THE VISION OF CHRIST
Scripture Reading: Acts 26:19; Gal. 2:1-2a; Rom. 1:9a; 2:29; 2 Cor. 3:6
In Acts 26:19 the apostle Paul said, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” In this book I am burdened that we would see six visions: the vision of Christ, the vision of the church, the vision of the Body, the vision of the self, the vision of the world, and the vision of consecration.
PAUL’S SERVICE BEFORE HE GOT SAVED
With the history of the apostle Paul there are two parts, two sections: the part before he got saved and the part after he got saved. In both parts of his history he was a person serving God. Even before Paul was saved, he was a person dedicated to the service of God. If we read the New Testament carefully, we will realize that before he got saved Paul was a full-time worker, a full-time servant serving God.
However, there is a great difference between Paul’s service before he got saved and his service after he got saved. First, before he got saved, Paul’s service was a service without vision. Second, it is absolutely correct to say that his service was according to tradition and religion. Instead of serving with a vision, he was serving traditionally and religiously. Third, he was serving according to the knowledge of the Bible, that is, according to the letters, commandments, and regulations of the Old Testament. Fourth, he was serving in a condition of self-righteousness, serving in his self-righteousness. Fifth, he was serving with the full confidence that he was right. Sixth, his service was full of enthusiasm. He was serving not coolly but very enthusiastically, with his whole heart. Seventh, he had a goal, and he served with a definite purpose. Thus, he was serving purposefully.
In principle, the work of nearly all of today’s Christian workers is according to these seven points. In brief, these points are serving without a vision, serving traditionally and religiously, serving according to the knowledge of the Scripture in letters, serving in self-righteousness, serving with confidence, serving enthusiastically, and serving with a definite purpose. Are these things bad? They are not bad, but neither are they right. They may be good, but they are wrong.
One day while Paul was serving God according to these seven points, he was on the way to Damascus. Suddenly, a heavenly vision came to him. This vision turned him, changed him, revolutionized him (9:1-5). This vision turned him from the old way of service. After he saw this vision, he became blind and very weak, even impotent. Before this vision came to him, Paul was clear, full of sight, and he was also potent, able to do many things. But suddenly a heavenly vision came to him, and Paul was changed. He became blind, unable to see anything, and impotent, unable to do anything. Before the vision came to him, he took the lead to do things, but after the vision came, he needed others to guide him.
At this juncture I would like to ask you a question: When was the time in your Christian life that you became blind and impotent? There needs to be a time in our Christian life when we realize that we are blind, when we realize that our sight is gone and that we do not know the direction but need others to lead us. It is a blessing to be blind in this way. Oh, blessed blindness! If you have never had a time in your Christian life when you became blind and impotent, then your service to God will be like Paul’s service before he got saved. Those who serve in this way will be clear about everything and will have the full assurance that they are doing the right thing and that they know the right way to go on. But a blessed blindness comes upon those who are met by the heavenly vision. After this blindness comes upon us, there will be the inner anointing and the inner shining, the inner enlightening. The inner vision will increase more and more and will revolutionize the way we serve the Lord. In serving the Lord we will become a different person.
PAUL’S SERVICE AFTER HE GOT SAVED
Let us now contrast Paul’s service after he got saved with his service before he got saved. In every aspect, his service now was opposite to the way he had served before.
Serving with a Vision
First, instead of serving without a vision, Paul served with a vision. He served with a vision not only in big things but even in small things. For example, in Galatians 2:1-2a he tells us about his going up to Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish religion. “After a period of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus with me also. And I went up according to revelation.” The fact that even such a move was done by revelation indicates that Paul was serving with a vision.
(The Heavenly Vision, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)