And For Us

We’re going through the New Testament wanting to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Right now, we’re in John 17 looking at the high priestly prayer of Jesus. Tonight, we shall be finishing up this prayer. Last night, we looked at how Jesus prayed specifically for the apostles. Tonight, we’ll see what he prayed for us, those who would hear through the message of the apostles. The following is John 17:20-26:

20“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Anti-Trintiarians often point to verse 21 when John 10:30 is cited and ask “Well are we to be one as the Father and Son are one?” Let’s look at what’s being asked. There is a prayer for some type of oneness. What do we have in the Trinity. We have the Father and the Son in one another doing their works together in perfect unity. By analogy, we are to be in the Father and the Son in that we are also doing the work of God in evangelism. The analogy depends on the Trinity. Just as when we are to show the love of God, which we cannot literally show as it is infinite, but we are to show love like it.

Also, Jesus says that he has given us glory. This is something that we should be astounded by. We often think of how we do ministry for the glory of God, and indeed we should, but God also glorifies those who believe in him.

Unity is something that Christ desires as well. That’s one reason that here at Deeper Waters, we try to focus only on what unites us. Now this doesn’t mean all Christians are to walk in lock-step, but if we are to divide from someone, let it be that it is because they are not a Christian brother or sister. We should agree to disagree and still celebrate our union in Christ. Consider this. We’re going to be a unity in Heaven forever. We might as well get used to it now.

Why does Christ want this for us? He wants them to see the glory of God. Seeing the glory of God is for our good. That glory will shape us to be who we were meant to be. In theological circles, this is known as the beatific vision. We also once again see the glory that was there before the creation of the world. Christ again points to his deity.

Christ has made known to the world that he is sent from the Father and he is going to continue to do so. How? Through the work of the church. The church is to spread the love of God throughout the world and where the love of God is, there is the Father and the Son and the Spirit, and Christ is present.

Tomorrow, we shall move on to the next chapter.

For The Apostles

Welcome everyone. I’ve had an interesting weekend coming into contact with two old friends from the net who I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. It’s amazing how the internet brings across people from space and time. As I sit here typing, I am hatting with a friend in WA, a friend in Denmark, and a friend in CA. You are reading this blog from who knows where right now. Isn’t it amazing? What hath God wrought?

We’re going to keep going through the high priestly prayer of Jesus tonight as we study the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re going to be looking at John 17:6-19 tonight.

6“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

We’re going to break this down more into the ideas and no, I am again not going to get into the predestination debate. That’s for you all to work out amongst yourselves. I wish to speak more on what we agree on than what we do not.

I find it amazing that Jesus did these things so that the apostles could know he came from God. I’m in a debate with a Mormon now on how anything can be known. Christ did not want people to just hope that he is the way. He wanted them to know that he is the way. He wanted them to know who he was and how he related to the Father. (And relates.)

Jesus prays for them now and not the world, to which it’s okay to pray for specific people sometimes at the exclusion of the world. Jesus prays for their well-being and since they are his and all the Son has is the Father’s, he is leaving them in the hands of the Father. He will not be in the world, but he asks that the Father take care of them.

Also note that Jesus wants them to have the full measure of his joy. Joy seems to be lacking in our churches today. We are often bound up with legalism or else we can go and think it’s all emotion. I like how Dr. Gary Habermas has spoken of how we don’t praise really loudly in church because, as he says in a whisper, “Somebody might think we’re charismatic!”

Of course, nothing against charismatics, but I think those of us that aren’t should realize we’re supposed to live joyful lives regardless of how we express them. It is possible to have joy and in some ways be silent about it.

However, while Jesus realizes we are hated, his prayer is not that we be removed from the world. His prayer is that we be protected in it. We are to be salt and light in the world and in order to be that, we need to be here.

What is his last prayer? Our sanctification. Christ wants us to live holy lives. We should all be honest and admit that it’s a struggle. I’m a single guy and I know the pressure of especially keeping one’s thought life pure. It’s a battle, but Christ desires it for us and as we saw earlier, it’s for our joy.

Glory Before The World

Welcome back to Deeper Waters as we continue our look at the doctrine of the Trinity. First, our thanks to Fred for his compliment on our most recent blog. I advise everyone to go to his website as well. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing through the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17 and looking at verses 4-5:

4I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

As Jesus prays to the Father, he says that his work has brought the Father glory as he has completed the work that he was to do. Of course, the cross is not done at this point, but for now, Jesus has done everything and the final role is about to be played.

Consider this with the idea of Jesus being the new Israel and the second Adam. Where Adam and Israel failed, Jesus has succeeded. Adam, our first representative, gave in to the temptation to go his own way which led to the way the world is today. Meanwhile, Israel was to be a kingdom of priests and show the nature of the God they served, but they repeatedly failed to do this.

Christ has succeeded and he is the only one who could have looked back at his life and said that everything that he did brought the Father glory. This should be humbling for us if we look back on our own lives and realize how many times then and how many times today we do not bring the Father glory.

Jesus now asks for glory again. We again see a mention of the pre-existence of Jesus. Jesus had this glory before the world began. Before there was time, before there was anything else, when there was only the joy of the Trinity, there was, of course, Jesus sharing the glory of the Father and the Spirit.

As we have said, the Jew at the time would have thought of Isaiah 42:8 and how God would not share his glory with another, yet here Jesus points to the time before creation when he had the glory just as the Father did and how he is asking for that again. The only way he could have the glory of God is if he is fully God by nature.

Jesus also asks for that glory now in the presence of the Father. But Jesus is getting ready to go to the cross…. Yes. Jesus is going to the cross and while that is seen as a tool of shame by the Jews and the Romans, and indeed it was, Jesus realizes that the glory of the plan of salvation is going to take place there. He is going to be in the presence of the Father as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world and he is asking for that glory. Let the wisdom of God be seen in what happens.

From here, Jesus’s prayer will turn to other subjects, which we shall examine tomorrow.

The One True God

Hello everyone. Here at Deeper Waters, we’ve been going through the Bible wanting to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our look at John 17 which is known as the high priestly prayer. We’re going to be examining one verse tonight, John 17:3.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

If you’ve ever had an encounter with Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’ll know that this is the verse that they pride themselves on. I don’t know how many Arians I’ve met that have used this verse and believed that quoting John 17:3 sealed the deal. I suggest before reading further you think back to the beginning of our study where I remarked on errors that are made by opponents of the Trinity even before they come to the text. If you need to  look back, go ahead and do so.

Let us look at it this way:

Jesus is praying to the Father.

The Father is the only true God.

Therefore, Jesus cannot be the only true God.

There is a fault in the reasoning in this thinking in that it assumes that the only true God is one person. Therefore, the Arian reads the passage and sees that the Father is the only true God. Since the only true God is one person, Jesus is out.

This passage does not say that. Now if unipersonalism is correct, then their conclusion would follow. However, unipersonalism must be brought to this passage. It cannot be read into this passage. A legitimate question to ask would be “If the Father is the only true God, and if Jesus is a god (As JW’s claim), then does that mean that since there is only one true God, that Jesus would be a false god?”

It is my contention that the Father could say to the Son the same. The creeds speak of true God out of true God. Of course, none of the persons of the Trinity make-up the entirety of the Godhead, but each of them can be referred to as true God.

It is important to note that Jesus is tied into this. Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. He is the one who comes from the Father and bears the unique relationship with him in that he has first come from him as we saw in John 1:18, and he is now seen as having been sent from him. We know from the earlier passages that he will return to him.

Also important is to speak of the idea of eternal life. Knowing God is tied in together with knowing Jesus Christ. The only way you can know the Father is if you know the Son. If you deny the Son, you deny the Father. To deny the eternality of the Son is to deny the etrernality of the Father. He never became the Father. He has always been the Father just as the Son has always been the Son. We have life by being in right relation to him, by knowing him.

We shall continue looking at the rest of the text tomorrow, but for now, the Arian must back the assumption of unipersonalism.

Now Is The Time

Hello everyone. I’m certainly thankful to be able to post tonight. When I came home this evening, we were having server problems which left me wondering if I’d be able to blog or not. Fortunately, as you can see, we got reconnected so the blog will continue.

Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our study of the Trinity and we’ll be in John 17. This has been called the high priestly prayer of Jesus where we see more of a rich dynamic between the Father and the Son as we see Jesus’s longest prayer recorded in the gospels. We’ll be in verses 1-2 tonight.

1After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.

Jesus looked toward Heaven. Now I don’t think we should take this as realizing some sort of ideal posture. This was one that was highly acceptable and it’s noteworthy that the tax collector who prayed “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner” would not look to Heaven. I bring it up simply to say we should not be legalistic about prayer postures.

Jesus refers to God as “Father.” This is a term that will show up often in this prayer and expresses the unique relationship the Father and the Son have with each other, a theme we will see as we get closer to the end of this gospel in a verse Arians and others have used to argue against the Trinity. We will see when we get there that the verse shows the exact opposite.

Jesus asks the Father to glorify him, an idea we should consider the meaning of with a passage like Isaiah 42:8 being known to the apostles. The purpose of course is so the Son can glorify the Father. Only if the Son receives the glory can the Father receive that glory. What glory would be given?

It would be the glory that would come about by showing the victory of God over satan and the forces of evil. By conquering sin on the cross, Christ is showing that God is ruler and sovereign over all. Not even sin and death can stand in the way of the plan of God. God is shown to be glorious in both forgiving sinners and in punishing evil.

Jesus has been granted authority. Does this go against his deity? Again, the question we must ask is “How?” This is the same position of those who confuse function with essence and assert that if the Son submits to the Father in anything then he cannot be of the same nature as the Father? Anyone who has an earthly father, which I believe would include all of us, who they submit to or have ever submitted to should see the faultiness of this position.

Finally, we see the goal of all of this. Eternal life for all who trust in Christ. We only have eternal life however by being united to Christ. Apart from him, we have not the life that we were meant to have.

Tomorrow, we shall continue looking at this high priestly prayer.

He Has Overcome The World

Hello everyone. We’re going through the New Testament trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at who Jesus is in his final words wrapping up the Upper Room Discourse in John 16. We’ll be going through a long passage tonight of verses 25-33:

25“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”

29Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

31“You believe at last!” Jesus answered. 32“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus tells them that he has been speaking to them in parables. There will come a time when he will not do so. There will be a point when he will speak clearly. When that point is reached, they will understand the truth about himself and the Father.  They will ask the Father in the name of Jesus. They will be loved because they have loved the Son.

Jesus then tells them that he has left the world and is going back to the Father. He has almost finished his ministry and the time has come for him to go and return to the one who sent him. It is at this point that the disciples get in their reply.

The disciples seem confident, but it could be that they still did not really know. After all, had they really trusted in the death and resurrection of Jesus, they would have not acted the way that they did at the resurrection. John is a writer who uses a lot of irony and it is quite likely that he is doing such again.

Jesus says that they do believe, but they will not act accordingly. They will instead each run to his own home. We Christians should take comfort that Christ knows our failures in advance. It is here that he gives one of the passages that has been a great hope to Christians throughout the ages. Christ has overcome the world.

Today, we should embrace that. Facing the worst situation of all, the apostles were told to have hope. Christ has overcome the world. That victory is still here today. We as Christians need to remember that greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.

Grief To Joy

Hello everyone. We’re continuing our walk through the New Testament trying to understand the doctrine of the New Testament. Thanks to Kelp for his compliment and it is certainly agreed. The answer would be that when speaking of this, no exclusion of the glory of God was meant. Too often we view other people as ways to get what we need and for our own good. We do not often enough seek their good. Imagine how many marriages would be improved if this simple principle would be learned.

Our passage tonight is again in the gospel of John and the 16th chapter. We will be looking at verses 17-24:

17Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”19Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

Yesterday we concluded asking about what Jesus meant by “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

If this passage of Scripture seems difficult to understand, let us take heart. The disciples steeped in the OT imagery who lived with Jesus had a hard time understanding him. We should take comfort in these words and if we find them too easy to understand, we are probably not looking at them enough.

Jesus knows that they want to ask this so he points to a time where they will mourn and the world will rejoice. We often think about the disciples mourning at the death of Christ, but we don’t think about the world rejoicing. The people were pleased. They thought justice had been served and that they had saved their country from the Roman Empire and the judgment of God.

Their mourning will turn to joy and they will no longer ask him anything. The joy will never go away. Why will they no longer ask him anything? They will not because they will understand who he is in relation to the Father. Of course, we can pray to the Son, but the traditional idea of prayer is to the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.

What does this mean for us? It means we are to live a life of joy trusting in the Father that he will take care of us. Of course, it isn’t a blank check. We must trust him and be living our lives loyal to him and the more we do that, the more we truly will get what we ask for, for we will ask with right motives and ask for right things.

We shall continue this tomorrow.

The Spirit Telling Truth

Hello everyone. Tonight, we’re continuing our look at the New Testament and how it relates to the doctrine of the Trinity. Right now, we’re in the book of John and we’re in the sixteenth chapter in the upper room discourse. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at verses 12-16.

12“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.

16“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

What does Jesus mean when he says he has more to say to them? There is not much more said after the gospel. It would seem then that this refers to what the Spirit would say. At this point, some people might be wondering seeing as I’ve blogged before on the voice of God speaking to us. What do I do with this verse?

It’s quite simple. I accept it.

How? That’s also simple. I remember that Jesus was speaking to the apostles and they would be the leaders of the church and I believe the Spirit would lead them somehow into all truth and that could be through verbal communication as we see that that happened at times in the book of Acts.

The difference of course is that that was the apostles. We are not the apostles. Of course, as I’ve said, the Spirit could speak to us and give us truth, but that is not what we are to expect. We are to expect that the words of Christ rang true through the apostles and the writings that they have passed down on to us are true.

In serving this capacity, the Spirit will give glory to Christ. He will take the truth Christ wishes the apostles to have and give it to them. We see here some of the internal workings of the Trinity and we must remember that Christ is because the Father is. There is a beautiful unity taking place.

In fact, the Son affirms that in the next verse. This is an aspect of the Trinity that gets us into the topic of morality. We can see that each person of the Trinity does seek the good of the other for the sake of the other.  We can see then the way that we ought to live. If we are to follow the model of the Trinity, we ought to seek the good of our fellow man for his sake.

Jesus ends this section by saying that shortly they will see him no more and after that, they will see him. What could he mean?

That gives you something to look forward to tomorrow I suppose.

Jesus’s Going Away. Good?

Hello everyone. Tonight we’re going to continue our look at the doctrine of the Trinity in the pages of Scripture. If you’ve been with us for awhile, you know that we are in the New Testament and we are in the gospel of John. We’re continuing the Upper Room discourse and tonight, we’re going to be looking at verses 5-11.

5“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. 7But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt[a] in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

Jesus says he is returning to the one who sent him. Obviously throughout the context of the account, they knew he was going to the Father.  This was a cause for grief for them as they had spent years with Christ and has based their lives around him and while they might have hoped he would be a rabbi who would stay with them till death, he is instead leaving them.

Surprisingly, it’s a good thing for them that he was going. They had been in his physical presence and now the teacher was sending them out there on their own. He had been training them for these years and now their training would be put to the test. Of course, while we say they were to be on their own, they were not to be totally alone. He will send to them the Counselor.

The Counselor however will not just comfort the disciples. He will be doing three other tasks and all of these relate to the person of who Christ is. Notice how far his reach must be as well considering he can do this to the whole world. The Counselor while a comforting presence for the disciples is also a legal idea. He acts as prosecution as well towards an unbelieving world.

The first thing that he convicts them of us is sin. The world is guilty of sin because it refused to believe in the only one who could save them from their sin. If they wish to remain in that state, then the Spirit will convict them in that state.

The second way is in righteousness. Because Jesus is going to the Father, that reveals that he is the one whom God sent and all that he said is true.  The righteousness that is to be revealed is the righteousness of Christ which could be what Paul has in mind in Romans 1.

The last is in condemnation in that because of the work of Christ on the cross, the prince of the world is to be condemned. If Jesus was not who he said he was, then satan would still have power over the people. As it is, he is a defeated foe and we simply await the full actualization of that defeat.

The Spirit then relates entirely to Christ and who he is. Whether it be in convicting of sin, pointing to righteousness, or revealing condemnation, the Spirit does this work. It is for the best that Jesus goes away so the Spirit can come and do the work, and also so he can dwell in us and enable us to continue the work of Christ in evangelism.

We shall continue tomorrow.

A Consistent Treatment

Hello readers! We’re continuing going through the New Testament in the hopes of coming to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’ve been in the gospel of John and tonight, we’re going to start the 16th chapter, which means we’re about 3/4th of the way through this book. That’s not too much of a surprise as this is one of the books that has numerous references to deity in it. Tonight, we’re going to look at verses 1-4:

1“All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. 2They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I was with you.

Jesus now tells his apostles why he’s been telling them all of this. He wants them to know two things. First off, he wants them to know the truth. He is who he claims to be. He begins this upper room discourse talking about his own identity. The second is that he wants them to know that they are not alone. The Holy Spirit will come and give them comfort.

Why would the apostles get handed over to the synagogue rulers? This is one point I think ancient Jews were far more consistent on. It seems today many Jews seem to be of the opinion that Jesus was a good teacher and if the Christian path is the path that they are on, then that is fine for them.

I think the early Jews would have been scandalized and rightly so.

Of course, I don’t think the early Jews were right in their view of Jesus, but I believe they were more consistent. They saw him as contrary to the law of YHWH and if that was the case and he was leading the people of Israel away from devotion to YHWH, then the way they handled him was correct.

Jesus says it will go beyond being excommunicated from the syangogue however. It also means that they would be killed for their belief in him. According to the testimony of the early church, the only apostle who wasn’t martyred was John who died in exile on the isle of Patmos.

Let’s clear something up on John 16:3. Several years ago there was an email circulating the net where Al Gore said his favorite Bible verse was John 16:3. It would have been an obvious reference to John 3:16, but the idea was that Gore was quoting a verse really that said that the people who did such things would do so because they did not know Jesus or the Father.

I am no fan of Al Gore, but there is no evidence to back this claim. In the same way, this email has been circulating I have found out about John Kerry, about George W. Bush, and about Barack Obama. Christians. Please go to websites like before you forward emails unless there’s some valid source like a link to a news story. We are to be people of truth and if we give into gullible emailings it only confirms in some people the idea that Christians are gullible idiots who will believe anything.

Jesus does not want us to be surprised at all of this. When it came to the apostles, they would remember that they were told this would happen. Later on, we will see how this applies more to us, but generally in the NT, we do see the promise that Christ will be with his people and ease them in their sufferings.

We shall continue on this tomorrow.