Life-Study of 1, 2, & 3 John, Judeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 2:28—5:21 we see the virtues of the divine birth. First, in 2:28—3:10a we have the practice of the divine righteousness. Then in 3:10b—5:3 we have the practice of the divine love. In order to practice the divine righteousness we need a basis, and this basis is the divine birth. We also need a means. This means is the divine life. Through abiding in the divine fellowship according to the divine anointing, we have the practice of the divine righteousness. In order to practice the divine love, we need the divine life as the divine seed, and we also need the divine Spirit (3:10b-24). Then we need the proving of the spirits (4:1-6), and we also need God as the supreme love and the bountiful Spirit (4:7—5:3).
God’s economy is to work Himself into us. For this, we need to be born of Him; that is, we need the divine birth. This divine birth brings into us the divine life with the divine nature. As those who have been born of God, we now have the Triune God moving and working within us as the anointing. Day by day we need to abide, dwell, in the enjoyment of the Triune God according to this anointing. I hope that we all shall be deeply impressed with the fact that the Triune God is working Himself into our being. We have Him as the divine life with the divine nature moving and working in us as the divine anointing. Now we simply need to dwell in Him according to this divine anointing.
In this message we shall begin to consider the virtues of the divine birth to overcome the world, death, sin, the Devil, and the idols (5:4-21). Our overcoming of these negative things is not by ourselves, by what we are, or by what we can do, but by the eternal life in the Son. Surely the overcoming of the world, death, sin, the Devil, and idols is a virtue of the divine birth. First John 5:4-13, which we shall consider in this message, reveals that it is by the eternal life in the Son that we may have the practical experience of overcoming these five categories of negative things.
In 5:4 John says, “Because everything that has been begotten of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory which overcame the world—our faith.” The word “everything” refers to every person who has been begotten of God. Yet such an expression should refer especially to the part that has been regenerated with the divine life, that is, the spirit of the regenerated person (John 3:6). The regenerated spirit of the believer does not practice sin (1 John 3:9), and it overcomes the world. His divine birth with the divine life is the basic factor of such victorious living.
Both John’s Gospel and Epistle stress the divine birth (John 1:13; 3:3, 5; 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18), through which the divine life is imparted into the believers in Christ (John 3:15-16, 36; 1 John 5:11-12). This divine birth that brings in the divine life is the basic factor of all the mysteries concerning the divine life, such as the fellowship of the divine life (1:3-7), the anointing of the Divine Trinity (2:20-27), the abiding in the Lord, (2:28—3:24), and the divine living that practices the divine truth (1:6), the divine will (2:17), the divine righteousness (2:29; 3:7), and divine love (3:10, 22-23; 5:1-3) to express the divine Person (4:12). The divine birth with the divine life is also the basic factor of this section, from 5:4 through 5:21. It assures the God-begotten believers, giving them confidence in the ability and virtue of the divine life.
Since regenerated believers have the capability of the divine life to overcome the world, the powerful satanic world system, the commandments of God are not heavy or burdensome to them (5:3).
Regeneration takes place definitely and particularly in our spirit. John 3:6 says that that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. This indicates that regeneration takes place in our spirit. Because our spirit has been regenerated, it cannot sin. On the contrary, our spirit can overcome all negative things.
Our spirit has been regenerated with the divine life. This means that the divine life has been imparted or infused into our spirit. However, our body has not been regenerated, and our soul still remains without the life of God. For this reason, once we have been regenerated in our spirit, we should dwell in the divine life so that it may have free course to spread into our soul. The spreading of the divine life from our regenerated spirit into our soul produces a metabolic change in our being, a change which is called transformation in the New Testament. By this we see that after regeneration in our spirit, we need the divine life to saturate our soul in order to cause the transformation of our inner being, the metabolic change of our soul. Eventually, the time will come when our body will be transfigured by the power of the divine life into a glorious body.
As human beings we have three parts: the spirit, the soul, and the body. In God’s salvation there are three steps: regeneration, transformation, and transfiguration. Regeneration took place in our spirit when we believed in the Lord Jesus. Now if we abide in the fellowship of the divine life, this will open the way for the divine life to spread into our soul and to transform the parts of our inward being. When the Lord Jesus comes back, He will transfigure our bodies. Then we shall be fully in the divine life and in the divine glory.
Today both our soul and body give us trouble. If we do not abide in the fellowship of the divine life, our body and soul will give us a difficult time. Praise the Lord for the hope that our troublesome body will be transfigured! We also thank the Lord for the transformation that is taking place in our soul. All believers have experienced regeneration, the initial step of God’s salvation. Through regeneration, the divine birth, we received the divine life, the eternal life, which is in the Son. Actually, this eternal life is the Son Himself.
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