VIII. CONCERNING THE SPIRIT
He pointed out that the Spirit is the application of the Triune God. The Spirit reaches those who have believed into and received God the Son. The Spirit applies to them God the Father who is in God the Son. He is the Spirit of life and the reality of life; He is also the life-giving Spirit, dispensing life to those who believe into the Son. As such, He is the regenerating Spirit who regenerates the believers with the life of God the Father in God the Son, making them the children of God. He then becomes the indwelling Spirit within them as the reality of all things. He is the renewing Spirit who renews the man of the old creation into God’s new creation with God’s eternally new and never-aging life. He is also the sanctifying Spirit who separates and sanctifies the believers with God’s sanctifying nature. He is the transforming Spirit who transforms them with the life element of Christ into His image. He is the firstfruits, the foretaste, of God as the eternal portion of those who have believed into the Son. He is the Spirit of power poured out on the believers of the Son as the authority for their work. He is the reality of the Triune God, the reality of Christ, the reality of all the truths, and the reality of the resurrection of Christ. Only by receiving Him will a man possess the Triune God, the truths, Christ, and the resurrection of Christ.
IX. CONCERNING CHRIST’S REDEMPTION
AND GOD’S SALVATION
He pointed out that the redemption of Christ was accomplished through His vicarious and redemptive death for the sinners. When we the sinners receive this redemption, we are forgiven, cleansed, justified, and reconciled to God. Based on Christ’s redemption, God in His salvation forgives, cleanses, justifies, reconciles, and regenerates us through Christ’s resurrection and renews, separates, and sanctifies us through His Spirit. Furthermore, the Spirit transforms us through the life-element of the pneumatic Christ, conforming us to the image of God’s firstborn Son, Christ, and finally glorifying us with the divine glory into which Christ has entered.
This salvation which God accomplished through Christ’s death and resurrection and through the Holy Spirit’s work of regeneration, renewing, separation, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and glorification is different from the reward which God will give to the believers at the time of Christ’s coming. God’s salvation is based on grace, which is different from the law, and is not based on man’s works according to the law. God’s reward is based on the overcoming life which believers in Christ live out after they are redeemed and saved, and this reward is through faith, by Christ’s resurrection life, and by the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. This reward is also based on the work, in Christ and by the Holy Spirit, of the building up of the church, the Body of Christ, which accomplishes God’s eternal plan (economy). God’s salvation is eternal; it includes saving us from our past sins, our present bondage of sin, and our temptations and failures into the ultimate enjoyment and full taste of the Triune God with all His riches in the New Jerusalem in the new heaven and the new earth. God’s reward is dispensational and is limited to our reigning and obtaining glory together with Christ in the millennial kingdom during the manifestation of the kingdom.
X. CONCERNING THE BELIEVERS
He pointed out that the believers in Christ were created by the Triune God according to His image as tripartite men with a spirit, a soul, and a body to be God’s vessel for containing Him, expressing Him, representing Him, and reigning for Him over all creation. At the time of creation, God did not put His life and nature into man; He only created a spirit in man so that man could receive with his spirit the pneumatic God into him as life. But man fell under Satan’s temptation. He did not obey God’s commandment; rather, he was corrupted by Satan, bearing Satan’s evil nature and being constituted a sinner. Because of this, God Himself became a man and put on the flesh of fallen man. This man’s name was Jesus Christ, who in His flesh died for man and redeemed man from his sins, thus terminating the sinner himself together with Satan, the world, and the old creation. After His death, His whole being was resurrected, and in resurrection He was transformed into a life-giving Spirit. As such, He enters into the sinners who believe in and receive Him and becomes one with them, thus regenerating them to become God’s children and His members, making them one with Himself, and constituting them His organic Body, which is the church, His fullness as His corporate expression.
These sinners who believe into Jesus Christ are called the Christians, the followers of Christ, those related to Christ. They were of God’s old creation but have become God’s new creation through regeneration by believing into Christ, possessing God’s life and nature, walking by God’s life and His Spirit, and living and working for God. They are being built up together in spirit to become the church of God, which is God’s house, the Body of Christ and the fullness of Christ, and are waiting for Christ’s return, at which time He will rapture them, transform them, and receive them into His glory to be with Him forever. Those among them who after their salvation are willing to live an overcoming life by the overcoming life of Christ and by the resurrection power in the Holy Spirit, who will participate in the work of accomplishing God’s plan (economy), and who will ripen first before His coming again, will receive His reward to enter into the millennium, to be co-kings with Him, and to rule over the world. Those among them who are not ripened in this way will receive His discipline in the millennial kingdom so that they will ripen. Hence, they will be constituted elements of the New Jerusalem, and after the millennium in the new heaven and new earth, they will participate together with those believers who ripened first in the ultimate blessing and enjoyment of God’s salvation in the New Jerusalem for eternity.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)