As believers in Jesus Christ we are surrounded by the world, both the religious and irreligious world. As those who have been called out of the world into God’s glorious kingdom how can we discern the difference between those who are false and those who are true? In Christ’s prayer to His Father in Heaven we see Christ defining those who are His compared with those who are not. Let’s look at this glorious passage found only in God’s holy, inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Word the Bible.
1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:1-3
God’s precious possession, His saints, are those who have eternal life through knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son through the authority given to Christ over all flesh, so that He has been empowered by the Father to give eternal life to all those whom the Father has given to Him. This gift of eternal life is contingent upon the work the Father sent the Son to do for His glory and the glory of Jesus Christ His Son.
4 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:4-5
Jesus Christ, sent by the Father of eternity, stepped out of eternity to complete the work given to Him by His Father. That work was saving sinners from their sins and the just demands of God’s holiness that all rebels against Him through their wicked works and lawless deeds should spend eternity suffering the torments of fiery hell. Jesus Christ, glorious God and Savior, accomplished this work when He died upon the cross, taking our punishment that we deserved, suffering God’s just judgment in our place and appeasing His wrath, so that God could then forgive us and receive us as His precious possession, redeemed sinners through the blood of the Lamb. This is the work that Jesus would accomplish before He rose again from the dead and returned to the Father. Only the spotless Son of God could die in our place and then rise victorious over sin, death, and the devil to give eternal life to all who will repent and believe in Him.
6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” John 17:6-8
God’s precious possession are individuals He has chosen to give to His Son Jesus Christ. No one can believe in Jesus Christ and receive His word, the Holy Bible, unless they have been given to the Son by the Father. God’s precious people will bear witness to the fact that they are the possession of God the Father and God the Son through their testimony that the Bible is indeed the very Word of the Living Eternal God.
36 “But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:36-40
44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:44-46
64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” 66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. 67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve. John 6:64-71
So the sure word of the Scripture confirms this prayer of Jesus that all God’s precious people, His possession, have been given to Him by the Father and have received His word which He received from God the Father.
9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:9-12
Those who betray Christ, being sons of perdition, are not God’s possession given to Christ for His glory. They will reject and deny Jesus Christ, and trample upon the Word of God, disowning it as God’s holy, inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Word. They are not kept by God’s name of Holy Father. They follow after other names and are of the world, ungodly. In contrast, God’s precious possession who are Christ’s people will glorify Him by bearing fruit in accordance with the truth of God’s Word and the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
13 “But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20 I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:13-21
Christ’s salvific work upon the cross and resurrection from the dead sanctifies all of God’s precious people; set apart to God they believe the truth and are sanctified by the truth, the written Word of God, the Bible. Belief in Jesus Christ and the Bible as the very Word of God sets God’s precious people apart from the world. Even though we are in the world, our glorious Father keeps us set apart to Himself and protected from the snares of the devil. How many of us have been delivered from the deceit that has expanded and enlarged the work of Satan in deceiving the whole world especially the counterfeit church? Unlike the world, God’s precious people come to Him through faith in Christ and receive His Word as the truth.
19 “And this is condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:19
22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?” 23 and He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:22-24
Christ Jesus, in this passage from John seventeen, prays not only for His apostles but also for His disciples who believe in Him through the testimony of their eyewitness accounts. Faith for all believers after the ascension of Jesus Christ (except the apostle Paul) has been founded upon this testimony that is faithfully given by the apostles and, after their deaths, faithfully found only in the Holy Bible. Jesus Christ promised special God given empowerment for them through the Holy Spirit to write the truth, exactly what God superintended, and remember all things that Jesus had said to them. So our faith in Christ is derived from the truth of the Word of God revealed to our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit which doubly sets us apart as God’s precious possession.
16 “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you.” John 14:26
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:26-27
13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-14
All that Christ has done, that He commands us to do, is for God’s glory and to demonstrate to the world the Father sent the Son as Savior of the world, and all who are His possession through repentant faith in Jesus Christ are loved by the Father with the same love He gives to the Son. What glorious good news! We are God’s precious people, unknown to the world, but known to Christ and His Father, and at the end, we will be taken up into heaven to behold Christ’s glory, given to Him by the Father because the Father loved Him and us before the foundation of the world. What amazing grace! What a privilege to be God’s precious possession, His treasured people. Amen!
22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that that world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also whom you gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them and I in them.” John 17:22-26
Lord Jesus Christ we are Your precious possession through the sovereign work of God in our hearts by Your Holy Spirit Who revealed to us our undone condition and blessed us with the grace and power to repent and believe in You and receive You as Lord and Savior. Lord Jesus You indeed indwell us by the Holy Spirit and we are kept safe in God our Father, His Holy name, for eternity. Thank You Jesus Christ for being our Savior and Lord Who died upon the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again from the dead. Thank You for the gospel of our salvation. Thank You that we are Your precious people through belief in the truth found only in the holy, inspired, inerrant, infallible, preserved Word of God, the Holy Bible. May we share the truth of the gospel with the world for the salvation of sinners and their everlasting felicity! Amen!