The Building Work of God, by Witness Lee

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Furthermore, the wall of the city is altogether built with precious stones (Rev. 21:18a). This is also a matter with great spiritual significance. A precious stone is not created originally by God; rather, it is formed from something created that has passed through years of constitution by being pressed underneath the earth. If we want to be truly built up, we not only need to be broken by God, but we also need to allow God to do a constituting work in us. We need to be under God’s constituting work for many years before we can become precious stones to shine forth God’s light.

Every descendant of Adam is originally a piece of clay. God created Adam, using a piece of clay taken from the earth as material. Therefore, all of us today who have been born of Adam are also clay. However, since we have been saved with God’s life, in God’s eyes we are no longer clay but stones. Immediately after Simon Peter confessed that the Lord was the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Lord said to him, “You are Peter” (Matt. 16:16-18). Peter is a translated word which means “a stone.” Likewise, every saved person is a “Peter,” a stone, used by God for the building of this city.

However, in the New Jerusalem the materials used by God for building are not merely ordinary stones but precious stones. Hence, it is not enough that we were saved and became stones; we still need to become precious stones. This requires us to put ourselves in the hands of God so that He can do the work of constitution.

All the brothers and sisters should consider whether they are an ordinary stone or a precious stone. I believe that many of us can say, “Formerly, as a piece of clay I was really vile. But praise and thank God! Because He has cleansed and regenerated me, now I am a piece of stone.” I believe that we all can say this by faith, but I still would like to ask, what kind of stone are you? Not all stones are the same. Are you a precious stone, or are you an ordinary stone? This time on my return trip from abroad I went to Jerusalem and its surrounding regions for a visit. The deepest impression I received is that there are stones throughout the land. There are big stones as well as small stones; everywhere there are stones. One day the driver of our car said to me, “If all the stones here could be changed into bread, we would be rich.” Therefore, mere stones are not precious.

Are you merely a stone, or are you a precious stone? This is a big question. The precious stones on the wall of the city are not only precious but also transparent. Sometimes when you meet a brother, you can sense that he is not only a stone but that he is also truly a precious stone. He is transparent within. On the contrary, there are times when you meet someone, and not only do you sense that he is not a precious stone, but you feel that he is not even like a stone. You feel that he is a lump of clay. His living is muddled, he does things loosely, he speaks freely, and nothing is solid in him.

Those who know about precious stones know that a piece of precious stone is formed through much pressure. This pressure causes a precious stone to become very solid in nature. A lump of earth is loose. If you shake it in your hand, it falls apart right away. However, it is not so with a precious stone. It will not break even if you dash it on the ground. Some brothers and sisters are really solid and strong like precious stones, but there are also some brothers and sisters who are loose like a lump of earth. When you meet them, their words flow out of them very easily. It is as if it is easier for them to speak than to do anything else. They do not know what it means to be restricted. They are not precious stones even in the smallest amount. It should be no wonder to us that they cannot participate in the building.

Experts tell us that precious stones are formed not only by pressure, but that during the process of formation they also need to be burned by fire. Pressure, burning, and constitution are necessary for the transformation into precious stones. In the New Jerusalem there is nothing loose; rather, it is all precious stones, and it is all pure gold. Everything has been pressed, constituted, and burned; hence, it is solid and transparent. Likewise, for the building up of the church every brother and sister must experience the work of pressure and the work of heat. Often brothers and sisters ask me, “Brother Lee, we heard that you are going to such and such a place next week, is it true?” I tell them, “I do not know! Even I myself do not yet know when I am going, how do you know?” You can tell how loose many people are by the loose situation of the spreading of rumors among the brothers and sisters. In the face of this you can only sigh and say, “In the church few people are solid; few have been pressed, burned, and constituted. Hence, few have been built up!”

(The Building Work of God, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)