I. THE UNION OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND THE SPIRIT OF THE BELIEVERS BRINGS GOD INTO MAN THAT GOD AND MAN MAY BE JOINED AND MINGLED TOGETHER
The union of the Spirit of God and the spirit of the believers brings God into man that God and man may be joined and mingled together. This causes divinity and humanity to be blended as one, yet without producing a third nature. This is the crucial significance of joining and mingling. This thought is very deep. This is something that the Lord has shown us in His recovery. Outside the Lord’s recovery, in Catholicism, Protestantism, and the Moslem religion, nearly no one teaches this matter. They do not know this mystery of the two natures of God and man blended to become one yet without producing a third nature.
II. IN REGENERATING THE BELIEVERS
A. The Spirit of God Regenerating the Believers in Their Receiving Spirit with the Life of God That They May Become Children of God
The union and blending of the Spirit of God and the spirit of man has altogether six big steps. The first step is the regenerating of the believers. The Spirit of God regenerates the believers in their receiving spirit with the life of God that they may become children of God (John 3:5-6; 1:12-13). After I was saved, I paid much attention to this term regeneration. I checked with the pastors. In general, they told me that regeneration, as the Chinese say, means that everything of the past died yesterday, and everything from this day forward is born today. I could not accept their explanation. That is a cliché among the Chinese. The Chinese people had spoken about this for thousands of years; why was there the need for foreign missionaries to come to China to teach this to us? Later I attended the Brethren meetings. They published a book called The Meaning of Regeneration. After I read that book, I was very disappointed because it did not explain at all what regeneration is. One day I read a book by T. Austin-Sparks, who said that regeneration is for man to have another life, the life of God, in addition to the human life he already has. I responded to that explanation. Once a person is regenerated, he has two lives; in addition to the human life, he has obtained another life.
B. That, in Addition to Their Natural Life,
the Believers May Have the Eternal Life of God and Live by It While Denying Their Natural Life
Through regeneration the believers have the eternal life of God in addition to their natural life, that they may live by this life while denying their natural life (John 3:15-16; Matt. 16:24). Although we have spoken concerning this matter quite thoroughly in the Lord’s recovery, in our living we do not practice it thoroughly or experience it adequately. It does not matter whether a person is gentle or rough, or whether his natural disposition is quick or slow; his salvation does not depend on improvement or refinement. Some consider that because the Lord Jesus once said, "Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens" (Matt. 5:20), the believers should improve their behavior. The rough ones should not be rough anymore. The gentle ones should be more gentle. This kind of interpretation of the Bible is according to the natural concept. According to the truth in the Bible concerning the union of the Spirit of God and the spirit of the believers, it is altogether wrong for the believers to improve their behavior. To increase gentleness is wrong; to improve roughness also is wrong. This is because the natural life, whether gentle or rough, must be completely denied. When we speak of denying the life that is rough, everyone agrees; but when we speak of denying the life that is gentle, some will strongly disagree. The regeneration revealed in the Bible is not a religion, nor is it a set of moral teachings for improving oneself. Regeneration is to have God as life in addition to our original, human life. Hence, we should not live by our original life, our first life; rather, we must deny our first life and live by our second life.
To practice denying our natural life and living by the life of God is not easy. I have been learning this lesson for nearly seventy years. Although many times the words I spoke were right and good, after I spoke them, I had a feeling within, which may be considered as a voice that adjusted me, saying, "Did you speak those good words by yourself, or was it the Lord as life within you leading you to speak?" What the Lord desires is that we would not speak out of ourselves but out of the life of God that is within us. Paul said, "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). We may be very familiar with this word, but in our daily life we nearly have not allowed Christ to live. Instead, we allow our self to live. Even in our church life today, our evaluation of the brothers and sisters is often not according to the principle of regeneration, but according to the principle of improvement. Any stress on the improvement of behavior is contrary to the truth of regeneration.
Paul said, "O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly portrayed crucified?" (Gal. 3:1). The cross is the center of all God’s operation in His economy. Hence, Paul wanted to bring the believers who were distracted by the law back to the cross. God’s New Testament revelation is not that man should keep the law but that man should deny himself and accept the one matter accomplished by God in His processes, that is, the cross. This cross has fully terminated our old man so that we will no longer live by our life.
(The Issue of the Union of the Consummated Spirit of the Triune God and the Regenerated Spirit of the Believers, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)