WORLD GOSPEL KINGDOM TRACTS
Unlocking the Mystery of Human Life
Crystallization of the Epistle to the Romans
The Grace of God
I would like to speak an opening word to
help us understand the intrinsic significance
of the grace of God.
A number of Christians think that grace is
God’s blessing. When a grandfather considers
his grandson, he may say, “Oh, what a grace!” Another person may say, “Today in our business, we have become somewhat rich. Oh, what a grace!” There is a hymn which says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done”. For years I tried to gain the proper understanding of the grace of God. One day the Lord showed me that grace is the processed and consummated Triune God Himself. Grace is God processed and consummated for us that we may enjoy Him. From the day that I saw this, the light and revelation concerning grace has been continually increasing.
In God’s New Testament economy, grace is the top revelation. John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, not full of blessing, but full of grace and reality. John 1:17 says that the law was given through Moses, but grace came. The word came indicates that grace is personified. Grace came through Jesus Christ. God’s incarnation, which was the coming of grace, is the biggest revelation concerning God’s economy. John Chapter 1 tells us that God’s incarnation was His coming. John 1:14 says He was incarnated, becoming flesh. Then John 1:17 says that grace came through Him. Grace is the processed and consummated Triune God!
In the Old Testament grace was spoken of quite a few times, but in the Old Testament sense, which was low in standard and could not be compared with the grace mentioned in the New Testament in the sense of God’s New Testament economy.
In the sense of God’s New Testament economy, grace denotes the contents of the eternal economy of God for the producing of the Body of Christ, which will consummate in the New Jerusalem. Hence, grace presented to us in the New Testament is much, much higher in standard than that in the Old Testament. This grace in the New Testament sense begins with the incarnation of God for the accomplishment of His eternal economy. In John 1:14 and 17, this New Testament grace came at the incarnation of God. Before the Lord’s incarnation, in the Old Testament, God had never come into man to be man’s life and nature, so in this sense there was not such a grace in the Old Testament time.
The New Testament unveils to us that grace is the Triune God coming into us as our life, as our everything, and as our enjoyment through His processes. After passing through the necessary processes, He was consummated.
When the Divine Trinity passed through the processes and was consummated, the Spirit was among the three. We should not think that it was only the Son of God who was incarnated. The complete God was incarnated. First Timothy 3:16 says that God was manifested in the flesh. God is the complete God, not just the Son, but the Son with the Father and the Spirit. According to our study of the Bible, the Spirit, through the necessary processes, was consummated as the life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45b) coming into His believers to be their life, nature, and everything. Thus, grace is the biggest truth, the biggest revelation, in God’s New Testament economy. It is as great as God’s incarnation. When God was incarnated, He became grace to us. John 1:14 says that God was incarnated. Then verse John 1:17 says that grace came through Him.
In order to enter into the intrinsic significance of grace, we need to see one point, which is very crucial. According to the entire Bible, God does not want us to do anything for our salvation, to do something to please Him. Instead, God says that we must stop ourselves. The principle of the Sabbath is for us to stop ourselves, not do anything, and let God be everything to us and do everything for us. He is everything to us, does everything for us, and will do everything for us. God wants man to be saved, but man should not try to save himself. This is an offense and an insult to God. God would say, “Man, do you think you can work out your salvation by yourself? Don’t you know that in the whole universe only I, God, can work out a salvation? Not only so, I, God, can be your salvation. I don’t want you to do something. I want you to rest and let Me do something for you.” This is grace!
This understanding of grace corresponds with Hebrews 11:6, which says, “He who comes forward to God must believe that He is.” We have to believe that He is and we are not. He is the Savior; we are not. Christ, the embodiment of God, is our sanctification; we are not. This is why we must not touch the work of God’s salvation. In God’s salvation, we are not. We are nothing, but God is everything, and this everything is grace. God is everything to us, God does everything for us, and God will do everything for us for eternity. This is grace. Grace is God Himself as everything to us.
In these days we have seen the high peak of the divine revelation. This high peak is that God became a man that man might become God in life and nature but not in the Godhead. How can we become God in life and in nature? We are like turtles and God is like an eagle. Can a turtle make himself an eagle? In His old creation, God created man in His image, but this man did not have God’s life, nature, or intrinsic constitution. Man was a photo of God with God’s image outwardly but without His life and nature inwardly. Eventually, God was processed by becoming a Man and then being consummated to be the life-giving Spirit. He as the life-giving Spirit came into us as life to enliven and regenerate us. Regeneration is God’s remaking, God’s re-creation. As the processed and consummated Triune God, He came into us to be our life.
The consummated Triune God is different from the original Triune God. From eternity to His incarnation, He remained as God only, without the human nature. He was merely God not man. He had not yet passed through human life, death, and resurrection. From His incarnation to His resurrection, it was only about thirty-three and a half years, but in this short period of time God accomplished many great things, making Himself absolutely different from what He was before His incarnation. Before His incarnation He was only the Triune God with the divine nature. But He became a Man and put on the human nature. He passed through human living, an all-inclusive death to solve all the problems and redeem us, and an all-conquering resurrection. Through this thirty-three-and-a-half-year process and consummation, He is now compounded with human nature, human living, death, and resurrection. Now He has become such a God! On the one hand, He is God; on the other hand, He is Man with the experiences of human life, a wonderful death, and an all-conquering resurrection. Now this processed and consummated God enters into us as grace to regenerate us, making us a new creation.
THE UNVEILING OF THE GRACE OF GOD
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Among the eight writers who participated in the unveiling of the divine revelation in the New Testament concerning the grace of God, three are particular, that is, John, Paul, and Peter.
IN JOHN’S WRITINGS
In the Unveiling of God the Father Being Life
in the Son as the Spirit to the Believers
In the unveiling of God the Father being life in the Son as the Spirit to the believers, John begins his writings with the grace which came with Christ in His incarnation (John 1:14-17) and ends with the grace as the consummation not only of his writings but also of the entire Scriptures. Revelation 22:21 is the last verse of the last chapter of the last book of the entire Bible. This verse says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” Thus, John’s writings begin with grace and end with grace.
Grace Being the Triune God in His Incarnation
to Be Dispensed to the Believers by the Father
as the Source, by the Son as the Element,
and by the Spirit as the Application
This indicates that in the accomplishment of His eternal economy, God commences it in His incarnation by coming to be a Man as the grace to the believers. God came in the way of incarnation to us as grace. Hence, grace is the Triune God in His incarnation to be dispensed to the believers by the Father as the source, by the Son as the element, and by the Spirit as the application (2 Corinthians 13:14). The source of grace, the element of grace, and the application of grace are of the three Persons of the Divine Trinity to be our everything.
So, in this dispensing of God, the grace is called the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 8:1; 9:14), the grace of Christ (2 Corinthians 8:9; 12:9; 13:14), and the grace of which the Spirit is (Hebrews 10:29). In the New Testament, phrases such as the grace of God, the love of God, or the light of God may be considered as appositional. In other words, the love of God means that the love is God. The light of God means that the light is God. The grace of God indicates that the grace is God and God is grace. Thus, grace is the Triune God by the Father as the source, by the Son as the element, and by the Spirit as the application.
We have to study all these new expressions. We need to consider why the Father is the source, the Son is the element, and the Spirit is the application. The source is the very origin of grace, the element is the grace itself, and the application is the element applied to us. These are terms we have to study and remember. Then when we visit people, we can share this with them. The very Triune God is grace to us by the Father as the source, by the Son as the element, and by the Spirit as the application. Now this grace becomes ours. Eventually, it becomes us. This grace makes us God in life and nature but not in the Godhead.
IN PETER’S WRITINGS
In his first Epistle Peter spoke concerning the grace of God in five aspects.
The Grace That Multiplies
Peter spoke of the grace that multiplies in the believers’ daily life in the full knowledge of God and of Jesus their Lord (1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2). In the full knowledge of God and the Lord, the one fold grace multiplies again and again. When a believer becomes mature in the divine life, he will enjoy a multiplication manifold. Grace is unlimited just as God is unlimited. When we were regenerated, we received God into us, but we had only a small amount of God. Gradually, as God increases within us through the years, we will be weighty with the measure of God. This is because God as grace has been increased in us.
The Grace of Life
Peter also spoke of the grace of life that is the inheritance of all the believers, whether strong or weak (1 Peter 3:7). Peter teaches the believing brothers to love and to sympathize with their wives because the wives as the weaker vessels are fellow heirs of the grace of life. The wives are weaker than the husbands, but both of them inherit the grace of life. This life is the Triune God Himself as our life, living in us to be our inheritance.
The Varied Grace of God
First Peter 4:10 speaks of the varied grace of God that indicates the riches of the grace of God in its varieties ministered by the saints to one another. You minister to me one variety of grace, and I minister to you another variety.
The All Grace
Peter spoke of the all grace by which God, who has called the believers into His eternal glory, perfects, establishes, strengthens, and grounds them through their sufferings (1 Peter 5:10). The all grace is the perfecting grace, establishing grace, strengthening grace, and grounding grace. God perfects, establishes, strengthens, and grounds us by grace through the channel of sufferings. Because of my weakness, nearly every day is a suffering day for me. But God has perfected, established, strengthened, and grounded me through sufferings.
The True Grace of God
Some kinds of so-called grace are untrue; they are false. In 1 Peter 5:12 there is the true grace of God that is the all grace of God in 1 Peter 5:10, into which the believers should enter and in which they should stand.
IN PAUL’S WRITINGS
The Grace for the Enablement of the Apostles
Romans 1:5 reveals that the grace of God is for the enablement of the apostles. No one in himself is able to be an apostle, but the grace of God enables certain believers to be apostles.
The Grace for the Believers’ Living
We live by grace. The grace for the believers’ living is spoken of in Romans 1:7 and in the beginning of all of Paul’s other Epistles except Hebrews. In our Christian living, our daily life, we need the grace. Everyone has a problem with his temper. No one can overcome his temper except by grace. Who can be humble? We are always proud. We can be humble only by grace. The Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9). “All sufficient grace! Never powerless!
When circumstances arise to cause us to react, we have to tell ourselves to be quiet, be slow, and wait. We should not say anything or express any kind of attitude for a short time. Then the grace of God will be applied to us, and we will spontaneously become humble. Who can control his loose speaking? Some people speak quickly all the time. It is impossible to control our tongue without grace. Proverbs speaks repeatedly about the taming of the tongue. If we can control our tongue, we can reduce ninety percent of our sinfulness. The tongue can never be controlled by us in our own strength. We need the grace of God for overcoming in all the details of our daily living.
The Grace by Which We Are Justified
Romans 3:24 speaks of the grace by which we are justified freely through the redemption in Christ Jesus. To be justified through Christ by God, we need the grace.
The Grace versus Wages
There is also the grace versus wages in God’s accounting for His justification of the believers. Romans 4:4 says that when God justifies us, He does not count on what we labor for or can do as a wage to account for His justification of us. Our justification is dependent upon His grace, not upon our labor, our work. If our justification were based upon works, it would be wages to us. Justification is not a wage but a grace.
The Grace for the Believers to Inherit the Promise of God
Romans 4:16 says that our inheritance is out of faith that it might be according to grace. Thus, grace is for the believers to inherit the promise of God, going along with faith.
The Grace into Which the Believers
Have Entered and in Which They Stand
We have entered into the grace, and we stand in it. Romans 5:2 says that through Christ “we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”
The Abounding Grace of God
Romans also speaks of the abounding grace of God in which is the free gift of Christ (Romans 5:15, 20; 6:1).
The Grace That Enables the Believers
to Reign (as a King) in Life
Romans 5:17 says that we can reign in life by grace. In these days we are speaking about being a God-man, about becoming God in life and in nature but not in the Godhead. To reign is to be God. In the whole universe who reigns? Who is the king? There is only one King. But we as the children of this one King can also reign in His life. Since we reign as God does, by reigning in life we become the very God in life and in nature but not in the Godhead. God reigns and we reign.
To reign is to conquer, subdue, and rule over Satan, the world, sin, the flesh, ourselves, and all the environmental circumstances. In Romans Chapter 8 Paul says this: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (v. 35). Then he says, “We more than conquer through Him who loved us” (v. 37). Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, because we are more than conquerors over all the troubles in our environment.
It may be easy for people to rule over their dogs. Dogs can be very obedient. But what about our own children? Children are not as obedient as dogs. Children learn to say no before they say many other words. The main word that comes out of young children is “No!” How can we be kings when we cannot rule our children in the divine life? We believers who are parents must exercise ourselves to learn how to be kings in ruling our children. We must have grace to rule our children. We also have to rule over the sin within us, to rule over Satan, and to rule over the world. We should not let the world’s fashion conquer us. Instead, we should conquer all things and reign in life by grace.
The Grace That Reigns
Romans 5:21 speaks of the grace that may reign through righteousness unto eternal life. Romans 5:17 says that we reign by the grace in life, while verse Romans 5:21 says that grace reigns unto eternal life. That means grace reigns over us and over everything so that we can enjoy the eternal life. Unto means “for.” Grace reigns for the eternal life. This means that we may gain the eternal life for our enjoyment.
The Grace That Constitutes
the Dispensation of the New Testament
Romans 6:14 and 15 speak of the grace that constitutes the dispensation of the New Testament, which is separated from the dispensation of the law of the Old Testament, and under which the believers are to overcome sin’s lording it over them. Paul says in these verses that we are not under law but under grace. This means we are not in the dispensation of the law but in the dispensation of grace. Because we are under grace, we have to overcome our sin.
The Grace by Which God Selected His People
and Which Is versus Works
God’s selection is by grace, not by works (Romans 11:5-6). If it is by works, it is no more by grace. Jacob is a good example of God’s selection (Romans 9:10-13). God selected Jacob, who was the twin of Esau. They were both sons of Isaac. God said that He loved Jacob, but hated Esau. Jacob cheated his father, his brother, and his uncle Laban. He was a supplanter, a cunning one, but God selected him by God’s grace, not by Jacob’s works.
The Grace by Which the Apostles
Carried Out Their Ministry
No one can do the works of an apostle in himself. But by grace, the apostles carried out their ministry (Romans 12:3; 15:15).
The Grace according to Which
the Gifts Are Distributed to the Believers
Romans 12:6 reveals the grace according to which the gifts are distributed to the believers; hence, grace is the basis of the gifts. On the one hand, Romans 12:6 says that the gifts differ according to the grace. Grace produces and supplies the gifts. On the other hand, Ephesians 4:7 says that the grace is according to the gift (the gifted person). This means that grace is according to the measure of the gift. The measure of the gift is the size of a member of the Body of Christ. This is similar to our blood supplying the members of our body according to their size. The shoulder receives more blood supply than the little finger. Paul was like a big shoulder that receives more blood supply; he was a big member of the Body of Christ, so he received more grace.
The Grace Which Is the Enjoyment of God
by the Believers, under Whose Feet
God Will Crush Satan
Romans 16:20 says, “Now the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” If there is no grace with us, God has no way to crush Satan under our feet. We must enjoy the grace of God; that gives God the ground to crush Satan!
Verses and footnotes are taken from The Recovery Version of the Holy Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee, Crystallization-Study of the Epistle to the Romans, Message 19, The Grace of God. 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