25O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.26And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.John 17:25-26
To apprehend this verse, we need to read also verse 16 to 19
16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.19As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
You see, nobody can please God on his own. This is why Christ needs you to buy from him “gold refined in the fire”. He is talking about Salvation. You need to be saved by Him, but not trying to save yourself in religious customs.
10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.11I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
8And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.Revelation 20:12-13
In this passage we read that the book of life was opened. Now, why was it opened? It was opened to find names.
When did God write these names inside that book?
So, those whose names have not been written in the book were judged according to what they had done. They were unable to please God, by their own deeds. But, those whose names have been found written in the book, from the creation of the world, were predestined in Christ to do good works.
19To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.2 Corinthians 5:19-21
The phrase “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God”, is not a proof for someone to think he can do works on his own", because at the beginning of the verse, it says “that God was reconciling the world to Him in Christ”.
You see, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, a lot of difficult passages in the Bible can be understood when we compare scripture with scripture.
There is a difference between the two groups: One with their robes dirty, in another term, they are not born again. And the other folk have their robes washed; this allows them to have access to the tree of life (eternal life). Christ is the redeemer who did the entire job for them on the cross:
16And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.17For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.18According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.19So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.20And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.21As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.
In this case, we have several situations to consider. God, in His supremacy can submit anything under his authority. For example, we have the story of the furious storm on the lake, where the wind obeyed Him:
23And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.24And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.25And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.26And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.27But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!Matthew 8:23-27
Also, God can submit anybody under His power, according to His good pleasure; even if the person is not a child of God. For instance, we have the story of Pharaoh:
15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
We also know even though some people can personally follow some God’s rules, it is not a guaranty their sins are forgiven. In the list, we have many moral persons who observe some God’s principles. For example, they do not steal, they do not kill, they do not commit adultery etc. Because of that, God can assist them with some special blessings. But to be redeemed from sin is not of us; it is fully God's will.
Do not forget that the law says if we violate one commandment, we are guilty of all. So, mankind definitely needs a savior!
Thus, when it comes to Salvation, only with the help of the Holy Spirit a person is able to obey God:
11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.12But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.13The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.15As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.16And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.17Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.18No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.19There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.20And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?21Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?22And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.23And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.24Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
Jesus clearly says that He gives to the true believer eternal life, so they will never perish. That’s the reason they obey God. The wicked people cannot obey because Jesus does not give them eternal life, and they will be destroyed for ever:
7And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: