WORLD GOSPEL KINGDOM TRACTS
Unlocking the Mystery of Human Life
Crystallization of the Epistle to the Romans
The Grace of God
Prayer: Lord, we thank You. What an enjoyment it is that we can come together to study what You are as grace. Lord, You know that we do not have the utterance. In our natural language there is not this kind of utterance. Lord, give us the utterance. We look unto You. Even, Lord, for us to listen, we need You. We need You as our understanding. Have mercy upon us. We should not think that grace is a term known to everybody. We have to realize that hardly any of us fully understands what grace is. O Lord Jesus, help us in this matter. We cannot take Your Word for granted. We have to get into it. Lord, we are crystallizing the grace of God in the book of Romans. We need Your utterance. We need Your speaking in our speaking. Be one spirit with us. Amen.
Our general subject is the crystallization of the gospel of God in the Epistle to the Romans. We have studied the verses concerning grace in Romans. Then we have gone on to see more concerning grace in Paul’s Epistles from 1 Corinthians through 2 Thessalonians. Now we want to see the grace of God from 1 Timothy through Hebrews.
We may wonder why we are considering grace in other books of the New Testament, since we are on the crystallization-study of the book of Romans. This is because although all the writers of the New Testament touch the grace of God, except Matthew and Mark, Romans is the center and the framework of God’s grace. It is in Romans that we are told grace is God personified. Romans 5:21 says that grace reigns, and this grace is God. The same verse says that sin reigns. Sin is Satan personified. Sin is an evil person, Satan, and this personified Satan reigns. Now God also reigns in His personification of grace. Romans 5:21 says that grace reigns unto eternal life. The New Jerusalem is grace reigning. Grace as God will reign in the New Jerusalem, so the New Jerusalem is the consummation of God reigning as grace.
The New Testament is a history of grace as God moving and living in and among the believers. The Jews and Muslims think that they understand God, but they do not really know Him. Even though you read the Bible many times, you still cannot fully know God until you get the crystallization of the New Testament. Who can know God to the depths of what He is without knowing the crystallization of the important items in the New Testament? The New Testament shows us that grace first is God conceived in Mary. God came to Mary in visitation as grace, which was the very factor of Mary’s conception of the incarnated God. She found this grace (Luke 1:28, 30). If we do not know all the verses concerning grace in the New Testament in a crystallized sense, we cannot know God in a complete way. The greatest help that the full-time trainees receive is in knowing God. In these messages we are seeing and being perfected to know God as grace.
The Grace of the Lord Which Superabounded
with Faith and Love in Christ
If there were no grace of God, none of us could have faith and love in Christ. It is a wonder that we can believe in Jesus and love Him whom we have never seen. If we were threatened and persecuted unto martyrdom, we still could not deny that we believe in Jesus and love Him. This is a result of superabounding grace. It is not a small thing for a sinner to believe in Christ and to continue in loving Him. Many clever and wise people have been convinced, subdued, and eventually caught by the Lord’s superabounding grace. One day when John Nelson Darby was over eighty years old, he stayed overnight in a hotel. Before going to sleep, he said, “Lord Jesus, I love You.” This story nearly brought me to tears. It is marvelous that an old man, staying in a hotel, would say, “Lord Jesus, I love You.” To love Jesus is a wonder. To love Jesus is a miracle of the superabounding grace.
The Lord’s grace superabounded with faith and love in Christ to the apostle Paul for his dynamic and excellent salvation that he might be one of the greatest apostles (1 Timothy 1:14). According to Paul’s history in the New Testament, he was Saul of Tarsus, a strong and very knowledgeable person opposing Jesus. One day he changed from opposing to believing and loving. This was because the grace of the Lord was superabounding to him to make him an apostle. The three “T” books—1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus—are on the apostleship, and an apostle is produced by the superabounding grace of the Lord.
The Grace with Timothy That Enabled Him
to Guard the Deposit and Turn Away
from Profane, Vain Babblings and Antitheses
of What Was Falsely Called Knowledge,
Not Misaiming concerning the Faith
First Timothy 6:20 and 21 speak of the grace with Timothy that enabled him to guard the deposit. Timothy had received the deposit of God’s grace, mainly through Paul and his teaching. Something had been deposited into Timothy. Now Timothy needed to guard it by the grace.
By this grace he was also enabled to turn away from profane and vain babblings and antitheses of what was falsely called knowledge. The words antithesis and knowledge were used by Paul to describe the Gnostic teachings. The Gnostics thought they were men of wisdom. They tried to convince people by antithesis, that is, by contrasting and comparing two things. At Paul’s time the Gnostic teachings in the way of antitheses were prevailing. They called that their knowledge, but Paul said it was falsely called knowledge. This took away some believers. This is why Paul charged Timothy to turn away from this knowledge of the Gnostics’ antitheses, not misaiming concerning the faith.
The Grace according to Which God Had
Saved the Apostles and Called Them with a Holy
Calling and Which Was Given to Them in
Christ Jesus before the Times of the Ages
Second Timothy 1:9 says that grace was given to the apostles before the times of the ages. It was the same with us. Ephesians 1 says that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (v. 4). Before the times of the ages, God chose and predestinated us, so we received grace then.
The Grace Which Is in Christ Jesus
and in Which Timothy, One of the Younger
Co-workers of the Apostle Paul, Was Empowered
in the Degradation of the Church
In 2 Timothy 2:1 Paul told Timothy, “You therefore, my child, be empowered in the grace which is in Christ Jesus.” While the church was degrading, Timothy was empowered to stand against that degradation. He could do this by the grace which is in Christ Jesus.
The Grace Which Was with Timothy
through the Lord in His Spirit
Second Timothy 4:22, the last verse of 2 Timothy, says, “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” First, we must have the Lord in our spirit. Then we have grace. Grace is not in our mind, emotion, or will but in our spirit where the Lord Jesus is. Actually the Lord and grace are one. Grace is the Lord personified.
The Grace of God Which Has Appeared
to Bring Salvation to All Men
Titus 2:11-13 speaks of the grace of God which has appeared to bring salvation to all men, training us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in the present age, awaiting the blessed hope, even the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Soberly is toward ourselves; righteously, toward others; and godly, toward God. We have to be sober people. Actually, the worldly people are drunk. They are not sober, but foolish. Before we were saved, we did things foolishly, but now we have become sober toward ourselves. Only those who live by God as grace can deny ungodliness and worldly lusts to live a life of soberness, righteousness, and godliness in this age. We live such a life while we are awaiting the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our great God and our Savior.
The Grace of God by Which We Have Been
Justified That We Might Become Heirs
according to the Hope of Eternal Life
God justified us by His grace that we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7).
The Grace Which Was with the Believers
Who Loved the Apostles in Faith
Even to love the apostles in faith, we need the grace (Titus 3:15).
The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
Which Was in Philemon’s Spirit Enabling
Him to Receive Onesimus, Who Was
His Escaped Slave, as a Brother
Philemon had the grace of the Lord in his spirit, and this grace enabled him to receive Onesimus, his escaped slave, as a brother (Philemon 25). In ancient times there were the ranks of master and slave, but Philemon’s escaped slave was saved through Paul. Paul sent him back as a brother to his master. Ordinarily, a runaway slave would have been put to death, but Paul entreated Philemon to receive his escaped slave as a brother. This needed grace. From that time on these two were brothers, not master and slave.
The Grace of God by Which Christ Tasted
Death on Behalf of Everything (Every Man)
By the grace of God, Christ tasted death for everything, that is, for every person (Hebrews 2:9).
The Grace That Is Found for Timely
Help by the Believers Who Come
Forward to the Throne of Grace
When the believers come to the throne of grace, they receive grace as their timely help (Hebrews 4:16). We all have to receive such grace by coming forward to the throne of grace.
The Grace of Which the Spirit Is
and with Which the Spirit Worked within
the Staggering Hebrew Believers, Who Were
Insulting the Spirit by Shrinking Back to Their
Judaism from God’s New Testament Salvation
Hebrews 10:29 says, “By how much do you think he will be thought worthy of worse punishment who has trampled underfoot the Son of God and has considered the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and has insulted the Spirit of grace?” The Spirit of grace was insulted by the Hebrew believers, who shrank back to their Judaism from God’s New Testament salvation. By doing this they trampled underfoot the Son of God and considered the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified a common thing. This means that the Hebrew believers, after receiving Christ, still went back to Judaism to offer the sacrifices. By doing that they considered the blood of Christ common, not particular. This was an insult to Christ as the Spirit of grace. This was an insult not only to the Spirit but also to the grace. They had turned away from grace back to Judaism.
The Grace of God from Which the Believers
Fall Away because of Their Not Looking Carefully
Day and night we have to look carefully that we may not fall away from the grace of God (Hebrews 12:15).
The Grace Which Was Received by Those
Who Had Received an Unshakable Kingdom
and through Which They Might Serve God
Well-pleasingly with Piety and Fear
We received grace with an unshakable kingdom. Now through this grace we serve God well-pleasingly, with piety and fear (Hebrews 12:28).
The Grace by Which the Heart
of Those Who Would Not Be Carried Away
by Various Strange Teachings Was Confirmed
If we want to have our heart confirmed, we must trust in the grace (Hebrews 13:9). To be confirmed by grace is to remain in the new covenant to enjoy Christ as grace.
The Grace Which Was with
the Hebrew Believers to Keep Them
from Shrinking Back to Their Old Religion
from God’s New Testament Economy
To be kept from shrinking back to Judaism from God’s New Testament economy, the Hebrew believers needed grace (Hebrews 13:25).
Grace is God Himself as everything to us. All the heavenly, spiritual, divine, and deep things are God Himself. Grace is the personified God. The New Testament is the history of such a personified Person. This Person is the Triune God in His Trinity processed and consummated. Today He is not the “raw” God, but the “cooked” God. Processed and consummated means cooked. If God had remained in His original situation as the “raw” God, how could He be anything to us? But in the New Testament, God is hundreds of items to us because He was processed. If God had not been incarnated and had not passed through human living, an all-inclusive death, and an all-surpassing resurrection, He could never do anything for us, give anything to us, or be anything to us. But today He can do everything for us, give everything to us, and be everything to us because He has been processed and consummated.
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.” This is the processed and consummated Triune God becoming constituted into the believers to make a divine and human constitution. The consummation of this constitution will be the New Jerusalem.
This Hymn says:
1 Grace in its highest definition is
God in the Son to be enjoyed by us;
It is not only something done or giv’n,
But God Himself, our portion glorious.
2 God is incarnate in the flesh that we
Him may receive, experience ourself;
This is the grace which we receive of God,
Which comes thru Christ and which is Christ Himself.
3 Paul the Apostle counted all as dung,
’Twas only God in Christ he counted grace;
’Tis by this grace—the Lord experienced—
That he surpassed the others in the race.
4 It is this grace—Christ as our inward strength—
Which with His all-sufficiency doth fill;
It is this grace which in our spirit is,
There energizing, working out God’s will.
5 This grace, which is the living Christ Himself,
Is what we need and must experience;
Lord, may we know this grace and by it live,
Thyself increasingly as grace to sense.
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 22, 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