Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we pointed out that the books of Romans and Galatians reveal not only God’s redemption, but also the economy of God’s redemption. It is rather easy for us, the children of God, to know God’s salvation, but not so easy to know the economy of God’s salvation. Although the word economy cannot be found in either Romans or Galatians, God’s economy in His salvation is nonetheless implied. In both its ancient and modern usage, the word economy denotes a plan with a certain arrangement, management, administration, and even dispensation. The economy of God has its arrangement, management, and stewardship related to God’s dispensation of Himself in the Son through the Spirit into His chosen and redeemed people.
Now we must go on to see the goal of God’s economy. God’s goal in His economy is sonship. God’s intention is to produce many sons. If we read the Bible carefully, we shall see that God has a good pleasure, a heart’s desire. The desire of God’s heart is that He be expressed through many sons. The Bible reveals that God is a great Father with a very large family. In New Testament terms, God has a household. Who can say how many sons God has? Since every genuine believer in Christ is a son of God, God’s sons must number in the millions. Because God has so many sons, He truly is a great Father. Even the sisters are counted among the sons of God. Nowhere are we told that Christ, the firstborn Son of God, has sisters. Rather, He has only brothers, and these brothers of Christ are the many sons of God. Thus, it is important for the sisters to realize that they are brothers of Christ and sons of God.
According to the Bible, the function of a son is to express the father. Hence, the Son of God is the expression of God the Father. The Lord Jesus once said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Furthermore, John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” The New Testament also indicates that as the Son of God Christ is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4). An image is an expression of something or someone. For God to have millions of sons means that He, a great Father, needs a vast, universal, and eternal expression. As sons of God, we express our Father, for we have been born of Him. God’s economy, His administration, is to carry out His purpose to have many sons to be His corporate expression.
Ephesians 1:4 and 5 say that God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, “having predestinated us unto sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself.” Before anything was created, God chose us and predestinated us, put a mark on us, unto sonship. God has marked us out to be His sons. However, many Christians are not aware of God’s choice and predestination. According to their concept, we are merely fallen sinners in need of God’s salvation. They have never dreamed that God has destined us for sonship.
According to the Bible, sonship involves having the life and nature of the Father to express Him and inherit all that He is, has, and does. To inherit whatever the Father is, has, and does actually is to inherit God the Father Himself. Sonship in the Bible means to have God’s life and nature to express God and to inherit God with all His riches. Furthermore, sonship implies perfection. As sons of God, we must be perfect even as He is (Matt. 5:48). Perfection is synonymous with maturity. A small boy is the genuine son of his father, but this boy does not yet have the full sonship, because he is not mature.
Even if we have the Father’s life and nature and have the maturity, the perfection, to express Him and inherit Him, the sonship will not be full until our body is transfigured. In Romans 8:23 Paul says, “And not only so, but we ourselves also, having the firstfruit of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan in ourselves, eagerly expecting sonship, the redemption of our body.” The redemption of our body refers to the transfiguration of the body. One day our body will be changed, not simply outwardly, but organically and metabolically by having the divine element wrought into it. Today our faces may be rather bright, but they are not yet shining. But when our body has been metabolically and organically transfigured through the supply of the divine life, not only our faces but our whole physical being will shine. That will be the full sonship, for then we shall express God in full. We shall express Him spiritually, psychologically, and even physically. From our faces light will shine to express God. Concerning this 1 John 3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (lit.). When we see Him, He will be shining with the glory of the Father, and we shall be shining with this glory also. This is full sonship.
Thus, from the New Testament we see that as sons of God we have God’s life and nature to inherit God with all His wealth and to express Him to the uttermost. This sonship is the desire of God’s heart. Our wonderful, eternal Father wants a universal expression of Himself through many sons.
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