Life-Study of Leviticusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of 1 Corinthians shows us a particular kind of church life. Since the church life revealed here has so many aspects, it is difficult for us to summarize this church life in a phrase or a clause or even a sentence. If we are enlightened concerning the meal offering, which describes the life of the Lord Jesus on earth, we will be able to see that the church life described in 1 Corinthians corresponds to the life of the Lord Jesus. This life was the formation of the meal offering, and the church life presented in 1 Corinthians may be called the meal offering church life.
We have seen that the meal offering contains four elements: fine flour, oil, frankincense, and salt. The fine flour signifies Christ’s fine humanity, the oil signifies the Spirit of God, the frankincense signifies the fragrance of Christ’s resurrection, and the salt signifies the cross of Christ, which, in a subjective way, deals with all the negative things in our life.
We have also seen that the meal offering does not have either leaven or honey. Leaven signifies sin and all the negative things. Honey signifies the natural life in its good aspects, including natural affection.
If we read the four Gospels, we will see that the four elements of the meal offering were the components of Christ’s life on earth and caused Him to be the real meal offering. As Christians, we should live the same kind of life the Lord Jesus lived. This means that, strictly speaking, the Christian life should be a meal offering.
In order for our Christian life to be a meal offering, it must be a life with the highest humanity. This is the reason Paul charged the Corinthians, saying, “Be a man” (1 Cor. 16:13). According to the context of 1 Corinthians, to be a man means that we should have a high, uplifted humanity.
If we have such a humanity, we will exercise self-control. This is indicated by Paul’s word in 9:26 and 27. “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so I box, not as beating the air; but I buffet my body and lead it as a slave.” These verses reveal that Paul had a high humanity and that he had a strong, excellent character. He did not run uncertainly or beat the air but exercised control over himself. He was a real man with a high standard of morality in his human living.
First Corinthians 13:4-7 is a description of love. This description actually shows us a fine humanity. Verse 4 says, “Love suffers long, and is kind; love is not jealous; love does not brag, is not puffed up.” In our weak humanity, we have only limited patience, but love suffers long. Also, it is easy for us to be jealous and covetous, but love is not jealous. Furthermore, love does not behave unbecomingly, does not seek its own things, is not provoked, does not take account of evil, and does not rejoice over unrighteousness (vv. 5-6a). On the contrary, love rejoices with the truth, covers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things (vv. 6b-7). Here we have a description of a fine humanity and of a high human character. This indicates that 1 Corinthians is a book concerned with the uplifting of humanity.
In 16:13 Paul does not say, “Be a hero”; he says, “Be a man.” From every angle and from every side, we should be a man. From the angle of ethics, we should be a man. From the angle of self-control, we should be a man. From the angles of wisdom and love, we should be a man. This is to have an uplifted humanity. In the book of 1 Corinthians, we can see the genuine fine flour. This book surely presents the meal offering church life.
In the meal offering church life, the first item is a fine, uplifted humanity. If we would have the proper church life, we all need to have a strong character. This strong character, however, should be balanced, for an unbalanced humanity is a biased humanity. Therefore, we should be strong and also soft. If in the church life we are strong without also being soft, we will offend others. Although we need to be soft as well as strong, we should not be too soft. Those who are too soft are like noodles. There is a proverb which says that we can lift up bamboo but we cannot lift up a noodle. We cannot have a proper church life if the saints are either too strong or too soft. We need to be balanced. For the church life, we need to be a man with a fine, balanced, uplifted humanity.
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