THE WAY OF GOD’S SALVATION
Perhaps you do not grasp what I mean. Let us take as an example a young sister, saved two or three years ago. Because her family has indulged her, she is selfish and bad-tempered. After being saved, she begins to feel that she must stop behaving so inconsiderately of others. She prays, “Lord, keep me from losing my temper. Don’t let me act in such a spoiled way.” Usually her prayer is not answered. Occasionally, however it seems to work.
Let me assure you that, if such a prayer is answered, it is answered only temporarily. To pray this way is wrong. God is not trying to reform us so that we are better behaved. He wants to add Himself to us and be our life. He wants to be our very substance, just as the food we take in becomes part of us. We do not gain strength by having a cow help us! Our energy does not come from riding on a bull! The animal must be slaughtered and some of it must be eaten by us. Within a few hours the beef we have eaten is assimilated, and we find that we are strengthened to carry on. It is not the strength of the cow which is sustaining us. Rather, the element of the cow has come into our blood. It has become part of us.
Such an illustration of the food we eat is to point us to Christ. We are not imitating Him or asking for His help. Rather, we take Him in daily. As we digest and assimilate Him, we are changed into His image.
If this young sister we have mentioned feeds upon Christ daily and opens to let Him be her life element, gradually and spontaneously her ugly manner will disappear, as the new element is metabolically added to her. This is what transformation is. This is the way of God’s salvation.
Transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit. To listen to preaching is not sufficient. The word of the preaching brings the Spirit to you. With the Spirit comes God. By His coming into you, you will have such a change. The outcome of this transformation is the golden lampstand.
A PROGRESSIVE REVELATION
In Genesis 1:1 it says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” In chapter two it says, “Jehovah God made the earth and the heavens” (v. 4). Here are two different names for one Person. Other names for God are introduced as the Bible continues, but we shall skip over to the Gospel of Matthew. Here it says, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ” (Matt. 1:1). Do you think Jesus Christ and Jehovah are two separate Persons? No! The revelation in the Bible is progressive. First there is mention of God, then Jehovah, and then Jesus Christ.
The revelation continues. In Acts 2:2-4 the Holy Spirit came and filled all the disciples gathered together. In the Epistles we read, “Now the Lord is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:17). Then, in the final book, there are seven churches and seven Spirits before His throne (Rev. 1:4). These seven Spirits are the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne (4:5). The seven lamps, in turn, are the seven eyes of the Lamb (5:6). Then in the last chapter “the Spirit and the bride say, Come!” (22:17).
Now you have had a survey of the whole Bible! In Genesis God is introduced, but in Revelation there are the Spirit and the Bride. These are not different Persons. In the beginning He was God. Then the name Jehovah comes in. After that He became Jesus Christ. Then He became the Spirit. Ultimately He is the Spirit and the Bride. The Spirit is the ultimate expression of God.
In your daily fellowship with God, who is the God that you contact? Is it the God in Genesis 1 or the Spirit in Revelation 22? Today the God you experience is the Spirit. The God in Genesis 1 was far away in the heavens. Now He is the Spirit within you and is one with the Bride.
How did God after incarnation become the Spirit? After living on earth for thirty-three and a half years, He went to the cross and there redeemed us from our sins and terminated the old creation. He was buried and after three days arose from the dead. In resurrection the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). The last Adam is the man Jesus, God become flesh. In resurrection He took the second step, by which He became the Spirit.
God, then, after incarnation became the Spirit, by passing through death and resurrection. Besides being the Spirit, He is also the seven Spirits (Rev. 4:5); that is to say, He has been intensified sevenfold. This is the Spirit who is within us. This is the God who is within us.
Are you in Genesis? in Matthew? or in Revelation? I would surely answer that I am in the book of Revelation. I would not like to stay in Romans or even in Ephesians. I am in Revelation! I am part of the golden lampstand! I am enjoying the seven Spirits, the seven lamps, and the seven eyes (Rev. 5:6)!
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 29, by Witness Lee)