them was lost except the one destined for destruction, so that the scripture could be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experience my joy completed in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.

Good stuff here.  The Father will keep us safe, not us.  It’s called Grace.  Jesus kept the ones given to Him safe.  There was one that scripture prophesied would be able to walk away, and this is a special case which I don’t have the time to go over here.  Judas is NOT a general statement about people having the ability to walk away, for scripture does not prophesy that you and I can (or would want to).

Jesus asked the Father not to take us out of the world, but to keep us safe.  The evil one, Satan, would love to steal, kill and destroy.  But we are being kept by the Father, safe, untouched by the evil one.  We are set apart in the truth of the Word.  We are given the Holy Spirit and are in the process of sanctification — a change in our soul that is teaching us and training us in righteousness.  God will keep us safe.  The Holy Spirit will guide us in the path we should go.  We certainly can stray, and that has problematic implications — sickness, disease, lack, trouble. But we will be taught to come back, to repent, to get back on track and in the will of the Father.  But we are safe in God’s care, salvation is not an issue here.

John 17:18-23 (NET)
18 Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart. 20 “I am not praying only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their testimony, 21 that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22 The glory you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one – 23 I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.

Now the commission.  We are to take the Word of God into the world to convince them, to cause repentance in them, so that they too may believe.  So the concept that there is the elect and there is the world (non-elect) gets blistered here.  Predeterminism falls apart.  According to Jesus words here the entire world is the target of repentance, and the possibility exists that the whole world could be changed.  The whole world is to know that the Father loves them as much as He loves Jesus.

In this commission, we see above, we have been set apart.  We are not our own, but we are His.  We are set apart (sanctified!!) and being made righteous so that we may be completely one with another, and one with Jesus — who is One with the Father.

John 17:24-26 (NET)
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world . 25 Righteous Father, even if the world does not know you, I know you, and these men know that you sent me. 26 I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love you have loved me with may be in them, and I may be in them.”

Jesus has given us the Word and saved men know that the Father has sent Him.  He made known the Father’s name to us, and He will continue to make it known so that we will be in Him and Him in us and the love that the Father has for us will eternally be with us.

Jesus will not let us go.  God — the Father, Son and Holy Spirit — will keep us safe, will continue to make their love known to us, will keep us from the evil one and his destructive ways.  We are saved, eternally, once and for all.  We are Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS).  Don’t neglect this wonderful gift of grace.

Praise God forever!!!

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