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.
23 I in them, and You in Me;
It was through Jesus that His followers had unity with the Father (Jn 17:21). He was the mediating link between His disciples and the Father.
that [purpose] they may be made perfect in one,
This verse gives two purposes for unity among the followers of Christ: (1) that believers would be mature in unity and (2) that the world would be exposed to Christ’s mission.
Jesus prayed here for a mature or complete oneness—”made perfect in one.” “Perfect in one” has to do with being brought into rich unity that comes from God; they were brought completely to oneness. The Greek tense indicates that “perfect in one” was a state that they needed to attain, a stage of maturity. They needed to reach a more mature unity.
This oneness does not come from believers themselves but from their interrelationship with members of the Trinity.
Christian unity is to grow into maturity.
Jesus has already achieved a oneness for us, yet it is also something that needs to develop. We need to grow into unity. Our unity is real but not perfect. God requires us to adjust our attitude toward others; we need to love others more. There is a need to grow in grace and into maturity (2 Pe 3:18).
Can we achieve perfect unity while here on earth? Or is the perfect oneness that Jesus is talking about only available to us after Jesus returns? It’s hard for me to think that in our broken and sinful state perfect unity is possible for us to achieve even with the Holy Spirit.
Kemper, thanks for your blog. The Greek word for “perfect” does not connote what it does in English, such as perfection. The Greek word teleiow conveys ideas such as finished, completed, or matured. The idea here is probably matured.
I Love the way God has made a way for to come into unity as one in him we are made perfect! Praise God
I dont think that we can attain this state on earth because of our sin nature because 1John 3:2 says that we will be like Him when He appears. We will be fully transformed, from glory to glory.
Ephesians 3:19 explains this as “the measure” of the fullness of God that we will attain to. Surely with a sin nature that cannot happen here on earth. But we can continue to be transformed, conformed to the image of Christ as we are predestined to be. Its a process of maturity until we reach heaven and are complete in our transformation into the image of Christ. I see this as the completion of our transformation…just as Jesus was transfigured as he talked with Moses and Elijah on the Mountain. That to me is the picture of what we will be like in heaven. The completion of our Salvation, Sanctification process and will be everything God planned for His children who love Him.
Thank you, Karen.