THE LIBERATING SPIRIT
Second Corinthians 3:17 tells us that the Lord is the Spirit and “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” This means that the Spirit is the liberating Spirit. Where life is, there is always liberation. The more we grow in life, the more we become liberated. The more mature we become in life, the more we are freed from all kinds of bondage. Many of the young saints are still under much bondage. Seemingly they are more free than the saints who are more mature in the divine life, but actually they are more bound. Many of us are bound by religion and religious practices, so we need to experience more of the liberating Spirit. As we grow in life, we are released from our bondage.
The many habits that we have according to our flesh and our natural constitution are bondages. The liberating Spirit can free us from the bondage of our habits. Some brothers have the habit of being silent while other brothers have the habit of talking all the time. You may want to say something to a brother who has the habit of talking, but you may not get the chance because of his habit. We all need to be liberated from our habits. Another brother may have the habit of speaking softly in a large meeting of the saints. He may be bound by his natural habit and not experience the boldness in the Lord and the release of the spirit. He needs to be liberated from this habit; otherwise, he will not be able to minister adequately. He needs the liberating Spirit to grant him the boldness and the release of the spirit.
When we pray-read the word, we must be liberated from our habit. We need to pray-read according to the need and the atmosphere. If four or five brothers come together to pray-read the word in someone’s apartment, there is no need for them to shout. If one of the brothers does shout, this is according to his habit. We should shout, not according to our habit but according to the situation, the condition, the environment, and the atmosphere. We need the release of our spirit, not the release of our habit. Another brother may have the habit of being quiet all the time. His “exercise of the spirit” fits in the homes of the saints. But when he comes to a meeting of three or four hundred people, he needs the boldness to release his spirit in a living way. In a larger meeting, it will be easier for this brother to remain in his habit and to pray-read with the release of his habit of being quiet.
We need the liberation of the Spirit so that we may fit in any kind of environment or situation. With a small number, we need to experience the Spirit to pray-read in a low voice. With a large number of saints, we need to pray-read with a loud voice in the Spirit. If we are enjoying the liberating Spirit, we will speak when there is a need to speak and be quiet when we need to be quiet. What we do should not be according to our habit but according to the liberation of the Spirit. To enjoy the liberation of the Spirit to the uttermost, we need the growth in life. Outward regulations will not work to deliver us from our habits. The more we grow in life, the more we will be liberated.
THE TRANSFORMING SPIRIT
Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” In this verse the Spirit is the transforming Spirit. Transformation is a change in life, a metabolic change. The more life supply we enjoy, the more we will be changed, or transformed. Transformation is not an outward change by some method but an inward change by life supply. The transformation mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3:18 is not something of teaching but something of the changing life.
We all need to be changed, not by outward teachings and outward regulations but by the inward growing of life. When little children grow in their human life, they change in appearance from year to year. With the growth in life, there is a change. We all need to pursue the real growth in life, and we all need to have a real change in life. We are not practicing religion, but as the church, we are God’s farm. We have to take care of the growth in life that we may have the transformation in life by the Lord Spirit.
THE LORD SPIRIT
Verse 17 of 2 Corinthians 3 tells us that the Lord is the Spirit, and then it refers to the Spirit of the Lord. To say “the Spirit of the Lord” is similar to saying “the current of electricity.” The current and the electricity are not two things. In like manner, the Spirit and the Lord are not two different items. The current of electricity is the electricity itself, and the Spirit of the Lord is the Lord Himself. The current of electricity is the electricity itself in motion. The Spirit is the Triune God in motion, the reaching of the Triune God. The Triune God reaches the tripartite man as the Spirit. In verse 18 there is the term “the Lord Spirit.” This is a compound title like the Father God and the Lord Christ. The compound title “the Father God” refers to the Father who is God or to the very God who is our Father. The Lord Spirit refers to the Lord who is the Spirit and to the Spirit who is our Lord. The Lord and the Spirit are not two, but they are one.
In 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 the Spirit is mentioned in three aspects: 1) the Lord is the Spirit; 2) the Spirit of the Lord; 3) the Lord Spirit. We have to realize that the Lord is the Spirit to us, and we should call Him the Lord Spirit. To call Him the Lord Spirit is according to the subjective experience of life. If we do not know the divine life, it will be difficult for us to call our Lord Jesus the Lord Spirit. As we are experiencing the divine life in our daily life, we will spontaneously have the sense that the Lord is the Spirit. The more we experience the Lord in life, the more we will realize that the Lord is the Spirit to us.
When we experience the divine life in the Spirit and come to the Bible with this experience, we will be able to receive the proper, enlightened understanding from the Word. If we do not have the knowledge or experience of a certain piece of machinery, we will not be able to understand it. If you gave me a part from a car, I would not know what part it is or where to put it. But if you gave the same part to a mechanic, he would know what the part is and know where it belongs. Because he has the knowledge and experience of an automobile, it is easy for him to understand its parts. In the same way, in order to understand the Bible, especially concerning life and the Spirit, we need the real experiences of life and the Spirit. We may learn doctrines, teachings, and theology, but to understand the things concerning life and the Spirit, we need to enjoy and experience Christ as the Lord Spirit. We need to enjoy the liberating Spirit and the transforming Spirit, who transforms us from one degree of glory to another degree.
(The Crucial Revelation of Life in the Scriptures, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)