WORLD GOSPEL KINGDOM TRACTS
Unlocking the Mystery of Human Life
Crystallization of the Epistle to the Romans
The Grace of God
Prayer: Lord, we still look unto You. Only You know how much we need You. We need You to know Your holy Word. We do not want to know it just according to the dead letters. We want to know it according to Yourself as the Spirit. Lord, we are here again to cover twenty items of Your grace in six books. How much could we say, and what should we say? We look unto You. Lord, we have to confess that we still have shortcomings and mistakes. O Lord, forgive us. We are still quite contaminated. We need Your cleansing. Forgive us and cleanse us that we might be kept in the fellowship with You. Lord, we pray that the entire meeting would be a fellowship in the fellowship of God. Be with each one of us. Speak the same word, yet meet the particular need of all the saints. Amen.
In this message we want to continue our fellowship on the grace of God. Grace is covered throughout the New Testament, but the same word grace differs in its meaning according to the book in which it is mentioned. The grace in Galatians is different from the grace in Ephesians. This is because every book has its background and its goal. Grace in a certain book is used for that book’s particular background and goal. We may say that we already know that grace is God becoming our enjoyment, but this is inadequate. This is a self-deceiving satisfaction. We must realize that the Word of God is deep, especially the word grace. In order for us to know what grace is in each book, we must get into the background and the goal of that book. In Romans grace is used with a different denotation in every chapter.
In this message we will cover twenty more points concerning the grace of God in six books: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and the two Thessalonians. Nearly every point needs a conference to be covered thoroughly. Because we do not have that much time, the only way we can take is to share the principles. We have to spend some time to get into the depths of the Word by keeping the principles.
The Grace of Christ by Which God Called
the Galatian Believers to the Gospel
according to God’s Economy
Galatians 1:6 speaks of the grace of Christ by which God called the Galatian believers to the gospel according to God’s economy. The grace is of Christ; the calling is by God to the gospel. In order to know grace here, we have to know the entire book of Galatians. The entire book of Galatians shows us that the Galatians were under the law in the dispensation of law. One day a man sent by God sounded the trumpet to call the Galatians out of the law’s bondage to the gospel according to God’s economy. This means grace in Galatians is for the believers to be built up in God’s economy. This building up is to bring the believers out of bondage into the freedom of the gospel.
The Grace through Which
God Called the Apostle Paul
God called the Galatians and He called the apostle Paul through the grace (Galatians 1:15). This means that God called the apostle to minister His economy to the Galatians to call them out. The called one ministered grace to many called ones. Grace simply means that God comes in to replace man. Law is man doing everything to replace God. The law means man comes in and God is out. Grace means God comes in and man is out. Man must keep the Sabbath. God worked six days for man’s enjoyment. Now there is no need for man to do anything but enjoy. This is grace! Grace is God coming in to replace man. This corresponds with Hebrews 11:6, which reveals that we are to believe that God is and we are not. This is grace!
In one sense, we who have been graced do not need to do anything. But in another sense, we have to cooperate with God and coordinate with God. We have become one with God. God lives in us and with us. We live in God and with God. God initiates everything. Now we should just cooperate with Him. We do not need to do anything. Instead, we must learn all the time to cooperate and coordinate with the Triune God. He does everything for the accomplishment of His economy to bring us out of the negative things and into the positive things that we may become the members of Christ and the God-men.
The Grace That Was Given to the Apostle Paul
and Realized by James, Cephas, and John
Grace was given to the apostle Paul, and this grace differed from the grace given to James, Cephas, and John (Galatians 2:9). Peter’s two Epistles are a total of only eight chapters. I love his writing, especially the first four verses of 2 Peter 1. But regardless of how marvelous Peter’s writings are, they are not as mysterious in the Divine Trinity as John’s writings are. In John 14—16 we see the mystery of the Triune God building Himself into His believers to make His believers His house, the vine tree, and the new man. Eventually, John saw the big mystery of the New Jerusalem, which became the conclusion of the Bible. Although John saw these marvelous and mysterious things, he was not as complete, as perfect, as Paul was. Paul was the most complete, perfect, apostle.
If Paul’s fourteen Epistles were taken away from the Bible, not much would be left. John, Peter, and James did not use the term the Body of Christ. Only Paul spoke of the Body. The Body of Christ is the center, the reality, and the goal of God’s economy. Grace was given to Paul in carrying out God’s New Testament economy, which was much different from the grace given to James, and which was much greater, higher, and deeper than the grace given to Peter and John.
James, Peter, and John realized the grace given to Paul. This is why Peter deeply recommended Paul to the believers in 2 Peter 3:15-16. This shows that the grace given to you and me can be seen and realized by others. Grace is God coming in to replace man. This grace comes to one person in one sense and to another person in another sense.
The Grace through Which Paul Was Justified
Paul said that he was justified by the grace of God, not by the law (Galatians 2:21). He was justified by believing in Christ, not by carrying out the law, so he said that he would not nullify the grace of God. In Galatians two words are very negative. One is that we can nullify God’s grace, making God’s grace of no effect. Another is that we can be fallen from grace (5:4). Many today are not fallen from grace but are nullifying grace. You may say, “I am still in the church life. At least I go to the meeting once a week. I am still remaining in grace.” But you have nullified grace. No one can see grace upon you in an effective way. Paul said that he was justified by grace and that he did not nullify the grace he had received in Christ.
The Grace from Which
the Galatian Believers Had Fallen
The Galatian believers fell from grace because they went back to the law for their justification (Galatians 5:4). They wanted to be justified by their keeping of the law. By doing this, they fell away from the grace.
The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
Which Was in the Spirit of the Galatian
Believers for Their Remaining in
God’s New Testament Economy
Galatians 6:18 says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” Paul closed the book of Galatians in this way because the Galatians forgot about the indwelling Spirit. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is the bountiful supply of the Triune God (who is embodied in the Son and realized as the life-giving Spirit) enjoyed by us through the exercise of our human spirit. Paul, in his conclusion, reminded the believers in Galatia that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ was in their spirit. Grace is not objective but very subjective. Grace is in our spirit for our remaining in God’s New Testament economy. If we fall away from grace, we have nothing to do with God’s New Testament economy. Grace nearly equals the New Testament economy of God, just as the law nearly equals the Old Testament economy of God.
The Rich Grace of God
with Which He Graced the Believers
Ephesians 1:6 and 7 speak of the rich grace of God with which God graced us, the believers, in three main things: in choosing us, predestinating us, and redeeming us. Of course, these three things issued in a big result. God’s choosing, predestinating, and His redeeming in Christ produced the Body of Christ (vv. 22-23). These three things are in the first part of the first chapter of Ephesians. But from the second part of the first chapter of Ephesians to the last chapter, the big issue of these three items is the Body of Christ.
The Grace by Which the Believers Have Been
Saved through the Death and Resurrection
of Christ and of Which the Surpassing Riches
Might Be Displayed in the Ages to Come
Ephesians 2:5-8 speaks of the grace by which the believers have been saved through the death and resurrection of Christ and of which the surpassing riches might be displayed in the ages to come. This rich grace will be for the display, the exhibition, in eternity. In other words, the New Jerusalem will be a big show, a big exhibition, to display the rich grace of God, which has done everything to produce the New Jerusalem.
The Grace of Which the Apostle Paul
Was Given the Stewardship by God to Carry Out
His New Testament Economy in Christ
Paul was given the stewardship of the grace of God to carry out God’s New Testament economy in Christ (Ephesians 3:2, 7-9). The stewardship is the service of a steward, who is a family servant. With Paul the stewardship from God became very great. The stewardship of the grace is for the dispensing of the grace of God to His chosen people for the producing and building up of the church. The grace came upon the apostle Paul, making Paul one who knew that God does everything to replace man. Even though Paul labored more than all the apostles, he said that it was not him but the grace. This was his stewardship for the accomplishment of the economy of God in Christ.
The Grace Which Is Given to the Believers
according to What Kind of Gifts (Gifted Persons)
They Are in the Body of Christ
Ephesians 4:7 says, “To each one of us grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” The gift here refers to a gifted person. The measure of the gift of Christ is the size of a member of His Body. Paul was a big gifted person, a big member, so the grace he received was big. This may be likened to the members of our physical body receiving more or less of the blood supply based upon their size. Our shoulder and little finger receive the same blood, but the shoulder receives more blood than our little finger does.
Romans 12:6 says that the gifts differ according to the grace. On the one hand, the size of the gifted persons determines how much grace is given. On the other hand, the gift is according to the grace because the grace produces and supplies the gifts. The more you grow, the more grace you have and the more gift you have. As we grow in grace, our gifts are developed. This is why the gifts are according to the grace. They come out of the grace. In Ephesians the grace is given according to the gift; the grace will be given to you according to what kind of member you are.
The Grace concerning the Entire Salvation
of Christ Which Is Ministered to Others out of
the Believers’ Mouth in Their Common Talk
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, according to the need, that it may give grace to those who hear.” This grace is concerning the entire salvation of Christ, which is ministered to others out of our mouth, even our common talk. We must admit that in our daily life we do not minister much grace to others in our speaking. We must learn not to speak wasted words. Instead, every word should minister the grace of God as a part of the entire salvation of God.
The Grace That Is with Those
Who Love the Lord in Incorruptibility
Ephesians 6:24 says, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptibility.” This is a hard phrase for us to understand in the Bible. We may say that we love the Lord, but our love may be merely in our emotion, in our likes and dislikes. Much of what we like and dislike is corrupt. There is no incorruptibility in our emotion.
Incorruptibility in Ephesians 6 refers to all the crucial items in the foregoing chapters. In chapter one are the choosing and predestinating of the Father, the redemption of the Son, the sealing of the Spirit, and the Body of Christ. In chapter two there is the new man. In chapter three there is Christ’s making His home in our hearts unto the fullness of God. In chapter four there are the building up of the Body, the oneness of the Body, the framework of the Body, and the Triune God as the contents of the Body. In chapter five there is the church as the wife of Christ, and in chapter six there is the church as God’s warrior with the full armor of God. All these positive things mentioned in the six chapters of Ephesians are incorruptible. We should love the Lord Jesus according to all the incorruptible items mentioned in the six chapters of Ephesians. Our love for the Lord should not be merely according to our emotion. Instead, we must love the Lord in the divine, heavenly, and spiritual realities.
The Grace of Which the Philippian Believers
Were Partakers with the Apostle Paul
Both in His Bonds and in His Defense
and Confirmation of the Gospel
In Philippians 1:7 Paul said that the Philippians shared his grace in his bonds and in his defense and confirmation of the gospel. This is because they cooperated with Paul, and they were his partners in grace.
The Grace Which Was with the Spirit
of the Philippian Believers
Philippians 4:23 speaks of the grace which was with the spirit of the Philippian believers in their experiences of Christ when the church was under persecution. When the church was under persecution, the Philippian believers kept on experiencing Christ by the Spirit within them, and that Spirit was the grace. The grace with the spirit of the Philippian believers was the Spirit. We have the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ to experience Christ and to magnify Christ, regardless of how much persecution there is toward the church.
The Grace Which the Colossian Believers
Heard and Knew in Truth
Colossians 1:6 speaks of the Colossian believers’ hearing and knowing the grace of God in truth. When the Colossian believers heard the gospel, they knew the grace in truth. This grace is the very God distributed and dispensed to us for our possession and enjoyment.
The Grace Which the Apostle Paul
Exhorted the Believers in Colossae
to Sing with in Their Hearts
In Colossians 3:16 Paul exhorted the believers in Colossae to sing with grace in their hearts when the word of Christ dwelt in them richly in all wisdom by their teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. We are short in our experience of Christ because we do not sing that much with grace in our hearts. We do not have much experience of teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Mostly we sing only when we come together. We need to sing in our daily life. Perhaps a wife could sing to her husband, “All sufficient grace! / Never powerless! / It is Christ who lives in me, / In His exhaustlessness” Hymn. Then the husband can sing another chorus. If a husband says to his wife, “Dear, you should not give your long face to me so many times every day” the wife may say, “Then you should not come back home so late every day!” Instead of speaking in this corrupt way, the husbands and wives should sing and minister grace to each other.
The Grace with Which the Believers’ Speech
Should Always Be, Seasoned with Salt, That They
May Know How They Ought to Answer Each One
Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” This lesson is a big one. You may say the same thing, but your tone and way may be different. If you say something to your wife in the wrong tone and way, you will offend her. If you say the same thing in another kind of tone and way, you will show love to your wife. This is to speak wisdom and grace. The grace here is the salt. Salt makes food agreeable and pleasant to the taste. Speech seasoned with salt keeps us at peace with one another (Mark 9:50).
The Grace That Kept the Thessalonian Saints
Sanctified Wholly and Preserved Complete
in Their Spirit, Soul, and Body
First Thessalonians 5:23-28 reveals the grace that sanctifies us wholly and preserves us complete in our spirit, soul, and body. Such a sanctification is grace.
The Grace according to Which the Name of
the Lord Jesus Was Glorified in the Thessalonian
Saints and They Were Glorified in Him
When the name of the Lord Jesus is glorified in us according to the grace, we also are glorified (2 Thessalonians 1:12). This should be done by God coming in to replace us. Many times our words did not glorify Christ, so His name was not glorified in us and we were not glorified. We have to say something to glorify the name of the Lord, and at the same time to glorify ourselves. This can be done only by the grace, which is God coming in to replace us.
The Grace in Which the Lord Jesus Christ
and God the Father Loved the Thessalonian
Saints and Gave Them Eternal Comfort and Good
Hope and Would Comfort Their Hearts and
Establish Them in Every Good Work and Word
Second Thessalonians 2:16 and 17 say, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope in grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good work and word.” By reading the apostles’ writings, especially Paul’s writings, we can see that a proper God-man lives in everything by God Himself coming in to replace him. We must do everything by grace, and grace is God coming in to replace us. If your wife asks you, “Dear, why did you come home so late?” do not answer right away. You have to look to the Lord by praying, “Lord, You give me the word for my wife.” Paul’s word in 2 Thessalonians 2:16 and 17 means that we have to live, to have our being, all the time by grace, by letting God come in to replace us.
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 21, 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