Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 4:17 Paul says, “This therefore I say and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the nations also walk in the vanity of their mind.” The nations are the fallen people, who have become vain in their reasonings (Rom. 1:21). They walk without God in the vanity of their mind, controlled and directed by their vain thoughts. Whatever they do according to their fallen mind is vanity. Hence, the basic element in the daily life of fallen mankind is the vanity of the mind.
If you study the Bible from Genesis 6 through Revelation 20, you will see that all of fallen mankind lives in the vanity of the mind. Mankind has fallen from the spirit into the mind. God purposely created man with a spirit with the intention that man would live and walk in the spirit. But through the fall man’s spirit was deadened, and man began to live according to the vanity of the mind. Those who are fallen have all their living directed by their thoughts. Every fallen person without exception is under the dominion of his thoughts. Before we were saved, our words and deeds were according to the thoughts of the fallen mentality.
In the church as the new man, we should live not according to the vanity of the mind, but according to the spirit of the mind (4:23). This is the key to the daily living of the corporate one new man. Formerly, our mind was filled with vanity; now it must be permeated with the spirit. We need to walk according to the spirit that is spreading into our mind and filling it. In this way the daily walk of the new man will be in the spirit of the mind. This is the secret of the church life.
The human spirit is mentioned in every chapter of Ephesians. Ephesians 1:17 says, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him.” The spirit here is the regenerated human spirit indwelt by the Spirit of God. Such a spirit is given to us by God so that we may have wisdom and revelation to know Him and to know His economy.
In relation to the church, we need a spirit of wisdom and revelation. As far as the church is concerned, a naturally keen mind is of no avail. Rather, the spirit is of primary importance. Just as we must use the proper organs to see, hear, and taste, so we must use the proper organ—the spirit—in dealing with the church.
Furthermore, our spirit must be a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Wisdom is in our spirit so that we may know the mystery of God, whereas revelation is of God’s Spirit to show us the vision by opening the veil. We firstly have wisdom, the ability to understand, that we may know spiritual things. Then the Spirit of God reveals the spiritual things to our spiritual understanding. Knowing that the spirit is of crucial importance in relation to the church, Paul prayed that the Father of glory would grant us such a spirit of wisdom and revelation.
In 2:22 Paul says, “In Whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in spirit.” This refers to our human spirit indwelt by the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit is the dweller, whereas our spirit is His dwelling place. Therefore, the dwelling place of God is in our spirit.
If we want to practice the church life, we need to be in the spirit. The natural mind is of no use in the church life as the one new man. In school or in business we need to rely on our mind, but in the church we must depend on the spirit, realizing that in the natural mind there is nothing but vanity. According to 2:22, God’s dwelling place among His people today is in their spirit, not in their mind.
Speaking of the mystery of Christ, Paul says in 3:5, “Which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in spirit.” Once again the spirit here refers to the human spirit regenerated and indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Thus it can be regarded as the mingled spirit, the human spirit mingled with God’s Spirit. Such a mingled spirit was the means by which the New Testament revelation concerning Christ and the church was made known to the apostles and prophets. We need the same spirit to see such a revelation today.
The “sons of men” in this verse are represented by the “holy apostles and prophets.” When God revealed the mystery of Christ to these representatives of mankind, He revealed it to their spirit. By this we see that the spirit, not the mind, is the crucial organ with respect to God’s economy.
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