Life-Study of 2 Corinthiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the last three verses of chapter four, verses 16 through 18. These verses are still related to the living of a crucified life for the manifestation of the resurrection life by the excellent power of the treasure in the earthen vessels.
In chapters three and four we see that first the apostles were constituted of God Himself. That constitution was everything in relation to their life and behavior. Every aspect of their living and behavior was based on this constitution. Furthermore, this constitution afforded them the life supply with the power, strength, riches, wisdom, and even the ministry. They ministered with what had been constituted into them.
The apostles did not preach something which they had merely heard or had been taught. What they ministered was not something that had only been revealed in a vision. What they preached, taught, and ministered was altogether what had been constituted into them. The apostles were constituted in a certain way, having become constituted persons. Therefore, what they ministered was their constitution. They ministered what they were, what they had become. This means that their reconstituted being became their ministry.
Paul’s writings are very different from today’s Christian writings. Paul’s writings are a record of his constitution, whereas today’s writings are mainly concerned with theology, doctrines, teachings, expositions, and interpretations. Among the fourteen Epistles written by Paul, chapters three and four of 2 Corinthians are the richest as far as his personal experience of Christ is concerned. In these chapters we have an accurate and precious record of Paul’s spiritual constitution. If we would know what kind of person Paul was as a minister of the new covenant, we need to spend much time in these two chapters, chapters which reveal Paul’s spiritual constitution.
Because ministry requires constitution, Brother Nee told us that we could receive a gift immediately, but we could never have a ministry in a short time. It takes years to become constituted. This involves growth into maturity.
Everything related to this constitution is organic and of life. This life is by the Spirit, the ultimate consummation of the processed God. Paul was a person constituted of God. It is not sufficient to speak of him as a God-man, for he was actually a person constituted of God. Therefore, Paul’s ministry was his being. What he preached and taught was what he was. He ministered his very being to others. As Paul ministered in this way, Christ was imparted into others, for Paul and Christ had become one. Paul was one with Christ and had been constituted of Christ. His ministry was a ministry of the Christ who had been constituted into his being. Without this kind of ministry, there is no way to have the church adequately built up or to have the bride properly adorned.
The Bible indicates that what God initiated at the beginning will be accomplished. Moreover, God is a God of resurrection. As the God of resurrection, His purpose cannot fail, and He Himself cannot be defeated. Rather, all frustrations and distractions prove His unchangeableness, prove that He is the unchanging God. What He has determined, He will accomplish. What He set out to do at the beginning, He will fulfill at the end. In the New Testament God began with a group of ministers. Paul was among them. At the end God will also have a group of the same kind of ministers. Here and there around the world, He must have ministers of the new covenant. My burden is that many among us will become ministers of the new covenant.
I hope that these messages on the ministry and the ministers of the new covenant will remain with you. I hope especially that the leading ones, the co-workers, and all those who have a heart for the Lord’s recovery will aspire to be today’s new covenant ministers. We need to have a heart not only to love the Lord in a general way, but also to become ministers of the New Testament. If we have such a heart, we must be serious with the Lord and dwell on these two chapters of 2 Corinthians, praying over them, having fellowship concerning them, and telling the Lord that we are willing to open ourselves for His working in us. We need to tell Him that we are willing to be broken, ground, and constituted; that we are willing to live a crucified life; that we are willing to renounce ourselves and deny ourselves and be constituted daily with the elements of the processed Triune God; that we are willing to be today’s Paul, not a great person or a famous believer, but a small man, a crucified man, even a Nazarene.
Jesus of Nazareth did not seek to be great or famous. On the contrary, He was a grain of wheat that fell into the ground and died. In this way Jesus became the first minister of the new covenant. We need to follow Him also to become ministers of the new covenant. Concerning this, we must look to the Lord and pray desperately to Him.
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