THE THREEFOLD DISPENSING OF THE DIVINE TRINITY
How could we, the created human beings, become the sons of God? We do not become His sons by adoption but by His begetting. God begot us. In order for a person to beget a child, his life needs to be imparted into that child. This impartation is what we call dispensing. We must stress the word dispensing when we speak about the intrinsic significance of Ephesians 1. In Ephesians 1 there is not such a word, but there is such a strong fact.
We need the proper terminology to describe the divine facts in the Bible. In the entire Bible there is not the word Trinity or the title the Triune God, but there is such a fact in the Bible. This is why the early church fathers came up with these expressions. We have discovered something extraordinary in Ephesians 1. We have seen that the Triune God, for the fulfillment of His intention so that He can be satisfied in His desire, did something wonderful. He dispensed Himself, imparted Himself, into His chosen people, making them all His sons.
John 1 says that Christ gives the believing ones, those who receive Him, the right, the authority, to be the children of God. These children of God are born not of man nor of man’s will, but they are born of God directly (vv. 12-13). These children born of God are surely God’s sons. This is God’s desire, of which God made an intention, and this intention became His purpose, His economy. What the New Testament teaches is this economy (1 Tim. 1:3-4).
God is triune to carry out His economy in His threefold dispensing. He carries out His economy in a threefold way. In Luke 15 the Lord Jesus gives us three parables to show how a sinner gets saved. First, there is the parable of a shepherd seeking for a lost sheep; then there is the parable of a woman seeking for a lost coin; and finally there is the parable of a loving father receiving his returned prodigal son. These parables depict the threefold grace of the Triune God for a sinner to be received back into the Father’s house. In the New Testament, there are many portions showing us the threefold doing of our Triune God. In 2 Corinthians 13:14 Paul speaks of the grace of Christ the Son, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of God the Spirit being with us all. Thus, God’s presence is with His believers in a threefold way—in the way of love, in the way of grace, and in the way of fellowship by His Divine Trinity.
Ephesians 1 shows that God has blessed the believers with a threefold dispensing—first by the Father, second by the Son, and third by the Spirit. Eventually, this dispensing will be carried out by the transmitting of the transcending Christ. The Father’s dispensing in His choosing and predestinating issues in many sons to form God’s household in sanctification. The Son’s dispensing in His redeeming and His saving issues in a heritage to God, a treasure to God, as God’s private possession. That means all the many sons who issued from the Father’s dispensing will become a treasure to God as His heritage. God gains us as His possession, His treasure. Then the Spirit’s dispensing in His sealing and pledging issues in God as the believers’ inheritance unto their perfection. The issue of God’s triune dispensing is the many sons, God’s possession, and our inheritance. But there is no church until the transcending Christ comes in to transmit the totality of God’s dispensing. The many sons, God’s heritage, our inheritance, and the transmitting of the transcending Christ culminate in the church, the Body of Christ.
(The Issue of the Dispensing of the Processed Trinity and the Transmitting of the Transcending Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)