Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Churchby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We need to see the pure truth in the Word. The Bible shows us that God is triune not for our doctrinal understanding but for our experience and enjoyment. In order to become our experience, the Triune God had to pass through two steps. First, He had to solve the problems in us related to sin, the self, the natural man, the corrupt nature, Satan, the world, and the ordinances. As fallen people, we have been contaminated by these things. We may be compared to a cup that has become dirty and must be cleaned within and without. Since the Triune God desires to come into us to be our enjoyment, He first needed to go through a procedure to accomplish redemption. This step was carried out by the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, after accomplishing redemption, He can come into us. This is the second step of His process.
The teachings taught by many in Christianity today are fragmentary. They teach the Christ who was crucified on the cross but not the Christ who comes into us. They teach that Christ died for us, but they do not teach that Christ lives in us. Christ dying on the cross for us was for redemption, whereas Christ living in us is for being our life. For Christ to solve our problems, He had to be the Redeemer, but for Christ to come into us as our life, He has to be the life-giving Spirit. If Christ were not the Redeemer, He could not solve our problems, but if He were the Redeemer but not the life-giving Spirit, He could not come into us to be our life. Hence, the Bible twice speaks of His “becoming” something. First He became flesh (John 1:14), and then He became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b).
John 1 says that in the beginning was the Word, the Word was God, and the Word became flesh to be the Redeemer. This is His first “becoming.” The first step taken by God was to become flesh that He might have blood to shed for solving all our problems, the main one of which is the problem of sin. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” For God to have blood required Him to become flesh. The Lord Jesus was God who became flesh, and in His flesh He was crucified for us on the cross. He said that His blood was poured out for us for the forgiveness of sins (Matt. 26:28). He shed His blood and died, He was buried, and on the third day He was resurrected. Following this, He ascended to the heavens. According to the teaching of certain ones in Christianity, after Christ came down from His throne to redeem us, He returned to His throne and is no longer among us. Nevertheless, the New Testament clearly reveals that in His resurrection Christ, on the one hand, ascended and returned to His throne and, on the other hand, became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). This is the second “becoming,” the second step taken by God.
In Greek the word for became in these two passages of the Bible is an emphatic word; it points to a specific purpose to attain a definite goal. God is a God with an economy, and He has His definite steps to attain a definite goal. God’s becoming flesh was not a small thing but a great thing; it was a definite step taken by God to arrive at a definite goal—on the negative side to redeem us and on the positive side to release His life. Then the incarnated Christ, the last Adam, took another step with a definite purpose; that is, He became the life-giving Spirit in order that He may dispense into us the life that He released, which is Himself.
The Triune God is intimately related to our experience of Christ. Actually, in our proper experience this Christ is the Triune God. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” According to the flesh, Christ came out of Israel, out of the tribe of Judah, yet Romans 9:5 says that He “is God over all, blessed forever.” He is man, and He is also God. He is God the Son, and He is also the Triune God, blessed forever. Hebrews 1:8 says, “Of the Son, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.’” This proves that the Son is God, even the God who sits on the throne. God is triune, including the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. When we say that the Son is God, we do not mean that He is merely one-third of God; rather, we mean that He is the Triune God Himself. This is difficult to explain in doctrine but very easy to understand in experience. When we experience the Son, we experience the Triune God. Not only so, in our experience God the Father is the Triune God, and so is God the Spirit. We cannot separate the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. All doctrinal problems regarding the Triune God arise out of our subjective mentality.
Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” The fullness of the Godhead, which is the Triune God Himself, dwells in Christ bodily. This means that Christ is the embodied Triune God; the Triune God dwells in Christ in a bodily way. This also means that Christ is the complete Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Hence, Christ is the embodiment of the complete Triune God. This is why we say that, according to the New Testament, our Lord Jesus is the complete Triune God, the entire God.
John 14:9 says, “Jesus said to him, Have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Concerning this verse, Christianity has two kinds of explanations. One school says that Christ is the Father, whereas another school says that He is not the Father but only represents the Father. Both sayings are not completely accurate. To say that Christ only represents the Father is a great mistake, and to say that He is the Father is too direct. The accurate way is to say that Christ is the expression of the Father; therefore, when we see Him, we see the Father. This is why this matter is so marvelous and mysterious. When we see the Son, we see the Father because the Son is the expression of the Father.
We cannot separate the Son from the Father. To say that to see the Son is to see the Father means that the Son is here, and the Father is also here. Hence, in verse 10 the Lord went on to say, “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” This indicates that the Lord Jesus is the complete God and that He is also the embodiment of the complete God. The Father is in Him, and He is in the Father. Hence, when we experience Christ, we are fully involved with the Father. This Christ whom we experience has the Father in Him, and He is also in the Father; the two cannot be separated. When we experience and enjoy Christ, we experience and enjoy the Father who is in Christ and in whom Christ is. By this we can see that the Triune God is not for doctrinal debate but for our experience and enjoyment.
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