John 17:21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us.

Are we part of the Trinity now?

Has this been fulfilled already?

Will Jesus pray for something that will not come to pass?

  • John 17:21, just like 10:30, echoes a reasoning similar to that Genesis 2:24.
    – Lucian
    Jun 9 '20 at 10:28

The concept of "unity" in the church is one that Paul often returned to. He uses this theme several times such as:

  • 1 Cor 12:12-26 where he describes the diversity of body parts (eye, ear, hand, foot, etc) and their diverse functions, but the unity of purpose and unity of action.
  • Eph 4:1-5 where Paul again discusses the unity in the Spirit and unity in faith and unity in baptism, etc. Paul sums this up in Eph 4:13, "until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."
  • 1 Cor 1:10-17 where Paul calls for unity to quell quarrels in the Corinthian congregation
  • 1 Cor 3:1-9 where Paul uses a gardening metaphor for the church to try to eliminate growing sectarianism - dissentions caused by petty differences in "those of Apollos" vs "those of Peter", etc. See also Col 2:19 for the same metaphor.
  • 1 Cor 3:10-15 where Paul seeks the same unity with the aid of a building metaphor - the builders all do different jobs but they are all building the same building!
  • Col 3:14, "And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity."
  • Eph 1:10, "to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ." Thus Paul again wants unity (not uniformity!!) of purpose and mind.
  • Rom 15:5 records Paul's appeal for unity and harmony "in Christ Jesus" by saying, "Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement grant you harmony with one another in Christ Jesus"
  • Peter also appeals for unity by saying 1 Peter 3:8, "Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind."
  • John 17:11 - Jesus prays for the unity of the church people, just as Jesus and the Father are one or "in unity", "And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." There is an almost identical request in v21.

This desire for unity among Christians was not unique - Jesus asked that the disciples:

  • Love as Jesus loved. John 13:34, 35, 15:12, 1 John 4:8, 11, 19, Eph 5:1, 2.
  • Forgive as Jesus forgave, Matt 6:12, Eph 4:32
  • Be holy as Jesus is holy. Lev 11:44, 45, 1 Peter 1:15, 16
  • Be pure as He is pure. 1 John 3:3
  • Pray as Jesus prayed. Luke 11:1.
  • We are to have the mind of Christ. Phil 2:5, 1 Cor 2:16.
  • Be kind because God is kind. Luke 6:34, 35.
  • Be merciful because God is merciful. Luke 6:36.

Thus, while Christians are not part of the Godhead, Christians can share in, or be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) as we are being changed into Christ’s glory (= reputation), 2 Cor 3:18 and reflect it to those around us to attract other to Jesus service.

Psalm 133 takes unity and harmony as its theme:

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! It is like fine oil on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron’s beard over the collar of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion. For there the LORD has bestowed the blessing of life forevermore.

  • That is the crux of the question : what does it mean to be 'partakers of the divine nature' ? Are you able to expand on that ?
    – Nigel J
    Jun 8 '20 at 23:26
  • @NigelJ - I thought that is what I had done above by saying that we are imitators of Christ by being holy, pure, blameless, merciful, kind, forgiving, loving, gracious, etc, etc.
    – Dottard
    Jun 9 '20 at 9:18
  • 1
    Imitation is not 'partaking of divine nature'. Imitation is mimicry, done at a distance. 'Partaking' of divine nature does not convey that. My own apprehension of this concerns justification by faith (we are made righteousness of God - an attribute of divine nature - in him) and the consequent union of the Holy Spirit - an infilling of Spirit within spirit : a partaking. Mimicry of Christ is just another form of legal obedience in my own view.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 9 '20 at 9:22
  • @NigelJ - quite right and the imitation of Christ is the miracle of the HS in our lives and attitudes. How does a sinful mad love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her? (Eph 5:24). THAT - is a divine miracle of transformation following conversion.
    – Dottard
    Jun 9 '20 at 10:55

It's a pity you didn't quote v22 in the Q. Which explains what Jesus meant.

"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;

In case you missed it...

"that they may be one, just as We are one"

Jesus is at one with the Father - not in any convoluted 'co-equal substance', but in the oneness of purpose and focus on what is the most important life we could live... putting God's will first. That's what Jesus did, unto death, and his prayer is that we might share that conviction and be led by God's spirit as he was - unto death!

Of course, our death is in Jesus, not a physical death, but a steady death of our corrupted self and an embracing of the 'new' life we have in him (Eph. 4) - as the FIRSTBORN of many brethren.

Jesus prayer is that we, his followers, might continually grow in grace and knowledge of who we are in him, to share in who he was as God's appointed servant, living out God's will to God's glory. When we submit to God's will as Jesus did - not on our own strength by any means, but to share in the victory he has already won for all men.

He has given us of his glory, which he received from the Father. But it is only revealed in us when we are at the same unified purpose that he was with the Father.

  • I have John 17:22 memorize for more than 2 decades and use it on a daily basis as password. For this post, I purposefully didn't want to mention it so that people can concentrate on the issue that I am asking here: May they also be in us. Still, your answer is pretty good but not exactly what I am asking.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 16:31
  • Actually, all the answers are pretty good.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 16:35
  • In case you missed it: "May they also be in us" is a Trinitarian issue. That's what I want to focus on here in this posting.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 16:42
  • I'll give you more hint. If you can figure out my password, you can sign into my SE account. It would be really interesting if you can do it.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 21:13
  • Perhaps this is not obvious to you: John 17:22 can be read as a support for the Trinitarian view.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 21:43

On the evening before his death, a heated argument arose among Jesus' disciples. "Who is the Greatest."

Luke 22:24 (NASB)

24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest.

On the same evening Jesus prayed for his disciples, at John 17:15,16 Firstly, He asks his father to keep them away from the world of the evil one "Satan", then to Sanctify them and keep them in the truth (John 17:17-19) and lastly he pleads that they be in complete loving unity and forming a united congregation and to" be one just as we are one." (John 17:20-22)

Jesus does not pray for equality in godship with his Father but to oneness in purpose and action. Compare John 5:19, 5:30, 8:28 and 12:49

John 17:20-23 NASB

20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 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 [f]believe that You sent Me. 22 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected [g]in unity, so that the world may [h]know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

  • You mean "in complete".
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 20:54
  • In Verse 22, what exactly is this glory?
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 20:56
  • 1
    Jesus does not pray for equality in godship with his Father but to oneness in purpose and action. True.
    – Tony Chan
    Jun 8 '20 at 21:03
  • 1
    Yes thank you "in complete" . Will add an explanation regarding "glory tomorrow. Jun 8 '20 at 21:05

1 Corinthians 6:17 But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit

We are united with the Lord by our indwelling Holy Spirit. The more we are in touch with the Spirit, the more we listen to Him on a daily and hourly basis, the more we can obey him, the more we are ONE with Him. I see oneness as a process where the indwelling Spirit keeps increasing in me as I obey him more and more.

In Psalm 133:1-2, the anointing oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit is likened to unity:

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe.


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