GLORIFICATION BEING A MATTER OF LIFE
The Father being glorified in the glorification of His Son Jesus is a matter of life. Two thousand years ago, among millions of people, only the Lord Jesus had the divine life and the divine nature within Him. His life and nature were for the expression of God. Concerning life and nature, the emphasis is not on enabling us to do things but on enabling us to live a kind of life that expresses the life within us. If you are a Chinese with the Chinese life and the Chinese nature, you spontaneously will express the Chinese condition. If you are a Japanese with the Japanese life and nature, the Japanese condition will be expressed in you. You express whatever life and nature you have. The Lord Jesus had the life of God and the nature of God, so He did not need to do anything; He simply lived out God and expressed God in His living. However, at that time God was still concealed within the flesh of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, the Lord Jesus had to break this flesh through His death, just like a seed must be planted into the earth to allow the life to break through the outer shell and be released. That is glory. Hence, the Lord Jesus prayed that the Father God would put Him into the ground of death and then raise Him up from the dead. In this way the Father God would be released from within Him, and the life and nature of the Father God would be manifested; this would be the Father glorifying the Son.
CHRIST GIVING THE GLORY TO HIS BELIEVERS
Because the divine life and the divine nature are within the Lord Jesus, He can also give this life and nature to those whom God has chosen, predestined, and given to Him. In other words, just as Christ has the life and nature of God for the expression of God, so also we, whom God has chosen and given to the Lord Jesus, have the life and nature of God for the expression of God. Because the Lord Jesus has given us the eternal life that is within Him, we all are those who have God’s life and nature. According to the Bible, the goal of believing in the Lord is not merely the receiving of forgiveness of sins, but even more it is the obtaining of eternal life. The forgiveness of sins is only a procedure; it is not the goal. But it is only by the forgiveness of sins that God can give His eternal life to us. When this eternal life is put into us, we have an organic union with Christ. Nothing can have an organic union with us unless it is something of life; only the living things, the things with life, can have an organic union with us. If a stone were to enter our stomach, it would always remain a stone because a stone does not have life. However, if we eat some organic things, such as fish, meat, and fruit, they will have an organic union with us and will eventually become us.
The Lord Jesus said that He was not only the bread of life but even more the living bread. The living bread means that when this bread is eaten by us, it continues to live in us. The Lord Himself is full of the organic supply, so when we receive Him into us, He lives and moves within us, full of the organic function and operation. This is how the Lord Jesus gives us the eternal life that is within Him.
Christ is living; He is Spirit, and He is in His word. Through our preaching, He is transfused into other people. When He enters into us who have been chosen by God, He infuses eternal life into us. Thus, we become the multiplication and enlargement of Christ. This multiplication and enlargement are glory.
The prayer in John 17:21-24 is very mysterious with many “in’s.” “You, Father, are in Me,” “I in You,” “that they also may be in Us,” and “I in them.” In the end it is hard for us to discern who is in whom. We who believe in the Lord are all in God and in the Lord Jesus. God is in the Lord Jesus; the Lord Jesus is also in God; and we are in Them. Verse 22 says, “And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them.” This glory is simply God’s life and nature for the expression of God. The unbelievers do not have it; only we who believe in Christ have this glory. Because the Lord Jesus has the divine life and the divine nature within Him, when we believe into the Lord Jesus, He dispenses His life and nature into us; hence, we all have this glory. Verse 23 says, “I in them, and You in Me.” Notice that the order is different here. Previously it was the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father that the believers might all be in the Father and the Son. Then the Lord said that He has given to the believers the glory which the Father has given Him, that is, He has dispensed the Father’s life and nature into them, and the result is that He is in them. After this, the Lord finally said that He is in us, and the Father is in Him.
Verse 24 says, “Father, concerning that which You have given Me, I desire that they also may be with Me where I am.” What does where refer to? The traditional explanation given by most Christians is that it refers to heaven. They say that the Lord Jesus died, rose, and ascended to heaven, so He prayed to the Father that all the millions of people given to Him would all be brought into heaven. He is in heaven, so let them all go to heaven. This is the traditional teaching in Christianity. But the where revealed here in the Bible does not refer to heaven; instead, it refers to being in God. Thus, in John 14:6 the Lord Jesus says, “I am the way;…no one comes to the Father except through Me.” He does not say that no one goes to heaven except through Him, but to the Father. In John 14—17, He does not have the thought of going to heaven. His heart’s desire is to bring His believers into the Father, just as He is in the Father.
According to the revelation of the Bible, the Lord Jesus’ prayer here says that He is in the Father with the Father’s life and nature to express the Father, and now He is praying that the Father would sow Him into the ground of death and then resurrect Him that He might release the Father’s life and enter into those who believe into Him. Once the eternal life and nature get into the believers, they will be in the Father just as He is in the Father. They will be with Him where He is. Where is the Lord? He is in the Father. Where are the believers? They too are in the Father. Originally, we were not in the Father, but now we are. Because the Lord Jesus has put the eternal life and nature into us, we have the life and nature of the Father God within us. This is the Father’s being in us and our being in the Father. In this way just as the Lord Jesus is, so we are also; wherever He is, we are there too. He is in the Father, and we also are in the Father. The Father is in Him, and the Father is also in us. The Lord Jesus has the divine life and nature, and we also have the divine life and nature. Thus, eventually the Lord Jesus says, “That they may behold My glory, which You have given Me” (17:24). The glory that God gave the Lord Jesus is the divine life and nature for the expression of God. Before we were saved, we did not have this. But after we were saved, we obtained the divine life and the divine nature that we may express God. It is in this that we see the glory which the Father has given to the Lord, and we enjoy this glory day by day.
SHINING AS LUMINARIES, HOLDING FORTH THE WORD OF LIFE
All of us who were saved in this way have the divine life and nature to express God. Furthermore, we are luminous lamps in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, shining as luminaries, holding forth the word of life (Phil. 2:15-16). All of us who have the divine life and nature are children of God without blemish in the midst of this crooked and perverted generation, among whom we shine as luminaries in this dark world, holding forth the word of life. This is the Lord Jesus’ being glorified from within us.
As I have said, many young people after being saved become the Lord Jesus’ luminaries shining before their parents and relatives and unconsciously and unintentionally hold forth the word of life—the Lord Jesus Himself. This is Christ being glorified in them.
ALWAYS MAGNIFYING CHRIST IN OUR BODIES
Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in prison, so he said, “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death. For to me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:20-21). What does it mean for Christ to be magnified in our bodies? Paul did not have Christ merely as his inward life and nature, but even more he had Christ as the outward expression of his living. Therefore, when he was on the verge of being martyred, he could still express the unlimited greatness of Christ, and the glory of God could be shown great in his body. This was Christ’s being magnified in his body.
CHRIST AS THE HOPE OF GLORY IN US
In Colossians 1:27 Paul said that there is a mystery in us which is Christ. Christ in us is truly a mystery. This is why at the times when people revile us, we are not in the least bit angry; on the contrary, we are joyful and happy. This is truly a story of mystery, and this story is the Lord Jesus as the eternal life. This mystery within us is Jesus Christ as our hope of glory. When Christ returns, He will be in glory, and He will transfigure us and bring us into glory. That will be our being glorified along with Him. “This mystery…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
(Christ in His Excellency, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)