VII. IN THE RENEWING OF THE BELIEVERS
BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
In previous messages we have covered six items of the divine economy and the divine dispensing in the accomplishment of God’s full redemption and salvation in Christ. These items include the incarnation of Christ (John 1:14), the resurrection of Christ (John 12:24; 1 Pet. 1:3), the breathing of the essential Spirit into the believers (John 20:22), the outpouring of the economical Spirit upon the believers (Acts 2:17, 33; 10:45; Titus 3:6), the regeneration of the believers (1 Pet. 1:3), and the subjective sanctification of the saints (Rom. 6:19, 22). Of these six items, four are on God’s side and two are on the believers’ side. On God’s side are Christ’s incarnation, Christ’s resurrection, the breathing of the essential Spirit into the believers, and the outpouring of the economical Spirit upon the believers. On the believers’ side are the regeneration of the believers and the subjective sanctification of the saints.
On the believers’ side, the first step for God’s dispensing is regeneration. God regenerated us because He wanted us to have His life. The way that we could have His life is by God’s dispensing. When we called on the name of the Lord, we believed in the Lord Jesus. Immediately, our sins were washed away, we were forgiven, and we were justified in the eyes of God. At the same time, God as the Spirit came into us to impart His life into our being. To impart is to dispense. God imparted Himself into us by dispensing Himself into us as the divine life. Hence, regeneration is the first experience of God’s dispensing.
After regeneration, we all need to be sanctified, not objectively but subjectively, in our disposition. In this dispositional sanctification God dispenses His holy nature as an element into our being. When this element is added into our being, it becomes our holiness. God does not need to work very much on us. He simply puts His nature into our being as the divine element, and this nature works within us. By God’s holy nature being dispensed into us, we are sanctified. This is the second step on the believers’ side in the accomplishment of God’s full redemption and salvation in Christ.
The renewing of the believers by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5b) is the third step of the divine economy and the divine dispensing in the accomplishment of God’s full redemption and salvation in Christ on the believers’ side. God created man in a pure way for the purpose of entering into him as His vessel so that man could contain Him. But before God could come into man, Satan came in to damage man with sin. Thus, man became dirty, and immediately he became old. Man’s oldness was not due to his being ancient. Man became old because of the dirtiness of sin.
In Genesis 4 Cain murdered his brother Abel (v. 8). Today murder and robbery are very common. This does not seem strange today because man has been on the earth for several thousand years, and his condition is growing worse and worse. But Cain, being the second generation of mankind, was not old with respect to time. He became old because of sin.
All mothers love their babies, but eventually every lovable infant becomes somewhat unlovable. No mother teaches her child to lie, but after some time, every child lies. He did not learn to lie; rather, he was born that way. Every child is "dirty" from birth. Thus, even a newborn baby is old. To be old is to be sinful. Everyone on this earth is sinful and is therefore old. Thus, we all need to be regenerated to receive another life in order to have a new beginning.
(The Central Line of the Divine Revelation, Chapter 24, by Witness Lee)