Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Ephesians 1 begins with the well-speaking of God and ends with the Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all. This indicates that the Body, the fullness of Christ, is the issue of God’s blessing. The words “to the church” in verse 22 mean a great deal. All that the Triune God has passed through, including incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, is transmitted to the church. The church has absolutely nothing to do with the old creation, which was terminated on the cross and buried with Christ in the tomb. What is transmitted to the church is altogether of the new creation. The church is the issue of this transmission.
This message is the concluding word on chapter one. In this chapter there are seven crucial things requiring the same basic factor for their accomplishment: God’s selection that we may be made holy and without blemish (v. 4), God’s predestination that we may become His sons (v. 5), the sealing of the Holy Spirit that we may be fully redeemed (vv. 13-14), the hope of God’s calling, the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints (v. 18), the power that causes us to participate in Christ’s attainment (vv. 19-22), and the Body that is the fullness of the all-filling Christ (v. 23). All these are accomplished by the Triune God dispensed into us and wrought into our being. The issue of such a divine dispensation into our humanity is the fullness of Him who fills all in all and the praise of His expressed glory. Actually, chapter one is a revelation of God’s marvelous and excellent economy beginning from His choosing of us in eternity and reaching to the producing of the Body of Christ to express Himself for eternity.
When you hear about the Triune God dispensed into us and wrought into our being, you may think that there is neither such a word nor such a thought in chapter one. However, the Triune God certainly is revealed in this chapter. Although we cannot find the word “dispensed,” we do have the word “dispensation” (v. 10), which indicates the act of dispensing. Remember, the dispensation of the fullness of the times encompasses all the ages. The fact that we are sons of God shows that God has been dispensed into us. If God the Father has not been dispensed into us, how can we be His sons? We were predestinated by God the Father to become His sons. However, we became fallen and were constituted sinners. How can sinners become sons of God? The only way is to have God born into our being, that is, to be regenerated by God. To have God come into our being is a dispensing of God into us. By regenerating us, God dispensed Himself into us. Furthermore, we have pointed out that God is constituting us a treasure, a valuable and precious inheritance, by working Himself into us. Therefore, the basic concept of this chapter is the Triune God dispensed into us and wrought into our being.
If you do not grasp this thought, you will not be able to get into the depth of Ephesians 1. In reading this chapter we need to have the underlying and governing concept that God is dispensing Himself into us and working Himself into our being. When Paul wrote this portion of the Word, I believe that this thought was deep within him. Paul fully realized that God was dispensing Himself into His chosen ones and working Himself into them to make them holy, to constitute them the sons of God, and to cause them to become His precious inheritance.
Before the foundation of the world God selected us “that we should be holy and without blemish” (v. 4). How can we be holy? Is it by following certain so-called holiness teachings about matters such as clothing, make-up, and hairstyles? Certainly not! Holiness is the nature of God, and to be holy is to have the divine nature wrought into us. Without God’s nature in us, it is impossible for us to be holy. In order to be holy, we need to be saturated with the holy nature of God.
To be holy involves something more than separation. Some Christian teachers say that to be holy is to be separated; they argue against the concept that holiness is sinless perfection. The Lord Jesus said that the gold is sanctified by the temple (Matt. 23:17). Some teachers have used this as an illustration to prove that sanctification is a matter of separation, rather than a matter of sinless perfection. This is correct. But it covers only the positional aspect of sanctification; it does not touch the dispositional aspect revealed in Romans 6. When God is dispensed into us and wrought into our being and we are saturated with Him, our disposition is sanctified. In this way we are made holy. Ultimately, the New Jerusalem will be a holy city. It will not only be separated from everything common, but it will also be thoroughly saturated with God. This is what it means to be holy. The fact that we have been chosen by God the Father to be holy indicates that God intends to come into our being and saturate it with His holy nature. Without His nature wrought into us, we cannot be holy.
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