Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The basic thought of the Bible is that the Triune God desires to work Himself into man so that man may take Him as life and live Him. In order to fulfill this desire, the Triune God has passed through a wonderful process. Both the incarnation and the crucifixion were steps in this process. Through His death on the cross, Christ dealt with sin, sins, and Satan. He also released the divine life. Christ’s all-inclusive death was followed by His resurrection. By incarnation, Christ became a man; through crucifixion He dealt with all negative things; and in resurrection He imparted Himself into all those who believe in Him so that they might become one with Him in life and in nature.
By creation man is God’s creature. As a creature of God, man does not have the divine life or the divine nature. However, man was created in God’s image and after His likeness. God created us in this way because His intention is to come into man and be one with man. For this reason, God created man in such a way that man could receive Him and become one with Him.
The relationship between God and the man created in God’s image may be illustrated by a glove designed to contain a hand. The glove is made in the image of the hand for the purpose of containing the hand. When a hand enters into a glove, the hand and the glove become one. In a similar way, man is a vessel created in the image of God for the purpose of containing God. Romans 9 indicates that we are vessels created to contain God.
On man’s side, man was created as a vessel to contain God. On God’s side, a certain process was necessary. After passing through the process of incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, the Triune God was ready to come into man. After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus charged His followers to disciple the nations and baptize the believers into the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). To baptize believers into the name of the Triune God is to immerse them into the very Person of the Triune God. The name denotes the person; and the person is the reality of the name. In his Epistles Paul speaks of being baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). To baptize believers into Christ is the same as baptizing them into the Person of the Triune God. Those who believe in Christ and are baptized into Him become one with the Triune God in life and in nature.
We praise the Lord that, as believers, we have the divine life and partake of the divine nature. Second Peter 1:4 indicates clearly that we are partakers of the divine nature. Because we partake of the divine nature, it can rightly be said that we are divine. However, this definitely does not mean that we are evolving into God or that we shall ever become God as an object of worship. The Bible does not teach that believers will ever be deified. But, according to the Word of God, we who believe in Christ have truly been born of God. Thus, we are genuine sons born of Him, not adopted sons. Because we are sons of God, we have the life and nature of God. By having the divine life and nature, we are one with God. But we repeat that this certainly does not mean that we shall ever become God Himself as an object of worship.
According to the Bible we teach that we are one with God because, through regeneration, we have the life and nature of God. Just as a child has the life and nature of his father, so we, as sons of God, have the life and nature of God. But some Christians are humble in a religious way, and, although they confess that they have been born of God, they dare not say that they have God’s nature. They will say only that they are sinners who have received God’s mercy. They are reluctant to confess that they have God’s nature and are one with Him.
Regeneration does not make us part of the Godhead. To say that believers become part of the Godhead as objects of worship is to blaspheme God. We cannot share the Godhead. But we can partake of the divine nature. To share in the Godhead is one thing; to partake of the divine nature is another. What a great blessing it is to be one with God in His life and nature!
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