(21) That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (22) And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
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Jesus' words should encourage us because they declare we can be in union with the Father and the Son to the extent that our experiences, knowledge, obedience, prayers, attitudes, and fellowship within the church will permit. It becomes our responsibility upon being baptized into the name of God, into God's very Family, to seek more intimate union with God.
At that time, we become spiritually united with God. That is not the end of the process but its beginning, which will end in the Kingdom of Godwhen we will have the same composition as the Father and the Son. At the first resurrection, we will be totally and completely in union with God.
Why are we to seek oneness? As this same prayer says in verse 3, "[T]his is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christwhom You have sent." Jesus defines eternal life as having an intimate relationship with God, that is, having many experiences with the Father and the Son and listening to God's Word so intently and then acting upon it with enthusiasm and energy. Such a close and loving sharing of a lifetime with them can truly be said to be like seeing and knowing the Father and the Son.
Such union with God is a high ideal, but one certainly worth striving for. It allows the Father and Son to project Themselves by the Spirit into us and transform us into the image of God. The image They impart is not what He looks like facially but how His mind works, how He relates to experiences, and how He conducts His life.
Central to becoming one with the Father and Son is Jesus' reference to truth in verse 17. The truth of God sanctifies us, sets us apart, for this very purpose, making it possible for us to become one, in union, with Them.
Today, when some women marry and desire to retain their maiden name, they hyphenate it with their husband's last name, combining them. To God, doing so indicates divided loyalties. These brides are already beginning to hold their husbands at arm's length. They are not fully invested in their new family. Women have different reasons for retaining their maiden names, but it can indicate how their marriages will fare.
This illustration may help us understand why those who do not love the truth will perish. They will not become united with the Father and the Son. It is that simple. If the truth sanctifies toward our becoming one with God, those who reject the truth will always be at odds with Him, and those who are at enmity with God will not enter His Kingdom.
Why did Jesus say to the Jews in John 8 that they were of their father the Devil? "My word has no place in you" (John 8:37). Later, He also says, "[Y]ou are not able to listen to My word" (John 8:43), and "[B]ecause I tell the truth, you do not believe Me" (John 8:45). In that state, they had no hope to be in union with the Father. He could never live in them because they were rejecting what the Son taught, who says, "The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works" (John 14:10).
— John W. Ritenbaugh