The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, by Witness Lee


Now let us turn to the third chapter of 2 Corinthians. In this chapter the apostle Paul revealed that everything today in the New Testament is a matter of the Spirit. Then in verse 17 he said, "The Lord is the Spirit." This means that the Spirit mentioned in the preceding verses is the Lord Himself. The Lord here refers to Christ the Son (2 Cor. 4:5). The Lord as the Son is called the Father, and He is also the Spirit. First Corinthians 15:45b says, "The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit." The last Adam, no doubt, refers to Christ in the flesh. Can you say that this Spirit is different from the Holy Spirit? It is not logical to say this. We have to admit that this Spirit whom Christ is, is the very Holy Spirit. Thus, it is clear that the Lord, who is Christ the Son, is the Spirit also.

In John 14:8-11 the Lord told us clearly that He and the Father are one and that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. Now in verses 16 through 19 He told us that He and the Spirit are one. In verses 16 through 17 He said, "And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever, even the Spirit of reality, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you." In these two verses, referring to the Spirit, the Lord used the pronoun "He." But in verse 18 He changed the pronoun to "I," saying, "I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you." By this we realize that the very "He" who is the Spirit of reality in verse 17 is the very "I" who is the Lord Himself in verse 18. "He" is "I" and "I" is "He." Then verse 19 says, "Yet a little while and the world beholds Me no longer, but you behold Me; because I live, you also shall live." This refers to the time of resurrection. After His resurrection, the Lord came back to the disciples. He left them for no more than seventy-two hours, or three days. Hence, it was only "a little while." Then the Lord came back, and the world could no longer see Him, because He became the Spirit. Yet we believers can see Him because He is within us as the Spirit. In John 14 we see that the Son and the Father are one and that the Son and the Spirit are also one. The Son is the Father, and the Son is also the Spirit. Thus, there are the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, but They are one God.


Some may ask, "What is the meaning of having three persons since They are one God?" Let us read 2 Corinthians 13:14. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." In this verse we have three things: love, grace, and fellowship; we also have three persons: God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit. We have to realize that these three are one. Love, which is in the heart, is the source; grace is the expression of love; and fellowship is the transmission of grace. By grace, love is expressed, and by fellowship, grace is transmitted. These are not three different matters, but three forms of one thing. In the Father it is love, with the Son it is grace, and by the Holy Spirit it is fellowship. What is imparted to us through the fellowship of the Spirit is the grace of Christ, and what is expressed through the grace of Christ is the love of God.

Ice, water, and vapor are not three different kinds of substances, but one substance in three forms. In our hymnal, we have this line: "What mystery, the Father, Son, and Spirit, / In person three, in substance all are one" (Hymns, #608, stanza one). There is one God in three persons, yet His substance is one. We must never have the thought that the Son is separate from the Father and that the Son is separate from the Spirit. The Son is the embodiment of the Father, and the Son is the Spirit.

Some teach that the Holy Spirit is separate from Christ or that the Holy Spirit is a kind of power given to us by Christ. This is wrong. The Holy Spirit is Christ Himself. In eternity past, in the heavens, unapproachable to men, God was the Father. When He came to the earth to manifest Himself to mankind, He was the Son. And today, when He comes into us to dwell in us and mingle Himself with us, He is the Spirit. He is the Father as the source, the Son as the expression, and the Spirit as the transmission, the fellowship. The Father, Son, and Spirit are not three separate Gods. The Son is the Father, and the Son is the Spirit. This is the Triune God.

Let us read Romans 8:9-11. Verse 9 says: "But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Yet if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him." In this verse, Paul first spoke of the Spirit of God and then he changed and referred to the Spirit of Christ. This shows that the Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ. They are not two Spirits; They are one Spirit. Then in verse 10, Paul changed again and used the title Christ, saying, "But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness." Then in verse 11, he changed again from Christ to the Spirit, saying, "And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you." Hence, in these three verses we have the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, God Himself, and Christ Himself. They are not four separate persons; these are four titles of the one Lord, the one God. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Christ is Christ, and Christ is God.

I am stressing this because we have to know what kind of Christ we have. The Christ we have and in whom we believe is the Triune God. Also, Christ is the center of the Triune God. He is the Son with the Father as the Spirit. Within Him is the Father and He is the Spirit. If you have Him you have the Father, and if you have Him you have the Spirit. Therefore, if you want to know Him, you have to know the Spirit, because the Father is in the Son and the Son is the Spirit. Also, if you want to know the Son with the Father, you have to know the Spirit.

It is the greatest mystery in the whole universe that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are one, and no human mind can fathom it. However, we have to accept this great mystery according to what the Scripture speaks about it. We should not exercise our limited mind to understand it merely as a doctrine of theology. We have to exercise our inspired spirit to realize it as the divine fact and experience the three persons of the Divine Trinity for our enjoyment. The Divine Trinity is not mentioned in the Scripture as a point of theology for us to study; it is unveiled to us in the Scripture as a divine reality for us to partake of, experience, and enjoy.

(The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)