CHANGING DEATH INTO LIFE TO BUILD THE HOUSE OF GOD
In the second chapter of John there are two stories, the story of how the Lord made wine out of water, and the story of how He cleansed the temple, the house of God. In verse 19 Jesus said to the Jews, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews did not understand that the Lord spoke this about Himself as the temple. He Himself was the temple which the Jews tried to destroy, but He raised up the temple in three days, that is, by His resurrection He built up again what the Jews destroyed. Moreover, in and by His resurrection the Lord raised up and built up not only His physical body but also all the saints as the members of His mystical Body to be the temple of God, the church.
The first story in John 2 reveals the principle of the Lord’s coming to be life to us; it is to bring life out of death, as signified by making wine out of water. Then the second story reveals the purpose of the Lord’s coming to be life to us; it is for the building of the house of God. The way for the Lord to build up the house of God is to bring God into us and bring us into God to make us the abodes of God and to make God an abode for us, that is, to make God to dwell in us and us to dwell in Him so that God and we, we and God, become a mutual abode.
In the first chapter of John we have the Lord as the Word of God, God Himself, in whom is life. This very Lord was incarnated as a man; He called Himself the Son of Man. As the Son of Man, He is the heavenly ladder for Bethel, the house of God. Then the second chapter shows us that the Lord comes to be life to us, to bring life out of death, signified by the wine and the water, for the purpose of building up His mystical Body as the house of God. He accomplishes this by bringing God into man and man into God.
CHRIST ACCOMPLISHING THE BUILDING BY INCARNATION, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION
In the entire Scriptures, it is mostly John’s books, his Gospel and his Epistles, that say that we are in God and He is in us; that is, we abide in God and He abides in us. John 15:4, for example, says, “Abide in Me and I in you.” This mutual abiding is accomplished by the work of Christ. Christ was incarnated to bring God into man, and He went back to God with man. When Christ came, he came with God to man. He came with a gift, a present, which is God Himself. Then He went to God with a present for God, which is man. He came with God by incarnation, and He went with man by death and resurrection. His coming brought God into man, and His going brought man into God. By this coming and going He builds up the house of God by building God into man and man into God. By His coming and going He makes man the abode for God and makes God the abode for man. In this way, God and man, man and God, become a mutual abode. Then in the consummation of John’s writings there is a building, the New Jerusalem, which is built up with God mingled with man.
In John 1 through 13 we do not have the phrases, “You in Me and I in you” or “I in the Father and the Father in Me.” However, verse 20 of chapter fourteen says, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” This refers to the building, which is accomplished first by His coming in incarnation to bring God into man and then by His going through death and resurrection to bring man into God. Without His death and resurrection we humans would be far away from God. Between us and God there would be a great distance, a great separation, comprised of the world, Satan, the flesh, lust, and other matters. But by His death and resurrection, Christ eliminated the distance and prepared the way to bring us near to God and into God. He is the way through whom we go to God. He takes away the distance, that is, He takes away sin, the world, lust, the flesh, and even the enemy, Satan. He takes away even death. He takes away everything that is a barrier or hindrance between us and God to bring us near to God and into God.
Now after His resurrection, He can say not only that He is in God and God is in Him but that we also are in Him and He is in us. By Christ, through Christ, and in Christ we are in God. This is the building of God mingled with humanity, which Christ accomplished by His death and resurrection.
(The Building of God, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)