Life-Study of 1 Corinthiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall present an overview, a bird’s-eye view, of 1 Corinthians. Before we do so, however, let us first consider four verses, two from 1 Corinthians and two from 2 Corinthians. First Corinthians 15:45b says, “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” In 12:13 Paul declares, “For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.” Second Corinthians 3:6 says that we are “ministers of a new covenant, not of letter, but of the Spirit.” Finally, 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” Have you ever thought about the connection between these four verses? Two verses represent 1 Corinthians, and two, 2 Corinthians. Actually, these two books are books of the Spirit. Each of the four verses quoted above speaks of the Spirit. I believe that many Christians have not been adequately impressed with these verses.
According to 15:45b, Christ, the last Adam, became a life-giving Spirit. Before you came into the Lord’s recovery, did you know that there was a verse in the New Testament telling us that the last Adam, Christ, became a life-giving Spirit? This verse does not say that the last Adam became the Redeemer, the Savior, or the almighty Lord; it tells us that He became a life-giving Spirit.
To some extent, believers today are familiar with Paul’s word in 12:13. Some make mention of this verse quite often. However, their emphasis is usually on the word baptized: in one Spirit we have all been baptized. Have you ever heard a message emphasizing the word drink, a message telling you that you have been baptized in the Spirit to drink of the Spirit? We have been baptized to drink. Therefore, we should not stop with the word baptize, but go on to realize that we have been baptized to drink. To be baptized is a matter once for all, but to drink is a continual matter. Even in eternity we shall still drink of the one Spirit.
The Lord Jesus as the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit so that we could be baptized into this Spirit. In what Spirit have we been baptized? We have not been baptized merely in the Spirit of God. Rather, we have been baptized in the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19). This Spirit of Jesus Christ is the life-giving Spirit.
If we were not baptized into the life-giving Spirit, how could we be baptized into one Body? The Body is not a matter of power or organization; it is an organism of life. We have been baptized organically into one Body in the life-giving Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, not just the Spirit of God. If we did not have life and an organic element, how could we be living members of the Body? It would be impossible. To baptize a believer only in water does not involve life. After a person has been immersed in water, he is still a separate individual. But we have been baptized not only in water, but also in the life-giving Spirit. The water is a sign of the Spirit in which we are baptized. After a person has been baptized in the life-giving Spirit, he becomes part of the Body in an organic way.
Because we have all been baptized in one Spirit, we are organically one Body. The reason we love all the saints, regardless of race, culture, or nationality, is that we are organically united in life. We have an organic element within us, and we are one in the life of the life-giving Spirit.
After passing through a process, the Triune God has become such a life-giving Spirit. In such a Spirit we all have been baptized into one Body. How is it possible for us to be one Body? We can be one Body because we have been baptized in the wonderful life-giving Spirit, who is the ultimate consummation of the Triune God.
We have been baptized in this wonderful Spirit in order to drink of the Triune God. This means that baptism is not the end; rather, it is just the beginning. We who have been baptized once will drink of the life-giving Spirit for eternity.
There is a marvelous connection between 12:13 and Revelation 22:1, where we are told that the river of water of life proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. This river will flow throughout the entire New Jerusalem so that everyone may drink of the water of life. In eternity the water of life will be our drink. We have been baptized to drink the Spirit, the water of life, for eternity.
The book of 1 Corinthians teaches that the last Adam, God incarnate, has become a life-giving Spirit, and that in this Spirit we have all been baptized into one Body. Now, as those baptized in the life-giving Spirit, we need to drink the Spirit. Day by day, we should drink. Whenever we pray, pray-read, or call, “O Lord Jesus,” we may drink. As we fellowship with the saints, we should also drink of the Spirit. Sometimes when I drink of the Spirit, I am beside myself with joy. Hallelujah, we have been baptized into the one Body to drink of the life-giving Spirit! What a marvelous revelation!
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