THE CHURCH BEING OF GOD’S ECONOMY AND OF GOD’S GOOD PLEASURE
The church is of God’s economy (Eph. 3:9-10). The word economy is used in Ephesians 1:10 and 3:9. Verse 10 of chapter one speaks of “the economy of the fullness of the times,” and 3:9 says, “And to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is.” In Greek the word oikonomia has been anglicized to the present-day word economy. Oiko means house or household, and nomos means law. Thus, oikonomia is a kind of household law, household government, or household administration. An administration implies arrangement. Furthermore, any kind of administration is a plan.
The church is also of God’s good pleasure (Eph. 1:9). Our God is a living God. He is a living person who has a desire, a pleasure, and a will. He wishes to do something. What He wants to do, what He wishes to do, is His will. Based upon His desire and His wish, His will, He made a plan, and that plan is His household administration, His economy.
He exercises Himself in this household administration as a Father. He is the Father administrating His own household. We believers are His children. He has a big family, which Galatians 6:10 calls “the household of the faith.” In this universe there is a family of faith, including the chosen Israelites and the church. Both were chosen by God to be His folks, His household. Among these folks, the great Father has an administration.
In His administration God planned to have a group of human beings made in His image in order that this group of human beings might become a corporate vessel to contain Him. Therefore, this vessel must be in the same form as He is. A round container is made to contain something round. The container must be in the form, in the image, of the content. This was why God made us in His image. We are the container made in the image of God, who is to be our content.
In His economy, His household administration, He arranged and decided to make man not only in His image but also with a spirit as a recipient to receive Him as the Spirit. God decided that man should be in His image with a spirit to receive Him as life, signified by the tree of life (Gen. 2:7-9). Man was to eat the tree of life, to take God into him as life. However, man did not take in God. Instead, man became fallen. Eventually, in the New Testament, Jesus came and told us that He was both the life (John 14:6) and the tree, the vine tree (John 15:1). When we put these two things together, we realize that He is the life tree. The life tree is not a tall pine, which we cannot reach. The life tree is a vine spreading through the whole earth and so available to us. The tree of life in Revelation 22 is Christ, growing in the river of the water of life (vv. 1-2). The river of water of life is the Spirit. Christ grows in the Spirit and even as the Spirit.
We have the Spirit within us as the essence of the Body of Christ. The essence is of the element, the Son, and the element is of the source, the Father. The issue of the Father as the source, of the Son as the element, and of the Spirit as the essence is the church as the Body of Christ. Taking the Triune God into us as our life makes us the church.
THE CHURCH BEING CONSTITUTED OF GOD THE FATHER’S NATURE AND LIFE, GOD THE SON’S ELEMENT, AND GOD THE SPIRIT’S ESSENCE
The church is constituted of God the Father’s nature and life, God the Son’s element, and God the Spirit’s essence (Eph. 1:4-5, 10-11, 13). Ephesians 1:4 and 5 say that God the Father chose us to be holy and predestinated us unto sonship. For us to be holy, to be sanctified, we need His nature. In the whole universe, nothing is holy except God Himself in His divine nature. Only the Father’s divine nature is sanctified, holy. God wants to make us holy, sanctified. Therefore, He has to impart His holy nature into us. The Father also has predestinated us unto sonship. For Him to make us sons to participate in His divine sonship involves His life. If He did not impart His life into us, we could not be His sons. Therefore, for us to be sanctified, to be holy, means that we have God’s holy nature; for us to be His sons means that we have His life. Ephesians 1:4 and 5 indicate that God the Father as the source imparts His nature and life into His chosen people.
Ephesians 1:7-12 speaks of the Son’s redemption. The Son brings us into Himself as the element and the sphere into which we have been redeemed. He redeemed us out of the “trash can,” and the destination of His redemption is Himself. He redeemed us out of sin, out of the world, and out of the tyranny of Satan into Himself as the element and sphere. By this redemption we, the fallen sinners, have been put into Christ as our element and sphere.
With Christ as our divine element, we have been made the inheritance of God (v. 11). We were lost, fallen, corrupt sinners. Corrupt sinners cannot be God’s inheritance. But we corrupt, sinful people have been redeemed into Christ. Christ is now our element and our sphere, in which and with which we have been made a treasure unto God to be His inheritance. Christ as the divine element has been imparted into us.
Ephesians 1:13 says that we were also sealed with the Holy Spirit. The Father’s nature and life, the Son’s element, and the Spirit’s essence are imparted into us by the sealing. When a seal with sealing ink is stamped on a piece of paper, the ink saturates the paper. The ink as the essence gets into the sealed material. We are the sealed material, and the Spirit brings the essence of the divine element of the divine source into us.
(Five Emphases in the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)