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John 14:21-23 KJV

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

The passage in John 14:21-23 presents a clear assurance of both the manifestation of Jesus to those who love Him and the promise that the Father and the Son will establish their abode with faithful believers. However, the precise nature of this manifestation and the implications of the Father and the Son making their abode with believers remain unspecified in the text. Essentially, the passage leaves unanswered questions about what this manifestation entails and what practical implications arise when the Father and the Son choose to dwell with the believer, promises that seem deliberately worded in metaphorical language. Put simply, the passage doesn't explicitly detail the expected outcomes in concrete, practical, and non-allegorical terms.

How, in concrete and practical terms, do the Father and the Son manifest themselves to Christians based on the promises laid out in this passage?


Note: the question was inspired by the answer to What is the success criterion for the task of 'seeking God' in Christianity?.

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  • Would the indwelling of the Holy Spirit not fulfill this passage? Dec 30, 2023 at 22:49
  • @anongoodnurse It would make sense. You are welcome to elaborate on that in an answer.
    – Mark
    Dec 30, 2023 at 23:57

4 Answers 4

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Part I

The Scripture states emphatically that there is only ”one Spirit” (Eph 4:4; 2:18). This is the Holy Spirit. It is the ”same Spirit” (1 Cor 12:4). There is no “another Spirit” (2 Cor 11:4).

The same Holy Spirit is called the “Spirit of God” and the “Spirit of Christ” interchangeably in the same verse (Rom 8:9).

Yet we read in the Scripture that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24) and “the Lord is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:17).

So, we can conclude logically that when the Holy Spirit indwells a person, it is as equal as God the Father indwelling that person and Christ indwelling that person.

Indwelling of the Holy Spirit = indwelling of God the Father and Christ.

[It was always wonderful to read John 14:23 where Jesus says, “We will come” and to remember Gen 1:26, “let Us make man in Our image”)

I think this will answer your question about “the precise nature of ……..the Father and the Son making their abode with believers”.

Part II

Once God indwells a believer through His Spirit, that person becomes “a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15).

He is no longer a “natural man” (1 Cor 2:14) but has become a “spiritual man” (Gal 6:1). He is no longer an enemy of God but subjects himself to the spiritual Law of God (Rom 8:7).

He manifests “the fruit of the Spirit in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Eph 5:9).

What is “the fruit of the Spirit”?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).

He no longer tries to “fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).

If one is “in the Holy Spirit”, then he is “in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in unfeigned love, in the Word of truth, in the power of God, through the weapons of righteousness on the right hand and on the left” etc (2Cor 6:6-7).

I think this answers your question of “the precise nature of this manifestation and the implications” and “what this manifestation entails and what practical implications arise” of such indwelling.

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I appreciate what inspired the OPs question! A crucial point of how God reveals himself to a seeker (based on Hosea's book) is the need for "repentance and seeking God to help turn from unrighteousness, then God's righteousness and mercy will be experienced, causing such a contrast in either group, or individual life, that it will be obvious to them that God has responded to their sincere seeking of him."

The question now is how the Father and the Son reveal themselves to Christians (as based on the text quoted). Clearly, it is a personal revelation to the individual. Nowhere does Jesus speak of any 'group' experience. The language is always about an individual who comes to discover the mystery of God and Christ indwelling the believer.

Yet enough is said by Jesus to show what practical steps the individual must take if they are to have this experience: (1) Knowing Christ's commands. (2) Keeping Christ's commands. (2) Loving Christ. However, there is no spelling-out of how God and Christ will then come unto that person and abide with him or her. Except, perhaps, the mention of love on the part of the Father and the Son. Note the connection here with the individual loving Christ (knowing that the Father sent the Son). Love is definitely experienced here. This is not a whimsical emotion being spoken about; this is the agapeo love that is based on godly principle; that of seeking the other's benefit.

Note also how obedience to Christ's commands are bound up with showing that that one loves Christ. Jesus reinstated Peter after the resurrection by asking him if he (Peter) loved him, and when Peter said "You know that I love you", Christ commanded him to "Feed my sheep." Three times. (John 21:15-17) It is transparently clear - if a person claims to love Christ, they will do what Christ commands them to do. Then they will experience the agapeo love of the Father and the Son. And what amazing love must Peter have felt at that point of reinstatement by the One he so dearly loved!

Peter then knew that his heart-felt loathing of his sin of having denied his Lord three times had been forgiven by Christ. He experienced the loving forgiveness of Christ to him, personally. From then on, his tears were turned to singing, his hopelessness to joyful hope, and he could then launch out into his commissioned work in confident obedience. He then knew the power of the Holy Spirit in him, renewing him, transforming him, and that is exactly what every believer in Christ experiences when that promise of Christ works out, as in John 14:21-23.

God's righteousness is understood to have been supremely demonstrated at Golgotha, when the sinless Christ bore the punishment for the believer's sins. Grasping that revelation of what really was going on in the darkness of that afternoon causes the person to grasp that they have no righteousness of their own; they utterly depend on the righteousness of God to be freely pardoned and lifted up. Putting faith in that free gift of grace causes them to know their sins are forgiven, for then their conscience is cleansed - wiped clean. There is now no more condemnation for them - and they know it because it has happened to them, personally. That is the manner of the revealing of that awesome promise.

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The simplest answer to this question about the future tenses in John 14:21 is provided by Rev 22:3, 4 -

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be within the city, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.

This will be the first time that anyone will see the face of God and the Lamb because up until that time, "no one has seen God", John 1:18, 5:37, 6:46, 1 John 4:12, 1 Tim 1:17, 6:16, Col 1:15, Ex 33:20, Isa 45:15.

However, until that times, we are told this:

  • John 1:18 - No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
  • John 14:9 - Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. ...
  • John 14:26 - But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.
  • John 15:4-7 - Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
  • John 15:26 - When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me.
  • John 16:13, 14 - However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you.
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    Is it really proper to use the passage in Revelation to understand what Jesus says to Judas? This approach means it never happens in the life of the believer, and is purely an eschatological endtimes experience. But the question Judas asks is about how Jesus will manifest Himself and not to the world. This does not sound like it is speaking of what Revelation is describing. Dec 30, 2023 at 14:54
  • @RevelationLad - that is partly true - but Revelation is describing something that will occur only to God's servants, ie, the faithful. Further, my answer also says, "until then ..." - our revelation of God is via the Son and the Holy Spirit which the world does not receive.
    – Dottard
    Dec 30, 2023 at 20:29
  • @RevelationLad - So, you do not believe that we will see God's face in heaven/new earth?
    – Dottard
    Dec 30, 2023 at 20:56
  • Yes. I also believe the question Judas posed is about life on this earth. The question (manifest yourself to us and not to the world) makes no sense when considered in the light of the endtimes, which you seem to be saying. That is, after those who don’t believe are no longer present. Judas’ question makes sense only if both groups are present. Dec 30, 2023 at 22:36
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    You might want to read a few commentaries. Fairly unanimous it is referring to the Christian experience on earth. Dec 30, 2023 at 23:49
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In my experience following the simplest hunches to do mundane stuff can often lead to new openings that present God size challenges that draw on my experience and education. Thereby, l am using my talents (including money) in ways that clearly meet deep needs.

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    This does not answer the question, I'm afraid. And it is merely an expression of personal opinion. Substantial answers are expected based wholly on scriptural reference.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 30, 2023 at 20:35

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