GOD BEING LIFE TO US IN THE SON AND THROUGH THE SPIRIT
Christ as the Son of God is life to us, but we need to ask what Christ has to do with God and with the Holy Spirit. Here we need to realize the fact of the Triune God. The God in whom we believe is a Triune God, the one God in three persons. Matthew 28:19 says, “Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This verse speaks of three persons, yet the three persons have only one name. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one God with three persons.
Second Corinthians 13:14 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Here there are three persons with three items of blessing—Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit with grace, love, and fellowship. Love, grace, and fellowship illustrate the relationship among the three persons of this one God. Love, grace, and fellowship are three items of one thing. We may say that love is grace, and grace is fellowship; fellowship is grace, and grace is love. Stated more clearly, fellowship is the transmission of grace, and grace is the expression of love. There may be love in my heart toward a brother, but how can I express this love? I may buy a nice Bible and present it to him. This Bible is a grace from me to him, and this grace is the very expression of the love in my heart. However, I may be in Los Angeles, while he is in Minneapolis, so I must ask the post office to mail this Bible to him; this is the transmission of the grace. There is the love in my heart, the grace as the expression of my love, and the transmission as a means to pass this grace on to the brother. In the same way, the Father is the very source, the Son is the expression of the source, and the Spirit is the transmission of the expression.
John 1:18 says that no one has ever seen God, but the only begotten Son of God has declared Him. This means that the Son of God is the expression of God. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is the transmission of the Son of God. Therefore, when we say that the Son of God is life to us, we simply mean that God is life to us in the Son and through the Spirit. What is life? In the entire universe God Himself is the very life. With Him there is the fountain of life, the source of life. However, God is life in the Son and through the Spirit. Here is something very mysterious and very wonderful. God is the very life, and He is life to us in His Son and through His Spirit.
THE TRIUNE GOD AS THE WATER OF LIFE
In the Scriptures, God uses a certain illustration to reveal Himself as life to us. Christ is revealed as the tree of life, and with the tree there is always the flowing river. The tree of life yields its fruits, and the river of life constantly flows with the living water.
Many times the Scriptures speak of a fountain, a source, a well of water, a river, or a stream. From the very beginning, in the book of Genesis, to the very end, in the book of Revelation, there is the line of the river, flowing all the time with the living water. The river is in the second chapter of Genesis, and in Exodus 17 this living water flows out of the smitten rock. Then there is the well springing with water in Numbers 21, as we sing in Hymns, #250, “Spring up, well, with water.” A well is a fountain of water. The Psalms many times say something concerning the living water, a living stream flowing all the time. There is also the flowing stream in Ezekiel 47. Then, when the Lord Jesus came, He told us that He has the living water which gushes up into eternal life (John 4:14). Christ is the spring of water, and the Holy Spirit is the flowing stream.
Eventually, in Revelation at the end of the entire Scriptures, there is a clear picture of God in Christ as the center with a living stream flowing out of this center. In the New Jerusalem God is in Christ the Lamb as the center, and from this very center a living stream flows out to reach all the redeemed ones to be received by them as their life supply. Many times in the New Testament we are told that there is such a living stream. This very stream is the outflow of God Himself to reach us and be received by us as our life supply.
The way for God to be life to us is to constantly flow out. With the living water there are three aspects. First there is the source, the fountain. Then there is the spring to store the water. Finally, there is the flow, the stream. God the Father is the source, Christ the Son is the spring, and the Holy Spirit is the flow, the stream, of living water. Therefore, the Father is in the Son, the Son is through the Spirit, and the Spirit reaches us, enters into us, and lives and dwells within us to be life and the life supply to us. God is life to us as living water flowing in Christ and through the Holy Spirit. Now, if we have the Holy Spirit, we have the Son; and if we have the Son, we have the Father. On the other hand, if we do not have the Spirit, we do not have the Son; and if we do not have the Son, we do not have the Father. The fountain, the well, and the stream are all one.
Many Christians today pay much attention to the matter of the Holy Spirit, but they often do not realize that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life, the Spirit of Christ, Christ Himself as life to us. If we want to receive the Holy Spirit, we need to realize that the Holy Spirit is Christ as life to us. If we do not experience Christ as life to us by the Spirit, we will be dead. Moreover, our experience and understanding concerning the Holy Spirit will be different from that in the Scriptures.
Today many Christians think that they have had a certain experience of the Holy Spirit, but inwardly they do not understand the matter of life. They do not realize that Christ is life to us. I have heard many messages from this kind of Christian concerning the manifestations, the evidences, of the Holy Spirit, but I have never heard a message about the Holy Spirit being Christ Himself as life to us. They have neglected this matter. If you try your best to find books, messages, or articles about the Holy Spirit, you will see that it is hard to find a word on the Holy Spirit being Christ Himself as life to us. I have read many books about the so-called Holy Ghost, and the result is that I am very disappointed. In the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is revealed as the Spirit of life, the living water of life, to us, but among so many books about the Holy Spirit it is hard to find one which conveys the revelation, even if expressed in different words, that this very Holy Spirit is Christ as life to us.
Many people today pay much attention to speaking in tongues. Apparently, the purpose of speaking in tongues is the edification of a believer. The real edification of a Christian, however, is the true growth in life. Edification is a life matter. To have true edification, we must know life, realize the experiences of life, and have the real growth in life. It is regrettable that many people who speak in tongues do not have much growth in life. In 1936 I myself helped many people to speak in tongues, but after one year, by 1937, I found that none of them had the real growth in life. Because of this I asked myself what the purpose of helping people to speak in tongues is. If there is something real in speaking in tongues, there must be some real growth in life. The best way to test, check, and discover if speaking in tongues is real or not is to check whether or not there is some real growth in life. We need to realize that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ as life to us.
THE FATHER IN THE SON THROUGH THE SPIRIT REACHING OUR HUMAN SPIRIT
Now we may consider something very subjective to us. This very Spirit of life reaches us not only by coming down upon us, but even the more by entering into us, dwelling within us, and living in us. The Triune God—the Father in the Son through the Spirit—is now within us. We have three parts: a body, a soul, and a spirit. The Triune God has entered into us and is now dwelling and living within us by making His home in our spirit. If we are going to know life, we must realize that God is life to us in Christ through the Spirit, and this Spirit as life to us is now dwelling and living in our spirit. Our spirit is the residence, the house, the home, of this very Spirit.
Remember well that today the Triune God is life to us as the Father in the Son, the Son through the Spirit, and the Spirit in our spirit, taking our spirit as His residence to dwell and live there. If we desire to know and realize the real experiences of life, we must know that today the Triune God is in our spirit as life to us. The Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Spirit, and the Spirit is in our spirit as life to us. This is the very center of the Christian life, and this is the very center of the church life. What we deal with is nothing other than this very Triune God, as the Father in the Son through the Holy Spirit, who dwells and lives within our spirit.
(Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)