John Alfred Trench.
Article 4 of 19 from 'Truth for Believers' Volume 1.
(New and Enlarged Edition 1906.)
Before calling your attention, beloved brethren, to a few things in this unparalleled scripture, I desire to cast a glance over what has preceded it, as to the general character of the instruction from chapter 13.
The scenes of chapters 13 and 14 are still laid in the house where the Lord supped with His disciples in the beginning of John 13. At the end of John 14 He says, "Arise, let us go hence"; and John 15 and John 16 were spoken while the Lord was in the public way to Gethsemane, for we find that they had not yet crossed the brook Cedron at the beginning of John 18. Now these circumstances leave their impress upon the instruction, for in chapters 13 and 14 we are occupied with the home scenes of the Father's house and the intimacies of divine fellowship into which we are brought by the power of the Holy Ghost now that Jesus is gone away, while we are also given most blessedly His service from the place where He is, by the ministry of the word, to maintain us in this heavenly communion — judging all that would tend to hinder it, for His joy and ours.
Then, and not till then, does He lead us out into the public scenes of our place in the world for fruit-bearing, discipleship, service and testimony, as in chapters 15 and 16. Our hearts must first be at perfect rest in the grace that has set us in the presence of God and in heavenly fellowship with the Father and Son before we are called into or have any power for these solemn responsibilities of our path in the earth. This is ever God's order, and we shall find it most fully maintained in the chapter before us — the last of this wonderful series.
Much has come out in these chapters of love that passeth knowledge — enough, we may well say, to assure us of an ever-present interest in it — but there is much in the heart of the Lord Jesus that has not found expression as yet. No human words can convey to that little circle round Him what they are to Him. One heart only can fully enter into it. It is the Father's. To Him He lifts His eyes (ver. 1) and pours into His ear what had long pressed for utterance, but found no possibility of it for us. But we, beloved, are admitted to draw near and have intelligence of what passes in the intimacy of communion between the Son and the Father and to find ourselves the subjects of it all! It is not God addressing His children as often in scripture, nor the revelation before our eyes of God in Christ, as we have had it generally in the gospels; but it is the Son speaking to the Father — free at last to express all that is in His heart, but in our hearing, so that we may know, as far as we can know, what is deepest there. Do our hearts rise to the sense of such amazing privilege?
"The hour is come." What hour is that that must be singled out of eternity as the hour of the existence of the Son of God, that ever and anon has seemed to cast its dark shadow across His path on earth? Twice in this gospel we have heard that no man could lay hands on Him, "for his hour was not yet come." He, too, has spoken of it — "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say; Father, save me from this hour: but," as though he would not say it, "for this cause came I unto this hour." But, strangely intermingling with the sorrow we find anticipations of brighter things connected with it, "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified." For both sorrow, and joy, and glory, that was indeed "the hour," the like of which there never has been, nor can be again.
"The hour is come" — the hour of the cross of Christ — and now in this chapter He takes His place as having passed through it — "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." A man has walked upon earth before God, the object of God's perfect delight, the only One that ever perfectly answered to His mind as to what man ought to be, over whom the heavens have opened for the first time and the voice of God has declared, "Thou art my beloved Son: in thee I am well pleased." But more than this, He has been before man the perfect expression of God in all His infinite grace, God manifest in the flesh, as God had longed to make Himself known. Still much more was needed if the glory of God was to be made good in a world of sinners. Sin was there. And the holiness and righteousness of God must be declared as to sin in the only way they could be, and that was by its judgment.
All, all has been accomplished in that hour. He who knew God's infinite love, resting on Him even as man, must now bear the infinite judgment of God against the sin of man. But He gave Himself up to it, full well knowing what was before Him. "The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?" And now, "It is finished," drained to its last dreg of bitterness. All that God is against sin has been fully manifested as no creature's measure of suffering, though it be filled to the full for eternity, could have made it known. The righteousness of God has had its utmost claim against sin, and the sinner, fully met in the death of Him who knew no sin, but who was made sin for us. In His death the history of the life of the first man, that could only sin against God, has been closed under God's judgment executed to the full for the believer. All that God is for the sinner has found its full expression. And the Son of man has found His brightest glory in the moment of His deepest humiliation and anguish; as He said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him." But what will God do for the One that has thus accomplished it? "If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him." (John 13:31-32)
There is a Man before us that has established a claim upon God for glory — "Glorify thy Son." The first chapter of Ephesians gives us God's answer to that claim; He comes in to raise Him from the dead, and set Him at the highest point of heavenly glory. The glory of God, once grieved away from Israel, and the earth, by man's sin, now makes room for itself to come in and wrap itself around the One that has glorified God in bearing the judgment, and making an end of the first man; and we behold "the second man" "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father," set "at his own right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named." (Eph. 1:19-21)
Two blessed results flow from all this, according to the Lord's words before us: — First, that to know God now fully revealed is already our portion and privilege, beyond which there can be none in eternity save the enlarged capacity to enjoy Him, and the absence of every hindering influence. So it is in the Epistle to the Romans, which has already reached the climax of its blessedness and joy in chapter 5:11, where we are set to "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ;" and similarly when in Revelation 22:1-8 — the furthest glance scripture gives us into eternity — we find the sum of all possible blessing is in "God himself shall be with them, and be their God." How blessed, beloved, to be drinking already of these springs of joy, inexhaustible — because in God Himself; nay, to have them formed within us by the Holy Ghost, as a well of living water springing up into everlasting life, that leaves no room for thirst.
But, and as essential to this first result that I have alluded to, and which we find in verse 3, there is, secondly, that which forms the main subject of the rest of the chapter. For, power being given Him over all flesh, He proceeds, for the glory of the Father, to associate us whose existence, according to the first Adam, has been closed in His death, with Himself, the last Adam, in the whole place He has entered into in resurrection, as man with God. He can do this now in divine righteousness. From verse 6 on it is opened out to us in all its wonderful detail of blessing, not so fully doctrinally as in the Epistle to the Ephesians, but in connection with the heart of the Lord Jesus, and the circumstances in which these new and wonderful associations for us have to be made good.
We see that it is already in His heart to have us thus with Himself in Psalm 22. For no sooner is the darkness over, and His voice is heard as from the transpiercing horns of divine judgment against sin, than we find Him occupied with those whom He can now associate with Himself in the light in resurrection, that is, those for whom He has borne the judgment. And in the midst of the assembly of such, owned as His brethren, He declares the name in which is found all our blessing, and leads us in the songs of praise. Alone, unutterably alone in the awful cry of overwhelming darkness, He has now those with Him whom He can lead in song of resurrection light and joy. We find all actually realised in John 20, when, from the mouth of the open sepulchre, He can say to His "brethren" — "I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." Still, the Lord anticipating all, as ever in this chapter, and yet at the same time looking back, I have no doubt, over His path on earth, can say (ver. 6), "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world." He could say of all His life, "He that hath seen ME hath seen the Father." Oh how blessed, beloved, to know the Father thus! Every ray of the glory and the grace of our God shines out from the face of Him who has loved us and wrought the work, upon the ground of which He has put us into His own relationship with Him, where we can gaze upon Him, and know the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ as our own God and Father.
But now there is a secret of divine love that must be disclosed in connection with the name He gives us all through this scripture. "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me." Who could have thought of such a gift passing between the Father and the Son? It is this gospel which brings before us so markedly the gifts and giving of divine love. We have scarce opened it when we come upon the gift which is the alone adequate expression of the love of God to this perishing world — "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" — the immensity of the love to be only known and measured by the gift! But here it is not the love of God to a world of sinners, it is the Father's love that has sought expression for itself to His Son, and found it in the gift to Him of those who have received Him from God's love while they were yet sinners.
"Thine they were, and thou gavest them me:" it was the very thing the heart of Christ would have had, and we are before Him precious, not so much here from any value in the thing possessed — though we be to Him as the pearl of great price, for which He sold all that He had — but as the sweet expression of His Father's love. Thus received from the Father, what can He do but give us eternal life (ver. 2), that in it we may have part in all the blessing and joy and glory of His own place with God, as risen from the dead?
Hence flows the peculiar blessedness of this chapter, not simply in what we are given by it, but in that we get it with Him. Who that knows Jesus will not own that it is better than all we have, that we have it with Him? Is He Son with the Father? Then He will have us sons, "not ashamed to call us brethren"; and by the revelation of the Father's name He gives us our home where He has His — "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me." But we are not at home yet. Nay, the home this gives our hearts in the Father's presence makes us keenly feel that we are not there, but in a world that had no place for Him we love, save the grave of His rejection, and which has thus become a wilderness for us. How are we to be maintained in the sense of our place in the Father's home and heart?
"I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me." (Ver. 8) Beloved brethren, the Lord Himself has been in our circumstances. He knows the trial of them full well. He has been as a Son away from home in this heartless world before us. He knows the need and desolateness of it. His joy was full, not because of the circumstances, but in spite of them. What was the power of it? He was sustained by the words of His Father in the unclouded consciousness of His love. He lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. And now having given us His own place in that love, He gives us, when He needs them no longer, the words that belong to it. Who does not know how the child away from home looks for and prizes the home letters and is sustained by them, realising afresh his unchanged place in the home affections? Just thus it is that the Lord Jesus meets our need. Oh, wondrous grace, and further unfolding of the completeness of our association with Him! He leaves us the words that made all bright for Him where all was darkest without them. Thus, and thus only, by feeding on the Father's words, are the children sustained in the children's joy while away from their home. "These things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." (Ver. 13) His place in the Father's love is ours; the words that were the means of His abiding enjoyment of it down here are ours; and thus He provides that His joy may be ours to the full while we are yet here. Yet there is more!
Would we know our path in the world? The Lord Jesus will mark it out for us. It is His own. Surely it must be so. If His place is ours above, His path must be ours below. He could not give us another; that would be to dissociate us from Himself; could we consent to it, beloved? Let us see how He does it. "I have given them thy word." (Ver. 14) The "word" here is not to be confounded with the "words" of verse 8. The order of the truth is very blessed, for the "words" (or "sayings" rather), as we have seen, have to do with our place before the Father, and are given us to maintain us in the enjoyment of it, till we are actually there. Not till this our place is perfectly settled, and provision made for full enjoyment of it, is there a word about our walk here. The heavenly light of that place can now be shed upon the path for us. All is bright up above. Not a cloud between us and our home there, where Jesus has His. With what different feelings we can turn to the scene that was once our home! And what rest to find that our path in it simply flows from our association with Him — confirming instead of causing a question as to it. Have we in times gone by, sought to walk so as to attain to be where Jesus is? We never could arrive there, or ever conceive the path that He gives us here. The Christian comes down to walk upon earth because he has got Christ's place in heaven. Hence, it follows that Christ's path is his.
"I have given them thy word." It is the expression of the mind of God, which had formed the path of the Lord here, and all that He was in it so completely, that He Himself was that word. He gives us Himself, in fact, as the perfect expression of God's mind, to form our path on earth; insomuch that the world, able to identify us with Him, "hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." Oh, beloved, how such words ought to put us to shame when we think of how little we have shared the portion of Christ's rejection and trace it to the world's having seen so little of Christ in us! We have forgotten what we are. For the Lord speaks not of what we ought to be, but of what He has made us, and therefore of what we unchangeably are. We have walked, alas! too often as men in the flesh and of the world, seeking to conform ourselves to the course and fashion of the world, instead of maintaining in our path our place of heavenly association with Christ, and therefore of complete separation from it.
This was just what the Lord Jesus dreaded for us, therefore He prays, "not that thou shouldest take them out of the world." Deep as His desire was to have us out of it with Himself, the time had not come for it, and He would be, as ever, subject to the Father's will — "but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." To fill the place of the Lord Jesus in testimony for God was now to be our business here. This is marred and ruined in the measure in which place is given to the flesh or world. We are encompassed with the danger. What is to be the delivering power? "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (Ver. 17) We have seen the word of God as that which perfectly formed Jesus in His path. Hence He is the truth, for it was fully displayed in Him. That is, His presence tested and judged everything, because it revealed God, and shed the light of God upon man, the world, and all that was in it. Now He adds, "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." He sets Himself apart from all that is of the earth by going to heaven, to give its form and fashion to His people's path here, and to them in it. He is objectively presented by the truth to our hearts where He is, and "we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:18)
This is the transforming power of the truth, beloved. It is the revelation of Christ to us; of the One who has first set us free to be occupied with Him, by making an end, in the cross, of all that we are by nature, that would otherwise have hindered this. Do we fully apprehend this immensely important principle for our walk? To be like Christ is the desire of every renewed heart. The law no longer satisfies, for it was only the measure of what God required of man in the flesh. Nothing short of full conformity to Christ in glory will satisfy God for a man in Christ. "He hath predestinated us to be conformed to the image of his Son." And the Christian could not accept less. But is not the moral likeness of His glory to be produced in our walk? This is what presses upon many, "I know I am to be perfectly like Christ in glory; but how may I be like Him in my ways here?" Here again Christianity stands out in marked contrast to the law. The law demanded that man should be what he ought to be, but had no power to deliver him from what he was. But the gospel has announced my deliverance, by setting me in Christ before God, outside all that man is in flesh, which has received its judgment in the cross. And now, if I am taught that "he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked," this is not to turn the eye in upon self again; but, disowning it as judged and gone from God, it fixes my eye on Christ, unfolds before me more and more what He is who is my life, and thus forms me like Him. It is not effort to be like Him, which would be to assert that I have power to make it, and only lead to wretchedness in the discovery that I had none; but simply occupation with Christ as the object of my heart. Here is only rest, peace and joy; herein lies the power of Christianity — of the truth to assimilate me now in character and ways to Him.
We have only to yield ourselves honestly to the truth, beloved! Fixing Christ in the glory before our eyes, it necessarily judges all that is not Christ, searching and testing us thoroughly. But then He only can fill and satisfy every desire. The truth, by revealing Him, does this, and hence weans us from the things which it judges. Does the world shine bright, decked out by Satan in its best? There is a Man in the glory that shines brighter. His puts out the glory of all else. Is there a cherished interest of the heart that is not Christ? Oh, beloved, what could have a moment's power longer, now that He tells us of Himself, and seeks to lead us into a deeper insight of what we are to Him? What could prevail against the power of such love, that only seeks to separate us from what must necessarily hinder our full enjoyment of it? It is, of course, by the power of the Spirit that Christ is thus revealed to us in the truth. Hence the important place that the Spirit has in this aspect of our sanctification, in which it may most truly be said to be progressive; for we are not like Christ yet, nor ever shall be perfectly, till we "see him as he is." One sight of Him as He is, and we are transformed into His likeness, to bear it for ever. Till then, it is needful to bear in mind that this practical sanctification is carried on for us, by the Spirit's revelation to us through the Word, of Christ, where He is in glory, and of our place in Him.
But association with Christ does not close with the path below, blessed be His name! The rest of the chapter will disclose new and wonderful aspects of it. And now I must recall your minds, beloved, to the first part of it, in which we had the work of Christ before us in its resulting glory for God and for Him, and this laid as the firm basis of all the resulting blessing for us. There were two parts of the glory claimed by Christ as the Man that had glorified God on earth. The first verse gave us His claim to all the fresh glory that, so to speak, He had earned of the Father. And will He have us sharers of the glory with Him? Yes, indeed, He will! "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them." (Ver. 22) The day for the manifestation of it has not come yet. The present is still the time for suffering with Him — "if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." But He has already received the promise of the Father, and united us to Himself in that glory by the Spirit. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." Hence it is that if Ephesians 1:20-22 gives us the glory of Christ as Man at the right hand of God, and looks on to the day when all things shall be actually put under His feet, we find saints in blessed association with Him in it all, as "the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Then will be prepared the scene for the display of the counsels of God for His own glory in man. The first man, Adam, with headship given him in the old creation, has fallen and dragged down all in his ruin; but the heavens shall give out the last Adam, who, having made good the glory of God in the fallen scene, is the One in whom all things in heaven and earth shall be securely headed up — "in whom also we have been made heirs." Then will be found associated with Him in the headship and inheritance of all, the saints given Him in the time of His rejection to be His body, His bride, the heavenly Eve of the last Adam. Then "he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day," when we shall be no longer in the path where we have so deeply failed, and, alas! dishonoured Him, but when, in spite of all, we shall be in the displayed glory of Christ.
And Oh, beloved, in what have we more deeply failed than in that which is again and again expressed here as the dear desire of the heart of the Lord for those whom He has been given out of the world — "That they may be one." At every fresh aspect of blessing presented to us this is given to us to be the practical result. Was it wondrously unfolded to us that we have been set as children before the Father, and provision made for our joy, while we were left for a little in a foreign world, in the consciousness of it? But, how precious the assurance, the heart of the Lord Jesus is occupied about us. "I pray for them." Why should He thus bear the burden of our need in intercession continually? The reason was twofold. "They are thine." We were objects of the Father's interest, and this was ever first in the heart of the Lord Jesus. But had He not His own interest in us? To be sure He had. And here we must hide our faces in shame, while we adore the grace that, looking at us not as we walk, but as grace has made us, could say, "I am glorified in them." Nor do these interests of the heart of the Father and Son clash in the least. All is in unison there — "All mine are thine, and thine are mine." One in interest, affection, object, all; now He prays, "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we." Oh, beloved, in the measure in which the name of the Father with whom we stand in so blessed relationship acted upon the heart of each child, it would knit heart to heart together down here, in interest, affection, object, all, in a oneness which finds its only fashion in the oneness of the Father and Son.
But again, have we been given the word that found its perfect expression in Jesus — the truth of all that He is where He is now — that, acting upon our hearts and consciences, it might separate us from all that is not Christ, and which, therefore, would hinder fellowship with the Father and with the Son? It was, that each walking in this divine fellowship that admits of no thought that is not in accordance with it might consequently be one with one another on earth — "as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one [not now "as we," but further] in us" — a oneness gaining its character from this fellowship. How could two of us be in such divine company, having every thought in common with God, and yet be found in different paths on earth? No, beloved, it could not be. That the saints are divided and scattered on earth is the witness how little we individually have known of fellowship with God. None can absolve himself from the shame that becomes us, and the place of humiliation before God — our only true one — in such a state of things. For a little moment after the church was formed the saints were found walking in this oneness, but oh how soon it was broken up by self coming in, as recorded for us in the Acts of the Apostles!
Yet there is even now what Satan can never touch, though the Lord could not here speak of it. It was still a mystery hid in God, but near to be revealed. We have already glanced at it in connection with the given glory of Christ. I speak of the fact that all saints in the present time have been formed into one body by the Holy Ghost, spoken of in Ephesians 4:3 as the "unity of the Spirit." It is blessed for us to bear in mind here, where we have had to speak of and to humble ourselves about the failure of saints to manifest their oneness in their walk before the world, that they are one body indissolubly before God. Hence it is that the Holy Ghost never lets us down from our responsibility as to this, but summons us to use diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. If we cannot get the saints together again upon earth as a whole, we can at least, if there are any that will be true to Christ and to what is so precious to Him, walk apart from all that disowns this unity, endeavouring to keep it in the only spirit compatible with it, "with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love." The danger is, that in looking at what has failed we should lose faith in that which can never fail, and therefore all sense of responsibility to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called." But, blessed be God, we can turn sadly, yet with relief, from the scene of the saints' failure and consequent break-down of testimony in the world, to where there can be no more — to what we have presented to us in verses 22, 23. Here all will be perfect, because removed from the responsibility of saints to the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus, shining out the brighter by our very failure.
"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." If Satan seemed to have succeeded in thwarting the desire of Christ for me, it was only for a little while. All will be made good by Him when He brings us out from heaven, perfectly one in glory. But the solemn thought is, that it will be too late for the world to believe then that the Father sent Christ. (This might have been if we had walked in manifested oneness now. Ver. 21) Then it will "know that thou hast sent me;" for none can dispute it. "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it;" but not to participate in it, as those who believe in Him do now. And yet, beloved brethren, in spite of all, the world shall also know in that blessed day of manifested glory "that thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." Yes, the Lord Jesus will have the world know our wondrous association with Him, that enters even into that which is deepest — His place in the Father's love. We do not wait till then to know it. We know it now, "to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Eph. 1:6)
Still there is that which goes beyond all this to me, beloved. There is in our association with Christ that which can, and will, be displayed. But there is that which never can, belonging to the deeper intimacies of the love of Christ. There is what surpasses the glory — nay, all that He gives — it is to be with Himself. Do you desire it? Jesus goes on to demand it! His love cannot be satisfied with less. "Father, I will" — it is the word of One whose will none can dispute — "that those, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." Oh, think of the love that actually cares to have us with Himself! He cannot bear that it should be always as now, that we should be here in the desert world, and He in the Father's house. He has given us His home to be ours above. He has called us to His path below. He will have us share His glory by and by, even as now we have His place in the Father's love. But as yet He is not satisfied. Yes, we must be with Him where He is. Oh, beloved, do our hearts respond to this love? Have we felt that He is not here, and that nothing can satisfy us but to be with Him? Or have we been allowing our hearts to get entangled with the things of this life — its pleasures, or its cares — making, or else seeking, our home in a world where He is not? Let us in presence of such love look well to it, lest we are accepting something short of what is His desire. "With me where I am;" the blessing and joy of one to whom the Lord Jesus is precious is summed up in this for eternity. It is heaven to be where He is. Yet there is more — "that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."
We have seen that there were two parts of the glory claimed in verses 1-5 of our chapter. The glory of verse 1 He has given us: but in verse 5 He speaks of another character of glory — "Now, O Father glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." He claims to enter as man into the glory that He has had eternally as the Son with the Father — His own essential divine glory. Now it is this glory that He speaks of in verse 24, and therefore calls it "my glory," only that He chooses to take it in connection with His Father's everlasting love as the expression of that. Here surely association with Him must close. But stay — He will have us where He is, to gaze upon it! It is the only thing in the chapter that He does not give us to partake with Him, because He cannot. He cannot impart to another divine glory. But, Oh, beloved! what a fresh surprise of love, to be added to all we have already had, and that goes beyond all. He demands that we shall be with Him, that we may behold with undazzled eye what we can never have part in.
But there is that which even makes it more precious still in the way in which the Lord Jesus treats His glory, even as the expression of the Father's delight in Him from eternity. If you have one you love, you want that everyone should know his value, that they may appreciate him. In a cold, heartless world, we can find but few to care about Him, whom having not seen we love. Men see no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. Even our own hearts are so little able to enter into the excellency of His glory. We can tell that "He is the chiefest among ten thousand; yea, he, is altogether lovely!" But words fail: we are conscious at least that He surpasses all our thoughts of Him. "No man knoweth the Son but the Father." Yes; but He knows our longing desire. He will bring us in, to be satisfied at last, as we gaze upon the glory which is His Father's expression of infinite delight in Him. Could anything be more exquisitely grateful to hearts that really love Him? Jesus knows it; His love has it all in store for us, the objects of it!
Oh, beloved! what can be added to this wonderful companionship with Christ in all that is His? Only a few more words to confirm all, and apply it practically, if we have hearts to take the impress of them. "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me." (Ver. 25) Associating us with Himself in the knowledge of the Father by the declaration of His name, in a world that has not known Him, He does it as the Son in the bosom of the Father. Therefore His revelation of that name is according to the love in which He dwells, which He alone can know, and of which He is the object; that we now, dwelling in it, may be formed by it in all our thoughts and ways towards one another. "And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (Ver. 26) It is, in fact, the manifestation of Christ Himself — that is, of the life and nature of God in us. "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." (1 John 4:12) Nothing short of Christ in us, before the world, could be the practical living out of the wondrous place we have been given in and with Christ before God; till at last the grace that has given and maintained us in this place, in spite of all our failures, shall issue in the glory that is the consequence of it.
Oh, beloved brethren, have we apprehended anything of this precious revelation of the heart of Christ? The Lord grant that it may lay hold of our hearts in the transforming power that belongs to it, that He may, indeed, be glorified in us.