Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Ephesians 5:27 does not say that Christ will present to Himself a nice church nor even a victorious church, but it says that Christ will have a glorious church. It is possible to be victorious without being glorious. Many books tell us how to be victorious, but I do not know of a book that tells us how to be glorious. Likewise, many messages have been given on the way to have victory. But have you ever heard a message about how to be glorious? Christ wants a glorious church, not merely a victorious one.
Not many of us have the confidence to say that we are glorious. The reason for this is that we realize that we have not given the Lord the full opportunity to saturate us and to come out through us. After receiving the Lord Jesus into us, many of us became distracted or snared by religious teachings. Instead of concentrating on the indwelling Christ, we paid attention to other things. Therefore, in the Lord’s recovery we all must be brought back to the indwelling Christ. From the depths of our being we need to tell the Lord that we want to take Him as our life and our person and give Him the full ground within our being.
If the Lord were only in the heavens, He could not be our life and our person. But Christ is both in the heavens and in us. It is this indwelling One whom we must take as our life and person. When we do this, He makes His home in our heart. He expands in us, saturates us, and gradually swallows us up. Eventually, at the time of His coming back, He will be fully expressed from within us. This is God’s economy in life.
In God’s economy, Christ is even now in the process of presenting the glorious church to Himself. As this process takes place, He is making His home in our heart by becoming our life and our person. In this way, He saturates our inner being with Himself. It is not His intention to correct us, adjust us, or to improve us. His aim is to glorify us. In order to achieve this goal, He is now carrying on the process of glorification within us.
No matter how nice, good, right, or victorious you may be, you are not yet glorious. Christ’s intention is not to obtain a church that is nice, right, or good, but to obtain a church that is altogether glorious. Hence, Christ cares only to glorify us by saturating us with Himself and by swallowing us up. Day by day, He is devouring us and replacing us with the element of what He is. This process transpires in the depths of our being. Oh, how we need to experience such an intimate, personal Christ! Our Christ must not be a Christ in teaching, but be a Christ making His home in our heart, a Christ saturating our being with His element.
A well-known hymn tells us to trust and obey. God’s economy, however, is more than just trusting and obeying; it requires that we be “eaten up” by Christ. Christ wants us to eat Him, and He wants to eat us. Hence, in God’s economy there is a mutual eating. My burden in this message is to point out that Christ’s intention is to “eat us up.” When we have been consumed by Christ in a full way, He will then present the church to Himself as a glorious church.
Do you know why the church today is not very glorious? The reason is that not many have allowed Christ to eat them up. If the church is to become glorious, we need to allow the indwelling Christ to consume every part of our inward being. According to verse 25, Christ gave Himself up for the church. Now He is working within us to saturate us and to come out of us. However, He does not intend to come out of us and leave us aside. On the contrary, He wants to come out of us by saturating us and devouring us. We need to pray, “Lord Jesus, eat me up!” When Christ has finished consuming us inwardly, He will be able to boast to Satan, “Satan, look at My glorious church!”
The goal of God’s economy is to gain a glorious church. God has ordained us unto glory (1 Cor. 2:7). This is not an objective glory, but a glory that is subjective and experiential. Such a glory is actually the very Christ whom we eat and by whom we are being eaten up. Our desperate need today is to eat the Lord and to allow Him to consume us. Only in this way will the church become the glorious church for which Christ is longing.
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