Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Ephesians 4:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, I, the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called.” This verse is somewhat a repetition of 3:1, which begins the apostle’s exhortation in chapters four through six. This indicates that 3:2-21 is all parenthetical.
The book of Ephesians is divided into two main sections. The first, composed of chapters one through three, reveals the blessing and the position which the church has obtained in Christ in the heavenlies. Chapter three, in particular, reveals how the church comes into existence in a practical way through being constituted with the riches of the living Christ. The second section, comprising chapters four through six, charges us concerning the living and responsibility the church should have in the Spirit on the earth. The basic charge is that we should walk worthily of the calling, which is the totality of the blessings bestowed upon the church, as revealed in 1:3-14. In the church, under the Triune God’s abundant blessing, the saints should walk worthily of the Father’s selection and predestination, the Son’s redemption, and the Spirit’s sealing and pledging.
In walking worthily of God’s calling, the church must have a certain kind of life and also bear responsibility to the full extent. Hence, in chapters four through six we see, on the one hand, the living the church should have, and, on the other hand, the responsibility the church should bear.
In exhorting the saints to walk worthily of God’s calling, Paul spoke from his status as a prisoner in the Lord. His status as an apostle of Christ through the will of God authorized him to reveal the things concerning the church, to speak concerning the mystery of Christ. However, his status as a prisoner in the Lord qualified him to exhort us to walk worthily of God’s high calling. Paul’s living was surely worthy of God’s calling. Furthermore, he bore the responsibility required by this calling.
In 3:1 Paul speaks of himself as “the prisoner of Christ Jesus,” but in 4:1 he says that he is “the prisoner in the Lord.” To be a prisoner in the Lord is deeper than to be a prisoner of the Lord. As such a prisoner, Paul was a pattern for those who would walk worthily of God’s calling.
To walk worthily of God’s calling, to have the proper Body life, we need firstly to care for the matter of oneness. We must keep the oneness of the Spirit. This is crucial and vital to the Body of Christ.
Oneness, strictly speaking, differs from unity. Unity is formed by many people uniting together, whereas oneness is the one entity of the Spirit within the believers making them all one. Some Christians may have a certain kind of unity, but we in the Lord’s recovery appreciate oneness much more than unity. In the Lord’s recovery, we are not united—that is, we have not formed a certain kind of union—but we are one. Our oneness is a Person, even the Lord Jesus Himself realized as the life-giving Spirit. Today the Lord is the life-giving Spirit within us, and this Spirit is our oneness. Therefore, our oneness is not an objective Person far away in the heavens; it is a subjective Person indwelling us as our life.
This oneness is similar to the electricity in many lights that makes them all one in the shining. Although there may be dozens of lights in a large room, they are one in the electricity that flows within them. In themselves, the lights are not one; neither are they united to form one entity. The unique electricity in the lights is their oneness. This electricity does not unite the lights; it is the oneness within them. In themselves, the lights are individual and separate, but in the electricity they have oneness. It is the same in principle with the believers in Christ. The Spirit indwelling us is our oneness.
In 4:3 this oneness is called “the oneness of the Spirit.” The oneness of the Spirit is actually the Spirit Himself. In the illustration of the electricity and the lights, the oneness of the electricity is the electricity itself. There is not another element, apart from the electricity, that is the oneness of the electricity. The oneness of the electricity is simply the electricity itself. In the same principle, the oneness of the Spirit is not something apart from the Spirit. On the contrary, it is the Spirit Himself. The oneness within us and among us is the very life-giving Spirit. Therefore, to keep the oneness is to keep the life-giving Spirit.
Many Christians talk about unity or oneness but neglect the Spirit. This indicates that they make oneness something separate from the Spirit. The more talk certain believers have had about unity, the more divided they have become. Some can even argue with one another in a fleshly way over the matter of unity. There is no need for us to talk so much about oneness. Oneness is like a dove. If we do not talk about it, the dove is present with us. But if we talk about it, it flies away. When we talk a great deal about oneness, we are in danger of losing it. We do not keep the oneness by talking about it; we keep it by staying in the life-giving Spirit. As long as we love the Lord and embrace Him, we keep the oneness; for, as we have strongly emphasized, oneness is the Person of Christ as the life-giving Spirit.
Keeping the oneness of the Spirit implies that we already have the Spirit. If we did not have Him, how could we keep Him? However, most Christians live apart from the Spirit most of the time. Any action taken apart from the life-giving Spirit is divisive. When we are one with the Spirit, living according to Him and doing all things in Him, we keep the oneness without making any conscious effort to do so. But whenever we act apart from the Spirit, we are divisive and lose the oneness. Therefore, instead of charging you to talk about oneness, I would encourage you to take care of the life-giving Spirit, who is the Lord Himself as life within you.
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