58. Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. -John 17:1-3
Jesus our God and Savior keeps referring to this same glorious truth – that eternal life will be given by Him to as many as God the Father has given to God the Son. These references to God’s choice of the believer behind the believers choice of God are of course a mystery that human minds simply cannot fully comprehend. Why do you suppose that Jesus wants us to know a little about these things? I believe it is so in our moments of being “prone to wander” our confidence will not be in ourselves but in His ability to keep His Word to those who have believed! I am so thankful that Jesus told me what I can’t fully understand, but I can appreciate! Note also here how Jesus defines eternal life – not just as being forever with the Lord, but a growing experiential knowledge and relationship with the Triune God!
59. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all mine are Yours, Yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom you gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” -John 17:9-13
Judas is sometimes used as an example of someone who was saved and then denied his salvation. He is used as an example of someone who lost his salvation. This passage refutes that. Jesus affirms that all true believers are kept by God through the power of His name (verse 11). And then He makes clear that Judas’ rejection of Christ fulfilled Scripture. Basically, when Jesus calls Judas the son of perdition, he is calling him the son of destruction or the son of hell. Earlier in John Jesus had referred to lost people as the sons of the Devil. Judas’ plight shows us that it is possible for non-believers to be mixed in with believers as we go through this life. But their presence among believers should not be interpreted as the fact that they were saved – For instance –
60. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” -I John 2:19-20
Here John reinforces that there are people who hang around churches that are not Christians. Note a very important statement for our study – “If they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” It is obvious John thought true believers were guaranteed to follow on to everlasting life). You’ll remember that John’s purpose in writing I John was that his readers might know they have everlasting life (I John 5:13). We should also note here that if true believers are physically able they will want to regularly gather with other believers. The New Testament casts doubt on the salvation of someone claiming to be a believer but who refuses to regularly gather with other believers. The church was God’s idea and Jesus promised to build His church, His bride. His intention is for us to gather in His name for His Kingdom purposes. The fact that when you put people together in churches there are some relational challenges to overcome did not escape God when He was planning the church! That’s why He gave us many relational commands the church is to put into practice among one another. Kind of like you have to do in your own family!