THE NORMAL LIVING OF THE WONDERFUL ONE
When Christ came into us, He brought His wonderful nature into our being. The function of this nature is the working of the law of life. Christ is also in us as the ointment which constantly anoints us. This anointing gives us a comfortable, soothing sense. Whenever the Lord Jesus teaches us from within, His teaching is that of His anointing which gives us this comfortable, soothing sense. As Christians, we all have the automatic, spontaneous, constant, and instant working of the law of life, the law which works according to Christ’s wonderful nature, and we have the anointing which moves in us according to Christ’s Person.
Let us use the illustration of shopping once again. Going shopping is like going to hell. After not going shopping for more than two years, I recently had to shop for a lamp. In the store I saw some very fancy lamps, but my wonderful nature did not like them. Those lamps were bitter to my taste. Some of the other lamps were like garlic to my inner taste, and my inner sense could not tolerate them. When the sisters are in a department store, many times their inner taste forbids them to purchase a particular item. This taste comes from the wonderful nature within them. Fifty years ago, I might have been able to purchase a fancy lamp. But if I did this today, I would be unable to sleep at night because of the function of the nature of life. We all have this nature with its automatic function. If you try to suppress this function, it will spring up all the more, for the more it is suppressed, the higher it rises. We all have experienced this working of the law of life.
As we have seen, we not only have this nature within us, but also a Person. Whether I should go shopping today does not depend upon the working of the nature; it depends upon the teaching of the anointing. A living Person is constantly living and moving within us. This living and moving is His teaching. If we are about to go shopping, we should open ourselves to the Lord, saying, “Lord, I’m one with You, and I know that You are one with me. Lord, do You want to go shopping this morning?” When we do this, we shall sense the anointing within. This is the moving of the living One within us. As this lovable One works in us, we sense the comforting and the soothing. How pleasant this is! Whether or not we go shopping is secondary. The primary thing is that as we look to Him and fellowship with Him, we enjoy His anointing. Whenever we are under His anointing, we know what to do. If we take a step which He does not want to take, the anointing will stop, and the soothing, comforting sense will diminish. By this we know that we should not do that particular thing. At such a time we should say, “Lord, I’m one with You. If You don’t want to go, I won’t go either.” If we do this, the anointing and its comforting sense will return.
The living and moving of the anointing is Christ’s inward teaching. We have a living Person in us teaching us all the time. Sometimes in our fellowship with the saints we may sense that the inner anointing has stopped. When we have this sense, we should stop talking. You might have spoken half a sentence, but, sensing that the anointing has ceased, you should not speak the remainder of that sentence. Simply be one with the inner anointing. Many times, however, we disregard the anointing and do whatever we want. When I was young, I told the Lord a number of times, “Lord, please forgive me and let me do this just one more time.” Later I said to Him, “Lord, let me do it just once more.” Many of the young people have done the same thing. Some sisters might have said, “Lord, I know that You don’t want me to go shopping, but let me go this one time.” Whenever you do this, you kill yourself, and it may be several days before you are living again.
What we are talking about here is neither a matter of teaching nor of miracles. It is the normal living of this wonderful One. I live absolutely according to the law of life, and I move, act, and behave according to the anointing. I do not need anyone to teach me. The wonderful nature of the life of Christ and the very anointing of the Person of Christ are more than adequate for us to live a normal Christian life. Here we have fellowship and here we grow in life. Here we have the spreading of the indwelling Christ into every part of our being and we undergo the process of God’s transformation. Here we also have the church life and the real building up. And here we prepare ourselves for the Lord’s coming back.
LIFE-STUDY OF HEBREWS
THE COMPLETION OF SONSHIP
The focus of God’s revelation in the New Testament is sonship. Sonship is God’s desire. God can only satisfy His desire for sonship by having His Son become the model and prototype. This prototype must be wrought into our being. What is being wrought into us is not only the Savior or the divine life, but also the prototype of the sonship, the Firstborn Son of God. As we have pointed out, there is a great difference between the Only Begotten Son of God and the Firstborn Son of God. With the Only Begotten Son, there was no humanity. He was divine, but He was not human. With the Firstborn Son, on the contrary, there are both divinity and humanity because He is not only the Son of God but also the Son of Man. The Son of Man has been brought into sonship through His resurrection. Now this Firstborn Son, constituted with both divinity and humanity, has been wrought into our very being.
PREDESTINATED UNTO SONSHIP
Ephesians 1:5 says that we have been predestinated unto sonship. Sonship is our destiny. Our destiny is not to be saved. Salvation is a process; it is not the goal but the way to reach the goal. God’s goal is sonship. God’s forgiveness, justification, salvation, and regeneration are all focused on sonship. God has forgiven us, justified us, saved us, and regenerated us that we might be His sons.
THE PROCESS OF SANCTIFICATION,
TRANSFORMATION, AND CONFORMATION
Sonship has both a beginning and a completion. It begins with regeneration and it will be completed with glorification. Between regeneration and glorification there is the process of sanctification, transformation, and conformation. Many Christians have heard about sanctification. However, the concept of sanctification in Christianity is much different from that found in the Bible. The vocabulary, the terminology, is the same, but the understanding is vastly different, because the dictionary of today’s Christianity differs from the dictionary of the Bible. According to the pure word of the Bible, the meaning of sanctification is to be saturated with the element of the prototype. The more we are saturated by the element of the Firstborn Son as the prototype, the more we are separated unto God from the world. Through sanctification we are separated from the world, not by teachings or miracles, but by being permeated with the element of the divine and human nature of the prototype.
Our whole being is like a black spot. One day, the wonderful element of the prototype came into our spirit and sanctified it. What about the remainder of our being? We must admit that it is still very dark. Although you may consider yourself to be good, moral, ethical, and even “spiritual,” you are still dark. Perhaps you are in a dark grave. Whether you are good or bad, right or wrong, moral or immoral, ethical or unethical, “spiritual” or unspiritual, your being is still dark. Whenever others contact you, they sense your opaqueness. You dwell in the gloomy dungeon of your religion and ethics, and there is nothing transparent about you. Because you are so dark and non-transparent, you need to be sanctified by having the wonderful element of the prototype saturate your being. The more Christ spreads into you, the more you will be sanctified and separated from the world. This is sanctification.
Transformation is related to sanctification. The more we are saturated with the element of Christ, the more we are sanctified, and the more we are sanctified, the more we are transformed. As we have pointed out several times, transformation is not an outward change, adjustment, or correction. It is an inward metabolic change, a change in life, nature, and form. Sanctification is for transformation and transformation is for conformation. We must be transformed in order to be conformed to the image of the Firstborn Son of God (Rom. 8:29). By the Lord’s mercy, we are in the proper church life being sanctified, transformed, and conformed to the image of God’s Firstborn Son. This is deeper, higher, and more profound than being moral, ethical, or even “spiritual.” Some teachings regarding so-called spirituality are merely vanity. Genuine spirituality is conformation. Being spiritual depends upon being conformed to the image of the Firstborn Son of God. No human effort, labor, or imitation can manufacture this. It can only be produced by the indwelling prototype, the real and living Firstborn Son of God, who automatically works in us. As He works in us by the law of life, He continually anoints us from within.
THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS
Because we are sons of God according to the law of life and the anointing, we are God’s people. God is our God according to the law of life and the anointing. In ancient times, God called His people, the children of Israel, out from among the Gentiles and gave them the law. God was their God and they were His people according to the outward law of letters. If they were right with the law, then they were right with God. Since the people went astray from the law, the prophets came in. Hence, the Old Testament is composed of the law and the prophets.
The law corresponds to God’s unchanging nature. For time and eternity, God’s nature will remain the same. Although the law does not change, the prophets do change. A prophet of God may tell you one thing today and the opposite thing tomorrow. If you consult a prophet about going to a certain place today, he may say that it is all right to go, but if you ask him the same question tomorrow, he may tell you not to go. God is living. As the living God, He is the highest Person, having the full right to tell us one thing today and another thing tomorrow. Due to this, the word of the prophet may change. The law is according to God’s nature, but the prophets are according to God’s activity, God’s move. God may want you to stay where you are today, but tomorrow He may want you to go elsewhere. The law is always the same for everyone. For example, the law commands you to honor your parents. God will never tell you to honor your parents today and then command you to hate them tomorrow. No, the law remains constant. However, if you read the Old Testament, you will see that the prophets differ from one another. In ancient times, God was a God to His people according to the law and the prophets, and God’s people were a people to Him also according to the law and the prophets.
What do we have in the New Testament which corresponds to the law and the prophets in the Old Testament? For the law, we have the law of life, and for the prophets, we have the anointing. Today, God is our God according to the inner law of life and according to the anointing, and we are His people according to the inner law of life and according to the anointing. The inner law of life corresponds to God’s nature, and the anointing corresponds to God’s move. The law of life always remains the same. As far as the law of life is concerned, there is no change either with you or with others. If you attempt to go to a movie tonight, the inner law will forbid you. It will also forbid you tomorrow and at any other time. The anointing, however, may change. Tonight the anointing may not allow you to go to the department store, but tomorrow the anointing may encourage you to go. While the law of life will never allow you to buy a fancy lamp, the anointing may or may not allow you to go to the department store. Furthermore, the anointing may permit one brother to go shopping, but it may forbid another brother to do the same thing. By this we see that the anointing changes. If I intend to speak to you in a condemning way, the law of life will always say, “No, don’t do that.” But whether or not I should speak on Hebrews in the meeting tonight depends on the anointing. Tonight the anointing may encourage me to speak on Hebrews for forty-five minutes, but in the next meeting the anointing may say, “Don’t speak anything in this meeting. Be at rest.” By all these examples we see that the law remains the same but the anointing constantly changes. It is according to this law and this anointing that we are a people to God and God is a God to us. How different this is from religion! Here there are no outward regulations, forms, rituals, or controls. There is only the law of life and the anointing.
Approximately fourteen years ago, I was invited to the home of a Jewish brother in New York. His background was that of a typical orthodox Jew. He told me that the orthodox Jews do everything according to a verse in the Old Testament. When they go to bed at night, they must even place their shoes in a certain direction according to a verse in the Old Testament. They are very “scriptural” and religious. There are many regulations among them, but no life. These orthodox Jews think that they are the people of God and that God is their God according to their religion. Actually, God is far away from them. He is not their God and they are not His people according to their way. But today God is our God according to the law of life and the anointing.
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