In the foregoing message we considered seven significant words: designation, resurrection, sanctification, transformation, conformation, glorification, and manifestation. We are designated sons of God by resurrection. The process of resurrection includes sanctification, transformation, conformation, and glorification. This glorification will also be our manifestation.

All these seven items take place by the Spirit and with life. God designates us and causes us to undergo the process of resurrection by means of His Spirit and with life. Also, God sanctifies us, transforms us, conforms us, glorifies us, and brings us into the full manifestation of sonship by the Spirit with life. In the book of Romans both the Spirit and the divine life are covered.


In 1:4 why does Paul speak of the Spirit of holiness and not of the Holy Spirit? There is a distinction between the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of holiness. Holiness is the divine essence, the substance of God. Hence, the Spirit of holiness is the Spirit of the divine substance, whereas the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Spirit. As fallen ones, we are constituted with sinfulness. But as the Son of God, Christ is constituted with holiness. Holiness is His very element. Here holiness does not mean sinless perfection or positional separation; it denotes the divine essence, the very substance of God’s being. It was according to the Spirit of holiness that Christ was designated the Son of God.

Once again we may use the plant life as an illustration. When a carnation and a lily have just sprouted, they may look very much alike. But as these plants grow, they are gradually designated according to the life-essence within them. In the same principle, the Spirit of holiness is the life-essence within the Lord Jesus. When He was living on earth in the flesh, He had this divine life-essence within Him. Because this life-essence was according to God’s being, it was also the essence of holiness. According to our understanding, the word holiness refers to being separated, distinct, from all common things. Because God’s essence is unique. God is separate from all things other than Himself. The holiness spoken of in verse 4 is the divine essence that was in the Lord Jesus when He lived on earth. Just as a carnation flower is designated according to the life-essence within it, so the Lord Jesus was designated by resurrection through the divine life-essence within Him.

We have pointed out that we all need to serve God in the gospel of His Son. To serve God in the gospel is to serve Him not only in the matters of redemption, justification, and forgiveness, but especially in the matter of sonship. All the service in the local churches should be the service in the gospel of sonship. According to this gospel, sinners in the flesh can be transformed into sons of God in the Spirit. What glad tidings!


In this message we need to see that designation, resurrection, sanctification, transformation, conformation, glorification, and manifestation are all realized by the Spirit of holiness. In order to understand this, we need to know that God’s economy is to dispense Himself into man. The fact that God is triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit— is related to His economy, to His dispensing of Himself into us. God the Father is embodied in God the Son, and God the Son is realized, transmitted, experienced and gained by us in God the Spirit. The Spirit as the third in the Godhead is God being our realization and experience. This means that the application of the Triune God to us comes by the Spirit of God. For this reason, in our experience the Triune God is the Spirit.

Electrical current is an illustration of the Spirit as the application of the Triune God. Apart from the current of electricity, electricity cannot be applied. In its application, electricity needs to become an electrical current. The current, however, is not something different from electricity itself. The current of electricity is simply electricity in motion. In the same principle, the application of the Triune God to us is the Spirit. The Spirit is the current of the Triune God for us to apply; He is the Triune God in motion.