Life-Study of Philippiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The verses printed above may be compared to the pieces of a puzzle. When we put the pieces together, we see a complete picture.
In Ephesians 3:8 Paul speaks of the unsearchable riches of Christ. The unsearchable riches of Christ are the fullness of the Godhead (Col. 2:9). How all-inclusive and extensive these riches must be! The very fullness of the Godhead has become the unsearchable riches of Christ.
As we consider Ephesians 3:8 and 16-17a, we see that for Christ to make His home in our heart means that His unsearchable riches must possess our entire being. They must fill our heart, including the mind, emotion, will, and conscience. No doubt, if our heart has been occupied and possessed by Christ, we shall also be one with Him in spirit. Then our whole inner being will be possessed by Christ and be one with Him.
The word about the fullness of God being the riches of Christ and the riches of Christ possessing our inner being may be little more than a doctrine to us. We must go on to ask how in a practical way the riches of Christ can fill us. The fullness of the Godhead and the unsearchable riches of Christ are realized by the Spirit and in the Spirit. Furthermore, the Spirit is embodied in the Word. On the one hand, in Ephesians 3:8 and 17 Paul speaks of the riches of Christ and of Christ making His home in our heart; on the other hand, in Colossians 3:16 he charges us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. The word richly corresponds to “riches,” and the word dwell corresponds to “make His home.” The Christ with the unsearchable riches desires to make His home in our heart. Colossians 3:16 refers both to these riches and to the matter of the word of Christ inhabiting us, indwelling us.
Moreover, according to Ephesians 3:19, if Christ makes His home in our heart, we shall be filled unto all the fullness of God. We began with the fullness of the Godhead, and now we return to this fullness. The fullness of God, which is from eternity, has become the unsearchable riches of Christ. Now this Christ with His unsearchable riches is making His home in our hearts so that we may be filled unto all the fullness of the Godhead. Therefore, here we have a full circle beginning with the fullness of the Godhead and also coming back to this fullness. We praise the Lord that through the Spirit and the Word we may experience the unsearchable riches of Christ and be filled unto all the fullness of God!
Concerning the Spirit, there are two extremes, one found among fundamentalists and the other among Pentecostalists. Because they are afraid of the experience of the Spirit, certain fundamental Christians care primarily for Bible doctrine. But to have only the doctrine of the Bible without the Spirit is to have a lifeless body. The Spirit is embodied in the Word. Hence, the Word may be called the body of the Spirit. To separate the Spirit from the Word is to have a lifeless body. The Spirit is the life content of the Bible. Apart from the Spirit, the Bible is dead letters. Nevertheless, fundamental Christians are often afraid to hear about the experience of Christ, the Spirit, and the inner life. They represent one extreme.
The Pentecostalists represent another extreme. They may neglect the Word and emphasize the Spirit in an abnormal, unbalanced way.
God’s economy avoids both extremes. In the economy of God, the Spirit is the ultimate and consummate reaching of the Triune God to man. As we have seen, when the Spirit comes to us, the Triune God comes. Along with the Spirit, God gives us the Word. On the one hand, we have the Spirit as the ultimate and consummate reaching of the Triune God; on the other hand, we have the Word as the embodiment of the Spirit. We should never divorce the Word from the Spirit. Just as our life and our physical body are one entity, one complete living organism, so the Spirit and the Word are one. As human beings, we must have both a visible and tangible body and also an invisible and intangible life. In like manner, as believers, we need both the Word and the Spirit. Furthermore, just as it is the invisible life within our body which makes our body vigorous and active, it is the Spirit who causes the Word to be living.
The Triune God as the all-inclusive Spirit is with us. There is no need to fast and pray in order to receive the Spirit. We can receive this Spirit simply by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus. From our experience we know that whenever we call, “O Lord Jesus,” we receive the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). Then the Spirit turns us to the Word. Many of us can testify that when we call on the name of the Lord Jesus with faith and love, we receive the Spirit. Automatically, we are drawn to the Bible. This indicates that the Spirit and the Word are one. God’s economy depends on both the Word and the Spirit. We must have both and never separate them. We need the Word as the body and the Spirit as the life.
If we would allow Christ to occupy us and make His home in us, we must be filled with the word of Christ. In John 14:23 the Lord Jesus says, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him.” Here we see the connection between the Lord’s word and the Father and the Son coming to us and making an abode with us. It is difficult to say whether this abode is for the Father and the Son or for us. Actually, it is a mutual abode. On the one hand, the Lord makes us His abode; on the other hand, He is an abode to us. This is proved by the Lord’s word in John 15:4 concerning abiding: “Abide in Me and I in you.” This refers to the mutual abiding and to the mutual abode. No doubt, John 15 is the continuation of chapter fourteen. In chapter fourteen we have the mutual abode and in chapter fifteen, the mutual abiding. Because there is an abode both for the Lord and for us, we now can abide in Him and He can abide in us.
According to John 15:4 and 7, for the Lord’s word to abide in us means that the Lord Himself abides in us. Verse 4 says, “Abide in Me and I in you.” In verse 7 the Lord goes on to say, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you....” These verses indicate that the Lord’s words are equal to the Lord Himself. If Christ is to abide in us in a practical way, His words must abide in us. We cannot have Christ in us experientially unless we have His words in us also.
We praise the Lord that we have Christ, the Spirit, and the Word! Because Christ is God, He is real; because He is the Spirit, He is living; and because He is the Word, He is very practical. None of us can deny that, as those who believe in Christ, we have the Spirit and the Word. How wonderful that the Spirit and the Word are one!
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