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 have seen that God’s purpose in creating man is that man would receive His life and become His sons. Man was created according to God’s image and likeness. As far as his outward appearance is concerned, man is like God already. Man is like God in both image and likeness, yet he does not have God’s life within him. Man must receive God’s life before he can reach God’s goal! Adam’s spirit was not the Spirit of God, but the spirit of man. If Adam’s spirit had received God’s Spirit, he would have received God’s life and fulfilled God’s purpose! There are four kinds of spirits in this universe—the spirit of the angels, the Spirit of God, the spirit of man, and evil spirits. The spirit is the faculty for worship. Lions are strong, and monkeys and dogs are clever, but they do not have a spirit. Thus, they have no faculty to worship God. They are lower forms of creatures. Man is between the angels and lower forms of animals. The angels have a spirit and a soul, but no body. The lower forms of animals have a soul and a body, but no spirit. But man has a spirit and a soul, like the angels, and also a soul and a body, like the lower forms of animals. The lower animals belong to one category of living beings. Man belongs to another category of living beings. God’s life is yet another category—His life is much higher than our life!
Was God’s purpose fulfilled after man was created in this way? No! After God created everything, the Bible says, “And it was so.” But after man was created, it does not say, “And it was so,” because the work was not completed. This is why the final word was not pronounced. The final word had to be spoken by man himself. Therefore, God put man in front of the Tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only after man made the right choice would God’s purpose have been fulfilled!
God created man for the purpose of receiving and sharing His life to become His sons. Man’s spirit was made to contact God’s Spirit and receive His life, become His son, and fulfill His purpose in creating man. Yet God gave man the right to choose; man has a free will. After He created man, God put man in front of two trees. The created and completed man was sinless; he was innocent. God placed him in front of two trees, setting two principles before man. The Tree of Life represents dependence on God, whereas the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents independence from God. These two trees represent two kinds of lives. The Tree of Life represents the life of God, whereas the tree of the knowledge of good and evil represents Satan’s sinful life. When man rejected the Tree of Life, he rejected the life of God. In effect, he was saying to God, “I do not want to take You. I will be a man by myself.”
In Genesis 2:17 God said, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, of it you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” This word is not a word of punishment, but a description of a natural law. If one eats, his stomach will be filled. If one puts his hands to the fire, he will be burned—these are laws. If man eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he will die—this also is a law. God did not say that man would be punished by death when he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God did not say this, and we, of course, cannot add such a footnote. God only said that man would surely die when he ate of it. Conversely, if man did not eat of the Tree of Life, he still could not have been a son of God. In God’s eyes, he was still without life. God’s purpose in creating man was that he would be His son. For this reason He gave man a free will. He wants man to choose the Tree of Life and become His son by his own free will!
Originally, God only had to do one thing—cause Adam to receive the life of God. If man would have received God’s life, His goal in creating man would have been fulfilled. But Adam sinned. God now must do two things. In the garden of Eden, He only had to do one thing to accomplish His purpose. But after man left the garden of Eden, God had to do two things. First, He had to deal with man’s sin. Second, He had to cause man to receive His life. God wants man to receive His life—this is His eternal purpose which He purposed before the ages. His dealing with man’s sin and His saving grace for man are simply His remedial actions. God did not intend for Adam to sin; Adam’s sin was an incidental matter. Hence, God’s dealing with sin is also an incidental work; it is not according to His original purpose. For example, when you drive a car, you have no intention to overturn the car; your intention is to arrive safely at your destination. However, you may have an accident, overturning the car and hurting yourself. Then you need to take care of your injury and fix the car before you can resume your journey. In the same way, God created man with a purpose. Yet man fell, and God had to do a remedial work before He could bring man back to His original purpose.
Now let us see how God saves us and brings us back to His original purpose in creation. After man fell, he not only needed to be saved from sin, he also needed to be saved from just being a man. What makes the Bible so distinct is that it not only says that a sinner should no longer be a sinner, but that a man should no longer be a man. Hallelujah! We do not have to be a sinner, and we do not have to be just a man. God wants man to live out His life in order for man to speak what he could not otherwise speak, to do what he could not otherwise do, and to live in a way that he could not otherwise live. Until we reach this point, we are at best like Adam in the garden of Eden; we are not yet men according to His will and not yet sons of God. God’s purpose is to put His life within man so that man can live Him. When God is in man, man becomes God’s son, and spontaneously he is able to live out the [decree of the Kingdom's constitution].
After man fell, his greatest problem was that he had sinned and become a sinner. This is why the Bible speaks of the need of the blood. Leviticus 17:11 says that life is in the blood and that it is therefore needed for the atonement of sin. Hebrews 9:22 says, “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” The Bible speaks of the blood over four hundred times. When man sins, he has to be punished, and the punishment comes in the form of the shedding of blood. When a man’s blood is shed, life is gone; when life is gone, the soul is gone; and when the soul is gone, the man is dead.
The Passover in the Old Testament is a picture of God’s work of redemption. Exodus 12:2-13 speaks of the Passover. At the Passover, God took away man’s sin and delivered him from His judgment through a substitutionary lamb. He told the children of Israel that the angel of destruction would come, and that the firstborn of all the households that did not put blood on the doorpost and side posts would be killed. The firstborn represents the sinner, because the first man was out of the earth and earthy (1 Corinthians 15:47). Every household of Israel killed a lamb and struck the blood on the doorpost and side posts. This blood is objective; it is not for man to see, but for God to see. If you were in the house, you could not see the blood; the blood is for God to see. God said, “When I see the blood....” The word “I” is very important. The blood of Christ is not for us to see, but for God to see. The question is not how we strike the blood and how we apply it, but who is the One who sees it. A sinner can say to God, “Do to me according to Your valuation of the blood.” This is what the Passover has done for us.
Once I was traveling to Kiu-Kiang, and I met a Muslim on the way. I told him that if God appointed a way of salvation, it would have to be compatible with His own righteousness and holiness. In other words, the way must be proper in God’s eyes and must also be proper in our eyes. One cannot be saved according to any way that he thinks is right; he can only put his trust in the sufficiency of God’s way of salvation. If the righteous God thinks that a way is good enough, an unrighteous sinner should conclude that it is good enough. God has accomplished everything. What else should we do? We can say, “Thank the Lord that my sins are all forgiven. All my sins, great or small, obvious or hidden, noble or vile, good or bad, are covered by the blood. I do not have to be afraid when I come to God.” God says that my sins have been dealt with already, and I also say that my sins have been dealt with already. This is faith!
Once D. L. Moody was preaching to a man who was afraid that the blood of Christ would not be sufficient to take away his sins. Moody asked, “If one of Noah’s daughters-in-law had entered the ark, but was afraid that it would leak, would she have not been saved because of this?” The man said, “Of course not.” Moody then pointed out to him that his view of the blood would not diminish the effectiveness of the blood in any way. Through this word the man became clear.
Thank God that through the redemption of Christ, our sins have been dealt with. However, settling the problem of sin was only the first step in God’s work. If we see what God accomplished in eternity, we will realize that the removal of sin is only a remedial action; there is still a long way to go. After we are redeemed by the blood, we must still eat the flesh of the lamb. We must cross the Red Sea, leave Egypt, pass the wilderness, and enter the good land. In typology, this means that we should leave the world behind, pass through this world, and enter the millennial Kingdom!
According to the picture of the Passover, there are two steps to God’s salvation. First, there is the salvation of the blood—this is objective and outward. Second, there is the salvation of the flesh—this is subjective and inward. Three to six hours after we eat some food, it becomes a part of us. This means that after we eat the flesh of Christ, God lives in us. The flesh of Christ typifies the life of God. We must not only receive the redemption of the blood of Christ for our forgiveness, but must eat the flesh of Christ in order to have His life. There are two clear lines in the Bible. The first is the line of the blood, and the second is the line of the flesh. The blood typifies the redemptive aspect of Christ’s death, whereas the flesh typifies the non-redemptive aspect of His death.
A great problem among Christians today is that they do not have the strength to overcome sin. Do you have the strength to overcome sin? Do you have the strength to live a perfect Christian life? I am afraid that most people will say no. Every Christian has one or two sins that they frequently commit. Some sins have been with a person for many years. These sins are the private sins that he commits. For example, some Christians are stubborn in their attitude. Others are unrighteous, unclean, proud, or impure in heart. Some people are fastidious. These people have indeed been washed in the blood, but they have not eaten the flesh. The gospel of the blood enables a person to stand before God. The gospel of the flesh enables a person to live in the world in the same way that the Son of God lived on earth in His days. This living means much more than the forgiveness of the blood.
Let us now consider the function of the Lord’s flesh. In John 6:51 through 58, the Lord did not emphasize His blood, but instead, His flesh, because His flesh accomplished what the Tree of Life did not accomplish. The Lord said that His flesh was given for the life of the world (v. 51). The blood is only the means; it is not God’s goal! An important word is “world.” Instead of “sinners,” the verse uses “world.” When the Jews heard this, they could not understand and said, “This word is hard; who can hear it?” (v. 60). Some who are sitting here tonight have surely asked this same question. It was asked two thousand years ago already. If you are asking the same question today, you can find the answer in the Bible.
The Lord came down from heaven to be the Bread of Life. In verse 53, “flesh” is mentioned first and the “blood” second. This shows that God’s emphasis is not the blood but the flesh. The blood is not given the first place. In this passage, “flesh” is mentioned six times, while “blood” is mentioned four times. Whenever the “blood” is mentioned, it is mentioned after the “flesh.” From this we see that the blood is secondary rather than primary. What gives life is the flesh, not the blood!
In verse 54, the Lord said, “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life.” When I was in Chuenchow, I met a preacher who did not believe in eating blood and who taught that man should not eat blood. I told him, “You should not only preach the Lord’s blood, you should preach the Lord’s flesh as well.” It is impossible to take His blood while rejecting His flesh.
Verses 57 and 58 require some explanation. Eating the Lord is eating His flesh. The flesh is for eating while the blood is for drinking. His flesh is true food. This means that the Lord Jesus has taken on a form that can be received and eaten by us. In verse 58 we see another eating. We can only reach God’s goal and become His children by eating. Eating the flesh of Christ is receiving His life into us. What we have received in Christ far exceeds what we have received in Adam. Adam fell and became a sinner. Today we have not only been recovered to our first position (no longer being sinners), but we have become the sons of God through eating Christ. In this way, we can accomplish God’s goal, which Adam had failed to achieve.
At the Lord’s table meeting, we see the cup and the bread. God’s intention is with the bread and not the cup. The cup is only remedial. God does not say that we should come together to drink the cup, but that we should come together to break the bread. God’s purpose is not for Christ to be crucified on the Cross. His purpose is for His Son to dispense His flesh to men. His Son’s crucifixion on the Cross is merely a remedial act. Our breaking of bread not only reminds us that man has sinned, but that man lacks life. Hebrews 2:14-15 says that everyone in the world is a slave of sin through the fear of death, but that the Son of God destroyed the devil, who has the might of death, through His own death. “Since therefore the children have shared in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil” (v. 14). First there is the flesh, and then there is the blood. The flesh is the goal, while the blood is the means. For ten years after I was saved, I did not understand the meaning of the bread. I thought that the blood should come first. Every time I came to the bread-breaking meeting, I praised Him for the blood. But when I saw the flesh, I could not see the significance of it. Later I realized that the flesh was the goal. This is why the flesh is mentioned first in the book of Genesis; the blood is not spoken of until Genesis Chapter 3.
The flesh signifies the life released through death, whereas the blood signifies the redemptive death. The blood removes the barriers between us and God, whereas the flesh provides us God’s life and enables us to become His sons, thus fulfilling God’s purpose in creating man.
When the Lord instituted His supper, He took the bread and said: “Take, eat; this is My Body” (Matthew 26:26). The Lord told us that this is His body; this is not His corpse. A corpse means that life is gone. The Lord gives to man the flesh of His Body. This means that the Lord is dispensing to us His very organic life. We can see that God’s purpose has always been for man to receive His Son’s life so that they can become His many sons!
We must realize that God’s ultimate goal is for us to receive His life! Because of Adam’s fall, God had to do two things: first, remove sins, and second, dispense His life to man. In other words, He had to first shed His blood before He could dispense His flesh to man.
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 51, God's Way of Accomplishing His Purpose in Creating Man (2), [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