GLORY IN ONENESS
In John 17 glorification is equated with oneness. When oneness disappears, glorification is gone. When there is oneness, the Son is glorified and the Father is glorified in the Son.
Perhaps you can see now why we are so concerned about the situation among Christians today. When there are divisions among the saints, is there any glorification? Once the genuine oneness was destroyed, there could be no glorification of the Son nor of the Father through the Son. Nevertheless, we do thank the Lord that in spite of the divisions these past centuries, there have been a few sincere, faithful seekers of Him in every generation who would let lesser things go and come together to be one in Him, one in the Spirit, one in the Father. Wherever and whenever there has been such a gathering with the genuine oneness in the Triune God, there has been some glorification of the Son and of the Father.
The oneness of believers is the central point of the Lord’s prayer in John 17. I can testify after fifty-five years of receiving the Lord’s mercy that there is nothing so glorious as believers meeting together in the real oneness. When we come together mindful of nothing but the Lord, we are one in the Spirit and one in the Father. Such oneness in the Triune God is the glorification. To experience this, even to a limited degree, is to have part of the answer to the Lord’s prayer. This answer of the Father to the Son’s prayer is still going on. The answer began on the day of Pentecost, when all one hundred twenty were made one, and the Son and the Father were thus glorified. In the nineteen centuries since then, the answer to this prayer has been continuing here and there on the earth.
Even as we meet here, I believe there is a measure of answer by the Father to this prayer. How great a measure depends on how much we drop the differences and take Christ as our center, even as our constituent. We are one not because of our opinions, or doctrines, or practices. Our oneness is Christ. He Himself is the content of our oneness. Such a oneness is the glorification of the Son and of the Father.
Of all the books in the Bible John’s Gospel most fully reveals the Triune God. Chapters fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen comprise the message and chapter seventeen the prayer. These four chapters are a full revelation of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
THE TRIUNE GOD REVEALED IN JOHN 14
In John 14:7-11 the Lord spoke of the Father, and Philip foolishly asked, “Lord, show us the Father and it suffices us.” The Lord indicated surprise that He had been among them so long, yet Philip still did not know Him. Day after day Philip had been with Him. Did Philip not realize that to see Him was to see the Father? How could Philip ask to be shown the Father? The Lord was in the Father and the Father in Him. Even the words He was speaking were not from Himself; the Father was abiding in Him, doing His works. Did Philip not believe that He was in the Father and the Father in Him?
In human relationships a father and his son are not one. A son cannot say that his father is in him, or that he is in his father. He is not one with his father, nor does his father work while he is speaking. Such a oneness cannot exist on an earthly level. In the whole universe only the Son of God can say this of His relationship with His Father. In the Trinity there is a distinction between the Father and the Son; They are two. Yet They are one, for the Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son. Wonderful mystery!
After the conversation with Philip, the Lord went on to say more strange things (John 14:16-18). “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever.” The disciples already had the Lord as their Comforter. Now He would ask the Father to send them another One, the Spirit of reality. This second Comforter would be in them, whereas the first could only be among them. “I will not leave you orphans,” the Lord said; “I am coming to you.” Strange! Who was coming to them—the Lord or the Spirit of reality? Were Two coming? No, only One was coming. The coming of the Spirit was the coming of the Lord Himself. When the Comforter was in them, the Lord would be in them.
When we touch the matter of the Trinity, we are out of our depths. I have studied this chapter time and again, hour after hour, trying to figure out what the Lord was saying. The more I read and the more I studied, the more I found myself in a maze. Eventually I turned away from my analytical study and took John 14 simply as it is written. It tells us that the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father. It tells us that the Spirit of reality is coming. He will make real the Father and the Son. For one of them to be with us means that all three are with us. Yet the three are not here separately; They are one.
Consider your experience. Do you not have the Father, the Son, and the Spirit? Where are They? They are simultaneously in your spirit and also in the heavens on the throne. This is the God we enjoy!
When I was with the Brethren, I was taught to pray to the Father in the name of the Son through the power of the Spirit. Under certain circumstances, but not often, it was all right to pray to the Son. Never, they said, should we pray to the Holy Spirit. I tried to follow their teaching, but I found it was a bother to me. Where was the Father that I was praying to? How could I distinguish Him from the Son when I prayed? Where was the Spirit? Eventually I came out of this confusion. All of Them are with us, the New Testament tells us; the three are one.
“God is Spirit,” John 4:24 says. The third of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit. The Son in resurrection became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). Is the Father a Spirit, the Son the life-giving Spirit, and the Holy Spirit yet another Spirit? Are there three Spirits? Surely not. These three are one Spirit. Do not think I am trying to bring you into theological confusion or mental stimulation. My desire is simply to share with you my enjoyment of the Triune God! Day by day from morning till evening the Father, Son, and Spirit are my full enjoyment. How happy I am to have the Triune God in me!
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)