For this is he who was spoken of through Isaiah the prophet saying, "A voice of one crying in the wilderness, 2Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight His paths."
32 The way, similar to a street, and the paths, similar to lanes, are a portrait of man's heart with all its parts. To repent unto the Lord with our whole being and with our whole heart and to let the Lord come in is to prepare the way of the Lord. To allow the Lord to further occupy every part of our heart, including the mind, the emotion, and the will, is to make straight the paths of the Lord. Hence, to prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight is to change our mind, to turn our mind toward the Lord and make our heart right, that through repentance every part and avenue of our heart may be straightened by the Lord for the kingdom of the heavens (Luke 1:16-17).
Go therefore and disciple all the nations, 3baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
193 Baptism brings the repentant people out of their old state into a new one by terminating their old life and germinating them with the new life of Christ that they may become the kingdom people. John the Baptist's recommending ministry began with a preliminary baptism, a baptism by water only. Now, after the heavenly King had accomplished His ministry on earth, had passed through the process of death and resurrection, and had become the life-giving Spirit, He charged His disciples to baptize the discipled people into the Triune God. This baptism has two aspects: the visible aspect by water and the invisible aspect by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38, 41; 10:44-48). The visible aspect is the expression, the testimony, of the invisible aspect, whereas the invisible aspect is the reality of the visible aspect. Without the invisible baptism by the Spirit, the visible baptism by water is vain, and without the visible baptism by water, the invisible baptism by the Spirit is abstract and impractical. Both are needed. Not long after the Lord charged the disciples with this baptism, He baptized them and the entire church in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13), the Jewish part on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:4) and the Gentile part in the house of Cornelius (Acts 11:15-17). Then, based on this, the disciples baptized the new converts (Acts 2:38) not only into water but also into the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4), into Christ Himself (Gal. 3:27), into the Triune God (v. 19), and into the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). The water, signifying the death of Christ with His burial, may be considered a tomb in which the baptized ones' old history is ended. Since the death of Christ is included in Christ, and since Christ is the very embodiment of the Triune God (Col. 2:9) and the Triune God eventually is one with the Body of Christ, to baptize new believers into the death of Christ, into Christ Himself, into the Triune God, and into the Body of Christ is to do just one thing: on the negative side, to terminate their old life, and on the positive side, to germinate them with new life, the eternal life of the Triune God, for the Body of Christ. Hence, the baptism ordained by the Lord here baptizes people out of their life into the Body life for the kingdom of the heavens.
He who 1believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.
161 To believe (see note 153 in ch.1) is to receive the Slave-Savior (John 1:12) not only for forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43) but also for regeneration (1 Pet. 1:21, 23). Those who thus believe become the children of God (John 1:12-13) and the members of Christ (Eph. 5:30) in an organic union with the Triune God (Matt. 28:19). To be baptized is to affirm this by being buried to terminate the old creation through the death of the Slave-Savior and by being raised up to be the new creation of God through the Slave-Savior's resurrection. Such a baptism is much more advanced than the baptism of repentance preached by John (1:4; Acts 19:3-5). To believe and to be so baptized are two parts of one complete step for receiving the full salvation of God. To be baptized without believing is merely an empty ritual; to believe without being baptized is to be saved only inwardly without an outward affirmation of the inward salvation. These two should go together. Moreover, water baptism should be accompanied by Spirit baptism, even as the children of Israel were baptized in the sea (water) and in the cloud (the Spirit)—1 Cor. 10:2; 12:13.
For the 1law was given through Moses; grace and reality came through Jesus Christ.
171 The law makes demands on man according to what God is; grace supplies man with what God is to meet what God demands. The law, at most, was only a testimony of what God is (Exo. 25:21), but reality is the realization of what God is. No man can partake of God through the law, but grace enables man to enjoy God. Reality is God realized by man, and grace is God enjoyed by man.
That every one who believes into Him may have 1eternal life.
151 This is the divine life, the uncreated life of God, which not only is everlasting with respect to time but also is eternal and divine in nature. So in vv. 16, 36.
But this He said concerning the Spirit, whom those who believed into Him were about to receive; for the 1Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
391 The Spirit of God was there from the beginning (Gen. 1:1-2), but at the time the Lord spoke this word, the Spirit as the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19), was not yet, because the Lord had not yet been glorified. Jesus was glorified when He was resurrected (Luke 24:26). After Jesus' resurrection, the Spirit of God became the Spirit of the incarnated, crucified, and resurrected Jesus Christ, who was breathed into the disciples by Christ in the evening of the day on which He was resurrected (20:22). The Spirit is now the "another Comforter," the Spirit of reality promised by Christ before His death (14:16-17). When the Spirit was the Spirit of God, He had only the divine element. After He became the Spirit of Jesus Christ through Christ's incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, the Spirit had both the divine element and the human element, with all the essence and reality of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. Hence, the Spirit is now the all-inclusive Spirit of Jesus Christ as the living water for us to receive (vv. 38-39).
171 The Spirit promised here was referred to in 7:39. This Spirit is the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2), and this promise of the Lord's was fulfilled on the day of the Lord's resurrection, when the Spirit as the breath of life was breathed into the disciples (20:22). The Lord's promise here is different from the promise of the Father concerning the Spirit of power in Luke 24:49. That promise was fulfilled fifty days after the Lord's resurrection, on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit as the mighty wind blew upon the disciples (Acts 2:1-4). In this verse the Spirit of life is called "the Spirit of reality." This Spirit of reality is Christ (v. 6); hence, the Spirit of reality is the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). This Spirit is also the reality of Christ (1 John 5:6, 20) that Christ may be realized in those who believe into Him, as their life and life supply.
172 The very "He" who is the Spirit of reality in this verse becomes the very "I" who is the Lord Himself in v. 18. This means that the Christ who was in the flesh went through death and resurrection to become the life-giving Spirit, the pneumatic Christ. First Corinthians 15:45 confirms this. In dealing with the matter of resurrection, that verse says, "The last Adam [Christ in the flesh] became a life-giving Spirit."
173 This is the first time that the promise of the Spirit's indwelling is revealed. It is fulfilled and fully developed in the Epistles. See 1 Cor. 6:19 and Rom. 8:9, 11.
And it shall be that everyone who 1calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
211 Calling on the name of the Lord is not a new practice that began with the New Testament. Rather, it began with Enosh, the third generation of mankind, in Gen. 4:26. It was continued by Job (Job 12:4; 27:10), Abraham (Gen. 12:8; 13:4; 21:33), Isaac (Gen. 26:25), Moses and the children of Israel (Deut. 4:7), Samson (Judg. 15:18; 16:28), Samuel (1 Sam. 12:18; Psa. 99:6), David (2 Sam. 22:4, 7; 1 Chron. 16:8; 21:26; Psa. 14:4; 17:6; 18:3, 6; 31:17; 55:16; 86:5, 7; 105:1; 116:4, 13, 17; 118:5; 145:18), the psalmist Asaph (Psa. 80:18), the psalmist Heman (Psa. 88:9), Elijah (1 Kings 18:24), Isaiah (Isa. 12:4), Jeremiah (Lam. 3:55, 57), and others (Psa. 99:6), all of whom practiced this in the Old Testament age. Isaiah charged the seekers of God to call upon Him (Isa. 55:6). Even the Gentiles knew that the prophets of Israel had the habit of calling on the name of God (Jonah 1:6; 2 Kings 5:11). The Gentile raised up by God from the north also called upon His name (Isa. 41:25). It is God's commandment (Psa. 50:15; Jer. 29:12) and desire (Psa. 91:15; Zeph. 3:9; Zech. 13:9) that His people call on Him. This is the joyful way to drink from the fountain of God's salvation (Isa. 12:3-4) and the enjoyable way to delight oneself in God (Job 27:10), that is, to enjoy Him. Hence, God's people must call upon Him daily (Psa. 88:9). Such a jubilant practice was prophesied by Joel (Joel 2:32) concerning the New Testament jubilee.
In the New Testament, calling on the name of the Lord was first mentioned by Peter, here, on the day of Pentecost, as the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy. This fulfillment is related to God's outpouring of the all-inclusive Spirit economically upon His chosen people that they may participate in His New Testament jubilee. Joel's prophecy and its fulfillment concerning God's New Testament jubilee have two aspects: on God's side, He poured out His Spirit in the ascension of the resurrected Christ; on our side, we call on the name of the ascended Lord, who has accomplished all, attained unto all, and obtained all. Calling on the Lord's name is vitally necessary in order for us, the believers in Christ, to participate in and enjoy the all-inclusive Christ with all He has accomplished, attained, and obtained (1 Cor. 1:2). It is a major practice in God's New Testament economy that enables us to enjoy the processed Triune God for our full salvation (Rom. 10:10-13). The early believers practiced this everywhere (1 Cor. 1:2), and to the unbelievers, especially the persecutors, it became a popular sign of Christ's believers (9:14, 21). When Stephen suffered persecution, he practiced this (7:59), and his practice surely impressed Saul, one of his persecutors (7:58-60; 22:20). Later, the unbelieving Saul persecuted the callers (9:14, 21) by taking their calling as a sign. Immediately after Saul was caught by the Lord, Ananias, who brought Saul into the fellowship of the Body of Christ, charged him to be baptized, calling on the name of the Lord, to show others that he too had become such a caller. By his word to Timothy in 2 Tim. 2:22, Paul indicated that in the early days all the Lord's seekers practiced such calling. Undoubtedly, he was one who practiced this, since he charged his young co-worker Timothy to do this that Timothy might enjoy the Lord as he did.
The Greek word for call on is composed of on and call (by name); thus, it is to call out audibly, even loudly, as Stephen did (7:59-60).
And not only so, but we also boast in our 1tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces endurance;
31 Tribulations are part of the "all things" in 8:28 that God causes to work together for good that we might be sanctified, transformed, and conformed to the image of His Son, who has entered into glory. Because of this, we can receive tribulations as the sweet visitation and incarnation of grace and thereby boast in them. Through tribulations the killing effect of the cross of Christ on our natural being is applied in us by the Holy Spirit, making the way for the God of resurrection to add Himself to us (see 2 Cor. 4:16-18).
For if by the offense of the one death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in 4life through the One, Jesus Christ.
174 Life here, and in vv. 10, 18, 21; 6:4; and 8:2, 6, 10, refers to the eternal, divine, uncreated life of God (zoe), which is Christ Himself as life to us (John 11:25; 14:6; Col. 3:4). It is different from both our physical life (bios—Luke 8:14) and our soulish life (psuche—Matt. 16:25-26; John 12:25). This eternal life of God is the main element of the divine grace that has been given to us, and in this eternal life we can reign.
But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God 2dwells in you. Yet if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not of Him.
92 I.e., makes home, resides (cf. Eph. 3:17). If we allow the Spirit of the Triune God to make His home in us, that is, to settle Himself in us with adequate room, then in our experience we are in the spirit and are no longer in the flesh. If we are so, the Triune God as the Spirit will be able to spread from our spirit (v. 10) into our soul, represented by our mind (v. 6), and eventually He will even give life to our mortal body (v. 11).
101 To believe with the heart is toward God; to confess with the mouth is toward man. To believe with the heart is to believe in Christ, who was glorified and raised by God from the dead; to confess with the mouth is to confess that Jesus, who was despised and rejected by man, is Lord. Both are conditions for our being justified and saved.
1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard and which have not come up in man's heart; things which God has prepared for those who 3love Him."
93 To realize and participate in the deep and hidden things God has ordained and prepared for us requires us not only to believe in Him but also to love Him. To fear God, to worship God, and to believe in God (that is, to receive God) are all inadequate; to love Him is the indispensable requirement. To love God means to set our entire being—spirit, soul, and body, with the heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30)—absolutely on Him, that is, to let our entire being be occupied by Him and lost in Him, so that He becomes everything to us and we are one with Him practically in our daily life. In this way we have the closest and most intimate fellowship with God, and we are able to enter into His heart and apprehend all its secrets (Psa. 73:25; 25:14). Thus, we not only realize but also experience, enjoy, and fully participate in these deep and hidden things of God.
2 Corinthians 2:10
But whom you forgive anything, I also forgive; for also what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, it is for your sake in the 3person of Christ;
103 Lit., face; as in 4:6. The part around the eyes; the look as the index of the inward thoughts and feelings, which shows forth and manifests the whole person. This indicates that the apostle was one who lived and acted in the presence of Christ, according to the index of His whole person, expressed in His eyes. The first section, 1:1—2:11, is a long introduction to this Epistle, which follows the apostle's first Epistle to the disorderly believers in Corinth. After receiving information that they had repented (7:6-13) through their accepting of his rebukes in the first Epistle, he was comforted and encouraged. Thus, he wrote this Epistle to comfort and encourage them in a very personal, tender, and affectionate way, in such a way that this Epistle can be considered to some extent his autobiography. In it we see a person who lived Christ according to what he wrote concerning Him in his first Epistle, in the closest and most intimate contact with Him, acting according to the index of His eyes; a person who was one with Christ, full of Christ, and saturated with Christ; a person who was broken and even terminated in his natural life, softened and flexible in his will, affectionate yet restricted in his emotion, considerate and sober in his mind, and pure and genuine in his spirit toward the believers for their benefit, that they might experience and enjoy Christ as he did for the fulfillment of God's eternal purpose in the building up of Christ's Body.
2 Corinthians 3:17
And the Lord is the 3Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
173 The Spirit, who is the ultimate expression of the Triune God, was not yet in John 7:39, because at that time Jesus had not yet been glorified. He had not yet finished the process that He, as the embodiment of God, had to pass through. After His resurrection, that is, after the finishing of all the processes, such as incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection, that the Triune God had to pass through in man for His redemptive economy, He became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). In the New Testament, this life-giving Spirit is called "the Spirit" (Rom. 8:16, 23, 26-27; Gal. 3:2, 5, 14; 6:8; Rev. 2:7; 3:22; 14:13; 22:17), the Spirit who gives us the divine life (v. 6; John 6:63) and frees us from the bondage of the law.
Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having 1become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, "Cursed is every one hanging on a tree"
131 As our Substitute on the cross, Christ not only bore the curse for us but also became a curse for us. The curse of the law issued from the sin of man (Gen. 3:17). When Christ took away our sin on the cross, He redeemed us out of the curse of the law.
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
11 This book speaks particularly of the church and unveils the church in its seven aspects as (1) the Body of Christ, the fullness, the expression, of the One who fills all in all (v. 23; 4:13); (2) the new man (2:15), a corporate man, having not only the life of Christ but also His person; (3) the kingdom of God (2:19), with the saints as citizens possessing its rights and bearing its responsibilities; (4) the household of God (2:19), a family full of life and enjoyment; (5) the dwelling place of God, in which He may live (2:21-22)—universally, a holy temple in the Lord, and locally, the dwelling place of God in our spirit; (6) the bride, the wife, of Christ (5:24-25) for Christ's rest and satisfaction; and (7) the warrior (Eph. 6:11-12), a corporate fighter, who deals with and defeats God's enemy to accomplish God's eternal purpose.
A particular characteristic of this book is that it speaks from the viewpoint of God's eternal purpose, from eternity, and from the heavenlies. It is positioned in the New Testament immediately after the revelation concerning Christ versus religion (Galatians). It is followed by a book on the practical experience of Christ (Philippians), and it leads to Christ, the Head (Colossians). Thus, these four books are the heart of the New Testament revelation concerning God's eternal economy.
Abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into 8one new man, so making peace,
158 The church is not only the church of God, the Body of Christ (the fullness, the expression, of the all-filling One—1:23), and the household or family, the house, the temple, and the dwelling place of God (2:19, 21-22); it is also the one new man, which is corporate and universal, created of two peoples, the Jews and the Gentiles, and composed of all the believers, who, though they are many, are one new man in the universe.
God created man as a collective entity (Gen. 1:26). The corporate man created by God was damaged through man's fall; hence, there was the need for God to produce a new man. This was accomplished through Christ's abolishing in His flesh the ordinances and through His creating of the new man in Himself.
And put on the 2new man, which was created according to God in righteousness and holiness of the reality.
242 The new man is of Christ. It is His Body, created in Him on the cross (2:15-16). It is not individual but corporate (Col. 3:10-11). In this corporate new man Christ is all and in all—He is all the people and in all the people. See note 119 in Col. 3.
This book reveals first that the church is the Body of Christ (1:22-23), the kingdom of God, the household of God (2:19), and the temple, the dwelling place of God (2:21-22). Here it reveals in addition that the church is the new man. This is the highest aspect of the church. The church is an assembly of the called-out ones. This is the initial aspect of the church. From here, the apostle went on to mention the fellow citizens of the kingdom of God and the members of the household of God. These are higher than the initial aspect, but not as high as the church as the Body of Christ. Yet the new man is higher still than the Body of Christ. Thus, the church is not just an assembly of believers, a kingdom of heavenly citizens, a household of God's children, or even a Body for Christ. It is in its ultimate, uttermost aspect a new man to accomplish God's eternal purpose. As the Body of Christ, the church needs Christ as its life, whereas as the new man, the church needs Christ as its person. This new corporate person should live a life like that which Jesus lived on earth, that is, a life of reality that expresses God and causes God to be realized as the reality by man. Hence, the new man is the focus of the apostle's exhortation in this section (vv. 17-32).
For I know that for me this will turn out to salvation through your petition and the bountiful supply of the 4Spirit of Jesus Christ,
194 The revelation in the Bible concerning God, Christ, and the Spirit is progressive. The Spirit is mentioned first as the Spirit of God, in relation to creation (Gen. 1:2). Then, He is mentioned as the Spirit of Jehovah, in the context of God's relationship with man (Judg. 3:10; 1 Sam. 10:6); as the Holy Spirit, in relation to the conception and birth of Christ (Luke 1:35; Matt. 1:20); as the Spirit of Jesus, in relation to the Lord's human living (Acts 16:7); as the Spirit of Christ, in relation to the Lord's resurrection (Rom. 8:9); and here as the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
The Spirit of Jesus Christ is "the Spirit" mentioned in John 7:39. This is not merely the Spirit of God before the Lord's incarnation but the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit with divinity, after the Lord's resurrection, compounded with the Lord's incarnation (humanity), human living under the cross, crucifixion, and resurrection. The holy anointing ointment in Exo. 30:23-25, a compound of olive oil and four kinds of spices, is a full type of this compound Spirit of God, who is now the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Here it is not the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7) or the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9) but the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is related mainly to the Lord's humanity and human living; the Spirit of Christ is related mainly to the Lord's resurrection. To experience the Lord's humanity, as illustrated in 2:5-8, we need the Spirit of Jesus. To experience the power of the Lord's resurrection, as mentioned in 3:10, we need the Spirit of Christ. In his suffering the apostle experienced both the Lord's suffering in His humanity and the Lord's resurrection. Hence, the Spirit to him was the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the compound, all-inclusive, life-giving Spirit of the Triune God. Such a Spirit has, and even is, the bountiful supply for a person like the apostle, who was experiencing and enjoying Christ in His human living and resurrection. Eventually, this compound Spirit of Jesus Christ becomes the seven Spirits of God, who are the seven lamps of fire before God's throne to carry out His administration on earth for the accomplishing of His economy concerning the church, and who are the seven eyes of the Lamb for the transfusing of all that He is into the church (Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:6).
To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the 3fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.
103 The participation in Christ's sufferings (Matt. 20:22-23; Col. 1:24), a necessary condition for the experience of the power of His resurrection (2 Tim. 2:11) by being conformed to His death. Paul was pursuing to know and experience not only the excellency of Christ Himself but also the life power of His resurrection and the participation in His sufferings. With Christ, the sufferings and death came first, followed by the resurrection; with us, the power of His resurrection comes first, followed by the participation in His sufferings and conformity to His death. We first receive the power of His resurrection; then by this power we are enabled to participate in His sufferings and live a crucified life in conformity to His death. Such sufferings are mainly for producing and building up the Body of Christ (Col. 1:24).
In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known 4to God;
64 The Greek word is often translated with (John 1:1; Mark 9:19; 2 Cor. 5:8; 1 John 1:2). It denotes motion toward, in the sense of a living union and communion, implying fellowship. Hence, the sense of to God here is in the fellowship with God.
And the 1peace of God, which surpasses every man's understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.
71 The result of practicing fellowship with God in prayer is that we enjoy the peace of God. The peace of God is actually God as peace (v. 9) infused into us through our fellowship with Him by prayer, as the counterpoise to troubles and the antidote to anxiety (John 16:33).
151 The peace of Christ is Christ Himself. By this peace Christ has made the two peoples, the Jews and the Gentiles, one new man, and this peace has become a part of the gospel (Eph. 2:14-18). We should let this peace arbitrate in our hearts for the Body life.
152 Or, umpire, preside, be enthroned as a ruler and decider of everything. The arbitrating peace of Christ in our hearts dissolves the complaint mentioned in v. 13.
153 Which refers to the peace of Christ. We were called to this peace in the one Body of Christ. For the proper Body life we need the peace of Christ to arbitrate, to adjust, and to decide all things in our heart in our relationship with the members of His Body.
154 That we were called to the peace of Christ should also be a motive for our letting this peace arbitrate in our hearts.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we ought to thank God always concerning you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in 3sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth,
133 Sanctification of the Spirit consists of three steps: (1) the Spirit's seeking us and convicting us at the time that He caused us to repent and believe (1 Pet. 1:2; John 16:8); (2) His sanctifying us both positionally and dispositionally (Heb. 13:12; 1 Cor. 6:11) at the time we were saved; and (3) His sanctifying us dispositionally as we pursue the growth in life (Rom. 6:19, 22). By these three steps of the Spirit's sanctification, God's salvation is applied to us that we may obtain and enjoy it fully. The three steps of the Spirit's sanctification not only separate us from all old and negative things, making us holy unto God, but also sanctify us, making us a new creation full of the Lord's essence and element, that we may obtain the Lord's glory.
1 Timothy 1:4
43 The Greek word means household law, implying distribution (the base of this word is of the same origin as that for pasture in John 10:9, implying a distribution of the pasture to the flock). It denotes a household management, a household administration, a household government, and, derivatively, a dispensation, a plan, or an economy for administration (distribution); hence, it is also a household economy. God's economy in faith is His household economy, His household administration (cf. note 101 in Eph. 1; Eph. 3:9), which is to dispense Himself in Christ into His chosen people that He may have a house to express Himself, which house is the church (3:15), the Body of Christ. The apostle's ministry was centered on this economy of God (Col. 1:25; 1 Cor. 9:17), whereas the different teachings of the dissenting ones were used by God's enemy to distract His people from this economy. In the administration and shepherding of a local church, this divine economy must be made fully clear to the saints.
In the first chapter of this book the apostle Paul presented God's economy in opposition to different teachings. God's economy is in faith (v. 4), whereas the different teachings are based on the principle of the law and centered on the law (vv. 7-10). Hence, faith is versus the law, as dealt with in Gal. 3 (vv. 2, 5, 23-25). Any teaching that is based on the principle of the law and centered on the law is unhealthy (v. 10). Only God's economy, which is in faith, in opposition to the teachings that are based on the principle of the law and centered on the law, is healthy and can make it possible for people to believe on Christ unto eternal life (v. 16) and to thus participate in God's eternal plan, God's economy, which is in faith. This is the gospel of glory with which the blessed God entrusted the apostle Paul (v. 11). If anyone thrusts away such faith and a good conscience, regarding the faith he becomes shipwrecked on a deep sea (v. 19).
44 The economy of God is a matter in faith, i.e., a matter that is initiated and developed in the sphere and element of the faith. God's economy, which is to dispense Himself into His chosen people, is not in the natural realm nor in the work of law but in the spiritual sphere of the new creation through regeneration by faith in Christ (Gal. 3:23-26). By faith we are born of God to be His sons, partaking of His life and nature to express Him. By faith we are put into Christ to become the members of His Body, sharing all that He is for His expression. This is God's plan (dispensation), which is carried out in faith, according to His New Testament economy.
1 Timothy 1:19
Holding 1faith and a good conscience, concerning which some, thrusting these away, have become shipwrecked regarding the faith;
191 Faith and a good conscience (see note 53) go together. Whenever there is an offense in our conscience, there will be a leakage, and our faith will leak away. A good conscience accompanying faith is needed for warring the good warfare (v. 18) against the different teachings (v. 3) in a troubled local church.
2 Timothy 4:20
Erastus remained in Corinth, and Trophimus I left at Miletus 2sick.
202 Why did the apostle leave in sickness one who was so intimate to him, without exercising healing prayer for him? Why did he not exercise his healing gift (Acts 19:11-12) to cure Timothy of his stomach sickness rather than instruct him to take the natural way for healing (1 Tim. 5:23)? The answer to both questions is that he and his co-workers were under the discipline of the inner life in that time of suffering rather than under the power of the outward gift. The former is a matter of grace in life; the latter is a matter of gift in power—miraculous power. In the decline of the church and in one's suffering for the church, the gift of power is not needed as much as the grace in life.
Who, being the effulgence of His glory and the impress of His substance and upholding and bearing all things by the word of His power, having made purification of sins, 4sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
34 This book, having the concept that all positive things are heavenly, points us to the very Christ who is in the heavens. In the Gospels is the Christ who lived on the earth and died on the cross for the accomplishing of redemption. In the Acts is the resurrected and ascended Christ propagated and ministered to men. In Romans is the Christ who is our righteousness for justification and our life for sanctification, transformation, conformation, glorification, and building up. In Galatians is the Christ who enables us to live a life that is versus the law, religion, tradition, and forms. In Philippians is the Christ who is lived out of His members. In Ephesians and Colossians is the Christ who is the life, the content, and the Head of the Body, the church. In 1 and 2 Corinthians is the Christ who is everything in the practical church life. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians is the Christ who is our holiness for His coming back. In 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus is the Christ who is God's economy, enabling us to know how to conduct ourselves in the house of God. In the Epistles of Peter is the Christ who enables us to take God's governmental dealings administered through sufferings. In the Epistles of John is the Christ who is the life and fellowship of the children of God in God's family. In Revelation is the Christ who is walking among the churches in this age, ruling over the world in the kingdom in the coming age, and expressing God in full glory in the new heaven and new earth for eternity. In this book is the present Christ, who is now in the heavens as our Minister (8:2) and our High Priest (4:14-15; 7:26), ministering to us the heavenly life, grace, authority, and power and sustaining us to live a heavenly life on earth. He is the Christ now, the Christ today, and the Christ on the throne in the heavens, who is our daily salvation and moment-by-moment supply.
Looking away unto 2Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.
122 The wonderful Jesus, who is enthroned in heaven and crowned with glory and honor (2:9), is the greatest attraction in the universe. He is like an immense magnet, drawing all His seekers to Him. It is by being attracted by His charming beauty that we look away from all things other than Him. Without such a charming object, how could we look away from so many distracting things on this earth?
There receiving an unshakable 1kingdom, let us have grace, through which we may serve God well-pleasingly with piety and fear;
281 The gospel that the New Testament has preached to us is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 3:1-2; 4:17, 23; 10:7; 24:14). We were regenerated into the kingdom (John 3:5) and were transferred into the kingdom (Col. 1:13). Now we are in the kingdom (Rev. 1:9), which today is the proper church life (Rom. 14:17). However, what we are in now and what is in the church today is the kingdom in its reality, whereas what will come with Christ's return in the future will be the kingdom in its manifestation.
The kingdom in its reality, or the reality of the kingdom, is an exercise and a discipline to us (Matt. 5:3, 10, 20; 7:21) in the church today whereas the kingdom in its manifestation, or the manifestation of the kingdom, will be a reward and an enjoyment to us (Matt. 16:27; 25:21, 23) in the millennial kingdom in the coming age. If we take the Spirit's exercise and God's discipline in the reality of the kingdom today, we will receive the Lord's reward and enter into the enjoyment of the coming Sabbath rest (4:9) in the manifestation of the kingdom in the coming age; otherwise, we will miss the coming kingdom, we will not be rewarded with the manifestation of the kingdom at the Lord's coming back, we will have no right to enter into the glory of the kingdom to participate in Christ's reign in the millennial kingdom, and we will lose our birthright and therefore will be unable to inherit the earth in the coming age, to be the royal priests serving God and Christ in His manifested glory, and to be Christ's co-kings ruling all the nations with His divine authority (Rev. 20:4, 6). To miss the coming kingdom and to forfeit our birthright does not mean that we will perish. It means that we will lose the reward but not our salvation. (See note 351 in ch. 10.) We will suffer loss but still will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Cor. 3:14-15). This is the basic concept on which all five warnings in this book are given and with which they are all pervaded. All the negative points of these warnings are related to the suffering of the loss of the reward in the coming kingdom, whereas all the positive points are related to the reward and enjoyment of the kingdom. All seven epistles in Rev. 2 and 3 conclude with this same concept—the reward of the kingdom or the loss of it. Only in light of this concept can we rightly understand and properly apply the word in Matt. 5:20; 7:21-23; 16:24-27; 19:23-30; 24:46-51; 25:11-13, 21, 23, 26-30; Luke 12:42-48; 19:17, 19, 22-27; Rom. 14:10, 12; 1 Cor. 3:8, 13-15; 4:5; 9:24-27; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:7-8; Heb. 2:3; 4:1, 9, 11; 6:4-8; 10:26-31, 35-39; 12:16-17, 28-29; and Rev. 2:7, 10-11, 17, 26-27; 3:4-5, 11-12, 20; 22:12. If we do not have this concept, the interpretation of these verses falls into either the extreme objectiveness of the Calvinist school or the extreme subjectiveness of the Arminian school. Neither of these schools recognizes the reward of the kingdom; even more, they do not see the suffering of the loss of the kingdom reward. Hence, both consider all the negative points in these verses as referring to perdition. The Calvinist school, believing in eternal salvation (i.e., that once a person is saved, he will never perish), regards all these negative points as applying to the perdition of false believers; while the Arminian school, believing that a saved person will perish if he falls, regards these points as applying to the perdition of believers who have fallen. But the complete revelation of the Bible shows that these negative points refer to the suffering of the loss of the kingdom reward. God's salvation is eternal; once we obtain it, we will never lose it (John 10:28-29). But we may suffer the loss of the kingdom reward, even though we still will be saved (1 Cor. 3:8, 14-15). The warnings in Hebrews do not refer to the loss of eternal salvation but to the loss of the kingdom reward. The Hebrew believers had received the kingdom, but they risked losing the reward in the manifestation of the kingdom if they shrank back from the grace of God, from God's new covenant way. This was the writer's main concern in warning the staggering Hebrew believers.
1 Peter 1:5
Who are being guarded by the power of God through faith unto a 5salvation ready to be revealed at the last time;
51 Not salvation from eternal perdition but the salvation of our souls from the dispensational punishment of the Lord's governmental dealing (v. 9 and note 2). The full salvation of the Triune God is in three stages and comprises many items:
(1) The initial stage, the stage of regeneration, which is composed of redemption, sanctification (positional—v.2; 1 Cor. 6:11), justification, reconciliation, and regeneration. In this stage God justified us through the redemption of Christ (Rom. 3:24-26) and regenerated us in our spirit with His life by His Spirit (John 3:3-6). Thus we received God's eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9) and His eternal life (John 3:15) and became His children (John 1:12-13), who shall not perish forever (John 10:28-29). This initial salvation has saved us from God's condemnation and from eternal perdition (John 3:18, 16).
(2) The progressing stage, the stage of transformation, which is composed of freedom from sin, sanctification (mainly dispositional—Rom. 6:19, 22), growth in life, transformation, building up, and maturing. In this stage God is freeing us from the dominion of indwelling sin—the law of sin and of death—by the law of the Spirit of life, through the subjective working of the effectiveness of the death of Christ in us (Rom. 6:6-7; 7:16-20; 8:2); sanctifying us by His Holy Spirit (Rom. 15:16), with His holy nature, through His discipline (Heb. 12:10) and His judgment in His own house (4:17); causing us to grow in His life (1 Cor. 3:6-7); transforming us by renewing the inward parts of our soul by the life-giving Spirit (2 Cor. 3:6, 17-18; Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23) through the working of all things (Rom. 8:28); building us together into a spiritual house for His dwelling (2:5; Eph. 2:22); and maturing us in His life (Rev. 14:15 and notes) for the completion of His full salvation. In this way we are being delivered from the power of sin, the world, the flesh, self, the soul (the natural life), and individualism into maturity in the divine life for the fulfillment of God's eternal purpose.
(3) The completing stage, the stage of glorification, which is composed of the redemption (transfiguration) of our body, conformity to the Lord, glorification, the inheritance of God's kingdom, participation in Christ's kingship, and the topmost enjoyment of the Lord. In this stage God will redeem our fallen and corrupted body (Rom. 8:23) by transfiguring it into the body of Christ's glory (Phil. 3:21); conform us to the glorious image of His firstborn Son (Rom. 8:29), making us wholly and absolutely like Him in our regenerated spirit, transformed soul, and transfigured body; and glorify us (Rom. 8:30), immersing us in His glory (Heb. 2:10) that we may enter into His heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18; 2·Pet. 1:11), into which He has called us (1 Thes. 2:12), and inherit it as the topmost portion of His blessing (James 2:5; Gal. 5:21)—even that we may reign with Christ as His co-kings, participating in His kingship over the nations (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 20:4, 6; 2:26-27; 12:5) and sharing His royal, kingly joy in His divine government (Matt. 25:21, 23). In this way our body will be freed from the slavery of corruption of the old creation into the freedom of the glory of God's new creation (Rom. 8:21), and our soul will be delivered out of the realm of trials and sufferings (v. 6; 4:12; 3:14; 5:9) into a new realm, one that is full of glory (4:13; 5:10), and will share in and enjoy all that the Triune God is, has, and has accomplished, attained, and obtained. This is the salvation of our souls, the salvation that is ready to be revealed to us at the last time, the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Christ in glory (v. 13; Matt. 16:27; 25:31). This is the end of our faith. The power of God is able to guard us unto this that we may obtain it (v. 9). We should eagerly expect such a marvelous salvation (Rom. 8:23) and prepare ourselves for its splendid revelation (Rom. 8:19).
2 Peter 3:12
Expecting and hastening the coming of the 3day of God, on account of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements, burning with intense heat, are to be melted away?
The day of God is the day of the Lord (v. 10), and to the children of Israel in the Old Testament, the day of the Lord is the day of Jehovah (Isa. 2:12; Joel 1:15; 2:11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7, 14, 18; 2:2-3; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:1, 5). In such expressions, day is used mainly in the sense of judgment for governmental dealing. Before the Lord comes, it is "man's day," in which man judges until the Lord comes (1 Cor. 4:3-5). Then, it will be the day of the Lord, which will begin with the Lord's parousia (presence—Matt. 24:3 and note 3) with all its judgments and will end with the judgment upon men and the demons at the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15 and notes). The Lord's parousia (presence) will begin when the overcoming saints are raptured to the throne of God in the heavens before the great tribulation of three and a half years (Rev. 12:5-6; 14:1). Then, all the supernatural calamities of the sixth seal and the first four trumpets will be meted out to smite the earth with the things on it and the heavens with their heavenly bodies (Rev. 6:12-17; 8:7-12). This will be the beginning of the great tribulation. The great tribulation, which will consist mainly of the woes of the last three trumpets, including the plagues of the seven bowls, will last for three and a half years (Matt. 24:21-22, 29; Rev. 8:13—9:21; 11:14; 15:5—16:21). That will be a time of trial for the inhabitants of the whole earth (Rev. 3:10), including the Jews (Isa. 2:12; Zech. 14:1-2; Mal. 4:1, 5; Joel 1:15-20; 2:1, 11, 31) and the believers in Christ who are left in the tribulation (Rev. 12:17). At the end of the great tribulation, Christ's parousia (presence), with the overcomers, will come to the air (Rev. 10:1), and the dead saints will be resurrected and raptured together with the majority of the living believers, who will have passed through the great tribulation, to meet with the Lord in the air (1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thes. 4:16-17; Rev. 14:14-16). After this, all the believers will be judged by the Lord at His judgment seat in the air (2 Cor. 5:10). Then the Lord will have His wedding feast with the overcoming saints (Rev. 19:7-8). Immediately after this, the Lord with His bride, composed of the overcoming saints as His army, will come to the earth (Zech. 14:4-5; Jude 14; 1 Thes. 3:13) to fight and defeat Antichrist and his army; they will seize Antichrist and his false prophet and cast them alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:11-21). At approximately that time, Babylon the Great will be destroyed (Rev. 17:1—19:3). At the same time, the Lord will deliver, gather, and restore the children of Israel (Zech. 12:2-14; Rom. 11:26; Matt. 24:31; Acts 1:6). Following this, Satan will be bound and cast into the abyss, the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3). Then the Lord will judge the nations (the living—Matt. 25:31-46; Joel 3:2). After this, the millennial kingdom will come (Rev. 20:4-6). After the thousand years, Satan will be loosed from the abyss and will instigate certain of the nations, Gog and Magog in the north of the eastern hemisphere, to carry out the last rebellion against God. They will be subdued and burned, and the deceiving devil will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:7-10). Following this, the heavens and the earth will be fully cleared up by being burned up (vv. 7, 10). Then will come the final judgment upon men (the dead) and the demons, and probably also upon the fallen angels (2:4 and note 4), at the great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15). That will be God's consummate dealing with His old creation in His universal government and will be in addition to so many judgments and dealings executed within the day of the Lord to clear up the old universe. Then a new universe will begin with the new heaven and new earth for eternity (Rev. 21:1), in which there will be no more judgment related to God's governmental dealing, for no unrighteousness will dwell there. Therefore, not counting the one thousand years, the day of the Lord will be very short, probably not more than seven years. This will be the main part of the last week (seven years) of the seventy weeks in Dan. 9:24-27. It is unscriptural to consider the day of God and the day of the Lord two different days: the day of the Lord ends with the millennial kingdom, and the day of God begins with the burning of the heavens and the earth, followed by the judgment of the great white throne. Actually, since the judgment of the great white throne will be executed by the Lord Jesus (Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim. 4:1), it too will be in the day of the Lord. God does not judge anyone; He has given all judgment to the Lord (John 5:22).
1 John 1:6
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and are not practicing the 6truth;
66 The Greek word means reality (the opposite of vanity), verity, veracity, genuineness, sincerity. It is John's highly individual terminology, and it is one of the profound words in the New Testament, denoting all the realities of the divine economy as the content of the divine revelation, conveyed and disclosed by the holy Word as follows:
(1) God, who is light and love, incarnated to be the reality of the divine things, such as the divine life, the divine nature, the divine power, and the divine glory, for us to possess, that we may enjoy Him as grace, as revealed in John's Gospel (John 1:1, 4, 14-17).
(2) Christ, who is God incarnated and in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily (Col. 2:9), as the reality of (a) God and man (John 1:18, 51; 1 Tim. 2:5); (b) all the types, figures, and shadows of the Old Testament (Col. 2:16-17; John 4:23, 24 and notes); and (c) all the divine and spiritual things, such as the divine life and resurrection (John 11:25; 14:6), the divine light (John 8:12; 9:5), the divine way (John 14:6), wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). Hence, Christ is the reality (John 14:6; Eph. 4:21).
(3) The Spirit, who is Christ transfigured (1 Cor. 15:45b; 2 Cor. 3:17), as the reality of Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) and of the divine revelation (John 16:13-15). Hence, the Spirit is the reality (5:6).
(4) The Word of God as the divine revelation, which not only reveals but also conveys the reality of God and Christ and of all the divine and spiritual things. Hence, the Word of God also is reality (John 17:17 and note 3).
(5) The contents of the faith (belief), which are the substantial elements of what we believe, as the reality of the full gospel (Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:5); these are revealed throughout the New Testament (2 Cor. 4:2; 13:8; Gal. 5:7; 1 Tim. 1:1, note 1, points 1 and 2; 2:4 and note 2; 2:7b; 3:15 and note 5; 4:3; 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:15, 18, 25; 3:7, 8; 4:4; Titus 1:1, 14; 2 Thes. 2:10, 12; Heb. 10:26; James 5:19; 1 Pet. 1:22; 2 Pet. 1:12).
(6) The reality concerning God, the universe, man, man's relationship with God and with his fellow man, and man's obligation to God, as revealed through creation and the Scriptures (Rom. 1:18-20; 2:2, 8, 20).
(7) The genuineness, truthfulness, sincerity, honesty, trustworthiness, and faithfulness of God as a divine virtue (Rom. 3:7; 15:8) and of man as a human virtue (Mark 12:14; 2 Cor. 11:10; Phil. 1:18; 1 John 3:18), and as an issue of the divine reality (John 4:23-24; 2 John 1a; 3 John 1).
(8) Things that are true or real, the true or real state of affairs (facts), reality, veracity, as the opposite of falsehood, deception, dissimulation, hypocrisy, and error (Mark 5:33; 12:32; Luke 4:25; John 16:7; Acts 4:27; 10:34; 26:25; Rom. 1:25; 9:1; 2 Cor. 6:7; 7:14; 12:6; Col. 1:6; 1 Tim. 2:7a).
Of the eight points listed above, the first five refer to the same reality in essence. God, Christ, and the Spirit—the Divine Trinity—are essentially one. Hence, these three, being the basic elements of the substance of the divine reality, are actually one reality. This one divine reality is the substance of the Word of God as the divine revelation. Hence, it becomes the revealed divine reality in the divine Word and makes the divine Word the reality. The divine Word conveys this one divine reality as the contents of the faith, and the contents of the faith are the substance of the gospel revealed in the entire New Testament as its reality, which is just the divine reality of the Divine Trinity. When this divine reality is partaken of and enjoyed by us, it becomes our genuineness, sincerity, honesty, and trustworthiness as an excellent virtue in our behavior that enables us to express God, the God of reality, by whom we live; and we become persons living a life of truth, without any falsehood or hypocrisy, a life that corresponds with the truth revealed through creation and the Scripture.
The word truth is used in the New Testament more than one hundred times. Its denotation in each occurrence is determined by its context. For instance, in John 3:21, according to the context, it denotes uprightness (the opposite of evil—John 3:19-20), which is the reality manifested in a man who lives in God according to what He is and which corresponds with the divine light, which is God, as the source of the truth, manifested in Christ. In John 4:23-24, according to the context of that chapter and also according to the entire revelation of John's Gospel, it denotes the divine reality becoming man's genuineness and sincerity (the opposite of the hypocrisy of the immoral Samaritan worshipper—John 4:16-18) for the true worship of God. The divine reality is Christ, who is the reality (John 14:6), as the reality of all the offerings of the Old Testament for the worship of God (John 1:29; 3:14) and as the fountain of living water, the life-giving Spirit (John 4:7-15), partaken of and drunk by His believers to be the reality within them, which eventually becomes their genuineness and sincerity, in which they worship God with the worship that He seeks. In John 5:33 and 18:37, according to the entire revelation of the Gospel of John, truth denotes the divine reality embodied, revealed, and expressed in Christ as the Son of God. In John 8:32, 40, 44-46, according to the context of that chapter, it denotes the reality of God revealed in His word (John 8:47) and embodied in Christ, the Son of God (John 8:36), which sets us free from the bondage of sin (see note 321 in John 8).
Here in v. 6, truth denotes the revealed reality of God in its aspect of the divine light. It is the issue and realization of the divine light mentioned in v. 5. The divine light is the source in God; truth is the issue and realization of the divine light in us (see note 82 in ch. 4; cf. John 3:19-21). When we abide in the divine light, which we enjoy in the fellowship of the divine life, we practice the truth—what we have realized in the divine light. When we abide in the source, its issue becomes our practice.
1 John 1:7
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the 3blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.
73 When we live in the divine light, we are under its enlightenment, and it exposes, according to God's divine nature and through God's nature in us, all our sins, trespasses, failures, and defects, which contradict His pure light, perfect love, absolute holiness, and excelling righteousness. At such a time we sense in our enlightened conscience the need of the cleansing of the redeeming blood of the Lord Jesus, and it cleanses us in our conscience from all sins that our fellowship with God and with one another may be maintained. Our relationship with God is unbreakable, yet our fellowship with Him can be interrupted. The former is of life, whereas the latter is based on our living, though it also is of life. One is unconditional; the other is conditional. Our fellowship, which is conditional, needs to be maintained by the constant cleansing of the Lord's blood.
In this section of the Word there is a cycle in our spiritual life, a cycle formed of four crucial things—the eternal life, the fellowship of the eternal life, the divine light, and the blood of Jesus the Son of God. Eternal life issues in its fellowship, the fellowship of eternal life brings in the divine light, and the divine light increases the need for the blood of Jesus the Son of God that we may have more eternal life. The more we have of eternal life, the more of its fellowship it brings to us. The more fellowship of the divine life we enjoy, the more divine light we receive. The more divine light we receive, the more we participate in the cleansing of the blood of Jesus. Such a cycle brings us onward in the growth of the divine life until we reach the maturity of life.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is 2faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
92 God is faithful in His word (v. 10) and righteous in the blood of Jesus His Son (v. 7). His word is the word of the truth of His gospel (Eph. 1:13), which tells us that He will forgive us our sins because of Christ (Acts 10:43); and the blood of Christ has fulfilled His righteous requirements that He might forgive us our sins (Matt. 26:28). If we confess our sins, He, according to His word and based on the redemption through the blood of Jesus, forgives us because He must be faithful in His word and righteous in the blood of Jesus; otherwise, He would be unfaithful and unrighteous. Our confession is needed for His forgiveness. Such forgiveness of God, which is for the restoration of our fellowship with Him, is conditional; it depends on our confession.
1 John 2:1
My little children, these things I write to you that you 3may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous;
13 This word and if anyone sins in the succeeding sentence indicate that the regenerated believers can still sin. Though they possess the divine life, it is still possible for them to sin if they do not live by the divine life and abide in its fellowship.
1 John 2:15
Do not love the 2world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.
152 The Greek word is used for different things, as follows: In Matt. 25:34; John 17:15; Acts 17:24; Eph. 1:4; and Rev. 13:8, it denotes the material universe as a system created by God. In John 1:29; 3:16; and Rom. 5:12, it denotes the fallen human race, corrupted and usurped by Satan to be the components of his evil world system. In 1 Pet. 3:3 it denotes adorning, ornaments. Here, as in John 15:19; 17:14; and James 4:4, it denotes an order, a set form, an orderly arrangement, hence, an ordered system (set up by Satan, the adversary of God), not the earth. God created man to live on the earth for the fulfillment of His purpose. But His enemy, Satan, in order to usurp the God-created man, formed an anti-God world system on this earth by systematizing men with religion, culture, education, industry, commerce, entertainment, etc., through men's fallen nature, in their lusts, pleasures, and pursuits, and even in their indulgence in necessities for their living, such as food, clothing, housing, and transportation (see note 312 in John 12). The whole of such a satanic system lies in the evil one (5:19). Not loving such a world is the ground for overcoming the evil one. Loving it just a little gives the evil one the ground to defeat and occupy us.
1 John 3:9
Everyone who has been begotten of God does not practice sin, because His seed abides in him; and he 4cannot sin, because he has been begotten of God.
94 I.e., cannot live in sin habitually. A regenerated believer may fall into sin occasionally, but the divine life as the divine seed in his regenerated nature will not allow him to live in sin. This is similar to a sheep: it may fall into the mud, but its clean life will not allow it to remain and wallow in the mud as a swine would.
1 John 4:9
In this the love of God was manifested among us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might 3have life and live through Him.
93 We, the fallen people, are not only sinful in nature and conduct (Rom. 7:17-18; 1:28-32) but also dead in our spirit (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13). God sent His Son into the world not only to be a propitiation for our sins that we might be forgiven (v. 10) but also to be life to us that we might have life and live through Him. In the love of God, the Son of God saves us not only from our sins by His blood (Eph. 1:7; Rev. 1:5) but also from our death by His life (3:14-15; John 5:24). He is not only the Lamb of God who takes away our sin (John 1:29); He is also the Son of God who gives us eternal life (John 3:36). He died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3) that we might have eternal life in Him (John 3:14-16) and live through Him (John 6:57; 14:19). In this the love of God, which is God's essence, has been manifested.
1 John 5:12
He who 1has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
121 Because the life is in the Son (John 1:4) and the Son is the life (John 11:25; 14:6; Col. 3:4), the Son and the life are one, inseparable. Hence, he who has the Son has the life, and he who does not have the Son does not have the life.
1 John 5:13
I have written 1these things to you that you may know that you have eternal life, to you who believe into the name of the Son of God.
131 The written words of the Scriptures are the assurance to the believers, who believe into the name of the Son of God, that they have eternal life. Our believing to receive eternal life is the fact; the words of the Holy Writings are the assurance concerning this fact—they are the title deed to our eternal salvation. By them we are assured and have the pledge that as long as we believe into the name of the Son of God, we have eternal life.
John to the seven churches which are in 2Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is coming, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
42 Asia was a province of the ancient Roman Empire, and in that province were the seven cities mentioned in v. 11. The seven churches were in those seven cities, respectively; they were not all in one city. This book does not deal with the one universal church but with the local churches in many cities. First, in Matt. 16:18 the church is revealed as universal, and then in Matt. 18:17 it is revealed as local. In Acts the church was practiced in the way of local churches, such as the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1), the church in Antioch (Acts 13:1), the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:17), and the churches in the provinces of Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:41). The Epistles were written to the local churches, except for a few written to individuals. Not one was written to the universal church. Without the local churches, the universal church has no practicality or actuality. The universal church is realized in the local churches. Knowing the church in its universal aspect must be consummated in knowing the church in its local aspect. It is a great advance for us to know and practice the local churches. Concerning the church, the book of Revelation is in the advanced stage. To know this book, we must advance from the understanding of the universal church to the realization and practice of the local churches, because this book is written to the local churches. Only those who are in the local churches are positioned rightly, with the right angle and the proper perspective, to see the visions in this book.
The Triune God is expressed in Christ (John 1:1, 14; 1 Tim. 3:16; Col. 2:9); Christ is realized and experienced as the Spirit (John 14:16-18; 1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17; Rom. 8:9; Phil. 1:19) and is expressed in His Body, the universal church (Eph. 1:22-23; 1 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:4); and the universal church is expressed in the local churches. Therefore, to know and experience God, we need to know and experience Christ; to know and experience Christ, we need to participate in the universal church through the Spirit; and to participate in the universal church, we need to participate in the local churches.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give to 5eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.
75 Religion always teaches, but the Lord feeds (John 6:35). The apostle Paul did the same thing; that is, he fed the believers (1 Cor. 3:2). For the proper church life and the recovery of the church life, that is, for the proper growth in the Christian life, what we need is not merely the mental apprehension of teachings but the eating of the Lord as our bread of life in our spirit (John 6:57). Even the words of the Scripture should not be considered merely as doctrines to teach our mind but as food to nourish our spirit (Matt. 4:4; Heb. 5:12-14). Here in this epistle the Lord promised to give the overcomer to eat of the tree of life. This points back to Gen. 2:8-9, 16, which concerns the matter of eating ordained by God. In the epistle to the church in Pergamos, the Lord promised the overcomer that he would eat of the hidden manna (v. 17), which refers to the eating of manna by the children of Israel in the wilderness (Exo. 16:14-16, 31). And in the epistle to the church in Laodicea, the Lord promised to dine with the one who opens the door to Him. To dine is to eat not merely one kind of food but the riches of a feast. This may refer to the eating of the rich produce of the good land of Canaan by the children of Israel (Josh. 5:10-12). This indicates that the Lord desires to recover the eating of the proper food by God's people, the food ordained by God and typified by the tree of life, the manna, and the produce of the good land, all of which are types of the various aspects of Christ as food to us. The degradation of the church distracts God's people from the eating of Christ as their food and turns them to the teaching of doctrines for knowledge. In the church's degradation there are the teaching of Balaam (v. 14), the teaching of the Nicolaitans (v. 15), the teaching by Jezebel (v. 20), and the teaching of the deep things of Satan (v. 24). Now in these epistles the Lord came to recover the proper eating of Himself as our food supply. We must eat Him not only as the tree of life and the hidden manna but also as a feast full of His riches.
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