THE BASIC REVELATION BEING THE DIVINE PURPOSE
In this message we need to consider what is the basic revelation of the mystery of God. This basic revelation is the divine purpose. The divine purpose, of course, is not foot-washing or head covering. It is not any type of teaching, including the teaching of the Lord’s second coming. God’s purpose is to have the Body of Christ. In the past we have used the term the eternal purpose of God, but not the term the divine purpose. The divine purpose is the eternal purpose of God.
REVEALED IN EPHESIANS AND ROMANS
It is quite difficult to say exactly what the divine purpose is. God’s purpose is revealed mainly in the books of Ephesians and Romans. No other books present the revelation of God’s mystery as clearly as these books do. In Colossians we find the word mystery, but not the word revelation. In Galatians we read of revelation, but not of the mystery. Although the word mystery is used in 1 Corinthians, we find nothing there concerning the revelation of the mystery. Only two books, Ephesians and Romans, present both the mystery of God and the revelation of God. We have seen that Romans 16:25 speaks of the revelation of the mystery. In Ephesians 3:3-5 we have both the mystery and revelation. According to Ephesians 3:5, the mystery has been revealed to the apostles and prophets in spirit. The fact that Romans and Ephesians both speak of the revelation and the mystery gives us the ground to say that the divine purpose is contained completely in these two books alone.
Nevertheless, there is a difference between Romans and Ephesians. Romans speaks from us to God, from earth to heaven, from sinners to saints. Ephesians speaks from God to us, from heaven to earth. Romans speaks from our fallen condition, but Ephesians speaks from eternity, revealing God’s purpose and the desire of God’s heart in eternity. Thus, Ephesians is related to eternity and Romans is related to time.
CHOSEN TO BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH
Now we need to see four main things included in the divine purpose. Ephesians 1:4 says, “Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before Him in love.” God selected us in eternity past, before the foundation of the world and the beginning of time, that we might be holy and without blemish. The words holy and without blemish in this verse have been misused and misunderstood. As a result, their significance has been diminished. Most Christians think that to be holy is to be sinlessly perfect. Some so-called churches are even called holiness churches. However, to be holy is not to be sinless or perfect. The significance of being holy is very deep, far beyond our concept.
THE SAME AS GOD IN NATURE
In this universe only God is holy. All Bible students realize that holiness refers to God’s nature and that righteousness refers to God’s activities. What God does is righteous, but God’s very being is holy. Therefore, holiness refers to God’s being, not to His doings; it is God’s nature. Therefore, to be made holy means to be made the same as God in nature. Holiness does not denote the appearance of God. The appearance of God is glory. We need to differentiate between righteousness, holiness, and glory. Righteousness refers to God’s doings, holiness to God’s being, and glory to God’s expression. To repeat, to be holy means to be the same as God is in His nature.
Man was not created by God with the divine nature. Rather, he was made from dust (Gen. 2:7). The nature of God is holiness, but the nature of man is dust. God is holy, but man is dusty. Are you not dusty? To be dusty is different from being dirty. Before the fall, Adam was sinless, but he was still dusty. He was not holy, and nothing of God’s nature had been wrought into him.
(Basic Training, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)