What’s the true meaning of “I and my Father are one”?
By Wang Ya
In the past, I saw the Bible recorded, “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, see, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him: And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat 3:16–17).
Additionally, the Lord Jesus usually said “God the Father” as He prayed. Therefore, I firmly believed that there was God the Father in heaven and the Lord Jesus was only the Son of God. But later, I read the words of the Lord Jesus, “I and my Father are one” (Joh 10:30). And it is written in the Scripture, “Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it suffises us. Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? he that has seen me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (Joh 14:8–10). Then I felt very confused in my heart: The God in heaven said that the Lord Jesus was His beloved Son. Also, the Lord Jesus called God in heaven Father in His prayers. Nevertheless, the Lord Jesus said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father; … I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (Joh 14:9–10). “I and my Father are one” (Joh 10:30). So, is the Lord Jesus really the Son or the Father? Ordinarily, the Son is the Son and the Father is the Father. How can they become one? With this confusion, I asked many brothers and sisters in the Lord, including pastors, elders and preachers. They all said that it was a huge mystery so that we man couldn’t explain it clearly by our mind. Consequently, this confusion was with me for many years.
Until one day, I read such a passage of words in a spiritual book given by my friend, “When Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father as He prayed, this was done only from the perspective of a created man, only because the Spirit of God had clothed Himself as an ordinary and normal man and had the exterior cover of a created being. Even if within Him was the Spirit of God, His exterior appearance was still that of an ordinary man; in other words, He had become the ‘Son of man’ of which all men, including Jesus Himself, spoke. Given that He is called the Son of man, He is a person (whether man or woman, in any case one with the exterior shell of a human being) born into a normal family of ordinary people. Therefore, Jesus calling God in heaven by the name of Father was the same as how you at first called Him Father; He did so from the perspective of a man of creation. Do you still remember the Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught you to memorize? ‘Our Father in heaven….’ He asked all man to call God in heaven by the name of Father. And since He too called Him Father, He did so from the perspective of one who stands on an equal footing with you all. … However great the authority of Jesus on earth, prior to the crucifixion, He was merely a Son of man, governed by the Holy Spirit (that is, God), and one of the earth’s created beings, for He had yet to complete His work. Therefore, His calling God in heaven Father was solely His humility and obedience. His addressing God (that is, the Spirit in heaven) in such a manner, however, does not prove that He is the Son of the Spirit of God in heaven. Rather, it is simply that His perspective is different…. Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus was a Son of man bound by the limitations of the flesh, and He did not fully possess the authority of the Spirit. That is why He could only seek the will of God the Father from the perspective of a created being. It is as He thrice prayed in Gethsemane: ‘Not as I will, but as you will.’ Before He was laid on the cross, He was but the King of the Jews; He was Christ, the Son of man, and not a body of glory. That is why, from the standpoint of a created being, He called God Father” (“Does the Trinity Exist?”).
These words enlightened me immediately and what had puzzled me for years was finally resolved. It turned out that the Lord Jesus was God’s Spirit putting on a flesh to become the Son of man. He had the exterior cover of a created being and lived a normal human life. When the Lord prayed to God the Father, He did so from the perspective of a created being. Just like when the Lord Jesus taught us to memorize the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father which are in heaven…,” He also asked us to call God in heaven by the name of Father. According to my imagination, because the Lord Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father, we concluded that the Lord Jesus was not the God Himself but the Son of God’s Spirit; since we also call God in heaven by the name of Father, then can we say that we are the sons of God’s Spirit? How absurd my thought was! The Lord Jesus is God Himself, yet He could call God in heaven by the name of Father from the same perspective of a created being and seek the will of God the Father. It entirely reveals God’s humble and hidden essence. However, I not only had no knowledge of God’s humble essence, but also developed notions about the Lord’s calling “God the Father” as He prayed. How ignorant I was!
Then I read these words, “There are still those who say, did not God expressly state that Jesus was His beloved Son? ‘Jesus is the beloved Son of God, in whom He is well pleased’ was certainly spoken by God Himself. That was God bearing witness to Himself, but merely from a different perspective, that of the Spirit in heaven bearing witness to His own incarnation. Jesus is His incarnation, not His Son in heaven. Do you understand? Do not the words of Jesus, ‘The Father is in Me and I am in the Father,’ indicate that They are one Spirit? And is it not because of the incarnation that They were separated between heaven and earth? In reality, They are still one; no matter what, it is simply God bearing witness to Himself. … But at that time, the Spirit in heaven stated only that He was the beloved Son of God, and made no mention of His being the only Son of God. This simply did not happen. How could God have an only child? Then would God not have become man? Because He was the incarnation, He was called the beloved Son of God, and, from this, came the relationship between Father and Son. It was simply because of the separation between heaven and earth. Jesus prayed from the perspective of the flesh. Since He had put on a flesh of such normal humanity, it is from the perspective of the flesh that He said: My outer shell is that of a created being. Since I put on a flesh to come to this earth, I am now a long, long way from heaven. For this reason, He could only pray to God the Father from the perspective of the flesh. This was His duty, and that which the incarnate Spirit of God should be furnished with. It cannot be said that He is not God simply because He prays to the Father from the perspective of the flesh. Though He is called the beloved Son of God, He is still God Himself, for He is but the incarnation of the Spirit, and His substance is still the Spirit” (“Does the Trinity Exist?”).
After reading this, I was even more aware that when the Spirit in heaven called Jesus His beloved Son, God witnessed His incarnated flesh from the perspective of the Spirit. That was God bearing witness to Himself. However, when the Lord Jesus called God in heaven by the name of Father, He called the Spirit of God from the perspective of the flesh. But it couldn’t prove that the Lord Jesus was the Son of God’s Spirit in heaven. In the time of the New Testament, God incarnate came to do the work of crucifixion and redemption. He took on the sins of mankind as the sin offering. As God’s Spirit is not suited to be crucified directly, but only God’s Spirit assuming the flesh and coming to the earth is most suited to finishing the work. As the embodiment of the Spirit of God, the Lord Jesus did the work of God Himself. What the Lord Jesus expressed was the will of the Spirit. God’s flesh and Spirit are one and They have the same essence, disposition, wisdom and almightiness. There is the only one true God in heaven and on earth. I couldn’t help remembering what the Lord Jesus once said, “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mar 12:29). The Lord Jesus specifically emphasized this commandment just to let us know that God is unique; that is to say, there is only one God and only one Spirit of God. Certainly, there is no Father-Son relationship to speak of. Let’s think about it carefully: Why could we produce the conception of the Father and the Son? In the last analysis, it was due to the fact that we don’t know the incarnate God. When studying the Bible, I found that there weren’t these statements about the Father and the Son in the Old Testament Age of Law. People at that time didn’t have the conception of the Father and the Son. In fact, people began to develop this conception after the Lord Jesus became flesh to do His work, even including Philip, who followed the Lord Jesus. So he said to the Lord Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father.” However, the Lord Jesus corrected his mistaken knowledge. He said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father; … I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (Joh 14:9–10). Besides, the Lord Jesus once said, “I and my Father are one” (Joh 10:30). The Lord Jesus’ words made the relationship between Father and Son quite plain, yet it was just because we were numb and dull-witted that we only knew the letters of verses but didn’t know God’s willing within them. Weren’t the Lord Jesus’ words of blame toward Philip said to me? According to my own imagination, I determined that God had the aspects of the Father and the Son. Moreover, I regarded Him as the Son of God instead of God Himself. Did I not deny or blaspheme against God? Could God be unique in my heart? What I did was something that severely offended God’s disposition! Thinking about that, I couldn’t help feeling regretful and self-condemned for my erroneous notion. At the same time, I also thanked God for leading me to understand this truth and mystery from these words and transcend my wrong conception.
Now I finally understand the meaning of the Lord Jesus’ words, “He that has seen me has seen the Father; … I am in the Father, and the Father in me” (Joh 14:9–10). “I and my Father are one” (Joh 10:30). Meantime, I know that the Lord Jesus is not the Son of God in heaven but the incarnate God Himself in substance. Thank God for enlightening me to understand the huge mystery. Glory be to God!
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