Before we consider the life of the Triune God dispensed into the tripartite man, we need to say a further word about the dispensation of the Triune God according to His righteousness, through His holiness, and unto His glory. We have seen that righteousness is God’s procedure, holiness is God’s nature, and glory is God’s expression. God’s dispensation, therefore, is according to His righteous way, through His holy nature, and unto the expression of Himself. God’s expression is mainly in the church. Thus, the goal of the dispensation of the Triune God is that God may be expressed in the church.
In the foregoing message we pointed out that God’s righteousness is related to the death of Christ, which terminated all negative things. Because of the fall of man, everything in creation has become unrighteous. For example, it is unrighteous for mosquitoes to pester us. Furthermore, there is unrighteousness in every aspect of society. Adam was the head of the old creation. When he fell, everything under his headship became unrighteous in the eyes of God. The death of Christ terminated these unrighteous things and fulfilled the requirements of the righteousness of God. Hence, the death of Christ is the highest righteousness.
When Christ died on the cross, we died also, for we died in Him. We were identified with Christ in His death. This means that not only the death of Christ Himself is righteous, but also our death in Christ is righteous in God’s eyes.
However, the death of Christ was not the end, for it ushered in the resurrection, in which we are germinated and generated. Moreover, with the resurrection of Christ there is the function of sanctifying, which includes transforming and conforming. Eventually, we by this process of sanctification shall be conformed to the image of the Son of God. This is the subjective experience of sanctification. Sanctification is the subjective activity of holiness; it is holiness in action. Sanctification is actually the resurrected Christ working God’s holy nature into our being. This is vastly different from the concept of holiness found among so-called holiness people.
The issue of sanctification is glorification, the expression of God. Thus, the dispensation of the Triune God is unto His glory. The result of sanctification is glorification.
Glorification began on the day of Pentecost. The church was born not at Pentecost, but on the day of Christ’s resurrection. First Peter 1:3 says that we were regenerated when Christ was resurrected. When He was resurrected, the one grain of wheat became the many grains to form the loaf, the church (John 12:24; 1 Cor. 10:17). Hence, the church was brought forth on the day of resurrection. But what was it that happened on the day of Pentecost? On that day the church was glorified. If we had been present at the meeting of the church on the day of Pentecost, we would have exclaimed, “What glory!” We would not have spoken about righteousness or sanctification, for we would have had an overwhelming sense of glory.
The Lord Jesus began His prayer in John 17 with the words, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You” (v. 1). How does the Son glorify the Father? He glorifies the Father in oneness. The oneness in John 17 is the church. The oneness of the saints is the proper church life. When the oneness is realized in a thorough way, the Son glorifies the Father in the church. This indicates that wherever there is the proper church life, there is the glorification of the Father, for the church life expresses the Father. Therefore, if we gather together as the church in a normal way, we should have the sense that there is glory in our meetings. The church life is altogether a matter of glorification. The church is God’s goal; it is not God’s procedure or His way. God’s intention is to be glorified in the church.
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