The Christian's Special Privileges and Relationship: Part 1

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 11
The New Testament clearly shows that, since the Lord Jesus came, truths have been made known in distinctive reality to the heavenly family and the church of God. During the Lord’s life He spoke unmistakably of both, outside anything previously revealed, though the fulness of its blessedness was even further reserved until He was risen and glorified, and the Holy Spirit given as the power to make all good in us.
The truth of God's heavenly family is fully declared in holy life and relationship in both the Gospel and the First Epistle of John. Indeed the special nature and character of it awaited its revelation in the person of the Son of God, of whom John speaks as the only-begotten Son dwelling in the bosom of the Father; He declared Him. No wonder therefore that divine life and relationship depended upon Him, as it is written, “To as many as received Him to them gave He power (or, authority) to become children of God.”
These realities are further unfolded in John 17 by the Son of God Himself where love's eternal purpose is touchingly breathed forth in communion with His Father, which may well beget everlasting praise and worship. Though He came into the world in grace and presented Himself to be received, neither the world nor His own people recognized Him, but rather rejected and finally cast Him out. Thus speaking responsibly all was lost as to His rights and glories; for He was without a throne and people, having no home or place in the world He created, into which He came in light and love as a divine Savior and Giver. All was of no avail as far as the heart of man was concerned; yet even then sovereign grace and purpose shone with the fullness and blessedness of special relationship and privilege respecting the heavenly family On the threshold of the glory from which the Lord Jesus came He turned upward from this dark world to His Father, expressing precious words as to a new set of people of whom He could say, “They are not of the world as I am not.” Indeed the many precious utterances of this chapter surpass anything revealed in the past, or of Israel's coming blessing in the day of their Messiah's established kingdom in power and glory when the now rejected Lord will have the nations for His inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for His possession. The recipients of such grace and objects of so glorious a purpose of relationship and blessing have but to listen, receive, and adore, not only for the place given but for the wondrous work, its basis. Therein all the will of God has been accomplished, as the Son Himself said, “I have glorified,” etc.
In the inexhaustible fullness and unfathomable depth of such a fact it is not to be wondered at that the outcome of it should surpass all gone before, and that the Son who found nothing in the world but the Cross, should have a people given to Him by the Father to whom He would manifest the Father's name. Yea, He declares the reality of the eternal life by the knowledge of God now revealed, “And this is life eternal that they might know Thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”
Thus eternal life and relationship are blended by Him who put the Father's name upon those given to Him out of the world and of whom as the risen One He speaks (after redemption was accomplished) “I ascend unto My Father and your Father.” Distinctive indeed the relationship which is now fully known by the indwelling Spirit who bears witness to believers of being children of God according to the manner of the Father's love and purpose. Moreover it is formed and established in a world knowing not the Son nor those belonging to the Father, who are nevertheless destined to shine in the likeness and share the glory with the Son who declared “The glory Thou hast given Me I have given them.” Precious, holy destiny that may well call forth the worship of the heavenly family and keep them in true separation from a world knowing them not, and hating both the Father and the Son!
As belonging to the Father He prayed for those around Him, saying, All Mine are Thine and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them.” It was essential for them to be kept in His name, that they might be “one as we are” (ver. 11). But it was to be applied to all the Christians also. Such the marvelous oneness of the heavenly family as again in vers. 20, 21 stated by the Son, “That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.”
Truly such language exceeds anything past or future of earthly privilege or as known to the disciples when following the Father down here; and we may well extol the grace bestowing it and forming a testimony to the world that their Lord sent the Son. By-and-by, when all the heavenly ones are in the same given glory as the Son, there will be the unity in a new form (vers. 22, 23); and the world will know the Son as the sent One of the Father; and that those, His own, now unknown, are equally loved with the Son, for they shall be manifested with Him in glory.
Weighty realities these for every member of the heaven-born family to ponder; and recognize so special a relationship with its many privileges. The truth should assuredly have its sanctifying effect, remembering too the Lord has bound up present sanctification with Himself, the standard and object of it. First in ver. 17 He says, “Sanctify them in (or, by) thy truth. Thy word is truth.” It was the truth come down already as never before. But there is more in ver. 19, when He should go up as man where He was ever before as God. It is now a heavenly measure and character. “For their sakes I sanctify Myself that they also may be sanctified through the truth.”
Nor let us be unmindful too of the practical purifying of ourselves coupled with the Lord's parting promise, “I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am ye may be also.” Compare 1 John 3:33And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:3). Every child of God by the Holy Spirit may well desire to have a deepening sense of these holy privileges and responsibilities crowned with the experience of what the Son said to the Father, “That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them.” (to be continued).