THE SONS COMPOSING THE BODY
The divine purpose is also to have a Body for Christ. According to the books of Ephesians and Romans, the Body of Christ is composed of the sons of God. For this reason, in both Ephesians and Romans we find sonship first and then the Body. We read in Ephesians 1:5 of the sonship and in Ephesians 1:22 and 23 of the Body. In Romans the sonship is mentioned in chapter eight and the Body in chapter twelve. This indicates that sonship is for the Body.
Although many Christians today are talking about the Body, they have not seen that the Body depends upon the sons. If you do not have the life of a son of God, you cannot be a proper member of the Body. In order to have the Body life, we need the full experience of Romans 8. Without the experience of Romans 8, it is difficult to have the practice of the Body life revealed in Romans 12. Between Romans 8 and 12 there are three parenthetical chapters—chapters nine, ten, and eleven. Thus, Romans 12 is the continuation of Romans 8. This means that the practice of the Body is the issue of the sonship. If we live the life of a son to express God, then we become a proper member of the Body. The Body is constituted of members who are sons of God living by God’s life and expressing God.
Today the universe is groaning, eagerly expecting the manifestation of the sons of God. The time of this manifestation will be the time of the redemption of our body. The life and nature of a son are within us, but this life and this nature are concealed within our physical body. But the day is coming when even our physical body will be swallowed up by the inner life. Our body will be saturated by the divine life and be a manifestation of that life. This manifestation of the inner life is the redemption of our body. This is the revelation, the manifestation, of the sons of God.
THE UNIQUE DESIRE OF GOD
Holiness is for sonship, and sonship is for the Body. The unique desire of God is to have the Body. If we have seen the divine purpose, we shall realize that the Body is God’s unique desire and that we must be in it and take care of it. Everything we do must be out of a concern for the Body. If we are separate from the Body or alienated from the Body, we become meaningless. God’s purpose is to have the Body. For this, there is the need of sonship, and for sonship there is the need of holiness. Thus, God’s eternal purpose is not a matter of foot-washing or head covering; it is to have a Body constituted of sons who share the holy nature of God.
HEADING UP ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
When God has the Body, He will have the opportunity to head up all things in Christ (Eph. 1:10). Today the universe is a mess, but the time is coming when everything in the universe will be headed up. God is in the process of heading up all things in Christ through the church. If God cannot head us up, how can He head up all things? The church must take the lead to be headed up by God. Eventually, through the church God will head up all things in Christ.
If we have seen the vision of the divine purpose, we shall never be distracted, misled, or isolated by anything, no matter how good it may be. Anything isolated from the central focus is meaningless. I thank the Lord that by this unique vision I have been kept in the center lane for nearly fifty years. Now I have the burden to pass on this fellowship to you so that you also may be kept by the vision. As Romans 16:25 says, we need to be established according to the revelation of the mystery. As we have seen, the revelation of the mystery is the divine purpose. This means that God establishes us according to the divine purpose. If we see this vision, we shall be established, guarded, preserved, and kept in the center lane.
(Basic Training, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)