That They May Be One

By Lloyd Ellefson

The names God, the Father and Lord Jesus Christ are often used in the same verse. "To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!" Grace and peace come to us from God, from our Father, from our Lord, from Jesus, and from Christ. (2 Thess. 1:1-2) We also give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. These names do not stand for different deities; they are all one.

Today we want to discuss oneness. Hopefully we can put aside all our false ideas, and be open to receive what the scriptures say about the oneness of God and about our oneness with Him.

It is just amazing how many times the word one is used in the New Testament in reference to God and our relationship with Him! For example, Jesus said, "I and the Father are one...that they may all be one; even as You Father are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us." There is only one God and one body of Christ and it has many members; there is one God and Father of all; there is one mediator.

"Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one...For there is one God and mediator also between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." (Gal. 3:20; 1 Tim. 2:5) Christ Jesus Himself is the mediator! Since God is one, He is one with His Spirit and His Son; they have the same life! All who are in Christ have His life and so are one with Him. Therefore they do not need mediation. Everything is of God.

In Gal. 3:28-29 it says, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise." Christ made in Himself a new man. Both Jew and Gentile are put into this new man! All are reconciled to God in Christ through the cross and have access to the Father in one Spirit.

"By abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father...There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift." (Eph. 2:15-18; 4:4-7)

These verses emphasize our oneness with one another and with Christ as did Christ's prayer in John 17. Paul said, "But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him." (1 Cor. 6:17) This is a remarkable oneness and so significant to understand! It is easy to mentally agree with being the offspring of God, saying that we are one with Him and that we are all one in Christ Jesus. But to comprehend the meaning and spiritual significance of this is life-changing!

There is only one God, and He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our oneness with God does not indicate equality with Him. In John 10:34 Jesus quoted from Psalm 82:6 when He said, "Has it not been written in your Law, `I said, you are gods.'" This does not mean that we say we are gods; nor does it imply that we are equal with God. He is the source of everything; His Spirit does not only fill the whole world, but also the universe! He knows all things! In Him are all the treasures of wisdom. He is omnipotent; He has all power. Saying we are united with God means that His life has become our life!

It is interesting to note that according to Strong's, the Hebrew word ELOHIYM (Strong's spelling for Elohim) refers to gods in the ordinary sense, and is occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates and angels and judges. But when it is specifically used with the article THE, it refers to the supreme God. In reference to humanity, the article THE is not used. We are not the supreme God.

In Colossians 1:3 and in 1 Thess. 1:1 and 2, the five names, God, Father, Lord, Jesus, and Christ are mentioned. It became important to me that God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He was both God and Father! Jesus said that He and the Father were one. God and Father are one, but the name Father gives us an added dimension and a greater understanding of God. No man can be a father unless he has a child. So when Jesus Christ was manifested on earth, He brought us the revelation of the fatherhood of God. God was identified as Father because He had a Son.

John 1:1 reads, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Here we learn that the Word is God. This is a very difficult concept for us so we struggle in this area. Although we do not understand it in its fulness, I pray that the true meaning will be revealed to us in an ever-increasing depth. Jesus knew that the Word in Him was God. He was actually speaking the Word that was God - not the word that God had spoken! That is why He was able to still the sea, raise the dead, read men's minds and do all the other tremendous things He did!

In John 14:10 Jesus said, "...but the Father abiding in Me does His works." He was not testifying of Himself; He was testifying of the Father. "We must work the works of Him who sent Me...I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" (John 9:4;10:32) He constantly acknowledged that the work He did was not His work, but the work of the Father. The work He did was an extension of the Father's work. This extension did not only occur through Jesus, but it also occurs through us. As we do the works of the Father, a testimony of the Father will go out into the world.

Jesus was the true witness. Since Jesus said, "All who came before Me were thieves and robbers," we can assume that those who were before Him were limited in their presentation of truth. The things they said had been given them and they were faithful to write them as given, even though they did not fully understand. Their natural understanding robbed the truth of its truth by lowering it into the natural realm. The religious understanding of the natural mind always brings the high things of God down to a lower understanding.

The oneness of God is hard for us to understand. It says that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh, so we now know that the Word is the Son. Since the Word and the Son are one, they were both born of the same seed of God. God and the Father are one, and God and the Son are one! And the Word was one with God. So God and the Father and the Word are one, and the Son was one with the Father, so all are one!

Fatherhood cannot be undone. Once a man becomes a father, it is evident that his seed came into the woman and bore an offspring. So we cannot separate fatherhood from the son. The son remains his son even if he doesn't act like it, but a greater depth of oneness occurs when there is oneness in relationship.

In the spiritual realm, God could not rightly be called a father until the Son came forth. The Father and the Son are one because God fathered the Son and the Son declared the Father! He declared the Father by being one with Him in His nature and purpose and in everything He did! The things He did were really God in action in bringing about His own purpose. These are different aspects of God. The spiritual things He purposed to bring forth out of Himself can never be separated from Himself!

The natural things in creation are not in the same category because they can be corrupted and separated. Anything that can be corrupted is in the death realm.

We have seen that God has revealed Himself as Father, the Word and the Son, and that they are one. But it also speaks about sons and this denotes that an increase is taking place. The many sons who are brought to glory are all born from the same seed! So in a sense, they are the same. Everyone in Christ is of the same Spirit just like everyone in Adam is of the same flesh. There is oneness in this plurality!

There are many practical problems, like language changing in meaning, and problems in translation that keep us from truly understanding the message of the scriptures. Although care has been taken to preserve the scriptures, the original manuscripts have all been lost, and the oldest New Testament manuscripts are actually a 1000 years older than any Hebrew texts - except for the Dead Sea scrolls, and they only contain a very small part of the Old Testament. Language presents a problem because word meanings change over the years, and the Hebrew language cannot claim exception to this rule. The natural mind cannot understand spiritual realities and so it cannot receive them. Therefore research and reasonings cannot get us to the heart of the scriptures. To really understand what the scriptures are saying we need the clarification the Holy Spirit gives!

God is quite aware of our inability, so He sent us His Spirit to bring us understanding! "As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him...And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, `Abba! Father!.'" (1 John 2:27; Gal. 4:6) This is wonderful! He gives us the Spirit of His Son to teach us!

The Spirit of His Son is the same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead! It is the same Spirit who was in Genesis and hovered over creation to bring light and form, to bring identification of the land, sea and heavens! Everything emerged out of the Word of God! His purpose brought about this activity through the Spirit. This process continued, for God said, "Let the earth bring forth...and let the seas bring forth..." And the earth brought forth things, and the sea brought forth things. God's purpose was expressed through the Word He spoke.

This same Spirit identifies the Godhead, and the Godhead dwelt in Jesus bodily. The word Godhead includes the Father, the Word, the Son and the Spirit. Nothing can be divided or separated from God because whatever is separated from Him is in the death realm. So everything that has the life of God is united with Him. We participate in the divine nature but we do not own it! It is not ours in separation from God; if it were, we would be responsible for sustaining it, and we can't even understand it!

Christ knew He was one with the Father. This knowledge was resident in Him before He came, after He came, and after He left His pilgrimage in the flesh. He was always one with the Father! The life of the Father was in Him; He said, "I am the life." Life flowed from Him and it revealed what life is. He also said, "I am the way." He brought us an understanding of this oneness with God, so He is our way into God!

Jesus said that He also wanted this oneness for us! (John 17:21-23) It is important for us to understand what this involves! Christ has anointed us with His Spirit, and the Spirit wakens us to spiritual realities! He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him! We recognize that we cannot be joined to Christ in the flesh. God is ministering to us through the number one Son, the first-begotten Son, the firstborn of every creature - Christ Jesus! As we grow spiritually and are ruled by His mind we become more like Him in personality and in everything we do.

Simon Peter received the revelation that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God! "And Jesus said to him, `Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.'" (Matt. 16:16-17) God is a living God! He is alive in Christ, in the Father, in the Word and in the Spirit! Since the same Spirit who dwelt in Christ dwells in us, He is also alive in us! He makes our spirit alive and enables us to hear spiritual words; He brings us the realization that we are God's children by faith in Christ Jesus! Therefore we no longer see ourselves as mortal, human beings.

In John 17:25 Jesus prayed, "O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." The name He made known to them was not included in the Old Testament names. The name FATHER, the name that denotes love and relationship, was unknown to them! "So that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." Isn't that wonderful?! The same love that God lavished on Christ when He raised Him from the dead, is now in us! With the coming of the Spirit, the love with which the Father loved Him is now in us - for He is in us!

Jesus always addressed God as Father. He even told us to pray, "Our Father". He said, "The Father and I are is the Father who does His works...the Father is greater than I...the Father has sent Me." This holy name of God was unknown before Jesus came! This is the name that Jesus Christ brought to us when He gave us His Spirit. Those who do not have the Spirit cannot rightly call Him Father. So when the Spirit of the Son is in us, do we cry Jesus? No, for the Spirit of the Son in us does not cry out to Himself. Together with Him we cry Father! What a wonderful truth! We are in Him, and He and the Father are in us!

Let's believe this testimony of oneness that Jesus left us! He has made provision for us to hear the Spirit speak oneness to us, and to understand that in Christ we actually are sons of God! As sons we are partakers of the divine nature! Therefore we believe the same things that Jesus testified to. Those who correctly testify to this oneness, pass on to others, the word that brought them into oneness.

"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word." (v.20) This is the reason He also said, "As the Father has sent Me, so send I you." Hearing this in our spirit enables us to be true witnesses to who Christ is, who we are, and who God is.

Our relationship with Christ continually works the faith of Jesus Christ in us! Jesus never gave anyone a faith that was separated from Himself. We live by the faith of Jesus Christ! In Galatians 2:20 Paul said that the life in him was Christ. "Now that which I am now living in flesh, I am living in faith that is of the Son of God." (Concordant Literal) It is Christ's faith! Only Christ Jesus the Son can really believe the Father! He alone can really believe and understand the things of God. Because we have been given the mind of Christ we can bear a true testimony while we are on this earth. We can be true witnesses, and a tabernacle of witness even as Christ was. We continue the mission of Christ in the earth. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation - of reconciling people to Himself! This reconciliation is not to us nor to Christ Jesus, but to the Father!

Jesus said, "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." (John 17:5 ) Jesus did not receive any glory in this world; He never received honor from men and He never will! He isn't coming back to receive the glory of this world. If we receive honor from men, we cannot be His disciples, for then we are denying the Father. That is not good at all! Jesus remained a true witness - even to the point of death on the cross! And the same Spirit who enabled Jesus, dwells in us and enables us!

Jesus wants us to live in this oneness. He prayed, "That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me." (v.21) What a oneness to reflect on!

Many are being brought into Christ; they are all brought into one and the same Son. They all have the same Spirit of the same Son; this brings them into oneness with the Son, the Word and the Father. God and the Father are one, and the Word is one with God and the Father! The Spirit of God is one with all of us, and He brings us into the understanding of who we were, and what we have been changed into.

God has nothing to do with yesterday or tomorrow. Yesterdays and tomorrows belong to the mortality that is in creation. God lives in infinity; He is always now! Human beings cannot understand what was, humanly speaking, in the trillions of years of the past; nor can they comprehend a power that exceeds the scope of their imagination. We cannot understand what happened, nor what will happen, in both extremities of the time line. But we do know that in Christ Jesus we are taken into God at this present time!

In John 14:23 it says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our abode with him." We cannot have Jesus without having the Father, and we can't have the Father without having Christ Jesus, the Son. They are one, and we are being taken into that oneness! This realm of spiritual realization and understanding begins to dawn on us by the coming of the Spirit of God. This does away with the natural mind's thinking that we are separated from God. It does away with the thought that the Father is in a far-away heaven.

"That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one." (vv.21-22) Jesus was already one with the Father. Now we are taken into that oneness! There is only one God - not three!

We notice that before Jesus went to the cross, His major concern for believers was that they would know their oneness with Him and the Father! The only way this understanding of oneness could be achieved was for us to receive the Spirit of God and be subject to Him! It could not be attained by human reasoning. We cannot be brought into this understanding through doctrines, studying at seminaries, being subject to organizations and participating in their work, etc.! It can only be received through Him! He alone can bring us into oneness with the Father! So we come one by one.

The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom. It is a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. There we experience oneness as we are ruled by the Spirit! The Spirit of God is expressed in the Word, in the Father, in the Son, and in the sons that have been brought forth through the Word of Christ and through our word! This is the gospel.

All the sons are from the same seed. Abraham was promised one seed, and from that seed would come many! This promise was fulfilled in Christ - the Word of God made flesh. God reproduces Himself through His Spirit; He cannot reproduce Himself in flesh because He is not flesh and bones like we are. The seed came in Christ and it has reproduced itself in Christ! He is the Spirit who has been given to us! The Word of the Spirit has come to us so the Christ can be reproduced in us.

Paul said, "My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you." (Gal. 4:19) Christ is formed and birthed in us! It is easier for us to understand the natural birth process in Mary, than the spiritual birth process in us. Jesus said that we must be born again. And the Spirit comes on us and fulfills what God has promised, so we are born of the Spirit! Now we are born anew; we are born from above!

Our redemption from our carnal, earthy witness of spiritual things takes place while we are here in this world! A carnal witness does not understand spiritual realities so he cannot be a true witness. His understanding of God's program is in the natural realm, so he prophesies of things that God is going to do in the seen realm. But God's purpose and program are fulfilled in Christ who is the Spirit of God - the Son of God! He is not flesh; He only took on flesh to bring a word to our human understanding so that we might believe and be as He is. If this is our testimony, we are in this world as He was!

Have you ever tried to help someone, and that person maligned you for having wrong intentions? Have you ever been mistreated because you put yourself out for someone? This is what Jesus experienced! He came to release us from our bondage to self, and the world rejected and killed Him! How will the world treat us if we testify to the same things He did? It will also reject us. In our country we are not killed physically, but the spiritual rejection brings separation, and this separation is death. We do not separate ourselves from those who reject us, but they separate themselves from us!

In John 17:24 it says, "Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." Christ wants us to have the same relationship with the Father as He had with the Father while He was on earth in His physical body! Isn't that wonderful?! We can experience this relationship of love at this present time. Physical death does not bring us relationship. We do not wait for death; it is God's life that brings us this relationship of oneness.

The Greek word KABOLE that has been translated FOUNDATION, actually means casting down - the opposite of foundation. When Adam and Eve cast down God's word, a disruption of God's rule in their lives occurred. This disruption of God's rule is usually called the fall of man. It destroyed man's union with God so that he could no longer hear God in his spirit. When this union with God is not present, man is in the death realm. This happened to Adam! When he obeyed another voice - a voice other than God's - he was separated from God and lowered into the death realm.

Isaiah prophesied, "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you." (Isa. 60:1) John the Baptist also prophesied of that light in John 1 when he said, "I am not the light." The light was coming, and the light was Christ. Jesus who said, "I am the light of the world," also said, "You are the light of the world." What a revelation! The mission He had, He passed on to us. Our mission is a continuation of Christ's mission in the earth! This was in God's program from the beginning. He is now doing His work through the ecclesia, His called-out ones!

Therefore we don't have to look under rocks and crannies in search for a ministry. Our ministry is not in the natural, so we won't find it there. Ministries do not drop down from heaven, so to speak, nor do they come through some great catastrophe. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation! This ministry is given to those who are in Christ.

The Spirit has to show us whether the messages we hear are true or not. The acceptance or rejection of any message we hear has to come from the Spirit. Once our ears are open to hear the Spirit, and we know the voice of the Spirit, we will hear what the Spirit is saying to the ecclesia! We will hear truth on a higher level, a level that is not corrupted by natural thinking. This brings us into a new understanding so that we can become true witnesses. We will be a tabernacle of the Spirit proclaiming the message that we have been reconciled to God. We will proclaim it in the way that has been prescribed by God! The message will go forth in the right spirit and testify of the love and goodness of God!

Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding.

God bless you! Amen.

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