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Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0910-1
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 43 of 65 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

MESSAGE FORTY-THREE

IDENTIFIED WITH CHRIST
BY BEING GRAFTED INTO HIM

Scripture Reading: Col. 2:11-13, 20; 3:1; 1:27-28; 2:19; Matt. 28:19; Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3-5; 11:17; John 15:4-5

In 1:27 Paul speaks of Christ in us, and in the following verse, of presenting every man full-grown in Christ. These verses indicate that, on the one hand, Christ is in us and that, on the other hand, we are in Christ. According to John 15:4 and 5, first we are in Christ, then Christ is in us.

The two expressions, Christ in us and we in Christ, imply a divine, two-way traffic, a traffic which is a universal mystery. What a mystery that we are in the Triune God and that the Triune God is in us! We can bear strong testimony to the fact that we have entered into the Triune God and that the all-inclusive, life-giving, processed Triune God has come into us.

THE PROCESSED GOD

Some Christians are offended when we speak of the processed God. They would say, “Isn’t God eternal, infinite, almighty, and unchanging? How can the eternal, infinite God be processed?” Instead of arguing with people about this point, we should simply present the facts from the Word of God. The Bible reveals that one day God became flesh. John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh. Does this not point to a process? If there were no process involved with the incarnation, how could the eternal, infinite God have become a finite man? After thirty-three and a half years, this processed One went to the cross and was crucified. Some may be amazed to hear that it was God who was crucified. However, we need to remember that the One who was crucified was God incarnate. After His crucifixion, Christ was buried. Then He passed through death and came forth in resurrection. Was that not also part of a process? Christ was buried with a physical body like ours. But when He came out of the tomb in resurrection, He had a spiritual body. His physical body had been transfigured into a spiritual one. Certainly this indicates a process. Therefore, we can say with assurance that our God has been processed. He was processed through incarnation to become a man, and then He was processed through resurrection to become the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45).

BAPTIZED INTO THE NAME
OF THE FATHER, SON, AND SPIRIT

Our God today is not merely the Creator revealed in Genesis 1:1. He is the processed God, as revealed in Matthew 28:19. Matthew 28:19 is more complicated than Genesis 1:1. Genesis 1:1 simply says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. But Matthew 28:19 tells us to baptize people “into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This verse speaks of the one name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The name of God here is Father-Son-Spirit. Due to the poverty of our language, we may be forced to use the term “person” in speaking of the Father, Son, and Spirit, referring to Them as the three Persons of the Trinity. We have done this in the opening lines of one of our hymns (Hymns #608):

What mystery, the Father, Son, and Spirit,
In person three, in substance all are one.

However, we should not press this term too far, lest we unintentionally endorse the doctrine of tritheism, the belief that the Father, Son, and Spirit are three Gods. We definitely do not believe in tritheism; we believe in the one true God, whose name, according to Matthew 28:19, is Father-Son-Spirit. This is the processed God into whose name we are to baptize people.

The English word “baptize” is an anglicized form of the Greek word baptizo, which means to dip, or immerse, an object in water. In baptism, we are immersed in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. However, many Christians argue about the method of baptism or about the kind of water used, yet they have little or no comprehension of the spiritual reality symbolized by the water. Because our relationship with the Lord is mysterious and spiritual, the Bible uses the physical symbol of baptism to signify our union with the Triune God. Being immersed in the water of baptism signifies that a believer is being put into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit.

The name in Matthew 28:19 denotes the sum total of the divine Being. Hence, the name is equivalent to the person. To be put into the name is to be put into the person. To baptize a believer into the name of the Triune God is to immerse him into all that God is. To have the name is to have the person. To baptize people into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit is to baptize them into a wonderful Person. The water used in baptism signifies the wonderful Person of the Triune God. Whenever we baptize people, we should tell them that the water into which we immerse them symbolizes the Triune God. When we immerse them into the water, we are actually putting them into the Triune God.

Matthew 28:19 does not tell us to disciple the nations and baptize them into a certain kind of water. The Bible does not specify what kind of water should be used. We are simply to baptize people in water which signifies immersing them into the Triune God. What a difference it makes to realize that in baptism people are put into the Triune God!


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