III. GOD’S REDEMPTION
Thirdly, let us consider the redemption of God. In His redemption, His thought is still only one. Speaking from the standpoint of our experience, some have been saved recently some scores of years ago, and some hundreds of years ago; some were baptized in the United States, and some in other countries. But though these events have taken place at different times and in different places, from God’s standpoint, He never saves individually. When He saves, He redeems the whole church.
A good example of this is the account of the Israelites coming out from Egypt. When the entire house of Israel came out from Egypt, the lamb was eaten and the blood applied at the same place and at the same time. Then at the same time and at the same place they passed through the Red Sea. From our limited viewpoint, some ate the meat and applied the blood at one place, while others ate the meat and applied the blood several hundred houses away. When passing through the Red Sea, some were in the front of the procession, and others were in the rear of the procession; they may have been thousands of feet and many minutes apart. But in God’s view point, they ate the meat and applied the blood simultaneously in Rameses (Exo. 12:37); and their passage through the Red Sea (Exo. 14:29) was also a simultaneous act.
For example, when an ant transports its food from one corner of the room to another, he considers that he is traveling quite a distance, but from our viewpoint he is simply moving about in one room. Similarly, in our understanding, salvation takes place earlier or later, here or there; but with God a thousand years is as one day (2 Pet. 3:8). Therefore, in the eternal view of God, we are all saved at one time. He did not save us one by one, individually; He saved us corporately, as one man. Therefore, in His redemption, as in His plan and in His creation, His thought is still one. He did not plan for His Son to have two bodies, but only one; nor did He create two persons for His Son, but only one. Whether in God’s plan, in His creation, or in His redemption, the thought is one and one alone, and this oneness is the Body.
IV. IN CHRIST
After we were redeemed into Christ, our position in Christ is still one. In ourselves we are many, but in Christ we are only one. In Christ there is only one Church. In Christ there is one mystical Body. This mystical Body of Christ is one. The spiritual meaning of the Body is one. Whenever we as Christians are not one, we are not in the Body, and we demonstrate that we have not seen what the Body is.
The Epistle to the Ephesians speaks especially about the Church. It states that the Church is the mystical Body of Christ. The Epistle to the Ephesians is also a book that mentions the matter of “one” the most. It mentions seven “ones”: the body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God (Eph. 4:4-6). Seven is the perfect number. So this perfect “one” is in the Body, and this perfect “one” is the mystical Body of Christ.
V. IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
In Christ we are one; moreover, in the Holy Spirit we are one. This oneness in the Holy Spirit is what we commonly call fellowship. If we live in the Holy Spirit, we have this fellowship, and we have this oneness, which is the reality of the Body. When we lose this fellowship in the Holy Spirit, we do not have this oneness, and we do not have the Body.
VI. IN LIFE
In life we are still one. We have mentioned elsewhere that the life within us is not a divided life, but a complete life. Because of the fellowship in the Holy Spirit, the life in each one of us is complete and undivided. The life in me is the life in you and also the life in God. Therefore, His life in all of us is one. We are all one in this life. Not only the good Christians are one with us in life, but also the failures, the weak ones, and the poor ones. This oneness in life is the mystical Body of Christ.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)