J. N. Darby.
In the previous chapter the Lord tells them He was going away; here He tells them what would be their comfort - He went to prepare a place for them - He would bring them to the same place as Himself - He would come for them Himself, not send for them. To be conformed to the image of His Son, that is the end of all knowledge. God's purpose was to give me a place with the Son: He is the first born among many brethren. He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one - one set - that is the key of all blessings.
Q. Verse 7. How does He mean "they would have known the Father" - not in relationship?
A. No, not in relationship till the Holy Ghost came; but He was then the revelation of the Father; purity, holiness, love, all that the Father is, was manifested in Him; and He was going to the Father, so they knew where, and they knew the way, for He was the way. The moment the Son was there, the name of the Father was revealed. God has come out in Christ; when God does come out, it is the Father revealed in the Son.
37 There are four names by which God revealed Himself. To Abraham it was "God Almighty," to Israel as "Jehovah;" "Most High," in the millennium; to us, "the Father" revealed in the Son.
"This is the hidden wisdom ordained before the world unto our glory," not revealed before, but God has revealed it unto us by His Spirit. The revelation is by the Holy Ghost - the words by which the revelation is communicated - and it is still the Holy Ghost who works to make me know it.
You do not get the Father in Hebrews; you get the priesthood, we do not get all the privileges, but you can go in, no hindrance to your going (Heb. 9:8, Heb. 10:19); but it is God's throne, not the Father's.
John 17:21-22. The world will know it when we appear in glory, but we know it now, though the treasure is in a poor earthen vessel.
Q. But our apprehension of it does not depend on natural intelligence?
38 A. No, it is spiritually discerned.
Q. Then, as it is by divine power, there is no limit to what we may have, or to what we may enter into?
A. No, only we do not get it all at once, but what we learn makes us capable of getting more.
Q. When He says (John 16:18), "I will come to you," does He mean by the Spirit?
A. No, that is Christ Himself. (Ver. 20.) He does not say here, "the Father in me;" that had been while He was on earth, but in that day which was coming, they should know another thing - "I in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." The Father had been revealed in Him - they were dull - but the thing was there for them. They never once understood what He said, never on any occasion; when they said they did (John 16:29), they only proved they did not; they said, "Now speakest thou plainly . … by this we believe that thou camest out from God;" but they dropped "the Father:" the Lord responds, "Do ye now believe?"
We have the Spirit to enable us to understand - I in the Father, not He revealed in me. When the Spirit is come, I know that Christ is in me and I in Him; and that gives me everything.
Q. Is there an intended difference between "abide in" and being "in"?
39 A. It is as a consequence of verse 16 that it is said, "He in me." We get in Acts 1, 2. what was a great comfort to me; that the Holy Ghost was in Christ after His resurrection - we shall have the Holy Ghost for ever in us. He is always working. We find Him so working in creation. "By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens;" and there is a remarkable verse in Haggai 2:5 - in Christ's miracles, and always.
Q. Is not the Holy Ghost's work now to bring us (the church) to Christ?
A. The Holy Ghost is like a steamship, with a power to surmount hindrances; not dependent on the wind like a sailing vessel. There are difficulties and hindrances by the way, which He has to surmount; but when He has brought us to heaven, there is nothing to do, but to unfold to us what is there.
Christ never glorified Himself; He says, "Father, glorify thou me." He even gets the Holy Ghost for us "from the Father."
"Ye in me" brings us into all that He has received. "Not as the world giveth;" the world gives and consequently possesses no longer, but Christ gives by bringing us into all that He has as Man.
"That I am in my Father" introduces me to heavenly things; they ought to have known the Father in Him down here, but now we know Him in the Father. I am then a son as He is. When on earth, He always spoke of God as "My Father;" when made sin it is "My God;" afterwards it is as God and Father, but it is also, "My God and your God, my Father and your Father."
40 In the epistles we get constantly "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"Because ye are sons God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba Father;" we have the Father's love and Christ's; but, besides, we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son.
Q. And that is true Christianity?
A. Yes, Christianity is heavenly; everything will be gathered up under one Head, in heaven and on earth. We have the heavenly place - "blessed in heavenly places."
Q. How few have really got that?
A. They have not got into it, but it is theirs. Many stop at being clear from the first Adam - the debt paid - but they do not get hold of being put into the second Adam.
Every one brought into glory is glory to Christ, and I have to rejoice in His glory, not merely that I am glorified.
The love of the Father is the spring and centre of the new creation.
41 The spirit of the world is opposed to the spirit of Christ. I have one thing to desire - to please Christ here, to walk as He walked.
Another thing we get is God's rest. He would have us enjoying it; you do not find rest here. If you find a very happy meeting, you may be sure the devil will try and spoil it - there is no rest here.
Q. How do you understand verse 23?
A. If we get into their abode, they make us their abode. "If a man love me," etc.; all in this part of John is conditional. We ought to realise these things. It is from the lack of obedience there is lack of joy.
There are two things in verse 21; He that "hath" and "keepeth." Having His commandments is one mark of the obedient child; a careless child will not know them. It is a wonderful thing to know we are in Christ and Christ in us now.
Knowing what He has brought me into is another thing from knowing what He has brought me out of.
Further on we get another thing - peace; not merely peace of conscience, though we get that, but Christ's peace, the peace He had when walking through the world.
Q. Would that be the same as the "peace of God" in Philippians 4?
42 A. No, the peace of God is another thing; nothing can trouble God's peace, but the thought here is that Christ's peace fills my heart, walking through a scene where disturbing things are.
And how the blessed Lord reckons on our hearts entering into His joy! "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice." If you are thinking of yourselves, you will not, but He counts on our hearts.
"At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you." We are one with Him. If I am in Christ, then Christ is in me. He appears in the presence of God for you; you ought to appear in the presence of the world for Him.
It does not say, You "shall be" the epistle of Christ, but, Ye "are;" that is our responsibility, but it is not connected with our acceptance.
You cannot make yourself my child, though you may be ever so childlike, you must be in the place first. We are the epistles of Christ.
The Lord give us to know our obligation to the One who loved us in the common things of life.