Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
God’s eternal purpose is to work Himself into us and make us the same as His Firstborn Son. The Firstborn Son of God is the standard model for God’s economy. This standard model has both divinity and humanity. Originally, He was the Only Begotten Son of God. As the Only Begotten Son of God, He was the embodiment of God, for all that is in the Godhead was embodied in Him (Col. 2:9). He was also the expression of God (Heb. 1:3). As the embodiment and expression of God, He became incarnated, bringing divinity into humanity and joining humanity to divinity. But before the incarnation, divinity had never been joined to humanity. Since the day of His incarnation, there was in this universe a wonderful Person who was both human and divine.
The Lord Jesus lived on earth for thirty three and a half years. On some occasions He exercised His divinity, but most of the time He lived out His humanity. People mostly saw Him as a man, as a proper, perfect, and extraordinary man. His extraordinary quality was His divinity. One day, He went to the cross to put away sin. At the same time, He destroyed Satan, the source of sin. As the Lord destroyed sin and Satan, He tasted death (Heb. 2:9), and by tasting death He swallowed it. Through the Lord’s all-inclusive death, every negative thing in the whole universe, including sin, Satan, and death, was terminated and made a history. After His crucifixion, the Lord rested for three days. According to the Bible, while He was resting in the grave, He took a tour of Hades, offering it the opportunity to do everything to Him and proving that it could do nothing with Him. After His rest and His tour, He walked out of Hades and arose from the tomb, coming forth in His resurrection. By His resurrection, He was born with His humanity into the divine sonship and became the Firstborn Son of God. The most striking thing about Christ as the Firstborn Son of God is that with Him all the negative things, including sin, Satan, and death, have become a history. He is a person who has divinity mingled with an uplifted humanity and who has humanity that is one with divinity. Ultimately, He entered into glory, even into glorification. Being in glorification is superior to being in glory, because being in glory does not require a process, whereas being in glorification does. The Lord Jesus, as the Firstborn Son of God, has passed through a process to enter into glory. That was His glorification.
As the Only Begotten Son, Christ was already in glory. That did not require glorification. However, once He was on earth in His humanity, He needed to be glorified. Therefore, as John 17:1 reveals, during the last night of His life on earth, He prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You” (Recovery Version). Since He was already in glory, why did He still need to be glorified? Although He was in glory as the Only Begotten Son, since He had put on humanity, the human part of His being had to be glorified, to be processed into glory. In His resurrection Christ entered into His glorification (Luke 24:26).
Few Christians realize that ultimately in the New Testament the word perfection means glorification. Regardless how perfect you may be, if you have not been glorified, you are still not adequate. The book of Romans reveals that in the economy of God we have firstly justification, then sanctification, and finally glorification. Romans does not mention perfection. Both glorification and perfection, however, are found in Hebrews. Hebrews 2:9-10, which says that Christ, the Captain of our salvation, has been crowned with glory, refers to both perfection and glorification. His perfection was His glorification, the very glorification revealed in Romans 8. According to Romans 8, the last step of God’s salvation is to glorify us, and according to Hebrew 2, it is through the Captain of our salvation that we are being brought into glory.
On the throne, as well as in our spirit, there is a glorified Man, a Man who has been fully perfected. Some saints, such as John Wesley and those with him, practiced what is called sinless perfection. According to the concept of sinless perfection, if you do not lie or lose your temper but love others and are humble, you have attained perfection. But this is a very low concept of perfection. I would ask you to compare this with the perfection of the glorified Jesus. The perfection of the glorified Jesus is that of divinity mingled with a humanity that has been tested, resurrected, uplifted, and glorified.
At this point I want to introduce a new word—sonized. After passing through all the tests and after being resurrected and uplifted, the humanity of Jesus was “sonized.” This means that it was brought into the divine sonship. Although Christ was the Son of God, before His resurrection He was clothed with humanity, which was unrelated to that sonship. One day, He brought this humanity into, through, and out of death, and it was resurrected by the power of the divine life according to the Spirit of holiness (Rom. 1:4). Through this process, His humanity was sonized into God’s divine sonship. Thus, with His resurrected and uplifted humanity He was born in resurrection as the Firstborn Son of God. This is the meaning of Acts 13:33: “God...hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
Such a sonized One is now the standard model. This standard model has attained perfection—a perfection with divinity, with an uplifted humanity, and with all negative things having become a history. We need to lift up our eyes and gaze at this standard model. As we look at Him, we behold His divinity and His sonized humanity. All the negative things are now on the other side of the river and have become a history. But the standard model is in glorification and exaltation on the golden side of the river, where there is no sin, death, Satan, or any other negative thing. Now there is a Man in the glory, a Man in perfection. What kind of perfection can compare with this? The so-called sinless perfection is in the basement, while this glorious perfection is in the Holy of Holies.
What is perfection? Perfection is glorification. In this perfection is the Man who has divinity, who has a humanity that has been sonized as the Firstborn Son of God, and who is now in His glorification. With Him, all the negative things are a history, having been left on the other side of the river. This is perfection and this is glorification. In the New Testament, glorification is the equivalent of perfection. Christ, the standard model, is now in such a perfection, and we are on the way.
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