Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 135-156), Chapter 1

(2) Over Them, through Them, and in Them

In Ephesians 4:6 Paul speaks of the “God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” The word “all” refers to all believers. The thought of the Trinity is implied here. “Over all” refers mainly to the Father; “through all,” to the Son; and “in all,” to the Spirit. God the Father can be in three positions, above all, through all, and in all, because God is triune. Even God the Father is triune. The Father’s position is above all, the Son’s position is through all, and the Spirit’s position is in all. Therefore, God the Father possesses all the positions of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. He is above all as the Father, He is through all in the Son, and He is in all as the Spirit. From this we see that God the Father is related to the believers in a triune way. His way to be with us is triune.

From experience we know that the Father’s triune way to be with the believers is the triune dispensing. As we fellowship with the Lord, we may sense that the very God with whom we are fellowshipping is above us and overshadowing us. At the same time we have the sense that this loving One is not only overshadowing us but is also passing through us. As we continue our fellowship with Him, we also have the sense that this very One is dwelling in us. His overshadowing, passing through us, and dwelling in us are all for the divine dispensing. This means that God dispenses Himself into us in a triune way by overshadowing us, by passing through us, and by dwelling in us. As we experience and enjoy this dispensing, we sense God the Father in three directions—over us, through us, and in us.

Whenever the Father comes to us, He does not come alone but with the Son. Furthermore, when the Son comes to us with the Father, the Son comes as the Spirit. The Father comes in the Son, and the Son comes as the Spirit with the Father. Hence, when the Father comes, the Son and the Spirit also come. God the Father visits us, but He always visits us in the Son, who visits us as the Spirit. This means that the Three of the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—visit us in a triune way, in a threefold way, for the divine dispensing.

(3) Seen by Them Who Are Pure in Their Hearts

The One who is over us, through us, and in us can be seen by us. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). To be pure in heart is to be single in purpose, to have the single goal of accomplishing God’s will for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31). If we are pure in heart in seeking God, we shall see God. Seeing God is a reward to the pure in heart.

It is impossible, of course, to see God with our physical eyes. However, we can see Him with our spirit and with a heart that is pure and single. If we have an open spirit and a pure heart, we shall see God. To see God is an experience and an enjoyment. When we see Him, He dispenses Himself into us, infusing Himself into our being.

(4) Near to Them Who Draw Near to Him

God the Father is not only seen by those who are pure in heart but is also near to those who draw near to Him. James 4:8a says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” God is visible, yet we need to be pure in heart. Likewise, God is near to us, yet we need to draw near to Him. If we do not draw near to Him, He will not draw near to us in our experience. His drawing near to us depends on our drawing near to Him.

From experience we know that whenever we draw near to God under the redeeming blood of Christ, we have the sense that God is near to us. He draws near to us that we may experience Him and enjoy Him. By drawing near to us God shows His love to us or His sympathy for us. In drawing near to us He also comforts us, encourages us, and strengthens us. Sometimes we may have the sense that God is near to us in order to wipe away our tears. To those who draw near to God the Father He is near in order to love, sympathize, comfort, encourage, strengthen, and sustain. In this way the believers experience and enjoy God as the Father in His love.

(5) Worshipped by Them by His Spirit

God the Father is worshipped by the believers by His Spirit (Phil. 3:3). If we worship God the Father in a religious way by rituals, we shall not be able to touch Him. But whenever we worship Him by the Spirit, we have the sense that we are touching Him and that we are brought out of ourselves and into the heavens. As we worship God the Father by His Spirit, something of the living God, the One we worship by the Spirit, is wrought into our being. This is an experience and an enjoyment of God the Father that is unforgettable. We, the believers in Christ, experience and enjoy the very God whom we worship by His Spirit.

THE CONCLUSION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

MESSAGE ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-SIX

THE BELIEVERS—THEIR PRESENT

(20)

In the progressing stage of God’s full salvation, the stage of transformation, the believers experience and enjoy the processed Triune God in His triune dispensing. First, they experience and enjoy God as the Father in His love. In this message we shall consider more aspects of this experience and enjoyment of God the Father.

(6) Giving Grace, Even Greater Grace, to Them, Those Who Are Humble

God as the Father in His love gives grace, even greater grace, to the believers, those who are humble. James 4:6 says, “He gives greater grace; wherefore it says, God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” According to the context, to be proud here means to be proud toward God. Being proud before God causes Him to resist us. To be humble is also toward God, and this causes Him to give us grace, as He desires.

We need to learn to draw near to God (James 4:8) to receive greater grace. Instead of being proud and resisting God, we should receive in meekness the implanted word (James 1:21). Someone who is proud cannot receive God’s implanted word. If we are humble, we shall receive the implanted word, and we shall also receive greater grace.

First Peter 5:5b also says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” The Greek word translated “resist” is a strong word for an army preparing to resist the enemy. Peter uses this word to show how strong God is in resisting those who are proud. The Greek word rendered “proud” here literally means showing above (others). To be proud is to show ourselves above others. God resists the one who lifts himself above others and regards himself as better than others. Instead of being proud and showing ourselves above others, we should be humble.

God gives grace to the humble. This grace refers to the Triune God Himself as the life supply being multiplied in the humble believer. This is the multiplied grace (1 Pet. 1:2), the varied grace (4:10), and all grace (5:10). The believers have received the initial grace, yet this grace needs to be multiplied in them that they may participate in all grace. The varied grace of God is the rich supply of life, which is the Triune God ministered into us in many aspects (2 Cor. 13:14; 12:9). God gives Himself as grace, as life supply, to humble believers.

The Greek word for “humble” in 1 Peter 5:5 also means lowly, as in Matthew 11:29, where the Lord Jesus says, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” To be proud is to be high, but to be humble is to be low. If we would humble ourselves in the church life, we need to become lowly. Instead of uplifting ourselves, we should always keep ourselves low. Then we shall be in a position to receive the Triune God as our life supply. We shall receive the grace, even the greater grace, God gives to humble believers.

In the foregoing message we pointed out that in order to see God we need to be pure in heart (Matt. 5:8). This means that being pure in heart is the condition, the term, for seeing God. Likewise, there are conditions for having God draw near to us and for Him to be worshipped by us. In order for God to draw near to us, we need to draw near to Him (James 4:8a), and in order for God to be worshipped by us, we need to worship Him by His Spirit (Phil. 3:3). In like manner, there is a condition that we need to fulfill in order for God to give us grace, and this condition is that we must be humble. When we are truly humble before God, we shall receive His grace, even His greater grace.

(7) Coming, with the Son, to Them and Making an Abode with Them

God the Father not only gives grace to the believers, but He comes to them with the Son and makes an abode with them. 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.” The Father does not come to visit us temporarily; He comes to stay, having no intention of leaving. The Father’s intention in coming to us with the Son is to make an abode with us. The Father with the Son takes the believers as His abode and makes the believers an abode to Him. This means that the Father’s visitation makes us His abode, and it makes Him our abode. Eventually, we and He, He and we, become a mutual abode.

The Father cannot come to us by Himself to make an abode with us. Rather, He comes to us with the Son and by the Spirit. When the Father comes to us, He brings the Son, and the Son as the Spirit accompanies the Father. Thus, the three of the Godhead come together. The Father comes with the Son, and the Son accompanies the Father as the Spirit. Then the Father dwells in us with the Son as the Spirit. This is the Triune God coming to make an abode with us.

(8) Abiding in Them

After coming to us with the Son, the Father abides in us. The Father’s intention in coming to us is to abide in us, to stay with us forever.

First John 3:24 says, “He who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And in this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He gave to us.” If we keep the Lord’s commandments by living in the divine reality, we shall abide in Him, and He in us. We abide in the Lord; then He abides in us. Our abiding in Him is a condition for His abiding in us (John 15:4). We enjoy His abiding in us by our abiding in Him.

The second part of 1 John 3:24 tells us that “we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He gave to us.” The phrase “by the Spirit” modifies “we know.” The Spirit here is more inclusive than the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit refers to the Spirit who was not yet (John 7:39) before Christ’s glorification. Now, after the resurrection of Christ, the Spirit is here. Therefore, we know that we abide in the Lord and He abides in us by the Spirit whom He has given to us.

First John 4:13 says, “In this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, that He has given us of His Spirit.” The words “in this” mean in the fact that God has given us of His Spirit we know that we abide in Him and He in us. The Spirit whom God has given to dwell in us (James 4:5; Rom. 8:9, 11) is the witness in our spirit (Rom. 8:16) that we dwell in God and He in us. The abiding Spirit, that is, the indwelling Spirit, is the element and sphere of the mutual abiding, the mutual indwelling, of us and God. By Him we are assured that we and God are one, abiding in one another, indwelling each other mutually.

In verse 13 John indicates that we may know that we abide in God and that He abides in us. To abide in God is to dwell in Him, remaining in our fellowship with Him, that we may experience and enjoy His abiding in us. This is to practice our oneness with God according to the divine anointing by a living that practices His righteousness and love. It is all by the operation of the all-inclusive compound Spirit, who dwells in our spirit.

We know that we abide in God and that God abides in us because He “has given us of His Spirit.” In Greek “of” literally means “out of.” God has given us out of His Spirit. “Out of His Spirit” is an expression which implies that the Spirit of God, whom He has given to us, is bountiful and without measure (Phil. 1:19; John 3:34). By such a bountiful, immeasurable Spirit we know with full assurance that we are one with God and that we abide in Him and He in us.

First John 4:15 goes on to say, “Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” God the Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world with the purpose that men may believe in Him by confessing that Jesus is the Son of God, so that God may abide in them and they in God. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. He becomes one with God in the divine life and nature. In our preaching of the gospel we need to tell others that if they believe in the Lord Jesus, confessing that He is the Son of God, God will come into them to abide in them, and they will abide in God.

First John 4:16 continues, “And we have known and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” To abide in love is to live a life that loves others habitually with the love which is God Himself so that He may be expressed in us. To abide in God is to live a life which is God Himself as our inward content and outward expression so that we may be absolutely one with Him. God abides in us to be our life inwardly and our living outwardly. Thus, He may be one with us in a practical way. If we abide in the love which is God Himself, then we abide in God, and God abides in us.

Whereas John in his writings uses the word “abides,” Paul in his writings uses the word “dwells” (Rom. 8:11) and even speaks of Christ making His home in our hearts (Eph. 3:17). Concerning God’s abiding in us, Paul’s writing is even stronger than that of John, for Paul tells us that the Triune God desires to settle down, to make His home deep down, in our hearts.

As God the Father abides in us, we experience and enjoy Him as the loving One, as the One who is the source of love. God as the Father in His love comes to us and abides in us in order to dispense Himself into us.

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