Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have seen that God’s economy is Christ with the church and that the word economy denotes a dispensation. God’s intention is to dispense Himself into His chosen people. To be saved is not merely to have our sins forgiven, to be justified, and to be made ready for heaven. To be saved is for God to begin dispensing Himself into us.
God’s dispensation is altogether related to Christ. According to the natural concept, we think that after salvation we need to improve our behavior, seek power, or carry on a fruitful work for the Lord. Some Christians believe that they need to pursue such gifts as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing. Others feel that the most important thing for a saved one is to gain the proper knowledge of the Bible. However, if we view salvation from the perspective of God’s economy, we shall see the Christian life in a different way.
The New Testament does speak of proper conduct, power, gifts, and knowledge. Nevertheless, the crucial point is how much of Christ has been wrought into us. God is seeking to work Christ into us. We all need to be enlightened to see what God is doing today. God’s intention is not to improve us. Whatever we are in ourselves means nothing to God. What matters to Him is that Christ is wrought into us.
In 1:19 and 20 Paul speaks of the “surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” This power was wrought in Christ when God raised Him from among the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies. Today God’s main activity is to work this Christ into us.
Suppose one day you are unpleasant with another brother or sister. Surely you would repent and ask the Lord to forgive you for your poor attitude. You may even pray that the Lord will make you better. Even if you do not make this request specifically, deep within this is your feeling as you pray about your failure. This kind of prayer is religious. You may have read the book Christ versus Religion, but you are still very religious in your daily practice. If you see God’s economy, you will pray like this, “Lord, the Devil within me caused me to behave in that way. But, Lord, even if my behavior had been good, it still would not have been You living within me. Lord, You do not want me to be good—You want to live in me. Lord, in one sense, I do repent and ask You to forgive me. But I also put the blame on Satan and command him to get away from me. Lord, I will not try to be better. I just need You to live in me.”
Galatians 2:20 says that we have been crucified with Christ and that Christ now lives within us. We may have some knowledge of this verse and declare, “It is no longer I, but Christ.” However, in our daily living it is no longer Christ, but I. To recite Galatians 2:20 is one thing, but to live out Christ in a practical way is another.
Suppose you are very kind to the brothers and sisters. You may not sense any need to repent or ask the Lord to forgive you. Nevertheless, according to God’s evaluation, it makes little difference whether you are kind or unkind toward others as long as you are the one living and not Christ. Whether our behavior is good or bad, we still do not live out Christ. God’s economy is focused on Christ. His economy is not a matter of ethics, morality, or good character. In His economy God desires to work Christ into us. In our relationships with the brothers and sisters in the church, we need to live out Christ.
Some books have been written about Christ as life. However, it is difficult to find a group of Christians who genuinely live by Christ. God’s intention is not to improve us; it is to work the living Christ into us, into our mind, emotion, and will. God’s desire is to replace us with Christ. He wants to see that Christ is being lived out of the brothers and sisters in the churches. Oh, may the Father of glory give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may be enlightened to know what God is seeking to accomplish today. I repeat, God is not seeking to improve us—He is endeavoring to work Christ into us.
The Christ God is seeking to work into us is the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ. Satan put Christ on the cross. But God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies. Now God intends to work this crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ into us. There is a great difference between ethics, conduct, and behavior, on the one hand, and such a Christ wrought into our being, on the other.
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