Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to God.” Immediately after speaking about the peace of Christ arbitrating in us, Paul goes on to tell us to let the word of Christ dwell in us. Why does Paul mention the peace of Christ before the word of Christ? The answer to this question is related to the basic principle revealed in the Bible that God’s speaking requires oneness. Whenever God’s people are divided, His word becomes rare. God does not speak where there is division. Division causes God’s speaking to diminish, even to cease altogether.
When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God spoke in the tent of meeting. The tent of meeting was a sign of the oneness of God’s people. The twelve tribes were arranged around the tent of meeting, and God spoke to the people from within the tent of meeting. Any Israelite at that time who wanted God’s speaking had to come to the tent of meeting, the place of oneness.
The temple built in Jerusalem was the continuation of the tent of meeting. When God’s people were divided into the northern and southern kingdoms, God’s speaking was found only in the south, because that was where the temple was located. Because there was no temple in the north, God’s speaking through the priesthood was not found there. God’s speaking through the priests came out of the Holy of Holies, the center both of the tabernacle and of the temple.
The book of Hebrews opens with these words: “In many portions and in many ways, God, having spoken of old to the fathers in the prophets, has at the last of these days spoken to us in the Son” (Heb. 1:1-2a). As the Son of God, the Lord Jesus not only spoke the word of God, but He Himself was even called the Word (John 1:1, 14; Rev. 19:13). God spoke in His Son and not merely through Him. Wherever the Son was, there the Word was also. Furthermore, when the Son spoke, God spoke in the Son’s speaking. The Son came to express God, to define God, and to speak forth God. In His very being and Person, the Son was the Word of God.
The evil intention of the Jewish religionists was to terminate the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, by crucifying Him. But after His crucifixion, the Lord entered into the realm of resurrection, and in resurrection He became the Head of the Body. Before His crucifixion and resurrection, the Lord Jesus was restricted by the flesh. It was not possible for Him to be universal. But through death and resurrection He was enlarged from an individual to a corporate man. On the day of Pentecost Christ came down as the all-inclusive Spirit upon His disciples to make them members of His Body. This Body, a corporate man, includes the resurrected Christ as the Head and the millions of believers in Christ as the members. Now, just as my whole body speaks whenever I speak, so the Body of Christ speaks whenever Christ speaks as the Head. Today the Son of God is no longer merely an individual; He is a corporate, universal man. For this reason, all the members of the Body can speak the word of God. Even young people can go to their parents or classmates and speak to them on God’s behalf.
We all were saved through the hearing of God’s word. When I was saved in China more than fifty years ago, God Himself did not come to speak to me directly. Rather, I heard God’s word through a member of His Body. This is one example of the fact that God today continues to speak in His Son who has been enlarged to become a corporate man, the Body of Christ. How wonderful that we all are part of the enlargement of Christ, part of a universal man of which Christ is the Head and we are the members!
If we are truly one with other members of the Body of Christ, we shall be able to speak God’s word. However, if we are not one with the saints but are filled with murmuring, complaining, and gossiping about others, we shall not be able to speak the word of the Lord. Speaking God’s word requires oneness. Where there is no oneness, there can be no speaking. If we allow the peace of Christ to arbitrate in us to maintain oneness and harmony, we shall be able to speak the word of God.
Christ died on the cross to make peace by accomplishing redemption and reconciling us to God. This peace is vertical, the peace between us and God. Christ died also to create horizontal peace, the peace between us and others. For this, Christ abolished all the ordinances, the different ways of worship and living. By abolishing the ordinances, Christ has made peace horizontally among the different peoples. In doing this, He nullified the effect of Babel. At Babel mankind was confused, confounded, divided, and scattered. There the corporate man created by God was divided. But by His death on the cross Christ cancelled the confusion and division of Babel. He has made peace both vertically and horizontally. Thus, on the day of Pentecost, Christ could come down upon the believers as the uniting Spirit and bring forth the church in a practical way. At Pentecost those who spoke many different languages became one.
Although Christ nullified division to produce oneness, today’s Christianity has destroyed the oneness and produced division. For this reason, in divided Christianity there is no speaking from God. Instead of hearing God’s speaking, many who sit in the chapels, cathedrals, and denominational buildings hear someone talk about social life or politics. This certainly is not the speaking of God in the Son through the Body. The reason for this lack of speaking is the lack of peace and oneness. Because there is no oneness, there is no center, no oracle, for God’s speaking.
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