THE REAL GOSPEL—CONCERNING THE ECONOMY OF THE MYSTERY OF GOD
In Ephesians 3:8-11 Paul said that although he was not a great apostle but was less than the least of all saints, he had received mercy and grace to announce to people the “unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel and to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages had been hidden in God, who created all things, in order that now to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies the multifarious wisdom of God might be made known through the church.” Thus, the real gospel is not about heaven and hell, sin and forgiveness, perdition and eternal life, or suffering and blessing; the real gospel is about the mystery of God’s economy.
In God there is a mystery which is His economy. In His economy the Triune God became the all-inclusive Spirit by passing through various processes so that, as such a Spirit, He can enter into men with His redemption, all-inclusive death on the cross, resurrection, ascension, divinity, and humanity. When the all-inclusive Spirit as the consummation of the Triune God is received into men, He first regenerates them. Then He brings them through the work of sanctification and transformation until they are conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God to be the many sons of God and the many brothers of Christ, constituting the house of God and the Body of Christ for the expression of Christ. When Satan and his followers see this house, this Body, which is the church, they will know the multifarious wisdom of God. This is the mystery of God’s economy.
Paul’s commission was to enlighten all that they may see this mystery. Our God does not just want people to know this mystery; He especially wants to show this to Satan. It is as if He wants to boast to Satan, saying, “Satan, you are very clever and crooked like a serpent. You get everything you want by hook or by crook. Nevertheless, you have only cleverness. I have wisdom. Two thousand years ago you began to employ your craftiness and to show off your cleverness, and you have been doing so until now. But in the end whatever you have done will have been all for the expression of My wisdom.” This accomplishment of God is according to the plan, the purpose, which He made in eternity past. This is His economy.
SPENDING TIME TO GET INTO AND TEACH THE TRUTHS OF THE RECOVERY
In this period when nearly all of Christianity has been ignoring His economy, God needs a further recovery in order to accomplish all that He has revealed, promised, and prophesied in the Bible. Through Brother Nee, this recovery was brought in among us. The Lord’s recovery is different from Christianity. Even our going out door-knocking to preach the gospel is different from what Christianity is doing. When we go out door-knocking, we first preach using The Mystery of Human Life to show people that man was created with three parts: spirit, soul, and body. This is to let people know that God created man in this way for the purpose of having man as His vessel to contain Him, so that He could enter into man, and in the end man could express Him. Many who have been Christians for years still may not be clear about this truth, but today when we go out door-knocking, the first thing we give people is this truth, and when they hear it, they are saved. This kind of gospel preaching is revolutionary and of the recovery.
Some have asked why the Recovery Version of the New Testament has the word Recovery in its title and what it is that needs to be recovered. Recovery is to recover the truths lost by Christianity, the truths which the worldly theology cannot understand, and the truths which most theology professors have never seen and are not willing to touch, such as God’s economy and His dispensing. The entire New Testament begins with a genealogy (Matt. 1:1-17). Formerly, not many people understood this genealogy, but today if anyone reads the Recovery Version of the New Testament, he only needs to read the footnotes for about ten minutes in order to be able to understand its deep significance. Thus, what we call the recovery is a recovery of the divine truths in the Bible.
The full-time training established by the church is not a training in methods; rather, it is a training to get the saints into the truth. The truth produces life. If the trainees study the truth every day according to their schedule, in the end they will spontaneously be nourished due to their knowledge of the truth. After they have been built up in this way, if they go out door-knocking, they will bring people to be saved by the recovery truths, and these new ones will be solid. Then, the trainees will set up meetings in the homes of these new believers and teach them more of the recovery truths, such as God’s economy, His dispensing, His eternal plan, and the processes He went through to accomplish His economy. Thus, the new ones will be established in the truth.
In the past, we were accustomed to big meetings with one person speaking and everyone else listening. However, after all that speaking and listening, some who have been meeting with us for thirty or forty years have not even graduated from spiritual elementary school. They are not even clear about how they themselves were saved. This is because they have never studied the truth thoroughly. Now we have put out the Truth Lessons, but the sad thing is that we lack teachers. I am afraid we will be like the blind leading the blind, and everyone will fall into a pit. Therefore, the teachers must first study and get into the truth before they can teach the saints.
In the same way, since we all have a heart to go out door-knocking and to care for people, we must spend time to get into the truth. The training gives us a way to get into the truth. How much we gain, though, depends upon the price we pay. Nevertheless, it is much easier for us to get into the truth today than it was fifty years ago. Fifty years ago, if we wanted to study the genealogy in Matthew, it was hard to find a book explaining it. If we wanted to study the parables in Matthew 13, it was hard to find a proper reference book. Once I found a book which said that the leaven in the meal is a positive thing, referring to the gospel and truth in Christianity which are able to influence all of society. When I first read this, I felt it was very good, but later my eyes were opened to know that it was absolutely not in accord with the truth. Today in the Lord’s recovery the truth is clear, and there are many books to which we can refer and which will help us get into the truth. However, it is entirely up to us to spend the time to study them.
When doing a certain thing, each person will do it differently, and the results will be related to the person doing it. Take door-knocking as an example: the president, a bank manager, a university professor, and a street sweeper could all go door-knocking, but each would have a different “flavor.” This is not a matter of how loud a person’s voice is or how refined his tone is, but a matter of what kind of person he is. When we go door-knocking today, and a person answers the door, if we know the truth, we will be full of the flavor of the truth. However, if we do not know the truth, what we speak will be merely commonplace. Therefore, we must equip ourselves with the truth and “truthize” ourselves. Then we should take the truth with which we have been “truthized” to “truthize” others until all Taiwan has been “truthized.” Some people may think that this standard is too high. I admit that it is high. The education system in Taiwan, however, has improved and industry and business are being revolutionized at an incredible rate, so I believe that this standard is attainable. When I was still young, the word technology was not in the Chinese language, but now this word is used by everyone. In the Lord’s recovery, we are not doing the work of Christianity or preaching the gospel that they preach. Rather, we are preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel just as Paul did (Eph. 3:8-11). Acts 5:42 says, “Announcing the gospel of Jesus as the Christ.” This is the high gospel. Therefore, we must equip ourselves by spending time to study the truth. We should not take the easy way.
(The Furtherance of the New Way for the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)