II. GOD’S FULL SALVATION CONSISTING OF TWO GREAT ELEMENTS—REDEMPTION AND SALVATION
After God created man, He wanted man to take in the tree of life; that is, He wanted man to receive God Himself into him to be his life supply. However, in the universe besides God there is another one, who in the Bible is called the devil. Before man ate of the tree of life and would thereby receive God, the devil seduced man to eat of another tree and receive him. The devil is symbolized by the other special tree in the Garden of Eden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When man ate of that other tree, the devil entered into him. Before God could enter into man, the devil entered into him. Once the devil entered into man, the evil nature of the devil was mingled with the nature of man.
There are two schools of thought among the Chinese sages. One school says that man is evil by nature, and the other school maintains that man is good by nature. Is man’s nature good or evil? Both schools have their bases. The man whom God created originally was considered by God as very good because man was created in God’s image. God is love, God is light, God is holiness, and God is righteousness. Therefore, according to these divine attributes, God created man also to be love, light, holiness, and righteousness. Within us, we prefer light to darkness. Moreover, we have love; we love our parents, we love our relatives, we love our neighbors, we love our schoolmates, and we love others. We are also holy; we do not like to drift with the worldly people. Furthermore, we like to be righteous and just. We all have these characteristics within us. But we have discovered that we also have the evil nature in us. Are we good or evil? According to the Holy Scriptures, we are good with regard to God’s creation, but with regard to the devil’s corruption we are evil. Therefore, fallen man is quite complicated. We have the devil and sin within us. The sin within us is also called “the evil” (Rom. 7:21). In Romans 7 Paul said that sin dwells in us (vv. 17, 20). Because it can dwell in us, we know that sin is not dead but living. This is what the apostle Paul called “the evil.”
Not only so, man has transgressions outwardly, so he is a transgressor. Thus, inwardly we are sinners, and outwardly we are transgressors. We are sinners within and transgressors without. As a sinner within, we have greed, lust, and other wickedness. As a transgressor without, we lie, cheat, steal, and do whatever evil things we like to do. The older one becomes, the more shrewd and cunning he becomes. An older person becomes shrewd within and cunning without. When a person gets older, the sin within him also becomes older; hence, he becomes an experienced sinner. When a man gets older, he becomes older in his outward transgressions and thus becomes an experienced transgressor.
A. God’s Redemption, with the Precious Blood of Christ as the Focus, Meeting the Need in the Judicial Aspect
Since man became so corrupt, did God then abandon him? No, God so loved man that He would not give him up. Furthermore, God has His eternal purpose. God could not allow Himself to be so easily defeated by Satan. Therefore, He brought in redemption. Redemption was added because man became fallen and was corrupted and thereby became a sinner and a transgressor. In order to use man again as His vessel, God had to thoroughly deal with his situation. God had to rescue man, cleanse man, and make man complete again before He could dwell in him. According to His righteous law, God was obligated to do this. Also according to common logic, God had to do this. God had to first carry out redemption for man before He could use him. Therefore, there are two elements in God’s full salvation. First, God came to redeem; second, He came to save. Redemption was to meet the need in the judicial aspect. Suppose God ignored the fact that man had been corrupted and still used man for His purpose. Then the angels and the devil would shake their heads and say, “You are a God of righteousness, light, holiness, and glory. How can You use such a dirty, base, corrupted, evil, and filthy man? This is not right judicially.” Therefore, God’s redemption, with the precious blood of Christ as its focus, was necessary in order to meet the need of the judicial aspect (Rom. 3:20-26; Eph. 1:7).
(God's Salvation in Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)