There can be no unity ultimately between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics until and unless the Roman Catholic Church and its leaders, including the Vatican and the Pope, submit to God’s Word as the only ultimate authority over all of life.
That was one of the closing sentences in last week’s post. It’s based in part on Jesus’ teaching in John 17. In it He prays one of the most stunning and important prayers in the entire Bible.
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.”
Leaving aside for just a moment how the Father was going to glorify the son (via a spectacle of suffering), look at the first part of the passage. How is it that the Son would be glorifying the Father? By taking up the authority over all people the Father gave Him, that He may give them eternal life. We must allow Jesus to have supreme authority over every part of our lives, or we risk losing it. He goes on.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Knowing the Father and the Son is eternal life. I wonder, do you know Him?
14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by[d] the truth; your word is truth.
If we seek the Kingdom, we are still in the world, but it is not our home. Jesus wants us to remain in the world, but prays that we will be protected from the evil one. And he asks that we would be made perfect (sanctified) by the truth. What’s the truth? The Word of God. (Check out the Top 10 Reasons the Bible is True.) Know that and we know both God and the truth. And we have eternal life. And finally:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[e] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
So if we know the truth, the Father and the Son, If we allow Jesus to be our final authority in every part of life, and we are truly loving God and our neighbor, we will be unified.
Our standard has to be Jesus. And the way in which we know Him is by His Word. So the only way to get along is to agree on a final authority. But as long as we listen to teachers who say what our itching ears want to hear, we will be led astray.
Can we do it? Can we get along? Probably not until Christ returns. When He does, will we be found pursuing the eternal prize?