MAN CREATED TO BE JOINED TO GOD
Why did God make us so similar to Himself? It was so that one day man might be grafted into God.
In Zechariah 12:1 the Lord is described as the One who “stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.” Notice how the heavens, the earth, and the spirit of man are put together as the three important things in the universe. The heavens are for the earth: without sunshine, water, and air, all of which come from the heavens, the living things on the earth could not exist. The earth is for man: without the provisions that come from the earth, man could not exist. What is man for? Man is for God. When Zechariah refers here to the creation of man, he does not mention the body, but rather the spirit. To have man, God first stretched forth the heavens, then laid the foundation of the earth; then He formed “the spirit of man within him.” When all the physical things in the universe were ready and could provide man with a suitable environment, God put man on the scene. He formed the spirit of man to be a container for Himself. Our spirit is the organ by which we contact God.
Notice this series: the heavens, the earth, the spirit of man. In the whole universe these are the three most important matters. Treasure your spirit! It is as significant as the heavens and the earth. Zechariah could have enumerated countless other items created by God, but only these three are listed together, because these are directly related to God. All these were created so that God might obtain a group of people to express Him.
We are vessels of honor and glory because we contain God. A diamond ring is usually kept in an attractive velvet box. Because the ring is so precious, it needs a beautiful container. The box is honorable and glorious because of the diamond ring it contains. We in ourselves may be only a box, but within us is God Himself. Do you realize what a treasure you have in this earthen vessel? Does it not excite you to have such a precious diamond in your possession? The value of this diamond cannot be measured in carats. No scale can weigh it. It is limitless and immeasurable. God Himself is your marvelous, glorious content!
Within this man, who was created in the image of God, is a receiver, like a radio; this is his spirit. Once this receiver is turned on, God comes in. Man is not only close to God, but similar to Him as well.
GOD PROCESSED TO BE JOINED TO MAN
Although man from his creation was designed to receive God, God at that time was not ready to be received into man. Not until some four thousand years later did God initiate the process by which He could be joined to man. Do not think that four thousand years is a long time. In God’s eyes it is like four days (cf. Psa. 90:4).
God came in human form, not in a majestic way but in a humble way. He passed through the womb of Mary and through the manger. He escaped to Egypt. Then He went to Galilee, where He grew up in a carpenter’s home in the village of Nazareth. He spent thirty years there, working as a carpenter, known to those around Him as Jesus. Yet this One, the Child born to us, also has as His name “The mighty God” (Isa. 9:6).
Then He came forth to minister for three and a half years. He was persecuted and rejected by His own people. Finally the time drew near, and He talked to His disciples, explaining to them that He would be going to the cross, where He would pass through death. By this means He would not only redeem them; He would also change His form. No longer would He be restricted by His physical body from entering into them. No longer would they be in one place and He in another. No longer would He be only with them; He would actually be in them. After His death and resurrection, He as the last Adam would become the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b).
“The Spirit,” John tells us in 7:39, “was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” This term, the Spirit, is significant. The Spirit of God is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament, yet “the Spirit was not yet.” When the Lord Jesus emerged from death and was resurrected, He was glorified. Not until this happened was there “the Spirit.”
The Spirit of God is like a glass of plain water. When we add various ingredients to it, like tea and honey, it becomes a refreshing drink. Before these are added, the water is there, but the drink “is not yet.” What are the ingredients added to the Spirit of God? Before the Lord’s death and resurrection, there was only God in the Spirit of God. But through the incarnation the Lord Jesus put on humanity. In resurrection this humanity was brought into the Spirit. His death was also an element that was added to the Spirit of God. This death was precious and lovable, not like the death of the first Adam. It encompasses redemption; the termination of the past; the dealing with the self, with the old man, and with all the other negative things. There is salt in this drink also, added not only for improving the flavor, but also to kill germs. Besides death, in the Spirit are found also resurrection, ascension, glorification, enthronement, dominion, and power.
In essence the Spirit is the Triune God—Father, Son and Spirit—as the all-inclusive Spirit. This is the ultimate expression of the Triune God.
With this understanding of the Spirit, verses like those in Romans 8 about the Spirit should be clear to you. Whenever you come across this term, the Spirit, in your reading of the New Testament, remember that it refers to the Triune God, passing through a long process and thus becoming the all-inclusive life-giving Spirit.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)