Amazing But True
In his high-priestly prayer Jesus said to his Father: “All I have is yours and all you have is mine.” (John 17: 10). This is a remarkable statement revealing the profound oneness and connection of the Father and the Son. Even more amazing are the words Jesus utters in this same prayer a little later when he prays for those who would believe because of the message the apostles preached—a prayer for you and me, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I 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.” (John 17:26) Put simply Jesus wants us to know what he knows and to experience what he experiences.
This brings to mind something C.S. Lewis wrote, “Apparently, then, our lifelong nostalgia, our longing to be reunited with something in the universe from which we now feel cut off, to be inside of some door which we have always seen from the outside, is no mere neurotic fancy, but the truest index of our real situation. And to be at last summoned inside would be both glory and honour beyond all our merits and also the healing of that old ache.” This longing is a proper and appropriate desire that perfectly aligns with the designs God has always had for the human race. Jesus has ‘summoned us inside’ so that we might be participants in his knowledge of and connection to the Father.
The apostle Paul explains that this is the long-term plan God has always had for us, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (Romans 8: 29) The ultimate goal is that we might share in the glory of Christ. Justification is not the end – it is a means to an end. The end is to share in the glory of Christ
As Paul has it elsewhere, “God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2: 13-14). It couldn’t be plainer that the grand plan of the incarnation includes, not only salvation from sin, but sharing in the glory of Christ. Only Jesus can do this because he alone is the unique Son of the Father.
Most people baulk at these passages saying, “But I’m not worthy.” No argument from me. I can well believe it. But that’s the point! That’s what justification and sanctification is all about. Only Jesus makes us able to enter this relationship of love. This is not a relationship we have manufactured or forged our way into. We can’t earn it or make it happen; we can only receive it as a gift. We can only let God love us.