WORLD GOSPEL KINGDOM TRACTS
Unlocking the Mystery of Human Life
Crystallization of the Epistle to the Romans
The Grace of God
Prayer: Lord, we believe that this message is of You as grace to us. We look unto You to make everything in this message grace. Our sharing and prophesying all would be grace. Cover us, Lord, against the enemy. You know in all these days we are in a struggle with the enemy about the release of the crystallization of Your Word. Lord, fight for Your truth, fight for us, and fight the enemy to the uttermost. Bind him and destroy him. He is the defeated foe who was defeated and destroyed on the Cross. Lord, even rebuke him every day for us and destroy all his power of darkness, the evil spirits and the demons. We hide ourselves in You. Give us the word of grace to speak Your grace. We want the reality, and we know the reality of this grace as the processed and consummated Triune God is the all-inclusive Spirit as God’s consummation. Be with us in everything as this life-giving Spirit! Amen.
We have seen that John’s writings begin and end with the grace of God. John shows that when God became incarnated, that was grace coming. John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh, full of grace. Then verse 17 says that the law was given through Moses but grace came. This grace in John 1:17 is personified. Grace came when God came to be a Man. John’s writings end with grace as the consummation of the entire Scriptures (Revelation 22:21).
After covering so many items of grace, we can see that in the New Testament, for the fulfilling of God’s economy, God was processed and consummated to become everything to His chosen people. We are nothing, and He is everything. We who come forward to God must believe that God is and we are not (Hebrews 11:6). The first three commandments of the Ten Commandments are concerning God Himself (Exodus 20:1-7). The fourth commandment is concerning keeping the Sabbath (v. 8). This indicates that if we are going to receive God as everything, we must stop our work, that is, we must keep the Sabbath. The entire New Testament time is a Sabbath. The Sabbath means that God is everything, does everything, and gives everything, and man has to stop. Do not do anything, be anything, or give anything. Just receive God as everything.
In the last message we covered grace in the writings of John, in the writings of Peter, and we saw fourteen items concerning grace in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Now we want to see more items of grace in Paul’s Epistles to the Corinthians.
The Grace That Was Given
to the Corinthian Believers
First Corinthians 1:4 speaks of the grace that was given to the Corinthian believers based upon which the apostle thanked God. Paul thanked God for the grace given to them. It is the general habit of most Bible readers to take what they read in the Bible for granted. We may have read 1 Corinthians 1:4 in this way, but we need to see that Paul’s mentioning of grace here is very significant. Since this word is in verse 4 of the first chapter of 1 Corinthians, grace must be the central subject of the book.
The Brethren pointed out that 1 Corinthians solves eleven problems. They thought that 1 Corinthians was a problem-solving book. But Paul said in 1:4, “I thank my God always concerning you based upon the grace of God which was given to you in Christ Jesus.” In verse 9 he said that God has called us into the fellowship of His Son. This means that God has called us to participate in, or to partake of, the Son. The fellowship, the enjoyment, the participation in, and the partaking of Christ are grace. In verse 7 Paul told the Corinthians that they did not lack in any gift. To have all the gifts is the issue of grace.
The Grace That God Gave to Paul
Which Made Him a Wise Master Builder
Paul received grace not only to make him an apostle but also to make him a wise master builder (1 Corinthians 3:10). Paul received all the points concerning the building from God. That was of God’s grace, which is God Himself. It was God Himself who made Paul the apostle and the wise master builder. In the Old Testament, God showed Moses the design of the tabernacle and David the design of the temple. In the New Testament, for the building up of the church, God gave the plan to Paul. We can say this because among all the writers of the New Testament, the Body of Christ is mentioned only by Paul (Ephesians 1:23; Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12). Paul saw something particular. He saw that the building of God in the whole universe for the accomplishment of His eternal economy is a Body. This revelation is so high! This Body is constructed with God’s elect as the framework and with God as the contents—the Father as the source, the Son as the element, and the Spirit as the essence (Ephesians 4:4-6).
The real building work of this Body of Christ is the Body’s growth (Ephesians 4:15-16). The Body of Christ is not built in an organizational way but in the way of growth. When a child is born, he is very small, but after many years he may become very big and tall. His growth is what built him up. Only Paul touched this matter because he was the master builder. He knew the design of God’s building, so we have to come to him to receive this revelation. The design he saw is fully shown part by part throughout his fourteen Epistles. We have to pick up all these parts and put them together, just like putting the parts of a jigsaw puzzle together, to give us the proper picture.
The Grace That Made Paul an Apostle
Who Labored More Abundantly
Than All the Other Apostles
In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace unto me did not turn out to be in vain, but, on the contrary, I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I but the grace of God which is with me.” This shows the grace that made Paul an apostle who labored more abundantly than all the other apostles; such a grace was God Himself working through the apostle. “Not I but the grace of God” equals “no longer I...but...Christ” in Galatians 2:20. This shows that Christ Himself is the grace of God. We all have to declare that in our labor it is not us, but the grace of God with us.
The Grace Which Is the Lord Jesus Christ
Himself and Which Is Always with All the Believers
The closing word of 1 Corinthians 16:23 is: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you”. This indicates that grace has brought all of us in and grace has built all of us together. The brothers who are trainers and co-workers in our full-time training in Anaheim were brought together by the Lord’s grace. The Lord’s recovery has spread to all the continents. All the churches from these continents invite brothers to go out from Anaheim. It seems that every place looks to Anaheim. The only thing we in Anaheim can look to is the Lord’s grace. We are nothing, but He is everything. Grace is everything. No one can bear such a burden as we are bearing here in Anaheim for the full-time training, for the churches in our area, and for the Lord’s work everywhere. We need Christ as the all-sufficient grace. This grace is going out, working, and building up God’s desire, that is, the Body of Christ to be consummated in the New Jerusalem.
When God created the old creation with Adam, He said, “Very good” (Genesis 1:31). But when our God sees the New Jerusalem, He may jump up and say, “Hallelujah, very, very good! It’s excellent!” The New Jerusalem is the enlargement of God. This city is the produce of God, who has been processed and consummated. The only One who can work this out is God Himself as grace to be everything to us.
The Grace by Which the Apostles
Conducted Themselves in the World
In 2 Corinthians 1:12 Paul said, “For our boasting is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in singleness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and more abundantly toward you.” We should not think that we need grace only to go to work. We need grace in the way that we conduct ourselves all the time. People in the worldly society always play politics, but we cannot do this. We must conduct ourselves by singleness and sincerity. We must be so simple, so strict. When we say yes, we mean yes. When we say no, we mean no. Also, we do not conduct ourselves by man’s fleshly wisdom. In today’s world people always do things by their wisdom. But the apostles conducted themselves not by human wisdom but by the grace of God.
When I came into the work in 1933, the Lord impressed me to learn to be single and sincere and not to play any politics among the co-workers or encounter anything by my wisdom. This is what it means to conduct ourselves by God’s grace. By God’s grace means by God. We should conduct ourselves by the processed, consummated God as the life-giving Spirit. This is why Paul said we must do everything according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25; Romans 8:4). This is to conduct ourselves by the processed God as the Spirit, who is the very grace.
The Apostle Paul’s Visitation
to the Corinthian Believers Being Considered
as Grace, Which Is God Himself
Paul told the Corinthians that his coming to them a second time was so that they would have a second grace, a double grace (2 Corinthians 1:15). All of the co-workers have to realize that their going to a certain place must be a grace. Your visitation is a grace because you bring God there. You bring God there because you are God there in life and nature but not in the Godhead. If you go to a place as Judas, who betrayed Christ, that would mean that your visitation is evil. When we go to visit any place, we should not exercise our wisdom; we should conduct ourselves only in singleness and sincerity by the grace of God. Then we can be assured that our going is a grace, and this grace is God.
The Grace Which Abounded through
the Greater Number, Causing the Thanksgiving
to Abound to the Glory of God
Second Corinthians 4:15 says, “For all things are for your sakes that the grace which has abounded through the greater number may cause the thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.” We want to see the increase, because the grace abounds and is more greatly manifested through a greater number. With only ten saints, the abounding grace cannot be manifested so much and the thanksgiving cannot abound. When the number is greater, the grace is manifested more and the thanksgiving for the grace is abounding to the glory of God. The increase in number should not be our boast. It is for the increase of the grace to produce the increase and the abounding thanksgiving to God, to the glory of God.
The Grace Which the Believers
Should Not Receive in Vain
In 2 Corinthians 6:1 Paul entreated the believers not to receive God’s grace in vain. Not to receive the grace of God in vain, according to the context, means not to remain in any condition that is a distraction from God, but to be brought back to Him. It is wrong to have the presence of God and to enjoy God in vain.
The Surpassing Grace of God
Given to the Macedonian Churches
Second Corinthians reveals the surpassing grace of God given to the Macedonian churches by God, which was the cause of their liberality in giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-2; 9:14). The Macedonians were very poor. They were constrained financially, but when they heard that the Jewish brothers in Palestine lacked food and clothing, they gave with liberality. The surpassing grace caused them to have the liberality. Thus, their liberality was a grace and an expression of God.
The Grace That Became the Fellowship
of the Macedonian Churches to Minister
to the Need of the Saints
Second Corinthians 8:4 speaks of “the grace and the fellowship of the ministry to the saints.” This grace became the fellowship of the Macedonian churches in giving, the fellowship in liberality, to minister to the need of the saints. To send the material supply from Greece to Palestine at Paul’s time, close to two thousand years ago, was not an easy thing. It may have taken over two months for this supply to arrive by ship. Also, it took a number of months for Paul’s letters to reach those to whom he wrote. For them to reply to his letters took even longer. Today it is much different. We can use fax machines to send people letters immediately and get an immediate response from them. The co-workers in Moscow fellowship with me quite often in this way. But even in Paul’s “awkward” age, in which transportation and communication were slow and inconvenient, the Macedonians, under the apostle Paul’s leading, ministered to the need of the distant saints. That grace became a fellowship. Because of the modern conveniences which we enjoy today, our liberality must be a “quicker” grace.
The Grace That Is a Business in Which
All the Believers Should Participate
for Its Accomplishment
Grace is a business in which all the believers should participate for its accomplishment (2 Corinthians 8:6-7). Today there should be traffic, fellowship, among all the local churches on earth. This is the fellowship of the Body of Christ, and this is “international trade.” This is a business. Nearly every day I receive letters by fax from different directions. A kind of business is going on, a business of grace. This is an international trade of grace. Grace first becomes the fellowship, and the fellowship, the traffic, becomes a business. This is the busiest international trade.
When I receive letters from the brothers, this is the grace incarnated to be the business, and this incarnation is God. When the fax letters come to me from the brothers, that means God comes. Paul went to a place to visit and that was grace. So when the brothers send me letters, that means they come to visit me by letters. That is also grace; that is fellowship; that is business.
The Grace That Is
the Lord Jesus Christ’s Becoming Poor
That the Believers May Become Rich
Second Corinthians 8:9 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, for your sakes He became poor in order that you, because of His poverty, might become rich.” By becoming poor, Christ gave Himself to us to be our riches. If He had never lived in Nazareth in that poor environment to be a poor carpenter, how could He be our riches? This is all grace. Grace means “God is everything, God does everything, God gives everything.” What do we have, that we have not received? We have received everything. We receive grace upon grace, and this grace is God Himself.
The All Grace Which God Causes
to Abound unto the Believers
Second Corinthians 9:8 speaks of the all grace which God causes to abound unto the believers that, in everything always having all sufficiency, they may abound unto every good work. This grace is God.
The Sufficient Grace of Christ
to the Apostle Paul
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we see the sufficient grace of Christ to the apostle Paul as the power of Christ that was perfected in weakness and that overshadowed the apostle. God gave the apostle Paul many high revelations, so God was concerned for him that he might be proud in receiving these many revelations. God had even brought him to the third heaven and to Paradise to hear unspeakable words, which it was not allowed for a man to speak (vv. 2-4). So God gave him a thorn, which was a messenger of Satan, an evil spirit, to buffet him all the time (v. 7). Paul prayed three times for the thorn to be removed, but the Lord would not remove it. Instead, He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (vv. 8-9). No one could bear such a thorn, but the Lord’s grace could. This all-sufficient grace became the power to sustain and support Paul. It also overshadowed him, tabernacled over him, to protect and cover him. Thus, the all-sufficient grace does two things. First, it supports, sustains, and strengthens us positively; this is offensive. Second, it covers and protects us; this is defensive. This all-sufficient grace is Christ, and Christ is the processed, consummated Triune God to be the Spirit. Christ as the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45b). We revised the chorus of Hymn to read: “All sufficient grace! / Never powerless! / It is Christ who lives in me, / In His exhaustlessness.”
The Grace of the Lord Jesus, of Which
the Love of God Is the Source and the Fellowship
of the Holy Spirit Is the Application
Second Corinthians 13:14 says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Grace is the Triune God becoming our enjoyment. The source of this grace is God; the element of this grace is Christ; and this grace being applied to us and reaching us is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the Third of the Divine Trinity.
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 20, 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