Life-Study of Romansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Romans may be summarized in three words: redemption, life, and building. The first chapters cover redemption, the middle portion covers life, and the last part deals with the building, which is the issue of redemption and life. In the foregoing message we saw that after being saved, justified, and reconciled to God, we still need to be saved in Christ’s life (5:10). Redemption, justification, and reconciliation have been accomplished by the death of Christ on the cross. Through Christ’s death, the problems between us and God on the negative side have been solved. But God’s purpose on the positive side must still be fulfilled. God’s purpose is not merely to save us from hell or from His judgment; His purpose in the universe is to build up the Body as the corporate expression of His Son. For this reason, the book of Romans does not stop with redemption or justification, but proceeds onward to reach the goal of God’s eternal purpose.
The unique way God uses to fulfill His purpose is life. In chapter five the matter of life is introduced in an experiential way. In 5:10 Paul says, “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved in His life.” Notice the tense here: we shall be saved in His life. After reconciliation, there is still the need for us to be saved in life. Although we have been saved already, we still need to be saved. On the one hand, we have been saved from hell and from the judgment of God. This was accomplished once for all through the death of Christ on the cross. But, on the other hand, we still need to be saved from so many present problems. Many Christians are waiting to go to heaven. However, if they were suddenly transported to heaven, upon arriving there they might feel that they are not suitable for the glory of heaven. Heaven is glorious, but in many respects we still are so low. Are you pleased with the way you are today? Are you satisfied with yourself? I am glad that I am still in the process of Christ’s ongoing salvation. I need to be saved because I am still too much in my natural life. Although I do not want to be in the natural man and earnestly endeavor to be free from my natural man, I must confess that I am still natural. Therefore, I need to be saved daily and even hourly in the life of Christ from my natural man.
According to 5:10, we need to be saved in Christ’s life. We are saved not only by His life, but also in His life. Life is the Person of Christ Himself. In the Gospel of John the Lord said definitely and emphatically, “I am the life” (14:6). Therefore, to be saved in His life is actually to be saved in the Person of Christ Himself.
The salvation of Noah and his family in the ark is a type of our being saved in Christ. Noah and his family were saved not by the ark but in the ark. Today, as believers in Christ, we are in Him as today’s ark. Christ is our life, and we are in Him. In Him we are being saved. As long as we are in Him, we are in the process of being saved in His life.
We have seen that we are saved in Christ’s life from the law of sin. The law of sin works in us spontaneously and automatically. There is no need for us to strive in order to tell lies or to lose our temper. The telling of lies and the losing of temper are an automatic product of the spontaneous working of the law of sin. Nevertheless, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus frees us from the law of sin and of death (8:2). As long as we are in Christ as life, we are spontaneously freed by the law of His life from the law of sin and of death.
We are also saved in Christ’s life from worldliness. This means that in His life we are sanctified, separated from the world. We all were born into a worldly situation and were then trained to be worldly. The tendency to be worldly is in our nature. Therefore, we need to be in the divine life in order to be delivered from worldliness. This divine life separates us from worldliness and sanctifies us both positionally and dispositionally. We cannot be saved from worldliness by following certain religious instructions or regulations such as those found among certain religious groups. At most, adherence to such rules can produce only an outward, positional sanctification. The sanctification spoken of in Romans, however, is not merely positional; it is also dispositional, an inward matter that affects the depths of our being. In the life of Christ we are being sanctified inwardly.
Along with being saved from sin and from worldliness, we need to be saved in life from naturalness. This means that we need to be transformed. We need not only an outward change, but also an inward change. This inward change is called transformation. Transformation involves a metabolic change in our being. A new element, a divine, holy, heavenly element, must be added to our natural element to produce a metabolic, organic change. The result of such a change is transformation.
Suppose a person with a pale complexion puts makeup on his face in order to improve his color. Such a change is outward; it is definitely not the result of inward transformation. God’s way is different. Firstly, He washes away our sins in order to fulfill His righteous requirements. Then, in transforming us, He is not primarily concerned with our outward appearance, but with what we are organically. To continue the illustration of makeup, the best way to improve our facial color is not to put on makeup but to eat nourishing food. This food will cause an organic change that will eventually improve our color. This change is transformation. By inward transformation our outward appearance will change.
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