HWMR – LIVING IN AND WITH THE DIVINE TRINITY (Week 6)
Living with the Divine Trinity (3) – Experiencing and Enjoying the Divine Trinity in Full
The Bible shows us that the Divine Trinity is for our enjoyment. Second Corinthians 13:14…mentions three things: grace, love, and fellowship. Actually, however, this is one thing in three aspects. The source is the divine love, the course is the divine grace, and the flow is the divine fellowship. Out of God the Father flows the grace through Christ. Then this grace flows in the fellowship of the Spirit. Second Corinthians 13:14 shows us three persons in three aspects: God the Father, Christ, and the Spirit; and love, grace, and fellowship. God the Father as love is the source, Christ as grace is the course, and the Spirit as fellowship is the flow. At the end of the Bible we see our Triune God flowing forever. His flowing is for the purpose of supplying His redeemed with Himself as drink and food so that we may enjoy Him as the bountiful supply. In the beginning of my Christian life I did not realize this. But today I fully realize that we need to experience, enjoy, and express the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. (CWWL, 1991-1992, vol. 1, “The Central Line of the Divine Revelation,” pp. 342-343)
To enjoy the Divine Trinity in full is to participate in the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Second Corinthians 13:14…shows that the Divine Trinity is not for the doctrinal study of theology but for our experience and enjoyment. The love of God the Father is the source, and the grace of Christ, God the Son, is the course of the love of God. When love comes out, it becomes grace. Then the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is the transmission, the communication, of the grace of Christ with the love of God the Father. Love is God the Father, grace as the outflow of love is Christ the Son, and the fellowship is the transmission of the Holy Spirit to transmit what the Son is as grace and what the Father is as love. The Holy Spirit transmits the divine riches into our being, and this transmission is the fellowship. Today we have the Divine Trinity operating in us in such a wonderful way. (CWWL, 1988, vol. 1, “Living in and with the Divine Trinity,” pp. 382-383)
Life-study of Galatians (Message 25)
Not Brought to Nought from Christ
In 5:4 Paul goes on to use an unusual expression, saying, “You have been brought to nought from Christ, you who are justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” Different translations render the first part of 5:4 in different ways: “Christ is become of no effect unto you” (KJV); “Ye are severed from Christ” (ASV); “Ye are deprived of all profit from the Christ” (Darby’s New Translation). To be brought to nought from Christ is to be reduced to nothing from Christ, deprived of all profit from Christ and so separated from Him (Darby), so that He is made void of effect. To go back to law is to become severed from Christ, to be brought to nought from Christ.
The different renderings of 5:4 are all implied in the one Greek expression. Literally, this expression means to be brought to nothing from Christ. Dean Alford says that an exact, accurate, and literal translation of the Greek term would be annihilated, which in its original meaning means to bring something to nothing. Hence, in this verse Paul is talking about being brought to nothing, to nought, from Christ. He was telling the Galatians, “Dear saints, you who seek to be justified by law have been brought to nothing from Christ. You were grafted into Christ, and you were enjoying the riches of Christ. But by going back to the law and to circumcision, you are brought to nought, you are annihilated, from Christ.”
If a branch from an inferior tree is grafted into a superior tree, it will enjoy all the benefits of being part of that superior tree. But suppose the grafted branch is later detached from the superior tree. In such a case we may say that it is brought to nothing from the superior tree, for by being separated from that tree, it relinquishes all the benefits of being joined to it. Thus, it reduces itself to nothing from the superior tree, in particular from the enjoyment of the riches of that tree. This illustrates Paul’s meaning in 5:4. By believing into Christ and being baptized into Him, we have been grafted into Him as the rich tree. As branches grafted into Him, we may enjoy His unsearchable riches. As long as we remain grafted into Him, we may enjoy all His riches. But if we relinquish Christ, let Him go in a practical way in our experience, we shall be brought to nothing from the unsearchably rich Christ.
The Galatians had been distracted to the law and to circumcision. In turning to the law in this way, they were brought to nothing from Christ. Darby says that they were deprived of all profit from Christ and so separated from Him.
All kinds of Christians have been brought to nought from Christ in one way or other. Again I ask, where are the Christians who abide in Christ all the time to enjoy His riches? Where are the believers who have not been brought to nothing from Christ, who have not been deprived of their profit in Christ? The deplorable fact is that believers everywhere have been brought to nought from Christ. We need to pray, “Lord, have mercy on us and grant us grace that we would not be brought to nothing from You. We want to abide in You as the all-inclusive One to enjoy Your riches.” We thank the Lord that by His mercy and grace He has preserved us in Himself to enjoy His riches.
Life-study of Galatians (message 26)
In 5:13 Paul says, “For you were called to freedom, brothers; only do not turn the freedom into an occasion for the flesh, but through love serve one another as slaves.” Paul’s writing is not like an unturned cake (Hosea 7:8). Rather, he is balanced and even, first considering one side of a matter, then the other side. Our tendency, however, is to be an unturned cake, with one side raw and the other side overdone. In giving messages we may easily produce unturned cakes. But as Paul wrote the book of Galatians, he turned the cake again and again. He could be strong, then affectionate; rebuking, then mild.
We see Paul’s balance in the matter of freedom. On the one hand, Paul tells us that we were called to freedom; on the other hand, he warns us not to use this freedom for an occasion for the flesh. While Paul encouraged the believers to enjoy their freedom in Christ, he was also concerned that they might misuse or abuse this freedom. If we over-indulge ourselves in our freedom, then we turn it into an occasion for the flesh. Although we are free, we still need to be limited in the exercise of our freedom. Freedom without limitation always results in the indulgence of the flesh. Therefore, we need to be balanced, to be free, yet restricted. If we are limited in the use of our freedom, we shall love others and through love serve them as slaves.
When Paul wrote the book of Galatians, he had a number of thoughts within him. He realized that the Galatian believers who had been distracted might return to their freedom and then begin to misuse it. They might have the attitude that since they are no longer under any kind of yoke, they are free to do what they please. Such an attitude damages the church life. Therefore, Paul charged the Galatians not to misuse their freedom. Yes, they had been called to freedom, but they should not turn it into an indulgence. On the one hand, they were free from the yoke of slavery, from the law, but, on the other hand, they should still care for others and serve them in love. When some saints, especially young believers, hear a message on freedom, they have the tendency to cast off restraint. They may have the attitude that, since they are free, no longer do they need to regard the word of the elders. This is to turn freedom into an occasion for the flesh. Instead of doing this, we should be limited in the use of freedom and be willing to serve one another as slaves. As Paul says in 5:14, “The whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In the verses we have covered in this message, Paul admonishes us to have a proper walk in the church life. He indicates that we need to be balanced and not be unturned cakes. In giving messages, we should cover both sides of a matter. We need to care for ourselves and also for others. We may enjoy the freedom we have and yet still be restricted in love for the sake of others that the church life may go on in a good way. Furthermore, we must learn not to be otherwise minded. Then we shall have a proper walk in the church life.