THE CONTINUAL EXPERIENCE
OF GOD’S SALVATION
Although we have the assurance that we are eternally saved, we still need to be saved day by day and even moment by moment. For this continual experience of God’s salvation, we need the Word, faith, and the Spirit. These three elements are like a threefold cord. By this threefold cord, constituted of the Word, the Spirit, and faith, we are saved from all the negative things in Ephesians: blindness, ordinances, winds of doctrine, vanity of the mind, and Satan and his evil powers of darkness. Furthermore, it is by the Word with the Spirit producing faith that we receive a spirit of wisdom and revelation and are enlightened. This is also the way for Christ to spread Himself throughout our inner being and to settle, make His home, in our hearts. According to Ephesians 3:17, Christ makes His home in our hearts through faith. Moreover, when our mind is saturated with the Word, the Spirit spreads into our mind, and we are renewed in the spirit of the mind.
FILLED, WASHED, ARMED,
By the Word with the Spirit we are also filled in our spirit. Ephesians 5:18-20 speaks of being filled in spirit, speaking, singing, psalming, and giving thanks. If we compare this passage with Colossians 3:16 and 17, we see that the Spirit fills us through the Word. Hence, to be filled with the Word is actually to be filled with the Spirit.
By the Word coming into our being and filling it, we are also washed; we are cleansed by the washing of water in the Word (Eph. 5:26). According to the New Testament, this water, the water in the Word, is the living Spirit. When we receive the Word into us, the water in the Word will wash away our inward filthiness.
According to Ephesians 6:17 and 18, if we receive the Word into our being by means of prayer and petition, we shall put on the armor of God and be empowered. Apart from the Word, there is no way for us to have the armor of God. To put on the armor of God is to receive the Word by means of all prayer and petition. Our experience confirms this. When we come to the Word and take it into us by pray-reading, singing, or musing, we eventually sense that we are armed, equipped, and empowered. We have the confidence that should Satan attack us we would have the power and the armor to defeat him. We can even say, "Satan, don’t you see that I have put on the armor of God and that I have been empowered to defeat you and to put you to shame?" We are thus able to fight the spiritual warfare and defeat the evil powers of darkness in the air.
ENJOYING CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
By the Word with the Spirit producing faith we experience Christ and the church life. According to your experience, when do you have the highest enjoyment of Christ and the church? Is it not when you take the Word into your being through the Spirit by praying in spirit? When we pray-read the Word, we receive the Word not merely into our mind, but also into our spirit. Then in our experience Christ becomes available, present, and real, and we rejoice to be in the church life.
Ephesians 6 speaks of taking the Word by praying at every time in spirit. In order to do this in a practical way, it is good to carry a pocket version of the New Testament with you. Should you be delayed in heavy traffic on the way home from work, you can open this pocket version and pray-read a verse. Even in the midst of a traffic jam you can enjoy pray-reading a verse like Philippians 2:9: "God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name."
If a brother pray-reads the Word on the way home from work, he will be happy with his wife. How different this is from coming home exhausted and finding his wife worn out from the day’s labor! When a brother and his wife are exhausted and not enjoying the Word, neither is likely to be happy in the Lord. At such a time, it seems that Christ has disappeared, and there is no incentive or desire for the church life.
The secret of experiencing Christ and the church is in the Word. When we take the Word in a proper way, we experience Christ and enjoy the church life. We may even feel like singing, "Unto Him be glory in the church." Whenever we enjoy Christ and the church in this way, Satan, the Devil, is under our feet.
(The Secret of Experiencing Christ, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)