THE MANIFESTATION OF THE ETERNAL LIFE
The Lord’s salvation is that He dispenses Himself into us as our life. This is through the mysterious Word of life. First John says that this life which is the eternal life and which has been manifested today is Jesus Christ Himself. The eternal life is mysterious, abstract, and invisible and cannot be felt or touched by anyone, yet this life has been manifested, shown to, and seen by men. The word for seen indicates that something is not only looked at but also observed distinctly and investigated clearly in a thorough manner; it compares with the examination by a doctor to diagnose a patient’s condition. John says that the Lord Jesus, who is the Word of life and the inner life, was manifested, and John saw Him and even touched Him with his own hands. Both John and his brother James were ranked with the twelve disciples of the Lord Jesus, and their mother was Mary’s sister, so they were the Lord’s cousins in the flesh. For three and a half years they were with the Lord Jesus. They not only saw the Lord Jesus but also observed and touched Him. Touched indicates that this life was real and substantial to the apostles.
THE CONVEYING OF THE ETERNAL LIFE
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He said, “I am the bread of life,” “I have come that they may have life,” and “I am…the life” (John 6:35; 10:10; 14:6). John said that the Lord Jesus is this life and that he saw, handled, and was made sure of Him; then John reported this eternal life to us. He did not report merely by speaking and preaching about it, but he conveyed and transmitted it into us. It is just as the electricity in the electric plant; by our turning on the switch the electricity is conveyed into the lightbulbs to make them shine. The Lord Jesus is God incarnated to be a man of flesh and blood so that men could see and touch Him. We thank the Lord that He did not stay in the flesh; He went through the processes of death and resurrection to become the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) in order to transmit Himself into us. Every time we meet, we receive the transmission of this Spirit into us. This Spirit is the Lord Jesus and the eternal life.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE ETERNAL LIFE
The conveying of the Word of life brings in a fellowship, a flow. This may be compared to lightbulbs; if there is no electricity in them, they are not related to one another or in fellowship with the electric plant. But once the electricity is transmitted into the lightbulbs, the flow of electricity brings the lightbulbs into one electric current, which makes them shine and causes them to have fellowship with the electric plant. In other words, the flow of electricity causes the lightbulbs to have fellowship with one another and with the electric plant. Then, if the lightbulbs want to maintain their fellowship, they must abide in the electricity and not cut off the switch. When the lightbulbs abide in the electricity, they enjoy the electricity, and the electricity constantly transmits and supplies the lightbulbs, making them shine and function. If a lightbulb burns out, it cannot function properly because it is not abiding in the electricity; it should only be thrown into the garbage can. This is what the Lord Jesus said: “He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit;…If one does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is dried up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5-6). When we abide in the Lord, we enjoy the Lord as our life. If the lightbulb abides in the electricity, it will shine by enjoying the source of power, and the owner will not throw it away. In the same way, if we want to shine and function, we must abide in the Lord and enjoy Him as our supply and source.
GOD’S SALVATION BEING FOR US TO ABIDE IN THE LORD AND ENJOY HIS LIFE
God’s goal in creating us was not for ethics or morality but for our containing Him. God desires to enter into us to be our life so that we can enjoy this life. How do we enjoy this life? It is by abiding in the Lord. Today the Lord as the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17) abides in our spirit. Therefore, we need to abide in the Lord. This is not an outward matter of having a religion to regulate the human heart but an inward law of life. Whenever we are wrong, the inward life gives us a sense to remind us we are wrong. In this way we who abide in the Lord do not live a life of ethics and morality but instead live a life that is the Lord’s. Our living must be the expression of the Lord Himself. It is not that we are humble because the Bible teaches us to be humble; instead, we are humble because when we abide in the Lord and enjoy His life, we live Him out and He Himself becomes our humility, ethics, and morality of a higher standard. This kind of ethics and morality is of life and is the flowing out of life. It is not of religion, and it is not produced from ethical regulations.
Hymn #476 in our Chinese hymnal says, “Live in the light of life, fellowship with the Lord; / Gaze at the Lord’s dear face, follow the Spirit’s move; / Pathway of glory take, praising Him day by day; / Live in the light of life.” I hope that we can all experience abiding in the Lord and enjoying His life in this way until our living is transformed and we are blessed by the Lord’s grace.
(Abiding in the Lord to Enjoy His Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)