We have a new message, vital though unusual, on the two trees in Genesis and the two laws in Romans.
Consider the universe God created. Scientists today have learned something of how vast it is. The universe is composed of perhaps forty billion galaxies. One galaxy is made up of two hundred forty million solar systems. The distance from the earth to the moon is just a short length in one solar system. Besides the vastness of the universe, there are the billions of items it contains, too numerous to mention. One of these items, the Bible, God’s Word, tells us that God created man, another item, in a particular way. Man was not God, but He was made in God’s image and likeness.
Romans 11 tells us that we believers in Christ have been grafted into God. (Romans 6:5 has this thought also.) For a branch from one tree to be grafted to another, the two trees must be close in nature. Apples, for example, will not grow on peach trees. An almond branch, however, can be grafted to a peach tree because the two are quite close. If our human life were entirely different from God’s, there would be no possibility for the two lives to be grafted together. Man’s life is not the divine life, but the two are close because man’s life was made according to the image of God’s life. A believing human being can be grafted into God because human life was made in the form of God’s virtues. God has love; He made love for man. But His intention was to use this created love of man as a container for His own real love. When the divine love enters into man’s love, they are grafted together. Then the two love together. You and God love your wife or your neighbor. It is the love of a human being filled up with the love of God. The almonds produced by the branch grafted to the peach tree result from the mingling of the two lives.
The love of Jesus was like this. When He was on this earth, He loved people as a man; yet in that human love was the love of God. The love of God mingled with a man’s love. Was it a human or a divine love? It was a fruit brought forth from the mingling of two lives. People were curious about the Lord Jesus. Who was He? Was He not a carpenter? Was He not the son of Mary? Did they not know His brothers and sisters? What was there about Him that was so unusual? How could He be so different? It was because God was in Him. He was a God-man!
The same can be said of all of us, the members of Christ. Surely my love for you is not merely that of an elderly, Chinese man; in my love there is the sweet love of God. This is the Christian life. A Christian life is not the divine life; nor is it merely a human life. It is a mingled life. It is a human life redeemed, terminated, resurrected, uplifted, and indwelt by the divine virtue. To make tea, we add tea leaves to water. The water indwelt by the tea becomes tea water. It is not tea alone, nor water alone; it is tea water. The two have been mingled together. The Christian life is a human life mingled with the divine life.
When we read Genesis 1, it is not till we get to the last few verses that we find the greatest thing that was created. It was not the heavens nor the earth, but a small man. He was the greatest because he alone was made in the image and after the likeness of God.
Before the incarnation of Christ, God came to His people a few times in the form of a man. In Genesis 18 He came with two angels as a man. The Bible says three men came. Abraham washed His feet and served Him a meal, which He ate. That was God. Then in Daniel 3 when the three friends of Daniel were cast into the fiery furnace, there appeared with them a fourth person, whose form was like a son of God. God, then, took the form of a man even before He became a man. This we cannot explain, but it shows us that man resembles God. According to the biblical revelation, man closely resembles God. This is why man can be grafted into God and the two lives can live together as one life.
When Paul said (Gal. 2:20), “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me,” who was living? It was Christ. Yet Paul went on to say, “And the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith.” When Christ lived, Paul lived; when Paul lived, Christ lived. The Lord Jesus foretold this in John 14:19: “Because I live, you shall live also.” We live in His living; He lives in our living. In other words, we two live together. He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). What a miracle! What a mystery! We cannot explain it, but we know it is so because the Bible tells us so. This is God’s eternal intention and His economy.
After reading the description in Genesis 1 of God’s creating man, I was looking forward to reading the second chapter. My first reading of it disappointed me. It seemed quite ordinary. The man in chapter one seemed great. In chapter two, however, he was just a piece of clay molded by a potter. Even a little boy can fashion a toy figure out of clay! Then God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, and that toy became a man. How simple! To build an airplane is far more complicated. Several different departments have to be set up. Different kinds of people have to be hired—some with doctoral degrees, some with other skills. It is a comprehensive undertaking. God used only the dust of the earth and made a little man. Was this the image of God? Was this little figure according to God’s likeness? When I was growing up in China, we used to make toys like this out of clay. Some were shorter; some were taller. Sometimes we would make nostrils and breathe into them too. There was nothing great about it.
(God's Eternal Intention and Satan's Counterplot, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)