ONENESS IN THE FATHER’S NAME
The oneness revealed in John 17 is the oneness in the Father’s name. Verse 11 says, “I am no longer in the world, and they are in the world; and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” The oneness spoken of here certainly is not any kind of social unity. Rather, this is something of the divine name. In the Bible, especially in the Gospel of John, the name denotes a person. Thus, the Father’s name is actually the Father Himself. When you call a person by name, that person will respond.
When you call a person by his name, you expect a certain response, a certain kind of action. In 17:11 to be kept in the Father’s name is to be kept in the Person of the Father through His action. Today the Father is active in building up His house on earth. How does He build up His house, the church? The Father builds His house in His Person. In His name, that is, in His Person, the Father is now actively building His house, the church.
The reason there is so little oneness among Christians is that too few are in the name of the Father, in His Person and action, in a practical way. Instead, nearly every believer lives and acts altogether in his own person. It is difficult to find Christians who live, act, and work in the Person of the Father. The result of believers living and acting in their own person is division. This is the source of denominations. Divisions are the result of the opinions and character of certain ones. Divisions also come as a result of a person’s own action, an action that is not in the name of the Father. We in the Lord’s recovery should not be Christians living in our own person. Instead, we should be those living in the Person of our Father.
As the only begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus did not come in His own name. In 5:43 He said, “I have come in the name of My Father.” Even though He is the Son of God, He did not come in His name, but He came in the name of the Father. According to 10:25, the Lord’s works were done in the name of the Father. The Lord Jesus never did anything in His own name. He came and worked in the Father’s name; that is, He acted in the Father’s actions. We should follow the Lord to live and act in the Father’s name.
If we live in the Person of the Father and act in the Father’s action, the result will be oneness. But if we live and act in our own person, we shall have division. As soon as a believer lives in his own person and acts in his own action, he himself becomes a division. Suppose there are three hundred believers in a local church. If all these believers live and act in their own person, there will be three hundred divisions.
Oneness is first a matter of being in the name of the Father, of being in the Father’s Person and action. In order to have such a oneness, not only must our opinion be terminated, but even our own person must be terminated. In order to have oneness, we should not live in ourselves or act in our own action. On the contrary, we should all live in one Person—in our Father.
We can live in the Father’s name because we have His life. John 17:2 says, “Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him.” Because we have the Father’s life, we can live in the Father’s Person. However, if we did not have His life, we would not have the ability to live in His Person. As long as we live by the Father’s life, we live in His Person and act in His action. The result of such a living is oneness.
In order to have a oneness that does not fluctuate, we need to be in the name of our Father. However, if our oneness is a matter of having the same opinion or believing the same doctrine, this oneness will not last. Today you may hold a certain opinion or agree with a particular doctrine. But after a period of time your opinion may change, and your understanding of that doctrine may also change. As a result, the oneness that depended upon opinion and doctrine will fluctuate. The oneness among most Christians today is a fluctuating oneness, a changeable oneness. But I can testify that the real oneness, the oneness we have been experiencing in the Lord’s recovery, never changes, never fluctuates, because this oneness is the oneness in the Father’s Person. We are one in the Father’s Person, life, and action. What a wonderful oneness!
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 54, by Witness Lee)