Verse 9 says, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” This indicates that the church which is genuine has been called by God the Father who is faithful into the fellowship of, the participation in, His Son Jesus Christ, who is the consummated, all-inclusive, indwelling and life-giving and dispensing Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b; 2 Cor. 3:17-18), as its divine portion for its enjoyment of the consummated Triune God. First Corinthians 15:45b says, “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit,” and 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “And the Lord is the Spirit.” This life-giving Spirit, the consummated Spirit as the consummation of the Triune God, is the church’s divine portion for its enjoyment of the consummated Triune God. Moreover, the church is now one spirit with this Spirit.
Through the faithful Triune God, we were called into the fellowship, communion, enjoyment, and participation of Jesus Christ our Lord. We have been called into an enjoyment, and this enjoyment is our fellowship. Moreover, this fellowship is Jesus Christ. He is our portion, both “theirs and ours” (1:2). We are enjoying the Son of God as the embodiment of the Triune God in full. Every meeting of the genuine church is an enjoying and feasting meeting.
As we have seen, there are five qualifications for the genuine church. First, it is the church of God. Then, it is the church expressed in a definite locality. It is also the composition of those who have been sanctified in Christ and the composition of the called saints. Last, it is not isolated, divided, or separated from the other saints, but is related to all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in every place. Such a church has Christ as its portion, enjoyment, Lord, Head, and everything. Such a church also is ready, qualified, and positioned to receive the dispensing of the divine grace with the divine peace. If we have the five foregoing qualifications, we are standing, not on the base of our condition or good works, but on the base of the grace we have received, which is God Himself. On this base we are receiving more grace for our enjoyment, and on this base we also have the gift which issues from grace, so that we are short of nothing. We are enriched in the initial heavenly gift, such as the eternal life and the Holy Spirit. In such a standing, there is nothing more to do but to await His coming back.
As a wonderful conclusion to such a portrait of the church in verses 2 through 8, Paul goes on to say, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 9). The One through whom we were called is the Triune God as indicated by the reference to “God” and “His Son.” Furthermore, Paul’s use of the preposition “through” implies a process through which the Triune God passed in order to call us. The phrase “through whom” is fully defined in Ephesians 1. Ephesians 1:3-6 is a portion of the Word on the Father’s choosing and predestination, speaking forth God’s eternal purpose. Verses 7-12 go on to speak of the Son’s redemption, speaking forth the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose. Then verses 13-14 speak concerning the Spirit’s sealing and pledging, speaking forth the application of God’s accomplished purpose. In total, verses 3-14 unveil the Father’s choosing, the Son’s redeeming, and the Spirit’s sealing and pledging. Following this, Paul goes on to pray that the church would know the hope of God’s calling (vv. 17-18a). The Father’s choosing, the Son’s redeeming, and the Spirit’s sealing consummate in our calling. We were called through the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, that is, through the Father’s choosing, the Son’s redeeming, and the Spirit’s sealing. The Father’s choosing was before the foundation of the world, the Son’s redeeming was almost two thousand years ago, and the Spirit’s sealing began fifty days after the Lord’s resurrection. This was the process that the Triune God passed through in order to call the genuine church into the fellowship of the Son, Jesus Christ.
What a marvelous portion of the Scriptures 1 Corinthians 1:2-9 is! This portion unveils to us what the genuine church is. According to outward appearances, the church may appear pitiful, but within the church is wonderful. I am so happy that I am in the church and that I am for the church.
Today the Lord’s recovery is composed of such genuine churches. When we consider the Lord’s recovery, we should not consider its outward condition. If we merely consider its outward condition, we may be deceived. We must go further, deeper, and higher to look at the church’s intrinsic items—its nature, essence, element, standing, and ground. If we look at the churches in this way, we will be preserved from being deceived, and we will enjoy all the riches of the intrinsic items of the church. May the Lord be merciful to all of us.
A message given by Witness Lee
in Long Beach, California on June 2, 1990
(A Genuine Church, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)