Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
First Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” In this verse we can see that there are different governmental dealings of God. God deals with His house, that is, His children, in one way and at one time, and He deals with those who do not obey the gospel in another way and at another time. Although we have been saved and have become God’s household, God’s family, this does not mean that we shall never again be judged by God. On the contrary, this verse says that God’s judgment will begin at His house. If God were unjust in dealing with His own children, how could He judge the unbelievers and those who oppose Him? The principle here is that in order for God to be just in judging the unbelievers, He must firstly make a righteous judgment of His children.
God’s intention is not to have a universe filled with neat, clean, righteous, sinless people. As we have seen, God’s purpose is to sow Himself into His chosen people, making them His children. Once we have become God’s children through regeneration, having God’s life as our seed and content, we need to grow with and into God and be fully transformed by being permeated with all His divine elements. God’s intention is not to gain a group of pure, righteous people; it is to gain a people who have been saturated with Him and built up in Him. Satan came in to frustrate God’s work mainly through sin, the world, and the self. Thus, if we are to grow in God’s life, we must hate sin, forsake the world, and deny the self. The object of dealing with sin is not merely to deal with the sin itself, but to eliminate the satanic frustration to the growth in life. Having our sins forgiven is a minor thing; being delivered from the sinful frustration so that we may grow in God’s life is the major thing. If you have committed a sin but repent and desire to go on with the Lord, God will surely forgive your sin because of Christ’s redemption. Do not worry about it. God’s intention is not simply to forgive your sins but to bring you onward that you may grow in His life. We all are human and easily fall into sin. But as long as we desire to grow in life, God will spontaneously take care of our sins and cleanse us with the blood of Jesus. However, if we are not willing to grow and yet ask God to forgive our sins, He will be faithful to do it, but we shall not be in the fulfillment of God’s purpose. Simply having our sins forgiven on the negative side does not fulfill God’s purpose. We also need to grow and enter into the Sabbath rest.
I like the picture we have in Matthew 24 and 25. As we pointed out in the last message, in Matthew 24:40-41 we see the two living ones, and in Matthew 25:1-4 we see the ten dead ones. Of the two living ones, one is taken and the other is left. Of the ten dead ones, five are accepted and five are temporarily rejected. The saved ones can never be rejected by God eternally, but they may be rejected dispensationally, like a child who does not do well in school and who, after graduation, is not allowed to share in the special dinner planned by his parents as a prize for his brothers and sisters who did well. Such a child will never be rejected permanently by his parents, but he may be rejected temporarily. If we believe Matthew 1, then we must also believe Matthew 24 and 25. We should not select the verses that we like and ignore the verses that we do not like. Both Matthew 24 and 25 are crucial to our Christian life and work.
Matthew 25 contains two parables concerning us—the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents. The parable of the ten virgins depicts the life we should have, and the parable of the talents portrays the work we should have. Our life must be that of a wise virgin, and our work must be that of a faithful servant. In the parable of the ten virgins, we see that we need to have a watchful life, a life that continually bears testimony and goes out of the world to meet the Lord. This parable also reveals that we not only need to have our spirit enlightened by God’s Spirit, but our vessel, that is, our soul, must be transformed with an extra portion of the life-giving Spirit.
Furthermore, the parable of the talents reveals that our work must be the work of a faithful servant, using the Lord-given talents to do business for the Lord and to earn profit for His economy. According to what is revealed in Matthew, both such a watchful life and a faithful work are crucially needed for us to be rewarded with the coming Sabbath rest in the millennial kingdom. This is different from the enjoyment of rest in salvation which is received simply by faith in the Lord.
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