THE ISSUE OF THE FLOW OF LIFE
We have seen that God’s desire is for man to be filled with His life that man might express Him in His image and rule in Him with His dominion. God’s desire for man to express Him and for man to have dominion over His enemy can be realized only by God’s life. Thus, we see in Genesis 2 that God placed man in front of the tree of life with the intention that man would take God as life into himself (vv. 8-9). Genesis 2 also says that a river went out of Eden to water the garden (v. 10), showing that when we partake of God as life, we are brought into the fellowship, the flow, of this life.
Transformed into Precious Materials for God’s Building
The issue of the flow of life as seen in Genesis 2 is gold, bdellium (a kind of pearl), and onyx stone (vv. 11-12). As we enjoy the Triune God, the flow of the divine life within us, we are transformed into precious materials for God’s building in the entire universe. The issue of the flow is transformation and building.
The three precious materials in Genesis correspond to the three persons of the Godhead. Gold typifies God the Father in His divine nature. When we were saved, we were born of the Father and the Father’s divine nature was imparted into us. We have become partakers of God the Father’s divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).
To consider the significance of pearls, we need to consider how a pearl is formed. First, an oyster is wounded by a particle of sand. This particle lodges in the wound of the oyster, and the oyster secretes its life juice around the sand to produce a pearl. A particle of sand is changed into a pearl through the process of secretion. This depicts Christ as the living One coming into the death waters, being wounded by us, and secreting His life over us to make us precious pearls for the building of God’s eternal expression. Christ was the real, living oyster who came into the death waters. He was wounded for our transgressions, and we believed in His redemptive death. Thus, He was able to secrete His life over us for us to become pearls. On the one hand, we have the blood of Christ to cleanse us, and on the other hand, we have the life of Christ secreting all the time into us and upon us to make us pearls for God’s building.
Precious stones are produced through a tremendous amount of pressure and heat. When a black piece of coal is subjected to tremendous amounts of pressure and heat over a period of many years, it will be transformed into a diamond. In a sense, we are like the black coal, and we are under the pressure and in the oven. Job, David, and all the saints who followed the Lord in the way of His heart’s desire passed through the heat and pressure so that they could be transformed into precious stones. All the sufferings that Job went through were measured by God. God allowed Satan to go only so far with Job. There was a limit as to what Job would pass through. All of us have to pass through the pressure and the heat. Then we will be transformed into precious stones.
Apart from the Lord we human beings are not stone but vessels of clay. Clay is good only for making bricks, which are pieces of clay that have been burnt. In the Bible, the buildings built up by Satan were built with bricks, such as Babel (Gen. 11:3-4) and the treasure cities of Egypt (Exo. 1:11, 14). On the other hand, the building built up by God is built with precious stones (1 Cor. 3:12; Rev. 21:19-20). In Matthew 16 when Simon Peter recognized the Lord as the Christ and as the Son of the living God, the Lord changed his name from Simon Bar-jona to Peter, which means a stone, material for God’s building (1 Pet. 2:5). Originally Simon was a man of clay, but the Lord changed him into a living stone. Eventually, we believers are all the living stones to be transformed into precious stones. How much transformation we need!
The work of the Holy Spirit in our environment is to burn us and press us. Whether we like this or not, we need it, and the Holy Spirit has to do it. The Holy Spirit day by day is burning us and putting some pressure upon us. When a brother gets married he gets into the oven. The husband becomes the oven to the wife, and the wife becomes the oven to the husband. The wife and the husband burn each other. Furthermore, the husband many times is not a pleasure to the wife but a pressure, and the wife is a real pressure to the husband. When a couple has children, these little ones increase the pressure and the heat. All the married brothers and sisters know what I am talking about. This is the Lord’s way to transform us. The Triune God is working within us and on us to transform us into gold, pearls, and precious stones. This transformation is for the preparation of the bride of Christ, for the building up of the church.
The church cannot be built up by doctrinal teachings or by organization. The church can come into being only by the flowing of the divine life that transforms us into gold, pearls, and precious stones. Without the experience and enjoyment of the inner flow of life in the midst of an environment of heat and pressure, we will remain men of clay. Clay is not the proper material for God’s heavenly, spiritual, and divine building work. A local church cannot be realized by teaching or by organization. The only way that a local church can be built up is by life. This is why we must stress and focus on the divine life all the time. We must try our best by His mercy and grace to minister life to others. We have to eat the tree of life and drink the river of water of life day after day so that we can be transformed into precious material. What the church needs today is the ministry of life. Life is the only means, the only way, for the church to be built up.
(The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)