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The Clarion Herald

    During the past few years there has developed, among some so-called Missionary Baptists, a number of "philosophies" designed to gain a following for certain individuals who would "make a name for themse1es". In so doing they disparage, dishonor and bring reproach on the holy name of Jesus. Some of these men have run the whole circuit of extremism -- from dogmatically contending that "only Missionary Baptists may know they are saved", to the equally ridiculous assumption of "universalism".
    About three years ago two members of a church in Mabelvale, Arkansas, confided to this editor that their church and pastor were "toying with the idea of universal salvation" -- the ultimate salvation of the whole human race. With almost diabolical subtlety, there has now evolved a philosophy of salvation so universal that it appears to exclude ONLY Judas Iscariot!
    Instead of honestly and openly proclaiming their faith (?), the proponents of this "damnable heresy" have resorted to subterfuge -- attempting to form "friendships" with unsuspecting members of other
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    Having concluded His final word of instruction and encouragement to His "little flock", Jesus "lifted up His eyes to heaven" and prayed. Nor have such words of high and holy sublimity ever again fallen from human lips.
    In the REAL "Lord's Prayer", recorded in John 17, one will note His solemnity -- not merely in the assent He gives to the Father's will, but in His eagerness for the consummation of that which He came to accomplish. "Father, the hour is come" (comp. John 2:4; 12:23, 27-28). The final crisis has been reached. That which awaited the Father's time and permission may now be experienced. And Jesus yearns to complete the work for which He became incarnate.
    In the first five verses of John 17 Jesus prays CONCERNING HIMSELF. "Father...glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify Thee!" The ultimate conflict with the powers of evil is now at hand -- a conflict that will issue in Christ's triumph and exaltation hrough death. By means of the cross the Father will glorify the Son. He will be glorified through the manifestation of His true nature. This

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

will be accomplished by His victory over death and His ascension to heavenly majesty, (Jn. 1:4-5; Eph. 4:7-8; 1:15-23). His earthly work will be continued through the church and under the direction of the Holy Spirit.
    The real object of His desire for glorification is the ultimate glorification of the Father. This was ever Jesus' greatest concern -- even greater than His concern for the salvation of men. But the Father could be glorified ONLY through the glorification of the Son Who came to reveal Him to men (Jn. 14:7-10). Glorification of the Father could only be in proportion as His true character was revealed; and only the Son could do that, (Matt. 11:27).
    Jesus' petition for glorification was in full harmony with His earthly mission, (Jn. 17:2). The Father had given Him power over all flesh, (Matt: 28:18; Jn. 3:35; 5:27; I Cor. 15:25, 27; Phil.2:l0-11; Heb. 2:8).

    In the New Testament scriptures "eternal life" is variously represented: 1) as A PERSON -- This was to the end that He should "give eternal life" to as many as the Father had given Him (Jn. 6:37).
     The meaning of "eternal life" is probably stated here with greater clarity than in any other biblical context, (John 17:3). Fully ignoring any relation to "time" (or endurance), Jesus expresses its QUALITATIVE character and shows that it is attainable IN THIS PRESENT WORLD (Jn. 3:36; 5:24). It is characterized by an ever-increasing knowledge of the true and living God, (Jer. 9:23-24; I Cor. 8:4; I Thes. 1:9). At the same time, it recognizes Jesus as "the Christ", whom God has sent, (Jn. 3:34; 5:36-37; 6:29, 57; 7:29; 10:36; 11:42). This aspect of the truth was necessary for both Jew and Gentile to understand, (Jn. 1:18; 14:6). As no one can truly "know the Father" without the Son, (Matt. 11:27); so, no one can have eternal life apart from Him whom the Father has sent to bestow it.
    In the New Testament scriptures "eternal life" is variously represented: 1) as A PERSON -- to be known in experience and fellowship, (Jn. 17:2-3); 2) As an OBJECT -- to be possessed, and to which one must devote himself with diligence, (I Tim. 6:12, 19; (Jn. 3:15-16). 3) As a REWARD of the faith that actively obeys the Word of God, (Matt. 19:29; Gal. 6:8; I Tim. 1:16); 4) As a SPHERE OF BLESSEDNESS into which the saints may enter following the dissolution of this present world system, (Matt. 25:46; Lk. 18:30; John 12:25); and 5) as a QUALITY OF LIFE that may be experienced in its glorious fulness ONLY in the coming kingdom of God.

    Whatever aspect of this subject one may choose to EMPHASIZE, it will NOT set forth the WHOLE TRUTH embodied in the doctrine of "eternal life". Thus, one must be careful not to place too great an emphasis on any one aspect. Jesus' usage of "eternal life" in this prayer suggests that, in one sense, His very prayer was so designed as to INSTRUCT and inform His disciples.
    Anticipating the imminent completion of His earthly mission, the Son of Man asks for such glorification as will evidence its accomplishment, (John 17:4-5). His ascension, and restoration to the Father's right hand, is necessary before the out-pouring of Pentecost will be possible.
    The task for which Jesus became incarnate is complete; in His own heart and mind He has already delivered Himself up to death, (Jn 4:34; 14:31; l5l0; 19:30). Thus, He has glorified, by making intelligible to men, the Father Who sent Him (John 13:31; 14:13). Since the humiliation of His incarnation is about to end, He now desires to resume the place of glory that He shared with the Father before the world existed.
    All this certainly suggests our Lord's pre-existence in the form of God, (Jn. 1:1-2; 10:30; 14:9; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:3, 10; Rev. 13:8). It also suggests His restoration, in His perfected humanity, to the heavenly glory that had been His from all eternity -- until He voluntarily laid it aside to meet the need of us sinners, (Heb. 2:9-11).

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    How we OUGHT to praise, worship and adore Him -- rejoicing in His restoration to the place of indescribable honor that He laid aside to provide eternal deliverance from the condemnation of our sins and an INHERITANCE "incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away" -- reserved in heaven for all who are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time", (I Peter 1:4-5). E.G.


    For Himself our Lord asked very little (in the prayer recorded in John 17); but when He began to intercede for His little flock there rushes forth an irresistible stream of requests which evidence the fervent love of His heart. He knows how dependent they have been upon Him. And, though He has promised to send the Comforter to sustain them, He is deeply conscious of how utterly unprepared they are for the trial they are about to face. So, He tenderly commits them into the Father's care.
    As He based the petition for Himself on the fact of His FINISHED TASK, so He now bases His petition for His disciples (His church) on the fact- that they HAVE RECEIVED HIS WORD, (Jn. 17:6-10). They once belonged to the Father, but, there is a special sense in which He has now GIVEN THEM to the Son, (Jn. 6:37, 39; 10:29; 15:19). To them He has manifested the name -- revealing, in His own person, the

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very nature of the Father's being, (Psa. 22:22). They have "kept" the Father's word -- proving their love for both the Father and the Son, (John 14:21-23); and are, thus assured of His continuing love, (John 15:9-10).
    These disciples have not merely received Jesus as "the Man of Galilee"; they have received both Him and His words as SENT FROM GOD (Jn. l77-8; 8:28; 12:48-49; 14:10; 16:27, 30). They received His words, recognized His divine origin and believed in His divine mission.
    Jesus specifically does NOT pray for "the world"; He prays for HIS CHURCH -- through whose instrumentality "the world" may ultimately "believe" (vs. 21), and "know" (vs. 23). These have been specially GIVEN to Him by the Father. He values them highly; they are His "jewels". But they do NOT cease to belong to the Father also; there is a commonness of ownership between the Father and the Son, (Jn. 17:10; 16:15).
    By the change already divinely wrought in them, the Son of Man is glorified. The union between Father and Son has its counterpart in that between Christ and His church. She glorifies Him by manifesting Him to the world -- reflecting His glory and the attributes of His person, (2 Cor. 3:18). She further glorifies Him as an instrument through which the very "principalities and powers in heavenly places" may come to understand more fully the "the manifold wisdom of God", (Eph. 3:l0).
    Next, Jesus prays concerning the

NEEDS of His little flock (John 17:11-19). So long as He was with them, He kept them in the Father's name, (John 6:39; 10:28); not one has been lost (from the fold) "but the Son of perdition". (Compare John 6:70; but note that the word translated "devil" is better understood as "adversary". ONE "devil", but MANY "adversaries". See also John 13:18).
    Now leaving this world, to return to the Father, Jesus desires the Father to keep them in His own name, "that they may be ONE as we are". The unity that He desires for them is such as is possible ONIY as they "abide in Him" and He in them. It is a divinely-wrought unity of love wherein ALL wills are bowed to His order, all affections are kindled at the flame of His unselfish care, and all hearts are set on the same goal -- the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus -- one glorious fellowship of LOVE! He prays audibly for them to strengthen their confidence and assure the fulfillment of HIS JOY in them (Jn. 17:13; I Jn. 1:4). His was the joy of a fruitful life of obedience to His heavenly Father, (Psa. 40:8). He wants His little flock to know this same joy -- possible only through whole-hearted yieldedness to His perfect will IN EVERYTHING.
    In union with the Master, the little flock is about to face the world's hatred and scorn. They have received the Word, as revealed in the Son of God. The world has REJECTED both the Son and the Word -- loving darkness rather than light because of its sin. So, the world

can no more love them than it has loved their Master, (John 15:18-19; Gal. 1:4). And they are no more "of the world" than was their Lord, (John 17:16).
    It is deeply significant that Jesus does NOT ASK that His disciples be taken OUT OF the world; that would make impossible the fulfillment of their mission. He asks, rather, that they be protected from the power of the evil one -- for their PRESERVATION through the trials of fire and persecution that they will most assuredly face, (I Peter 1:7-9). Nor does He ask that they be kept from the ENDURANCE OF PHYSICAL TRIALS -- only for their spiritual preservation through them. Thus, one is surely most presumptuous to imagine that the words of Revelation 3:10 are a promise of ESCAPE FROM facing "the hour of temptation" (for 20th-century disciples); it is, rather, a glorious promise of PRESERVATION THROUGH IT for all who, in faith, commit their destinies into the hands of their faithful Creator.
    Jesus DOES PRAY for their sanctification (separation from the world, and dedication unto divine service) "through the truth", (John 17:17). Apart from the Word of God there can be no such sanctification (John 15:3; Eph. 5:25-27; I Pet. 1:22). The truth SETS MEN FREE from the world's bondage to the glorious liberty of divine sonship, (John 8:31-32, 36).
    As the Father has sent the Son "into the world"; the Son now sends HIS CHURCH into the world on a mission of redemption, (John 20:21). The consecration of the Son was to

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a life of sacrifice and service -- resulting in His death, (Jn. 10:17, 36; Heb. 10:7-14). The grand object of His earthly mission will be fulfilled when they are, in like spirit, consecrated to His service. Seeing the fulfillment of that for which His soul has travailed, He will be "satisfied". To this end He gives Himself to die at Calvary. Then He ascends on high that He may send the Holy Spirit to sustain then -- working IN THEM His perfect will, as they abandon themselves to the truth. And, by the power of His resurrection-life, they will be enabled both to DO and BE all that He desires, (Romans 5:10).


    No one who is spiritually alert will fail to note, in the prayer that Jesus prayed specifically and exclusively for His church, how deep was His love, and far-reaching was His purpose, for His "body", the church. It is quite clear that He intends it to develop into a far-reaching witnessing agency -- whereby the "good news" of divine mercy and grace will be published to the ends of the earth. She will "let the whole world know" what He has done for undeserving sinners.
    His concern for the progressive development and enlargement of His church is evidenced in that part of His prayer (John 17:21-24) not specifically pertaining to the church. Here He prays, rather, for those who will be brought into fellowship with Himself THROUGH THE INSTRUMENTALITY of His little flock. It has

ever been our Lord's desire and intention that ALL who are saved by His grace SHOULD so yield themselves to His lordship, and walk in the newness of His resurrection-life, as to give Him glory "in the church", (Eph. 3:20). That for which He prays in John 17:21-24 cannot be fulfilled apart from "believer's" IDENTITY WITH HIM as members of His body.
    Jesus does NOT, in these verses, specifically pray for the church. He does indicate His expectation that, through its witness, the offer of blessing and eternal life will be extended to the ends of the earth. Though fully conscious of the imminency of His own crucifixion, He was confident that this little band of disorganized, discouraged and disillusioned disciples would soon (through the power of the Holy Spirit) recover to become a powerful and effective witness in the world.
    Those to whom Jesus has "manifested the Father's name" are now to manifest it to others -- not in word only, but in lives that already reflect His glory. Very soon He will be giving them a specific commission to make, baptize and instruct "disciples" in the way of life.
    Do not miss the SIGNIFICANCE of that for which Jesus specifically prays concerning those who shall believe through the witness of His church. "That they ALL may be one"; This is TRUE UNITY -- not merely doctrinal and organizational (important as those may be), but "of the Spirit and in the bonds of

peace", (Eph. 4:3). "As thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee". The "they ALL" INCLUDES the church through whom these have heard the "good news". Thus, Jesus prays that these future "believers" may be brought into full fellowship with Himself and the Father through the whole-hearted submersion of their lives and interests in the church. There certainly is nothing in this prayer of Jesus (nor anywhere else in the New Testament) to justify anyone in offering the blessing requested in this prayer to ANY who refuse to follow our lord's "order" for the maturing of their Christian lives.
    Who can doubt Jesus' love for the church? Who can doubt the Father's love for the body which was so dear to His Son? Who can imagine that a person taking a low view of the church, for which Jesus shed His precious blood, is "one" with the Father, the Son and the "little flock" whose-love & fellowship have been spurned, or even despised?
    The pattern of that unity which our Lord desired is clear: "As Thou Father, art in me, and I in Thee". Perfect harmony characterized the relationship between the Father and the Son. While incarnate on earth, the Son FULLY yielded Himself to the Father's will -- fulfilling the order that the Father had prepared for His earthly life. And, those brought to Jesus, through the instrumentality of the church, are to submit themselves to the order divinely established in the church for the proper functioning of their spiritual lives and the glorifying of Him Who established that order.

    "That they also may BE ONE IN US". This is not something that happens automatically, or spontaneously, when a person trusts in Jesus; why, then, would the Master be praying that it should be so? Responsible diligence is required on the part of All those who have entered into the way of life (I Jn. 2:28; 3:24). The purpose of this request is: "that the world may believe that thou hast sent me", Jesus is very much concerned for the world of mankind, He knows that the best possible way to reach the world is through the witness of a local assembly (a New Testament church) that functions according to His direction. It will portray "the fulness of him that filleth all in all", (Eph. 1:23). His very LIFE flows through such an assembly when it functions according to His order.
    In verse 22, Jesus mentions one specific provision that He has made for the effecting of that unity for which He prays. "And the glory which Thou gayest me I have given them". The glory which the Father gave the Son was that of being the instrument of man's redemption; it led Him to the cross. So, the glory that He now shares with His own is that of sacrificial service wherein we may be divinely-directed and empowered instruments of salvation to our fellow-men (Lk. 9:23; Gal, 2:20; 6:14). This involves the abandonment of our own will and way to walk in the will and way of the Lord. It is a losing of our lives "for Jesus' sake" that they may be preserved (by Him) unto the glory of His coming kingdom. His design, in so sharing the glory of

the cross, is "that they may be one, even as we are one" -- striving TOGETHER for the furtherance of the gospel.
    Jesus lives His life in, and through, vessels that are yielded to His lordship, just as the Father lived in and through the Son, (vs. 23). When such a unity is effected ALL will function harmoniously according to His perfect design "in ONE" (body). And when this happens two things will be evident to the world: it will know that the Father has sent the Son, and that He has loved the church (which is Christ's body, and one with Him) just as He has loved the Son, (Rev. 3:9).
    In His final request Jesus expresses a desire that those whom the Father has given Him may ultimately be with Him to behold (and actually share) the post-resurrection glory to which the Father has exalted Him, (Phil. 2:9; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:17-18). He wants them to know how dearly the Father has loved the Son "before the foundation of the world".
    In a final retrospective look, Jesus uses a unique expression: "Righteous Father". He is not here asking a favor; He simply describes the character of the Father whose very nature it is to BE righteous, and whose righteousness causes Him to distinguish "the world" from those who believe on His Son.
    The world has not known the Father, but Jesus has known Him, (Jn. 8:444-54). And His little flock has known that the Father sent Him. Their knowledge of God was closely related to the incarnation. They

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knew the Father only through the revelation thereof IN HIS SON.
    His little flock is very special, precious and dear to Jesus (Jn. 17:26). To them He has declared, and will yet declare, the Father's name. His entire life has been a revelation of the Father, (Heb. 1:3). He will yet declare it at Calvary where the depth of the Father's love for mankind will be revealed; at the same, time will be manifested His righteous judgment "without respect of persons". And He will declare the Father's name in the sending of the Holy Spirit to guide His church in the way of truth.
    For them He purposes "that the love wherewith - thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them". This love is shed abroad" in believing hearts by the Holy Spirit, (Rom. 5:5). But let it be noted that His "indwelling" comes ONLY through a proper response to "the Father's name" -- through willing, loving and joyful submission to His will and purpose. E.G.


churches, and then "favoring" them with an 'inside look" at the newest and most profound "spiritual (?) understanding" currently circulating among that society of individuals who have an insatiable passion for making such new "discoveries" as will sustain their overly-inflated "egos" and perpetrate their "good feelings" of super-spirituality.
    It is of vital importance that the people of God learn to "prove" (test) all things by the Word of God, and to "hold fast" only to that which meets the test. "Private interpretation" of the scriptures (so as to bolster one's own philosophy) is to invite absolute spiritual disaster! Any doctrine of salvation which ignores the warnings, admonitions, and even threatenings of the Scriptures, is unworthy of one who insists on Calling Jesus "Saviour" and "Lord".
    Beware such diabolical philosophy and vain deceit as are designed for your ultimate ruin! Faith would rather be CAREFUL a thousand times than shipwrecked even ONCE!
-- Eugene L. Garner