THE HEAVENLY MINISTRY OF CHRIST IN ASCENSION
After the regeneration of these believers, there is the need for Christ to carry out His heavenly ministry in ascension through His resurrection. Simply speaking, in His resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit to enter into His heavenly ministry (1 Cor. 15:45b). In His resurrection He brought His humanity into divinity to become the firstborn Son of God and regenerated God’s chosen people to become the sons of God. At the same time He Himself also became the life-giving Spirit. In His resurrection, with the ascended position and environment, He as the life-giving Spirit works in the redeemed and regenerated people in many ways. The work which He is carrying out includes: first, the work of sanctification (Col. 1:22; 1 Thes. 5:23); second, the work of renewing (Rom. 12:2; Titus 3:5); third, the work of transformation (2 Cor. 3:18); and fourth, the work of conformation (Rom. 8:29a). Finally, He as the life-giving Spirit will bring His people into glory (Heb. 2:10; Col. 3:4) so that their body will be redeemed and their entire being will be glorified (Phil. 3:21). At such a time, they will be exactly the same as the firstborn Son of God within and without—in life, in nature, in disposition, and in bodily form.
THE EMBODIMENT OF THE TRIUNE GOD
Here we need to see that the firstborn Son of God is the embodiment of the Triune God. First, God became flesh; second, this One in the flesh became the life-giving Spirit. Now this Spirit is the compound Spirit, the aggregate Spirit, and the consummation of the processed Triune God. Such a Spirit as the consummation of the Triune God works the Triune God into the entire being of the believers.
Hence, the processed Triune God is embodied in the all-inclusive Christ, and this Christ, who is the embodiment of the Triune God, has become the all-inclusive Spirit of the Triune God. Today the all-inclusive Christ as the embodiment of the Triune God has become the all-inclusive Spirit. This Triune God has been working in us since our regeneration and will continue until we are exactly the same as the firstborn Son of God. All of us as God’s chosen ones need to pass through the processes of sanctification, renewing, transformation, and conformation unto the glorification of our entire being. We are in the processed Triune God for Him to work in us to the extent that we are exactly the same as the embodiment of God, the firstborn Son of God, so that we all may become the embodiment of God. The firstborn Son of God is the individual embodiment of God; we as the many sons of God are the corporate embodiment of God. The reality of this embodiment is the all-inclusive Spirit. When this embodiment is expressed, it is the Body of Christ.
You can see the church on this earth, but it is not easy for you to see the Body. What people call the church refers mostly to the gathering together of a group of believers of Christ to form an assembly. This is the ekklesia, the church, which is something visible. It is not easy, however, for people to see that the church is a matter of life. The consummation of this life aspect is the Body of Christ. How is this consummation carried out? It is carried out through regeneration, sanctification, renewing, transformation, conformation, and eventually, glorification.
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE BODY OF CHRIST— THE NEW JERUSALEM
The Body of Christ consummates in the New Jerusalem. In other words, eventually, the Body of Christ becomes the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem is the conclusion of all these matters. Therefore, in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, the last thing that is produced is the New Jerusalem. We see that all the visions and all the revelations are consummated and manifested in the New Jerusalem. This New Jerusalem is the union and mingling of the processed Triune God with the transformed tripartite man to form one entity as the expression of God in eternity.
I hope that from now on every one of you will be able to speak the same thing. This message is a general outline. Regardless of what subject you cover or what message you speak, never depart from this outline. This is the general subject that must govern your speaking. From now on, this is what we must preach in our gospel preaching; this is what we must teach in our edification of new believers; and this is what we must speak in conferences and trainings. This is the highest gospel, this is what the world needs, and this is what the Lord desires to recover today.
(A General Outline of God's Economy and the Proper Living of a God-Man, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)