WORLD GOSPEL KINGDOM TRACTS
Unlocking the Mystery of Human Life
Scripture Reading: Genesis 2:7-9, 16-17; Romans 8:29-30; Hebrews 2:9-11
We will study God’s purpose in man in a systematic way and show how He accomplishes such a purpose. God’s Word shows us that His purpose is to have many sons, that is, a group of men who will have the life of His Son (Hebrews 2:10).
In Genesis we see God creating the heavens and the earth, and then creating man. After this He put the man He created in the garden of Eden. God’s purpose in preparing the garden of Eden and putting man in it was not that man would merely be a gardener, but that he would eat the Tree of Life and receive His life. Human beings work according to a purpose and a plan. God, being much wiser than man, works even more according to a plan. God did all these things according to a plan. His plan is that man would have His life and become His many sons.
God wants many sons. Yet Adam did not have such a thought. Adam’s goal might have merely been to become a perfect man. But even if he had become perfect, he would still have fallen short of God’s purpose. A perfect man cannot fulfill God’s purpose. In reality Adam did not become a perfect man; he became a sinner instead. Today man has two problems. First, he is a sinner, and second, he is a man. As a sinner, he needs salvation, and as a man, he also needs salvation. A person needs to be saved because he is a sinner. A person also needs to be saved because he is a man. The forgiveness of sins merely recovers man to Adam’s original position in the garden of Eden. As a “man,” he still needs to receive God’s life before he can become a son of God and before God’s purpose can be accomplished in him. In order to accomplish His purpose in man, God has to do two things. First, He has to save the sinner and deliver him from sin. Second, He has to save the “man” himself. Since man fell through sin, he became a sinner estranged from God on the one hand, and a man who had fallen short of God’s purpose on the other hand.
We are sinners, and as sinners we need forgiveness. We are also men, and as men we need God’s life. Only when we have both of these things can God’s purpose be fulfilled. Man’s problem is not one of being good or bad, sinful or sinless, perfect or imperfect. Man’s problem lies in what he is. As long as he is simply a man, he needs God’s work, and he needs God to dispense His life into him. Only then will he be able to fulfill God’s purpose. God’s forgiveness of man’s sin is an incidental work—it is not His goal. Man’s sin is something negative, something incidental. In order for God to achieve His purpose in man, He first had to solve the problem of sin, but His ultimate goal is to dispense His life into man.
We know that Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result he became independent, knowing good and evil. There was no more need for man to ask God or to trust in Him; he became independent. Adam became an independent sinner estranged from God. What is a sinner? A sinner is simply one who is separated from God and independent of God. Being separated from God and independent of God is sin. Hence anything that originates from man is sin, and any act that is done independent of God is sin. A man does not have to commit fornication, robbery, murder, or arson. As long as he is separated from God, he is a sinner. Originally Adam was innocent. He was not able to differentiate good from evil. He had to ask God for everything and find out from God whether something was good or bad, right or wrong. After he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was able to know good and evil by himself. There was no more need for him to seek after God or to trust in Him. He became independent from God. Through the knowledge he acquired, he became a man who was independent of God. In this way, God’s purpose could not be fulfilled and His will was frustrated.
God created man’s body from the dust of the earth so that man would be able to contact the physical world. After His creation He breathed into man’s nostrils the Breath of Life, which gave man his spirit. Man’s spirit is able to communicate with God. When God’s Breath of Life came in contact with man’s flesh, man became a living soul with his own personality, character, disposition, emotion, will, and volition.
However, God’s purpose was not just to create such a man. After man was created, God placed the Tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden of Eden, and He charged Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was almost as if God was telling Adam that He had to eat the Tree of Life. But God did not force Adam to eat of the Tree of Life because He created man with a free will with a right to choose for himself. God’s purpose was not fulfilled after the creation of Adam, because Adam did not have the life of God. If Adam had chosen the Tree of Life and eaten of its fruit, God’s purpose would have been fulfilled!
What is God’s ultimate purpose? His ultimate purpose is to have many sons. What is a son? A son is not a chair; a chair is made by man. A son is not made, he is begotten. A son is not just something picked up from the street. Someone who is picked up from the street is not your son, because he has no life relationship with you. A son is one whom a person has begotten and who has a life relationship with that person. This is why the Gospel of John says that a man cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:5). If a man has not been born again and not received God’s life, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. No lower forms of creatures can enter the kingdom of man, because they are too far apart from man; they do not have man’s life. The distance between God and man is immeasurably greater than the distance between man and the lower creatures. As such, man cannot enter the Kingdom of God if he does not have God’s life. In order for man to enter God’s Kingdom and be a son of God, he must have the life of God!
The Lord Jesus was God’s only begotten Son. Yet God is not satisfied with having only one Son; He wants to have many sons. This is why Christ is the only begotten Son as well as the Firstborn Son. As the only begotten Son, He is unique, having no brothers. At the beginning of the Gospel of John, the Lord was the Word, the only begotten Son of God (1:18). But in Romans and Hebrews, He became God’s Firstborn Son (Romans 8:29; Hebrew 1:6). For God to have a Firstborn Son means that He has other sons. The Lord Jesus is the Firstborn Son, and He has many brothers. God calls those who have His life His sons. Man will not call a lower form of animal his son no matter how good that animal is. The matter is not about good or evil, but about whether one is of the same species with the same life.
In order for man to become God’s son, he has to receive Christ. In the garden of Eden, God wanted man to eat of the Tree of Life. Today He wants man to receive Christ as life. There is a difference between a tree and fruit. A tree cannot be eaten, whereas fruit can be eaten. The fruit is the embodiment of the tree; it is the tree, but in an edible form. The substance of the fruit comes from the tree, and it shares the same life with the tree. God is the Tree of Life, while Christ is the fruit. Christ comes from God and shares the same life with God. He is God in a receivable form. On the one hand, God gave Christ to us to accomplish redemption so that we no longer have to be sinners. On the other hand, He gave Christ to us in order to dispense His life into us and make us His sons for the fulfillment of His purpose!
Romans Chapter 8 mentions conformation to the image of God’s Son (v. 29). This conformation is not one man’s imitation of another, moving when the other moves and stopping when the other stops. Conformation implies passing through the same mold. The Lord is a mold; He molds everyone who has believed and received Him into the same image. In Vietnam men make rice cakes by grinding rice into paste and pressing it with a mold. As a consequence, all the rice cakes bear the same image. Christ is our mold, and we will all be conformed to the same image. This is why some people say that Christians are in a class of their own, that they are all the same. This is true because we share the same life and are being conformed to the same image.
God’s purpose is to have many men who share the same image as His Son so that they become His many sons and eventually be with Him in His glory in eternity. But something happened—man sinned and fell. Sin entered the world through one man (Romans 5:12). But the Lord came as the world’s Savior. He died on behalf of man and solved the problem of sin. Man has been recovered back to the point of being in the garden of Eden. Now this man must still choose the Tree of Life and receive Christ as life before he can become the son of God.
In this message we want to see how God accomplishes His purpose in man. This word is merely a foundation. We will begin to build the house. May the Lord be merciful to us so that we can clearly see God’s purpose and the way to reach His purpose.
Verses and footnotes are taken from The Recovery Version of the Holy Bible and Words of Ministry from The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Set 2, Volume 42, Chapter 50, God's Way of Accomplishing His Purpose in Creating Man (1), [with personal enlightenment and inspiration]. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. All Rights Reserved.
Let us walk becomingly as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in fornication and licentiousness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.
Romans 13:13, 14