In recent messages we have seen the matter of the dispensation of the Triune God and the matter of the grafted life. In this message we shall consider the function of the grafted life. In order to see this, we need to ask the Lord to remove all the veils that keep us from receiving a true understanding of this book. We may read the book of Romans again and again, but we may not know that we are covered by layer upon layer of veils. Because many readers of this book are veiled, they do not see the dispensation of the life of the Triune God, the grafted life, nor even the tripartite man in Romans 8. Therefore, we need to be unveiled and then come to this book as if we had never read it before.
The grafted life is related to transformation and conformation to Christ. In 12:2 Paul speaks of transformation: “And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” The world, the satanic system, is composed of various ages, each with a certain pattern and style. Satan’s design is to conform us to this present age. Although Paul mentions Satan’s goal of conformation on the negative side, he does not here speak of the object of transformation. He simply exhorts us to be transformed by the renewing of the mind.
The goal of transformation is in Romans 8. Verse 29 says, “Because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He should be the firstborn among many brothers.” As the called and justified ones, our destiny has been determined beforehand by God. Before the foundation of the world God predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son. This means that conformation to Christ is our destiny and also our destination. Do you know where we are going? Our destination is the image of the Son of God. Our destiny is not heaven—it is to be conformed to the image of the Son of God.
If we would understand the significance of transformation and conformation, we need to realize that the book of Romans speaks of a particular kind of life—a grafted life. A grafted life is a mingled life, a life which is the product of the mingling together of two lives. In 11:24 Paul speaks of the grafting of two olive trees, not of two entirely different kinds of trees. Hence, the grafting in Romans is that between two trees of the same family. The difference is that one is a cultivated olive tree and that the other is a wild olive tree.
In chapter five of Romans, Paul begins to speak about life. In verse 10 he says that we shall be saved in Christ’s life. Furthermore, according to 5:17, we shall reign in life. In 6:4 Paul speaks of walking in newness of life. In chapter eight he mentions the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (v. 2). He goes on to say that our spirit is life (v. 10), that the mind set on the spirit is life (v. 6), and that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from among the dead desires to impart life into our mortal bodies (v. 11). The life spoken of in all these verses is a grafted life.
We have pointed out that a grafted life is a mingled life. This grafting can be effective only if the lives to be grafted are similar. That there is a similarity between the human life and the divine life is proved by the fact that God created man in His image and according to His likeness (Gen. 1:26). He did this purposely so that the human life would be very much like the divine life. Once again we use a glove as an illustration. In form, in likeness, and in function the glove is the same as the hand. Otherwise, the hand could not fit into the glove. We are all gloves made according to the likeness of the divine hand. How we need to worship God for making us in His image and according to His likeness. Praise Him for making us vessels to contain Him! God created us in this way intentionally so that He could put His Son into us.
Because the human life and the divine life are similar, it is possible for them to be put together. This means that the divine life and the human life can be “married.” On the day we were saved we were married to Christ (Rom. 7:4). Hence, to be a Christian is not only a matter of salvation or regeneration, but also of being married to Christ. The life in Romans 8 is a grafted life, a mingling of two different yet similar lives. Transformation and conformation are by such a grafted life. Through my more than fifty years as a Christian, I have learned that the life which is transforming me and conforming me to the image of the Son of God is a grafted life.
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