That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:21-24 KJ2000)
For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized [immersed] into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s descendants, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29 KJ2000)
That we may all be one. This was Jesus’ final prayer for all who would believe in Him. From the very beginning, God created the whole universe to exist in divine unity and His rest. After man decided that God had left something out and was robbing from him his chance to be a god in his own right, man chose to add to what God had made in perfection (See Gen. 3). From that point on disunity and chaos has reigned.
So our Father sent His Son to bring man back into a proper relationship with Himself by taking our sins on Himself and nailing them to the cross. This gave man the chance to become one, not only with the Father and the Son, but with his fellow man as well by faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross.
God is love and he who abides in the Father and the Son abides in their love. Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness as we abide in Him by faith. As we abide in His Spirit, His great agape love pours into our hearts and binds us to Him, the Father, and one another. John wrote to the ones in Christ saying:
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him. In this is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has to do with punishment. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:14-19 KJ2000)
In this passage we see the plan of salvation that brings us into complete unity with the Father as we dwell in Him and He in us. This is that same spiritual enfolding that we read above in John 17–Christ in the Father, the Father in Him, and then we in them and they in us. In this wonderful unity, we find the powerful love of the Father and the Son not only for one another, but for us. Because God first loved us, we love Him by the power that is present in His great love. As we continue to dwell in that love, we continue to dwell in God and God in us. There is no fear as we abide in His love, because we are made perfect in love and fear speaks of imperfection.
As we abide in His love we become as He is in this world, loving everyone just as He does. This is the power of the gospel. A gospel that does not convey the love of the Father and the Son in unity with them is not the true gospel of Christ and His kingdom. John continues to say,
If a man says, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loves God love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21 KJ2000)
The love of God is miraculously healing in its very nature. Having this love in our hearts makes lasting relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ possible. Paul accurately defined the love of God when he wrote:
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth]. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 AMP)
In these scriptures we see that the same love that we have for God we also have for one another. Unity means that there are no divisions or walls, neither by race, nor social status, nor by gender. Do we dare to believe it? Do we dare to love one another as Christ loves us, or are we still driven by what is socially acceptable, fearfully abiding in our Christian cliques? What a travesty that Christians today are divided every way from here to Sunday! There are over 43,000 different Christian denominations and sects in the world, and in every one of theses are further divisions between male and female, rich and poor, intellectuals and those of little education, old and young, not to mention the clergy and the laity! The “church” as we see it today has become a fractured fairytale when compared to that wonderful last prayer of Jesus, “That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Because of this lack of unity in the love of the Father, the salt of our Christian witness has lost its saltiness and is being trod under the feet of mankind as irrelevant.
Our only hope is in abiding in the Father and the Son and walking together in their love. Because of this extreme lack caused by the sectarianism today, those who do seek God find themselves doing so outside of that system which divides and conquers the people of God. If the system were functioning as the ecclesia of God, it would be moving in His love and His unifying power just as Paul wrote.
[I] beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation by which you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:2-6 KJ2000)
One! If we love God, we love one another the same way He loves us. His agape love does not know division. We should be loving all the saints of God the same and not be divided by fear. Many men and women in the church, for instance, are fearful of this agape love of God spilling over into a carnal love for the opposite sex. Yes, this is a possibility wherever the cross has not been allowed to do its work on our soulish natures. Most of what we have seen of Christianity is like what Paul observed about the Corinthian church, “you are yet carnal.” But God wants us to mature in His love to the point that we want only what is edifying to all parties involved instead of our self-seeking, feeding of the flesh. The lack of the work of the cross in the lives of Christians keeps them locked in fear of truly loving one another with the love of God, but “perfect love casts out all fear.”
“Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy.” Do we find ourselves jealous when we see one brother or sister being shown honor or being loved by someone else in the church? Do we envy someone that seems to be “getting ahead” in life? They say if you catch a crab and put him in a box, he will climb out. But if you put two crabs in a box and one of them starts to climb out, the other one will pull him back down. This is not love. Love in one person helps the other person escape from what binds them, no matter what the cost. Jesus gave up His freedom and died so that we might live and be free.
It has helped me to see the love of God as a huge river that flows out from the relationship of the Father and the Son. Everywhere it flows, it invites mankind to jump in and swim, and everywhere it goes it brings life and healing. Everyone in this river has life and an amazing love for others that knows no bounds. The Father and the Son are one, and so are all who are carried in the flow of His river of love.
Unity and love go hand in hand. Let us seek to be made perfect in the love of our Father, dwell together in unity, and be wary of all man-made walls that divide us. Amen.
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruit, and yielded its fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2 KJ2000)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, self-control: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25 KJ2000)
In Christ there is no east nor west,
There is no north or south,
But one great fellowship of love,
Throughout the whole wide earth,
In Jesus Christ there is no east nor west.