THE GOD-ORDAINED CHRISTIAN LIFE
In the last message, we saw our experience in ourselves. Today we want to consider the kind of life that God has ordained for Christians. According to God, what kind of life should a Christian live? We are not talking about advanced Christians; we are talking about every saved and regenerated Christian, every Christian who has received the eternal life. What kind of life should they live? Only after we know this will we see what our shortages are. What does the Bible say about the Christian life? Let us consider a few passages in the Bible.
A Life That Is Free from All Sins
Matthew 1:21 says, "And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." When I was in Chefoo and Peking recently, a few brothers remarked that in the past they loved calling the Lord the Christ, but that now they like calling Him "Jesus, my Savior!" He is called Jesus because He "save[s] His people from their sins." We have received Jesus as our Savior. We have obtained the grace of forgiveness. Thank and praise the Lord that Jesus is now our Savior and our sins are forgiven. But what has Jesus done for us? "He...will save His people from their sins." This is God’s ordination. This is Jesus’ accomplishment. The question now is whether we are still living in sin or whether we are delivered from it. Does our old temper come back to plague us? Are we still bound by our sins and entangled by our thoughts? Are we still as proud as before? Are we still as selfish as before? Or have we been delivered from our sins? I have mentioned one illustration many times, and I will mention it again: There is a difference between a life-saving ring and a life raft. When a man falls into the water and is thrown a life-saving ring, he will not drown if he holds onto the ring, but neither will he be delivered out of the water. He will not sink, but neither will he be lifted out. He is neither dying, nor is he living. It is different with a life raft. In the case of a life raft, the drowning person is lifted out of the water into the raft. Our Lord’s salvation is not the salvation of a life-saving ring but the salvation of a life raft. He will not stop halfway between dying and living. He will save His people from their sins. He does not leave us in sins. Therefore, biblical salvation saves us from sin. However, even though we have believed, we are not yet saved from sin; we still live in sin. Is the Bible wrong? No, there is nothing wrong with the Bible; it is our experience that is wrong.
What else did Jesus do when He came to us? What does the Bible say about His work? Let us go on.
A Life That Is in Intimate Fellowship with God
Luke 1:69 says, "And raised a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant." Verses 74 and 75 say, "We, having been delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days." God has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David. We have this horn of salvation already. What has this horn of salvation done for us, and to what degree has it delivered us? He has delivered us out of the hand of our enemies. What kind of life does He want us to live after we are delivered? After we are delivered out of the hand of our enemies, is He only interested in our serving Him in holiness and righteousness? Is that all He wants? If this is true, we will only serve Him in righteousness and holiness sometimes. But thank and praise the Lord, His Word says that we should serve Him in holiness and righteousness all our days. We should serve Him in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live on earth. This is the kind of life that God has ordained for us. We should serve Him in holiness and righteousness all our days. Of course, to our shame we must admit that we have not served Him in holiness and righteousness all our days, even though God has delivered us from the hand of our enemies. Either the word of the Bible is wrong or our experience is wrong. The only way our experience can be right is for the Bible to be wrong. In the past, I always wondered what kind of life the Bible expects from a Christian. According to the Bible, everyone who is saved by the Lord should serve Him in holiness and righteousness all his days. If the Bible is wrong, our experience can be justified. But if the Bible is not wrong, our experience must be wrong.
A Life That Is Fully Satisfied in the Lord
John 4:14 says, "But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water gushing up into eternal life." How precious is this word! It does not speak of a special kind of Christian. It does not say that only those who have received special grace from the Lord can have a spring of water gushing up into eternal life. The Lord said this to a Samaritan woman whom He previously had never met. He said that if she believed, she would receive living water. This living water would be in her a spring that gushes up into eternal life. Brothers and sisters, what is the meaning of being thirsty? When one is thirsty, it means that he is not satisfied. Those who drink of the water that the Lord gives will never thirst again. Thank and praise the Lord! A Christian is not only a contented person but a person who is forever satisfied! It is not enough for a Christian to merely be contented. Everything that God gives to us makes us eternally satisfied. But how many times have we crossed the main streets without feeling thirsty? When we pass by the great department stores, are we thirsty? If we crave for this or that, is this not being thirsty? Are we thirsty when we consider our classmates or colleagues and envy their possessions? Yet the Lord said, "Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water gushing up into eternal life." What He gives to us is one kind of life, yet we experience something else. The Lord says that He is all we need, but we say that He is not enough. We need this and that before we can be satisfied, but He said that He alone is enough. Is what we received from the Lord wrong or is our experience wrong? One of the two must be wrong. The Lord cannot possibly write us a bad check. Whatever He promises, He will surely give. Our experience in the past was, in the words of one hymn, "a half salvation" (Hymns, #513, stanza 2). Why does the Lord say that a believer will not be thirsty again? This is because he has become different inside. Within him, there are new demands and new satisfactions. Brothers and sisters, are we living before God and serving Him in holiness and righteousness all our days? Are we living before God every day in holiness and righteousness, as the priest Zachariah spoke of in Luke 1:75? Do we have something within that gushes forth all the time to quench others’ thirst? The Chinese have an expression, wu-wei, which means "to do nothing." Christians have to be those who are asking for nothing. We can say that the Lord is enough for us. Are we satisfied with just the Lord? Are we really satisfied with the Lord Jesus alone? If we are not satisfied, it means that there is something wrong with our living.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 3, by Watchman Nee)