THE WASHING OF THE WATER IN THE WORD
Now let us consider a few verses from chapter five of Ephesians (vv. 25-27, 29). Ephesians is a book of revelations. In these few verses I will bring out only two points: one is the water in the word, and the other is nourishing and cherishing. These verses show us again that the church is the Body of Christ, and we all are members of the Body. Actually, our proper living is not a matter of learning lessons nor a matter of enduring sufferings and bearing the cross. Ephesians 5 reveals that we need the water in the word. There is water in God’s word. The word here does not denote a lengthy discourse or the words printed in the Bible. The word here is the instant word, the present word, the word today. Two different Greek words are used in the New Testament for word: one denotes God’s constant word and the other denotes God’s instant word. The one used here in Ephesians 5 denotes God’s instant word. The Bible is God’s constant word. After we read it, however, it becomes the instant word to us. Many times the Lord also speaks an instant word directly within us. We may think that the Lord’s words must be the words written in the Bible. Actually, it is not necessarily so, because the Lord who is in us is living, and He speaks to us. In principle, of course, the words which the Lord speaks to us within will never contradict His constant words in the Bible. However, in detail, numerous words that the Lord speaks to us throughout our whole life are not found in the Bible. For instance, when you are going to watch a movie the Lord may say within you, “Do not go to see that movie.” No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to find this word—Do not go to see that movie—in the Bible. The Bible does not have this word, but actually in the Christian’s experience of life, this kind of word may occur frequently. This is the instant word spoken of here in Ephesians 5.
The Lord’s words contain the element of water, which simply speaking, is spirit and life. The Lord said, “The words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63b). In other words, the Lord’s words have cleansing power. The water here is not for supplying but for cleansing, that is, for the cleansing and washing of the church. What is washed away is not defilements or sins, but spots and wrinkles. Wrinkles are related to oldness. You must let the water in the word, that is, the spirit and the life in the word, do a metabolic work in your organic being by adding new life elements into you to replace the old elements. This is a metabolic process and a discharging. We all know that metabolism takes place within us by which something new is supplied and added to us and something old is discharged and eliminated. This metabolism is the cleansing referred to in Ephesians 5.
Now you can see that no matter how much you tell people to learn the lessons of the cross, to be broken, and to endure sufferings, they can never experience metabolism by these things. This requires a revelation. When we help people, we should not try to teach them too much. If we do this, we will lead them into a maze. Instead, we should help them receive the Lord’s instant word, the Lord’s living word, every day. The spirit and the life contained in the Lord’s living word will become the cleansing water that brings the life functions to their organic constitution.
Ephesians 5:26 says, “That He might sanctify her [the church], cleansing her….” According to the Greek grammatical construction of this verse, it is difficult to decide whether sanctifying or cleansing comes first. According to the grammar, these two things occur simultaneously. When the church is being sanctified, she is being cleansed, and when she is being cleansed, she is being sanctified. We know that to be sanctified is to have the element of the Holy Spirit added into us, and to be cleansed is to have the old elements discharged from us. Sanctification is an addition, whereas cleansing is a subtraction. What is added is Christ, and what is subtracted is our oldness.
The combination of these two—sanctifying plus cleansing, and cleansing plus sanctifying—is what is called transformation in the New Testament. As referred to in the New Testament, on the one hand, transformation is a sanctifying, and on the other hand, it is a cleansing. On the one hand, the element of Christ is added, and on the other hand, the element of Adam is eliminated. This is transformation. Wrinkles surely do not come from the element of Christ but from the old Adam. These things cannot be removed by the cross nor cleansed by the precious blood. We need Christ as the new element to be added into our organic constitution. When this happens, the elements of the old creation will be replaced.
(The Revelation of the Mystery, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)