6-12 I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world;
They’ll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).
20-23 I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.
John 17:6-12, 20-23 Message
For as in our first birth into this world we did nothing and triumphed gloriously, so in the second birth of our death we need do even less to triumph more. By Jesus’ death in ours, and by our death in his, we have laughingly, uproariously, roariously, outrageously beaten the system. It is a piece of wildly Good News: what a shame we don’t let the world of losers hear it more often.
Can I be honest with you?
The first time I really heard this message I thought it was heresy. If I had been by myself, I would have left the meeting. I was texting my wife telling her, “I don’t agree with this. I think this is heresy.” Now you may be asking what the message was? Here it is.
God was in Christ. He was working through Christ to bring the whole world back to Himself. God no longer held men’s sins against them. And He gave us the work of telling and showing men this.
This is the second layer of the gospel. The first layer is John 3:16. Once you understand that God loves you and sent Jesus, you have to then learn that God was in Christ and is NOT holding your sins against you. By Jesus dying on the cross He forever satisfied and closed the separation of our sins.
I’m not sure why I believed this truth to be error. Perhaps, I was being too cautious of falling into heresy. Maybe, I’d never really heard it. It could be that I actually believed the opposite, that God was still holding my sins against me.
Once I truly encountered Grace, not the concept but the person, a lot of what I thought I believed was called into question. This quote has been a guiding thought for me in these past two years.
Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.
Imagine what would’ve happened if Saul, Apostle Paul, had never encountered Grace and then began to understand everything he ever knew in a light of Jesus.
Let me be clear: I am not saying throw everything you’ve ever believed out the window. What I am saying is to ask Holy Spirit to guide you into truth, point you to Jesus, and comfort you in the questions.
The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into him, that they may delight in his Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God himself in the core and center of their hearts.
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
I’ve heard it said that some people view the Trinity as “Father, Son, and Holy Bible”. While the Bible is the written word of God and should be held with high esteem, it should not be placed above the Word Himself. The Bible is a sherpa, but not Everest. The Bible is “Drake“, but not Daddy Warbucks. The Bible is Mr. Beaver, but not Aslan.
Studying the Bible is not about knowing more scriptures or memorizing more verses, it’s about learning more about God. Study it, read it, cross-reference it, devotion it, memorize it, but don’t idolize it.
Let the written word create in you a desire to study, read, cross-reference, and memorize the Living Word.
The goal of the Bible is not to know the Bible – the goal is to know the author.