XIII. MAKING US GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS IN CHRIST
Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "Him who did not know sin He made sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." This word clearly indicates that those who have been brought back to God in the Holy of Holies will experience and enjoy God in the dispensing of the Trinity to the extent that they even become the righteousness of God in Christ. Sin, which came out of the evil one, entered into man through man’s fall (Rom. 5:12) and made man not only a sinner but sin itself as an enemy of God under God’s judgment. By becoming one with us through being incarnated in the flesh, Christ was made sin on our behalf to be judged by God. Through His death Christ was condemned in the flesh as sin for us by God that we might be one with Him in His resurrection and have an organic union with Him. Thus, we not only have Christ as our righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30) and are made righteous before God, but we are also made the righteousness of God in Him, being reconciled to the righteous God, and are made a new creation living to God for His eternal purpose.
XIV. SANCTIFYING US
In the progressing stage of God’s full salvation, the believers also experience and enjoy God the Father as the One who sanctifies them. To be sanctified is to be made holy. In the universe, only God is holy; only He is distinct and different from all other things. He is not common and therefore is undefiled. Such holiness is God’s nature; it is an intrinsic characteristic of God’s attributes. God the Father sanctifies us not only in our outward position but also in our inward disposition.
In John 17:17 the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father for the believers, saying, "Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth." By this we see that the Father sanctifies us by His word. The Father’s word carries the reality of the Father with it. When God’s word says, "God is light," it carries God as light in it. Hence, God’s word is reality, the truth. God’s living word works in us, the believers, to separate us from the world and its usurpation unto God and His purpose. This is to be sanctified in God’s word, and it changes us not only positionally but also dispositionally in what we are within.
First Thessalonians 5:23 says, "And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." God not only sanctifies us wholly but also preserves our spirit, soul, and body complete. Wholly is quantitative; complete is qualitative. Quantitatively, God sanctifies us wholly; qualitatively, God preserves us complete, that is, He keeps our spirit, soul, and body perfect. Through the fall our body was ruined, our soul was contaminated, and our spirit was deadened. In God’s full salvation our entire being is saved and made complete and perfect. For this, God is preserving our spirit from any deadening element (Heb. 9:14), our soul from remaining natural and old (Matt. 16:24-26), and our body from the ruin of sin (1 Thes. 4:4; Rom. 6:6). God desires to sanctify us, and He Himself will do it; as long as we are willing to pursue Him as holiness (Heb. 12:14a) and cooperate with Him in this matter, we can be holy as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16).
By thus sanctifying us, God transforms us in the essence of our spirit, soul, and body, making us wholly like Him in nature. In this way He preserves our spirit, soul, and body wholly complete. God’s preserving and His thorough sanctifying will sustain us to have a holy living until we reach maturity. Such a sanctified living is necessary for us to have a church life that is pleasing to God and that expresses Him.
XV. GIVING LIFE TO OUR MORTAL BODY
Romans 8:11 says, "If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you." Here we see that God the Father gives life to our mortal body through the indwelling Spirit. First, through regeneration this life of God is dispensed into our spirit to make our spirit life (v. 10). Then, through our setting the mind on the spirit, this life saturates our mind for the transformation of our soul, to which our mind belongs, and becomes the life in our soul (v. 6). Eventually, through His Spirit who indwells us, God the Father will give life to our mortal, dying body, causing this life to be the life in our body. This indicates that the life dispensing of God the Father not only takes place in the center of our being but also reaches the circumference, that is, our entire being. The ultimate issue is the transfiguration of our body (Phil. 3:21), the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23).
If we grow in the life of the Lord and give heed to the inner working of the Father of love, spontaneously our weak, mortal body will be enlivened by the divine life dispensed into us by the Father through His indwelling Spirit. This is not outward, miraculous healing; it is the issue of our allowing the Spirit of God to make His home in us, thus enabling Him to saturate our whole being with God’s life and swallow the element of death in our body. Such a dispensing by God the Father will not merely heal our mortal, dying body but also cause it to be enlivened to carry out God’s will.
(Truth Lessons, Level 2, Vol. 3, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)