A Genuine Churchby Witness Lee
The church is “sanctified in Christ” (v. 2c), having been sanctified, made holy, in Christ, who is the embodiment of the processed Triune God in His fullness, as its element and sphere. Christ is the embodiment of the processed Triune God in all His fullness. Now we are in this Christ, and we have this Christ as our element and sphere. Just as wood is the element of a table, Christ is the element of the church. He is also the sphere, the realm, of the church.
The church is composed of the “called saints” (v. 2d)—the assembly of the saints, the sanctified ones, who have been called out of the satanic world. We have been called by God to be sanctified in Christ. We are no longer in the world; we are in the church, which is called by God and sanctified in a wonderful person, Christ, who is our element within and our sphere without.
Verse 2 contains five qualifications for a genuine church. As we have seen, the church which is genuine is the church of God, it is the church in a locality, it is sanctified in Christ, and it is composed of the called saints. Verse 2e continues with the fifth qualification: “With all those who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place.” This long phrase indicates that the church which is genuine is related with all the saints who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in every place around the globe. Paul does not address the church as being related to all those who have been baptized by immersion or all those who speak in tongues or keep the Sabbath. Rather, the church is related to all those—including the believers today, those who came before us, and those who will come after us—who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place.
Being related with all the saints keeps us from being sectarian, isolated, or divided. Regardless of their particular practices, we are related by God in Christ to every kind of Christian, and no matter where we are, we cannot be separated from them. Without this relationship we would become isolated and divided. If we have nothing to do with other believers, we are not a local church. Rather, we are a local sect, a local division. We must be open, and our openness must be in every direction. We are open to all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, regardless of their particular practices.
Verse 2f says, “Our Lord Jesus Christ...theirs and ours.” This indicates that the church which is genuine has the Lord Jesus Christ as “their” portion, “their” possession of the divine inheritance, for “their” enjoyment. He is the portion of all believers in every place.
Verse 3 says, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This indicates that the church which is genuine is under the dispensing of “grace,” which is the embodiment of the processed Triune God for the enjoyment of His called ones, and “peace,” the processed Triune God as the issue of the enjoyment of Him as grace by His called ones. Grace and peace are dispensed to the church from God the Father as the source of the Divine Trinity, from the Lord Jesus Christ as the course of the flow of the Divine Trinity, and from the Holy Spirit as the reaching of the flow of the Divine Trinity. This is not mentioned in word in verse 2, but is implied in denotation (2 Cor. 13:14).
Based on the qualifications of a genuine church in 1 Corinthians 1:2, the church has the standing to receive the divine dispensing of God Himself as grace and peace. This is from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. This also implies that this dispensing is from the Spirit because whenever the Father and Son are mentioned, the Spirit is implied. Therefore, the grace and peace are from the Triune God, the Divine Trinity—the divine Father, the divine Son, and the divine Spirit—one God in different aspects, with all the riches of the Divine Trinity. The Triune God is the grace and peace to His called ones for their enjoyment.
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