Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The genealogy in Matthew begins with Abraham, but the genealogy in Luke goes back to Adam. Matthew does not cover Adam and his descendants, but Luke does. What is the meaning of this difference? Luke is a book of God’s salvation, whereas Matthew is a book of the kingdom. God’s salvation is for the created and fallen race represented by Adam, but the kingdom of the heavens is only for God’s chosen people, the called race represented by Abraham. Therefore, Matthew starts from Abraham, but Luke traces the genealogy back to Adam.
In the first ten and a half chapters of Genesis God tried to work with the created race, but He did not get through. The created race failed Him. Man fell to such an extent that all mankind rebelled against God to the uttermost, and built the tower and city of Babel to express their rebellion (Gen. 11:1-9). So God gave up the created and fallen race, and He called one, Abraham, out of that race to be the father of another race. Out of a place filled with rebellion and idolatry, a place where everyone was one with Satan, God called a man named Abraham (Gen. 12:1-2; Heb. 11:8). From the time God called him out of Babel (later Babylon) into Canaan, God gave up the Adamic race and invested all His interest in this new race, with Abraham as its head. This is the called race, the transformed race. It is not a race according to nature, but a race according to faith.
God’s kingdom is for this race. It could never be with the fallen race. Thus, Matthew, dealing with the kingdom of the heavens, begins with Abraham, Because the book of Luke concerns God’s salvation (and surely salvation must be for the fallen race), his genealogy goes back to Adam. After being saved in Luke, we are spontaneously transferred from the fallen race to the called race. We used to be descendants of Adam; now we are descendants of Abraham. Galatians 3:7 and 29 tell us that whoever believes in Jesus Christ is a son of Abraham. Whose son are you? Are you the son of Adam or the son of Abraham? We are the real Jews (Rom. 2:29). Our grandfather is Abraham. We are in the same category he is. If we were not descendants of Abraham, then we would have no share in the book of Matthew. We would not even have a share in the short book of Galatians, because Galatians was written to the descendants of Abraham. Only if we are descendants of Abraham do we have a share in Galatians. Praise the Lord that we are the sons of Abraham! “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29).
Abraham was called out by God. The Greek word for church, ecclesia, means “the called out ones.” Thus, we in the church are also the called out ones. Abraham was called out of Babel, the place of rebellion and idolatry, into the good land, which typifies Christ. We also were in Babel. We were fallen, we were rebellious, and we worshipped idols. Today the whole human race is in Babel. We used to be there, but one day God called us out and put us into Christ, the high land. We were called by God into “the fellowship [the participation] of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). “To those who are called,...Christ, [is] God’s power and God’s wisdom” (1 Cor. 1:24).
Abraham, as a called one, was justified by faith (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:2-3). The fallen ones depend on their work, but the called ones believe in God’s work, not in their own work. No fallen person can be justified by works in the sight of God (Rom. 3:20). Therefore, the called ones, having been called by God out of the fallen race, put no trust in their own effort; they trust in God’s work of grace. Abraham and all other believers are like this. “They who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Gal. 3:9). The blessing of God’s promise, “the promise of the Spirit” (Gal. 3:14), is for the believing ones. By faith we received the Spirit, which is the reality and realization of Christ (Gal. 3:2). Thus, both Abraham and we are associated with Christ and joined to Him by faith. It is by faith in God’s work of grace that God’s called people are justified by Him and participate in Christ, their eternal portion.
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