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While it is quite evident Jesus is making reference to the Spiritual realm in the following Scriptures:

John 17:20 through 24 NKJV "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

What is not so obvious is exactly how we are all to come together and become one. And of particular interest is an explanation of that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Even with the 11 commentaries that I use in my study, There seems to be no agreement on just what oneness means. They all agree and so do I that it is referring to inhabiting Heaven at some future date.

As close as I have been able to understand this is that when we are all of one common something it will prove the legitimacy of Christ.

If someone has a more complete understanding of these Scriptures I would appreciate knowing it.

Even though I am a Southern Baptist any Denominational doctrine is desired and the Catholic interpretation would also be helpful.

Thanks Bye.

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There seems to be no agreement on just what oneness means.

John 17:20-21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

It is Jesus stated desire that the disciples and future Christians are joined with him in the same unity he has with the Father. We can get a picture of this unity from other verses;

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

John 8:29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

John 14:9-10 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

We can see from the example of Jesus and the Father that there is no selfishness or self-interest to impede unity. This is more than a unity based on proximity, this is a true unity that comes from complete surrender of self and total dependence on God.

We can see from the description of how the church should function that the objective is for us to obtain this unity;

Ephesians 4:11-15 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

When we become Christian, we have the Spirit of God give us new life.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

This is just as significant as our physical birth

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

This new life entails having all three persons of the Trinity living inside of us working to make us more like Jesus.

John 14:23 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.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

This perspective on oneness and unity may seem alien and even supernatural to most of us. This is because this unity requires our participation to achieve.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

The process of becoming like Jesus has come to be seen as an almost mythical "deeper" Christian life disconnected from the "real" world. It seems almost at every turn there is someone who wants to turn Christianity into an experience, a system of rules to follow, or a political movement. The idea that the selflessness of love (described in 1 Corinthians 13) is actually achievable is made to seem unrealistic by Satan to controls the course of the world (for now and insofar as he is allowed by the Father).

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

The unity that Jesus describes in John 17 is real and does not need to be explained away as an allegory for a future home. Jesus gives his relationship with the Father as the illustration of the unity he desires for us with him. The fact that this is so difficult to consider is not an indication of some hidden meaning that we need to yet uncover, but that we have come to accept a Christian life so devoid of vitality and enmeshed with the world that the expected Christian life seems alien and unobtainable.

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  • Well said! looks like you have some personal experience with this journey, I'd love to hear about it. Satan indeed can make us either complacent or despondent. We can never be one in nature with God, but we can be one in spirit by abiding in Him, overcoming trials, and being refined in the furnace.
    – Beestocks
    Feb 19 '15 at 19:59
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According to the immediate context, the oneness of the believers with the Father and the Son in John 17 is oneness in terms of love.

John 17:11,22-24

11 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...

22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

Even the greater context shows that the mutual indwelling is based on love and not on nature.

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." John 14:23

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  • And in an even wider context this theme spans from Genesis 2 "That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh" till Revelations when it talks about the bride of the lamb.
    – AVee
    Feb 18 '15 at 21:07
  • 1 Corinthians 6:17 The church is one spirit with Jesus in the context of Genesis 2
    – Radz Brown
    Feb 19 '15 at 4:11
  • Sorry to be so tardy in responding to your answer I get to things as I can, with the help of my wife. Although I agree that Love is a large and very important part of the oneness it cannot be it's entirety. As you said in your answer as a result of the mutual love, by loving Jesus God will make his home in us. Since God in the form of the trinity (my belief) will indwell us, and we all become one there has to be much more to it than just love. In order to become one there must be a substantial change of Spirit, and our whole mental processes have to change and be the same as theirs.
    – BYE
    Feb 19 '15 at 14:02
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I will say that the meaning of John 17:20-24, in one sense, is that Jesus is asking for each individual Christian to become one with the Father, just as Jesus is one with Him, and Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Jesus,..

" that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may also be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."

...this is the interpretation that seems the obvious read of the passage, Jesus is asking that each individual Christian experience what Jesus and the Father experience in each other.

For example, Jesus is asking for Joseph, a Christian, to be with the Father and Jesus and in them, and they in Joseph, just like Jesus experienced this oneness with the Father, He in Jesus, and Jesus in him.

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The key text here is "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one"

It is through Jesus that humanity and divinity reunite. Jesus came with His glory veiled in humanity, so that sorrowful, tempted men maybe drawn unto Him, the bridge between man and God. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21). It is important to note that it is impossible for us to be one with the Father in this life without Jesus as our mediator, for even our prayers must be cleansed with incense, the merits of Jesus, before it reaches the throne of God. (Rev 8:3-4)

The "oneness" refers to a process of sanctification that occurs in this lifetime. "He who is joined with God is one spirit with Him" (1 Corinthians 6:17). One in love and one in purpose -- to bring glory to God and the Father (Romans 15:6). This principle of self-renouncing love is the foundation of God's throne. "I seek not Mine own glory" said Christ, "but the glory of Him that sent Me" (John 8:50). This same spirit we are also called to partake in, through grace, to forsake all for the glory of God.

And this "oneness" Jesus prays for will continue in heaven for all ages. All creations reflecting the love that "seeketh not her own", but has its source in the heart of God.

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