An entity cannot be perfect if one part, no matter how small, is imperfect. By the same token a group of people cannot be holy if one of them has sin in his life. With this in mind let us look again at the focal passage–John 17:21-23–concentrating on verse 23. In this verse Jesus is saying that in order for the disciples to do the work God has assigned them they had to be made “perfect” as a group. This means that each one individually had to emulate the Father and His Son. This is confirmed in 1 Peter 1:15,16: “(Just) as He Who called you is holy, SO (therefore) you must be holy. FOR (because) it is written, ‘Be ye holy FOR I am holy.'” The “ye” Peter was writing to and about was (and is) the New Covenant Church. True saints are holy not only AS God and Christ are holy, but BECAUSE They are holy. Why? Because God, Jesus and the saint are “ONE.” As the Scriptures state, GOD IS IN CHRIST; CHRIST IS IN GOD; THE SAINT IS IN THEM AND THEY ARE IN HIM. Simply stated, God, Jesus and the saint are ONE (Jn. 14:21). But, one might ask, doesn’t that make God, Christ and the saint equal in this life? Jesus answers the question.
The Members of the Godhead–God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ–are holy. Therefore, to be ONE WITH the Godhead and IN the Godhead the saint must also be holy. Group holiness is mandated. Therefore, individual holiness is mandated. Contrary to universal church opinion, Jesus did not die so that believers could sin and get away with it. He suffered, died and rose again so that they would be able to overcome Satan’s temptations to sin. This would require overwhelming power on the part of the saint. For this reason Jesus promised those who truly seek Him: “You shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you ….” (Acts 1:8). He also said: “Behold, I give you POWER over ALL the power of the enemy ….” (Lk. 10:19). God is no respecter of persons–what is true for one disciple/saint is true for all disciples. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that the saint can resist Satan’s call to sin. Speaking through the Apostle James Jesus said: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jam. 4:7), meaning that one has overcome him. Jesus said that only those who do overcome him will spend eternity with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:21).
Satan’s #1 objective is to entice people to sin in that sin separates us from God: “Your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins have caused Him to hide His face from you so that He does not hear your prayers” (Isa. 59:2). One cannot be IN and ONE WITH the Godhead and be separated from Them. First John 1:5 tells us that God is (only) light, and that there is “no darkness in Him at all.” God and Christ are ONE in that respect. Therefore, if a saint is ONE WITH Them, and They are ONE WITH him as Jesus stated, the saint cannot have sin (darkness) in his life in that this would bring sin/darkness into the God, Christ, saint “trinity.” Notice that Jesus does not distinguish between the oneness that exists between Himself and the Father and the oneness that exists between Them and the saint.
The fact that this perfect oneness applies to saints in this age is brought out in John 17:20 where we find Jesus praying not only for the 12 disciples, but “… ALSO for those who will (in the future) believe in Me through their word (ministry).” Here Jesus is referring to modern day saints who believe the gospel the original 12 apostles preached some 2000 years ago, which is the same gospel being preached by God’s ministers today. These are His true saints–His Very Elect–who will spend eternity with Him and His Son, who are IN and ONE WITH God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. L.J.