That They May Be One In Us (John 17:21)
ONE IN US / AS WE ARE ONE
So what does the phrase “one in us” mean? When we have simple terms such as 1+1= 2 it seems relatively self-explanatory. It is however a bit more challenging to imagine how the equation 1 ≠ 1 could ever be a true statement when it appears to be contradictory. It is with this in mind that we delve into the word of God and specifically the scripture John 17: 21-22.
(John 17:21-22) “That THEY all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be ONE (singular) in US (plural): that the world may believe that thou (God) hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be ONE, even as WE (plural) are ONE (singular)
That THEY (many) all may be ONE (singular); how is this possible? I am sure you can think of a number of everyday life situations in which this concept (statement) could be valid. Example: A Father, mother, and child make one family (they, many) make a family (one, singular). This is also a true concept in reference to the church as well.
The church is compared to a body being made up of many parts but being one/or a whole body. If you cut any part of the body off it dies and is no longer a part of the body. There are some differences between a family unit and a body.
Family members can live together in unity or can sustain life independently. However, a hand cannot live without being connected to the body. In the church this is true when a member is dismembered for any amount of time it is possible for them to die spiritually. It is an interesting correlation because the body can live without many parts however; no particular part can live without the body.
Then we have words that denote plurality and are not accurately interpreted as singular. “Us,” is an example of this type of word.
WRITTEN SOURCE(s): Encarta World English Dictionary
Us: is a pronoun used to refer to both yourself and another person (or persons)
BIBLE SOURCE: The word “us” is found many times in the Bible (over 1000 times)
This is one of the passages (John 17:21-22) we as “Oneness” (most Apostolic/Pentecostals) tried to avoid because Jesus is clearly indicating that he is not God himself nor was he acting alone. This can be seen by his use of the pronouns “us” and “we” and the glory which he had was given him which can be seen by the use of the noun “thou” (“which you gavest me”)
The very definition of plural means more than one; as in “one group” or “union”
We are not necessarily talking about labor unions here; but they are a good example of how numerous individuals with a common cause, (originally established to promote fair labor practices), can become one in purpose. In spiritual terms to be one with God, or one with Jesus Christ his son we must be joined/united in purpose. To have union with God we must be joined or united with his perfect will; which requires forfeiting our human will.
WRITTEN SOURCE(s): Encarta World English Dictionary
Union: The act of joining together- people or things to form a whole.
THESAURUS: It is synonymous with “coming together”
BIBLE SOURCE: Although the Bible is void of the word union there are many biblical illustrations that exist which show us the correct context of this passage of scripture (John 17: 21-22)
Marriage – these two bodies shall be one (Mark 10:7-8);
The Church – although many members we are all one body in Christ (Romans 12:5)
According to Scripture Jesus is one with the Father not because Jesus was God himself but because he had the Spirit of God (the Father) dwelling in him “I speak not of myself: but the father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10).
(John 14:10) – Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me [<1>I am in the Father and the Father in me – This saying denotes the joining of two spirits agreeing as one (on one accord). This is not incarnation but rather unification. In the same way, when Jesus Christ submitted his human will to God, God’s will was then “in” him; Jesus laid aside his human will in order to be united to God’s perfect will. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” Luke 22:42. The spirit of God was in Christ in the same way God’s spirit is in those who serve him today. Having the “in” dwelling of God’s spirit does not make us God/gods. When we are doing God’s will, following his leading we are “one” with God. Thus we, I and my father (spiritually), are indeed one (unified). We are also one with Christ (you and I). ]? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
As Christ’s disciples, those of us who have received God’s Spirit (Holy Ghost) also become “one” with God; figuratively not literally. We do not literally become Jesus Christ or God.
(2 Corinthians 5:17) – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
We are not all inside the physical body of Jesus Christ literally. Neither are we physically transformed into some new visible alien creature, but we have a change of heart to do the will of Christ who revealed to us the will of the Father (God), in this manner we hopefully become Christ like and also bear record on earth as we all become “one” in union with his purpose.
It is also argued that (Hebrews 2:14-16) indicates that it was God who was made lower than the angels and the union is when God put on flesh (or became man) so he could destroy him that had the power of death (the devil) therefore Jesus is God. This however is not correct.
Christ mortal nature
The New Testament writing is at times difficult to follow, especially when taken out of context. To correctly understand Hebrews 2:14-16 we are prudent to look at this verse in a more extended context by starting at Hebrews 2:5-9.
(Hebrews 2:5-9) – For unto the angels hath he [here “he” (the subject of verses 5) is God] not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou [God] madest him [Jesus] a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him [Jesus] over the works of thy [God] hands: 8 Thou [God] hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
The supposition that an all-powerful God could be lower than angels who are finite and do not have all-power is a paradox. When these verses are viewed in context, both God and Jesus can easily be distinguished in verses 7-9 (Thou, him, his, thy) so in Hebrews 2:16
(Hebrews 2:16) – For verily he took not on him the nature of [<2>Bible Students know that the italic words as written in the KJV were added by the translators. The translators wanted readers to know what was in the original Greek text and what was not, so they kindly placed the words they added in italic script. ] angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. The italic wording is not actually contained in the original text it is added by KJV. Most current translations word it more correctly (Hebrews 2:16 (ESV); Hebrews 2:16 (NKJV); Hebrews 2:16 (NIV); etc.).
Nonetheless, Jesus was Abraham’s seed on the maternal side of his lineage; his paternal side (God) created all mankind including those men that preceded Abraham. Jesus had to be from Abraham’s “real” flesh bloodline in order to be his seed.
We know God was not then nor ever could be a seed (offspring) literally to anything or anyone for he is the creator of everything.
To be indwelled with the spirit of God does not transform us into God. Jesus was both the seed of Abraham and David, but this is not synonymous with incarnation. The man Jesus Christ who was foreordained, called of God and through the suffering of obedience was he made perfect (Hebrews 5:8-10). Consequently Jesus embodied the will of God by surrendering the will of his flesh. It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (of God) that God was made manifest in Jesus life (the seed).
(Romans 4:17-25) – (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be………. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him [God] that raised up Jesus [the man] our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
(Hebrews 5:8-10) – Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of [by] God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
When we try to make Jesus God, we have a hard time explaining simple truths. For example, if Jesus learned obedience it directly contradicts the fact that God has all knowledge. For God to have ALL knowledge there would be nothing else for him to learn. God cannot be made perfect for he is perfect! God cannot be our high priest after the order of anyone for he is our God and doesn’t play seconds.
Since God cannot be physically seen or touched, God usually chooses to operate or reveal himself to man by various means, he did this in the past through an ass, a bush, his angels, and human beings.
He did this through witnesses such as Enoch and Noah; then again, through the patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and further through Moses and other prophets.
Finally, the last biblical record we have God did this through the man Christ Jesus (his Son):
(Hebrews 1:1) – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by [“by” (dia) also means “for”] whom also he made the worlds;
(1 Timothy 2:5) – For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man (Jesus Christ). Christ was human so he could accomplish God’s purpose by being a lamb from the flock without spot or blemish, the perfect sacrifice needed to atone for our sins. This allows us to be totally free from fear of death because Christ showed us that death is not permanent for those who believe in him Christ Jesus.
Today, we are the witnesses of God to this present world. We are the only witness of God’s love some people will ever see. To be this witness we need to follow Jesus Christ’s example. God specifically used the life of Jesus to show us how a human being could overcome the will of the flesh and become one with the perfect will of God.
|⇑ 1.||I am in the Father and the Father in me – This saying denotes the joining of two spirits agreeing as one (on one accord). This is not incarnation but rather unification. In the same way, when Jesus Christ submitted his human will to God, God’s will was then “in” him; Jesus laid aside his human will in order to be united to God’s perfect will. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” Luke 22:42. The spirit of God was in Christ in the same way God’s spirit is in those who serve him today. Having the “in” dwelling of God’s spirit does not make us God/gods. When we are doing God’s will, following his leading we are “one” with God. Thus we, I and my father (spiritually), are indeed one (unified). We are also one with Christ (you and I).|
|⇑ 2.||Bible Students know that the italic words as written in the KJV were added by the translators. The translators wanted readers to know what was in the original Greek text and what was not, so they kindly placed the words they added in italic script.|