A WONDERFUL POSSIBILITY In the following verses of Scripture, lies the foundation and provision for one of man's greatest opportunities. We need to read it very carefully and study it even more prayerfully. "I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine; and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. And I am no more in the world; and yet themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition that Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I have given them Thy Word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in the truth. I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me. And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one; just as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me. Father I desire that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they behold My glory which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the Foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee, yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send me; and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me be in them, and I in them." John 17:9-26 (New American Standard) In our brief study of this Scripture, we can discover many of the deeper truths of the victorious Christian life. We can discover these by answering five very key questions. These are: (1) Why was this needed ? (2) To whom was it directed ? (3) Who provided it ? (4) Exactly what was the blessing or gift ? and (5) What was the purpose of it being given. Before we look at the Scripture itself, there are two very important words which need to be discussed. A solid understanding of these words and their meanings is very important to our study. The first of these is the word "sanctify". In the study of this word, three dif- ferent meanings can be attached to it. Edward D. Walker gives one of its meanings or forms in the following: "The word "sanctify" is made from the Latin adjective "sanctus",(meaning Holy) and the Latin verb "facere",(meaning to make) and the literal significance in the impera- tive mood is "make them Holy" Another meaning or form of this word "sanctify, which finds its use mostly in the Old Testament is related to separation. A. B. Simpson gives us a definition along with a few examples in his book: "Wholly Sanctified", in which he says: "It means to separate. This idea can be traced throughout its use in connection with ceremonial ordinances". He then proceeds to give us a few examples: "The idea of separation is first suggested in the account of creation in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, and there; probably, we see the first essential figure of sanctification. God's first work in bring order; law and light out of chaos, to put an expanse or gulf between the worlds of darkness and light, of the earth and the heavens" "He separated the family of Seth from the worldly race of Cain. He separated Noah and his family from an ungodly world. He separated Isreal from Egypt and the surrounding nations " In the New Testament, it sometimes has the same meaning. An example of this is in II Corinthians 6:17 "Come out from among them and be separate, saith the Lord". Here the word sanctification is shown as our voluntary separation from the world and its evil. However, we are not to try alone to improve our unholy condition, but we are to put off the world and the old life. This; however is NOT holiness or sanctification; it is just an early step toward receiving it. The third meaning or form comes from the Greek used in the New Testament. The two Greek words used have completely different meanings. The word 'Hagiazo', means to set apart. The usage of this word alludes its self to the Old Testament meaning of the word sanctify. The other word 'Hagiasmos, whose meaning relates to purity. In using this word for sanctification, it alludes to an inward state of one's heart and soul. This is the more common meaning and usage of the word in the New Testament. Now comes the word, "perfect". Here is an even more trouble- some word than that of sanctify. It is not because of what the Bible has to say on this subject, but what people and churches have added to its meaning. The word perfect or perfection in its New Testament usage does not always have a clear meaning In some cases, it refers to the absolute perfection of God and in other cases it refers to that perfection or love that should exist between God and His people. George D. Waston speaks along these lines when he states: "The term "perfect" refers to us as Christians not as perfect mechanics or perfect farmers, but perfect believers in Christ;" Perfect in our submission, our trust, and our love". We are going to find out if we already don't know it that this is imposs- ible in our own strength or form of life style. WHY WAS IT NEEDED The first hint is given us in verse 14: "and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world." Christ knew that their life would not be easy. He could see the persecution that was coming. He knew the problems of this modern society. However, He also recognized two far more greater dangers. The first of these was man himself: his perverted inward nature. Martin W Knapp points this out very clearly when he states: "This carnality, which is a corruption of the basic powers and urges of the self-life, causes man to be content to live and cater to destruction It was this quality of man himself plus the second danger which the Lord describes in verse 15b: "But to keep them from the evil one." Paul also saw this danger and describes it in Eph 6:12 "for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." If they were to live above this world and complete the mission that Christ had sent them on, it would be necessary for them to have Divine help. They, as we, cannot hope to do the will of the Lord in our own strength. TO WHOM WAS IT TO BE GIVEN ? In verse 9: "But of those whom Thou has given Me; for they are mine." and again in verse 25: "Yet I have known Thee: and these have known that Thou dist send Me." These people had two qualities: the first being that they were given of God; Born again of His Spirit. Secondly they had given themselves back to Christ for He spoke of them as His own. Also then these would have to be saved,born again, given of God in the full faith and knowledge of who Christ was and who sent Him. These people had to be the disciples and those who believed at the time of this prayer. One other group is spoken of in verse 20b: "but for those ALSO WHO BELIEVE in Me through THEIR WORD." This gift was not only to be given to a special few of that day, but to as many as would believe on Christ. Praise the Lord!!!!! It was to include you and me and who- soever will !!!!! WHO PROVIDED IT ? The provision has a dual but yet a oneness in origin. Holiness has to be related and traced to a Holy Almighty God. He must be the source "Aluen states that: Holiness is the foundation on which the whole conception of God rests." Connecting this source to man is the other side of our dual provision in this blessing. A Holy God must demand and expect Holiness in His people. Henry C Thiessen stated all of this so clearly when he said: "In God's holiness lies the reason for the atonement; and WHAT His holiness demanded; HIS LOVE PROVIDED." Now where does this all fit into the Scripture at hand. Note the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in the 19th verse "I sanctify myself." Here is the provision. Consider for a moment the meanings of the word sanctify. What was He separating Himself to ? How real that separation was even to the bitter cup of the cross. Out of the suffering, and shame of it comes the revelation of the glory of His holiness and love. Here is where the blessing became a possible and real reality. EXACTLY WHAT WAS THE BLESSING ? What was this blessing or experience the Lord was praying to the Father to give and was soon to give His life so that it could be given ? In our Scripture, We can find a number of gifts. The first of these is found in verse 13, but for the moment, let's skip over it and proceed with the next one. So now, we will want to consider verse 19: "that they themselves also may be sanctified in the truth. If we substitute our other meaning for the word sanctify, the verse would then read: "also may be made holy in truth." Notice the completeness of this statement. One author notes this as follows: "He did not pray that they might become religious... that they might have a measure of holiness, but that they may be made holy." To be correct, the Greek word used here is "hagiasmos" and its meaning relates to 'Purity or Purifier." The synonym "holy" can be used in its place without any problems because God's holiness is the truest and perfect form of purity. One more thought is that there are those,who would say for us to have this today,this is not possible. May I refer them to verse 20: "I don't not ask in behalf of these alone, but for THOSE ALSO WHO BELIEVE IN ME THROUGH THEIR WORD." The can be little doubt that this refers to the whosoever will. This was true in the time of the disciples, it is true today , and it will be true until He comes. The next item is found in verse 21: "that they all be one " and again in verse 23: I in them and Thou in Me, that they MAY be perfected in unity." Here the Lord compares and prays for the unity and love that should exist between Christians with the unity of the Trinity. It is also most interesting to note the condition of the disciples on the Day of Pent- acost as recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Acts "they were ALL with ONE accord in one place". His prayer was not only heard, but answered to give us an example that we could understand. However there is even still more to be found here. Take note of the second half of v21: "even as Thou,Father art in me, and I in Thee ,that they also may be in Us. The King James version say it like this "that they might one in us." Consider this for a moment in the light of Hebrews 12:10: "that we might be partakers of His holiness: II Peter 1:4 "ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature" and Ephesians 3:6 "partakers of His promise in Christ." All of this add up to one very stirring fact; the possibility of becoming like Christ; to have His nature, humility and love: oh that beautiful oneness with Him. But there are those who will say it is not possible to have God's Holiness while we are in this life here on earth. I must say, I agree with them in the area of quantity, but NOT in the area of quality. Maybe the following illustration will help explain this position.If I were to proceed to the Royal Gorge in Colorado and proceed to the bottom of it, I would find the Arkansas River: that mighty rushing stream; that cut its way through thousands of feet of rock over the years. If I were to take a small bottle and dip out some of the water from this river, then when I return here, could I not hold this bottle of water and say here is the Arkansas River ? For in every part;physically and chemically, its state is the same as the water in the river. However it is not the complete quantity of water that the actual river has. God's Holiness in a sanctified man is something like this. While man does not have the entire quantity of ALL the ATTRIBUTES associated with God's Holiness, he most assuredly can and does have its qualities. This is a fact that no one can deny, for to deny it ,is to deny what the Lord prayed for and what the Father gave at Pentecost. Maybe it could better be expressed like this: "Holiness is the very essence of the Divine Being; and in the breathing of His Spirit into you, He made you a partaker of His Divine nature." Now there is one more blessing or subject that the Lord prayed for. Some would call this "Perfect Love." The Scripture for this is found in verse 26: "and will make it known that the Love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be IN them and I in them." One must stand in awe at this fact. That God's love for His Son can be in us. Do we dare ask for this fact to be made any clearer than it is here ? WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE ? We can in our study, uncover three major purposes, which will sum themselves into one common theme. The first of these can be found in verse 18: "As thou didst send me into the world, I also have sent them into the world." Note the next phrase in verse 19: "And for their sakes I sanctify myself." Our Lord knew only to well, the almost impossible task He was sending them on. To convince the world of the need of Him in their lives and show the world who He really was: the Son of God. One person said the following along these lines: "Oh said I,if I were an artist and could paint a picture of my Lord, that could move the multi- tudes and make Christ more REAL to the lost world." What more of an effective way could He have given us, than for us to be made Holy and shed abroad His Love and Nature in our lives.!! The next two statements reinforce this idea. Consider the following in verse 21: "That the world may believe that Thou didst send Me." and again where the Lord states in verse 23: "That the world may know that Thou didst send me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me." Oh praise and thank God for out of His love comes the possibility of sharing His Holiness and Love; so that others might find Christ. They might find Him through the witness of His Love and Holiness in our lives. Now just for a moment in closing, let's go back to the verse we skipped over. Look back to verse 13: "But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in them- selves." After reading this Scripture and preparing this paper, I can say that joy has a different meaning now. Seeing people getting saved and sanctified with the resulting life for Him is where the true joy is. This prayer made it all possible : Man's Greatest Possibility. Author Unknown