John 17:6                  God Sees No Sin in His Elect                               5/13/2012     

Š      The Lord’s Prayer (John 17)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.      I Have Manifested Thy Name (John 17:6, Ecc 7:20, Matt 11:25-27, 1John 5:20, John 17:3)

 

 

 

 

 

Š      Unto the Men Which Thou Gavest Me (John 17:6, 6:70, 6:37, 6:44, 10:27-28, Eph 1:3-11)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      Thine They Were (Rom 8:28-30, 4:25, Matt 7:13-14, John 17:6)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.      Thou Gavest Them Me (Eph 1:3-4, 2:4-7, Rom 4:8)

 

 

 

 

 

Š      They Have Kept Thy Word (John 17:6, Rom 4:8, Eph 2:10)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, John 17:6 (2X). When we consider this chapter, John 17, we understand that it is a prayer of the Lord Jesus.

Š      The Lord’s Prayer (John 17)

When we look at this chapter in perspective we see three subsections. In verses 1-5 the Lord Jesus prays for Himself, for it was a grievous battle which He was facing. In verses 6-19 the Lord Jesus prays for His faithful disciples who were alive; He does not pray for Judas Iscariot, for Judas had already fallen away. Then in verses 20-26 the Lord Jesus prays for those who should believe on Him in the future, and that includes us. The transition at the beginning of the 6th verse is similar to the transition in the 20th verse. Paraphrased in verse 6 He says, “I pray not for myself alone, but for the men to whom I have manifested Thy Name,” whereas in verse 20 He says, “I pray not for them alone (i.e. the apostles) but for them also which shall believe in Me through their word.” But we do not have to wait for verse 20, for we can see ourselves already in verses 6-19.

When we look again at verses 6-19 we see that the Lord describes His disciples in general terms which could apply just as well to us. And so, verses 6-19 are representative in character, representing more than just the eleven apostles. Let us now read the verse in question, John 17:6.

#1.      I Have Manifested Thy Name (John 17:6, Ecc 7:20, Matt 11:25-27, 1John 5:20, John 17:3)

John 17:6,   I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

Even though it is only one verse, this verse is an example of the richness of this prayer of the Lord Jesus. This verse touches on at least 6 topics, which we will discuss in the following sequence: #1, I Have Manifested Thy Name; #2, Unto the Men Which Thou Gavest Me; #3, Thine They Were; #4, From Before the Foundation of the World; #5, Thou Gavest Them Me; #6, They Have Kept Thy Word. By now you might have the impression that this is going to be a dry analytical sermon. Analytical? Yes; for I always attempt to dissect the Word of God in an analytical manner, for I always want to know first of all, “What did the Lord say?” But dry? Not really; for I want to show you the love of God for those whom He has chosen to love. You see, this verse, John 17:6, is totally drenched in the love of God for His people, to the extent that God sees absolutely no sin in His elect people. That is why the title if this sermon is, God Sees No Sin in His Elect (2X). I do not mean to say that God has become blind to sin, or that God is deliberately closing His eyes to every sin that His elect people would commit, for that would be an insult to the righteousness of God. God’s righteousness must prevail at all times. As you know, the righteousness of God means that God is an absolutely righteous Judge; He is a just Judge who demands that every sin must receive a just reward. And so, what is going on that God does not see the sins of His elect? What is going on that God loves His people, whom He has chosen to be the special people of God? What is going on that He does not see their sins? Have people suddenly become so holy that they do not sin anymore? No, that is not the case. People are sinning all the time, and even saved people are sinning all the time. God laid down a fundamental principle in Ecc 7:20, where God says, “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” In other words, “There is not a saint living here on earth who does not sin.” But why does God not see their sin? For this we need to start at the beginning of John 17:6.

“I have manifested thy name.” Please put a sticker here in John 17 and please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 11:25 (2X). Did the Lord Jesus proclaim the Gospel to everyone He met on this earth? No, He did not! He was very selective. The Lord Jesus revealed the Gospel only to those to whom He wanted to know the Gospel. We read in Matt 11:25-27,

Matt 11:25-27, “25 ¶  At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26  Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27  All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Note these last words, “and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” What does that mean? It means that the Lord only wanted to save those to whom He has revealed the Father. We learn this from an earlier verse in John 17 about the nature of salvation. Please turn again to John 17, and now we want to focus on verse 3. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Therefore, salvation is to know the Lord Jesus and to know the Father who sent Him. This does not mean knowing Him intellectually, but knowing Him personally: Knowing Him as your heavenly Father, and knowing Him as your Protector and Redeemer and Brother, and knowing Him and loving Him intimately as your Bridegroom and you are the Bride. This is the person to whom the Lord Jesus has revealed Himself and has revealed the Father. That is why God inspired the words of 1John 5:20,

1John 5:20, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” Can you see the exclusivity in these verses? Can you see the love of God for His special people? It is a love that is not shared with other people in the world. Think of it: God loves people who still sin every day, and who insult Him every day, and who are responsible for bringing His Son to a cruel cross, and let Him die there. These are the special people whom God desires to save and desires to pour His love upon them. This is also the reason why Jesus said in:

John 17:6, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.”

Š      Unto the Men Which Thou Gavest Me (John 17:6, 6:70, 6:37, 6:44, 10:27-28, Eph 1:3-11)

Who were the men which the Father gave to the Lord Jesus? In the first place the Lord referred to the eleven disciples who remained faithful to Him. The Lord Jesus said of them in John 6:70 that they were saved already. The Lord Jesus had revealed to them the Father. Please turn in your Bibles to John chapter 6, John 6:37 (2X). Does God ever force people to come to the Lord Jesus? Certainly God forces people to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked, and therefore the heart of man is steeped in unbelief, because the heart of the natural man is totally under the power of Satan. Therefore, if God wants to save anyone He must forcibly change that man’s thought process so that he is no longer under the power of Satan. The Lord Jesus spoke of such people who have been loosed from Satan’s power in John 6:37,

John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” That word “shall” means that every individual whom the Father has determined to give to Jesus “shall” come to Jesus, regardless whether he is willing or not willing. Drop down to John 6:44

John 6:44, “No man CAN come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” That word “draw” means to draw by inward power, or to forcibly drag. Definitely, the Father takes the sinner’s soul and drags it to the Lord Jesus. That is the meaning of that Greek word which has been translated draw. But since not all people come to faith in the Lord Jesus, why does the Father draw some people to Jesus, but He does not do that for all people. The answer is given partially in John chapter 10. Please turn to the 10th chapter of John, John 10:27 (2X). The Lord Jesus stated that there is a difference between His sheep and those who are not His sheep.

John 10:27-28, “27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” But then, who are His sheep? Were they His sheep from the beginning of time? Or did they become His sheep when they accepted the Lord Jesus as their savior? To answer this question we have to transfer ourselves to timeless eternity past, before the foundation of the world. Please turn to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 1:3 (2X). God states here that He chose a certain number of people long before the foundation of the world. They are God’s special people, God’s elect; and in fact God predestined their destiny, and they were to be the Bride of Christ. And so, what we see here is that before the foundation of the world the Father chose a Bride for His Son, and this Bride consisted of all those whom the Father chose unto salvation. This Bride consisted of a bunch of sinful people, but this was a fabulous plan of salvation that God made known to us here in Eph 1:3-11,

Eph 1:3-11, “3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved, 7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8  Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9  Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”

These were the men whom the Father had given to the Lord Jesus. And the Father made them the sheep of the Lord Jesus; not because they had reached out and accepted the Lord Jesus as their Savior, but the Father made them the sheep of the Lord Jesus “according to the good pleasure of His will.” You see, salvation is entirely a gift of God’s grace and is not based on any works on our part. Therefore, we cannot say that the Father looked down the corridors of time to see who would believe on Jesus, and then the Father chose those people unto salvation, for this would again be a salvation by works. The Lord Jesus presented His own people along with Himself. He bore our names on His heart before the throne of His Father. Let us review the summary of the Gospel stated in Eph 2:8-9.

Eph 2:8-9, “8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The emphasis is on “Not of works,” and therefore God does not base salvation on any works that we are going to do. It is based entirely on His will.

#2.      Thine They Were (Rom 8:28-30, 4:25, Matt 7:13-14, John 17:6)

And so, what do we see here? God the Father chose a certain number of sinful people from the masses of wicked mankind. They were His elect. But a righteous God demands that every sin must be paid. Then He transferred these people into the hands of His Son, God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All this took place in timeless eternity before the foundation of the world. We did not exist yet, and our souls did not exist yet. All that existed was God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, and God in His infinite wisdom knew how history was to enfold. God knew our names and He knew every move we were going to make and every move that all the other people were going to make. And even though we were going to be born as wicked as everyone else, God loved us from eternity past, but He never loved those who were not elected unto salvation. And so, How does the love of God for His elect differentiate between those whom He has elected, and those whom He did not elect? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom 8:28 (2X). Since the Father determined that we were going to be saved, His Holy Spirit took care of all the circumstances in our life so that we would be saved. But God is also infinitely righteous. It means that God is a righteous Judge. His righteousness demands that every sin must be atoned for, and His righteousness must be satisfied at any cost. His righteousness even dominates His love for us, and it dominated His love for His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father loved His only begotten Son more than anyone else, but to fulfill His righteousness the Father sent the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross. Can you see the righteousness of God in this case? God’s righteousness must be satisfied. We read in Rom 8:28-30,

Rom 8:28-30, “28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” And notice three things in this passage: He called us (past tense), and He justified us (past tense), and He glorified us (past tense). When did the Father call us? He called us from the time that He created Adam and Eve, for all generations that preceded our birth were called to appear on earth to set the stage for our appearing. That is how all things work together for our good. Now the question: When were we justified? When were we declared just in the eyes of God? In principle, God declared us just when He chose us before the foundation of the world, but our sins were still not paid, and thus it was a proleptic vision that made Him declare us just in His sight. But then in AD 33, after the cross, God says in Rom 4:25,

Rom 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

In other words, we were justified in the sight of the Father when the Lord Jesus completed His atonement for our sins, and His atonement was only complete at the time of His resurrection. That is why all the elect were justified when Christ was raised from the tomb, and that is why no one else was justified when Christ was raised from the tomb, for if Christ would have completed the atonement for the sins of every one in the world then the Father would have been obligated to arrange for them to be Born Again in due time. But since the number of saved people in the world is only a tiny number compared with the number of the unsaved (Matt 7:13-14), Christ did not pay for the sins of all those who themselves have to atone for their own sins in hell. We cannot say that hell is populated by people for whom Christ suffered and died on the cross. That would make Christ a failure, and we may not insult God with this failure. From this we can see that God loved us from eternity past, whereas He never loved those who end up in hell. And so, this was the reason the Lord Jesus said in John 17:6, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” God determined our destiny from before the foundation of the world.

#3.      Thou Gavest Them Me (Eph 1:3-4, 2:4-7, Rom 4:8)

When were we glorified, past tense? We were glorified when 40 days after His resurrection the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, and cast Satan out of heaven, and took His seat on the right hand of the Father. Do we have any Scriptural evidence for this statement? Yes we do. Please turn to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:4 (2X). First of all, we have read in Eph 1:3-4 that we were placed in Christ from before the foundation of the world. We were still in Christ when He was crucified, when He died, and was buried, and was raised from the grave. We were still in Christ when He ascended into heaven and cast Satan out of heaven. Therefore we are seated with Him in the heavenlies at the right hand of God the Father. It is in this sense that we were glorified with Him and in Him. We read in

Eph 2:4-7, “4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” In verse 5 we read in parentheses, “By grace are ye saved” as a reminder that we had nothing to do with being made alive together with Christ, for we were not bodily present when Christ rose from the grave in AD 33. Can you appreciate the love of God for us sinners, to send His only begotten Son to the cross, to make Him suffer and die on the cross? And how much did the Lord Jesus have to suffer? The righteousness of God must be satisfied. Therefore the payment that the Lord Jesus made in our place must be equivalent to the payment that we would make if we would have to pay for our own sins. We would have to pay an eternity in hell. Therefore the payment that the Lord Jesus made on our behalf was the equivalent of an eternity in hell. Only then will the righteousness of God be satisfied. We cannot imagine how great and intense these sufferings were, neither can we calculate with the number infinite. We have to leave it in the hand of God to determine how much suffering was equivalent to an eternity in hell, but this was what the Lord Jesus suffered in His soul from Thursday night when He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane until Friday at about 3 O’clock in the afternoon. All the sins of all those whom the Father had chosen from before the foundation of the world, both Old Testament saints as well as New Testament saints, were fully paid on Friday, April 3, in the year AD 33. This was the only day in history that sins were paid and forgiven. There was no other day in the history of mankind that sins were forgiven. This explains why God could decide to love us, for when our sins were fully paid God did not see any sins in His elect. We have become totally justified in His sight. Before the cross God loved the unlovables, for we were His unredeemed elect people. We had a future, but we were still full of sin in our hearts. But after the cross God had all the reason in the world to love us, because we appeared totally sinless in His sight. He had declared us righteous, and thus we were righteous in His sight. And even though we still commit sins every day, the Lord Jesus had atoned for all our future sins, so that there can be no more sin on our account through which Satan can accuse us of being unrighteous. We still sin, but God declares in Rom 4:8, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin;” not even one sin.

Š      They Have Kept Thy Word (John 17:6, Rom 4:8, Eph 2:10)

And so, when the Lord Jesus declares in His sovereign prayer in John 17:6, “They have kept Thy word,” it does not mean that the disciples did not sin any more, but it means that they had become the blessed people mentioned in Rom 4:8, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Some people try to explain this differently. They claim that the Lord Jesus in His life fulfilled the Law in our place, and that is why we are not charged with any sin, because Christ fulfilled the Law for us. That is nonsense, for we died to the law; there has occurred a separation between us and the Law. We have nothing to do with the Law any more. We should not say that Christ fulfilled the Law in our place, for this principle is not found in Scripture, and it degrades His atonement. Rather, we should comfort ourselves in His complete atonement on the cross, and that is why all our sins have been cast from us as far as the east is from the west. All our imperfections, and all our defects, and all our mistakes, and all our failures, and all our idle words, and all our mishaps in communication, and all our errors on the freeway, and so on, are all sins, and Christ has atoned for all those sins, past, present, and future sins. That is why all our works have become “good works,” because all our sins that were cleaving to those works have been atoned for, and so they have become “good works”, for all that is left are the “good works”. God declared them to be “good works” in Eph 2:10.

How beautiful, how blessed, to see our great High Priest, notwithstanding the feebleness of our faith and our frequent unbelief presenting us before the Father according to the perfections of His own love, a love which sees no evil and imputes no evil. We have kept the Father’s word, but very imperfectly. Satan is our accuser, but the love of Christ notices no defects, for He has paid for all of them. Christ, our Advocate, has chosen our side and always speaks well of us. This is the highest commendation He could give us in saying, “They have kept Thy word.”

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.