|THE NEW COVENANT - Characteristics of the Content of the New
Covenant: II. LIFE AND POWER
Watchman Nee and Witness Lee
HIS GLORY REIGNS
May 23 2008
We have seen previously that in the new covenant the forgiveness of sins is the gospel of grace. If a man can believe
this grace for the forgiveness of his sins, his conscience will have rest. We know that many who belong to the Lord
have received this grace for the forgiveness of their sins. Concerning this aspect of the new covenant they not only
believe, but they are also willing to testify that God has forgiven them their sins and cleansed them from all their
However, in addition to this aspect of the new covenant concerning the forgiveness of sins, there are also two other
extremely glorious and precious parts of the new covenant: one is the matter of life and power, and the other is the
matter of the inward knowledge, or knowing God in an inward way. These two aspects have been much neglected, and
are not understood or even believed by many. This is why so many of God's children are so spiritually
poverty-stricken. This is also why many are so weak and full of failure. Brothers and sisters, it is good that God has
forgiven us our sins, but if after our sins are forgiven we remain the same, God is still unable to obtain in us what He
intends, and we still cannot do God's will. In that case, what is the difference between us and the children of Israel who
wandered in the wilderness? And if there is no difference, where is the glory of the new covenant? Therefore, brothers
and sisters, we must see this better aspect of the new covenant.
According to Hebrews 8:9, under the old covenant God took the children of Israel by their hand and led them out of
Egypt, but in the new covenant God draws our hearts out of Egypt. In the old covenant God gave the law externally to
the children of Israel, but in the new covenant God has put the law inside of us and has inscribed it upon our hearts.
Under the old covenant, there were those who taught the children of Israel, yet they observed God's works for forty
years and were always going astray in their hearts; they did not know God's ways (Hebrews 3:9-10). However in the
new covenant there is no need to be taught by man, for all can know God in an inward way from the least to the
greatest. Now let us see how it is that God has put His law into us and inscribed it upon our hearts, and why it is an
extremely glorious and precious part of the new covenant.
Before we begin, we must read the related verses. The first is Hebrews 8:10: "For this is the covenant which I will
covenant with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will impart My laws into their mind, and on their
hearts I will inscribe them, and I will be God to them, and they shall be a people to Me." Another is Hebrews 10:16: "This
is the covenant which I will covenant with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their hearts and
upon their minds I will inscribe them." These two verses both speak first of imparting or of inscribing. They are different
in this respect: in 8:10 the mind is first mentioned and then the heart, while in 10:16, the heart is mentioned first and
then the mind. Whether the mind or the heart is mentioned first, both passages speak of imparting or inscribing, and
both mention the mind and the heart. Therefore both speak of the same thing. We must also realize that both these
passages are quotations from Jeremiah 31:33, which reads: "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of
Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be
their God, and they shall be my people."
Ezekiel 36:25-28 speaks of the same thing as Jeremiah 31:31-34, except that some words are clearer in Ezekiel while
other words are clearer in Jeremiah. The passage in Ezekiel reads: "And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye
shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a
new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do
them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God."
At least five things are referred to in these verses: 1) cleansing with clean water, 2) givng a new heart, 3) giving a new
spirit, 4) taking away the stony heart and giving a heart of flesh, and 5) having His Spirit within. When we put these
five matters together, the result is to "cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my ordinances and do
them...and ye shall be my people, and I shall be your God." Notice the word "cause" in verse 27; it means to motivate.
The Holy Spirit who indwells us gives us new strength to do God's will and to please God, so that God can be our God
and we can be His people.
When speaking of how God has put His law within us and has inscribed it upon our hearts, we must start from
regeneration, for regeneration means that the Holy Spirit has put the uncreated life of God into man's spirit.
Regeneration is a new thing that takes place in man's spirit; therefore regeneration is not a matter of behavior but a
matter of life.
Before we can speak adequately of regeneration we must say something regarding the creation of man. We read in
Genesis 2:7 that "Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul." The breath of life mentioned here is the spirit, the source of man's life. The Lord said,
"It is the Spirit Who gives life" (John 6:63a). Job also said, "The breath of the Almighty giveth me a life" (Job 33:4). In
this verse the word "life" in Hebrew is in the plural form. When God so breathed into man He produced two lives,
spiritual and one soulish. When God breathed the breath of life into man's body, it became the spirit; and at the same
time, when this spirit came into contact with the body, it produced the soul. This is the way in which the spiritual life and
the soulish life originated in man. It becomes clear, then, that man is composed of three parts: the spirit, the soul, and
The New Testament also shows that man is tripartite. For example, there is a verse which says, "May your spirit and
soul and body be preserved entire" (I Thessalonians 5:23). There is another verse which says, "...even to the dividing
of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow..."(Hebrews 4:12). These verses show us that man is of three parts: spirit
and soul and body.
The body is the seat of world-consciousness; the soul is the seat of self-consciousness; and the spirit is the seat of
God-consciousness. Through the physical body we have communication with the physical world by means of the five
senses. For this reason it is called the sense of the world. The soul, including the mind, emotion, and will, constitutes
man's self, man's personality. Hence, we call the soul the sense of the self. The spirit, which includes the faculties of
the conscience, intuition, and fellowship, knows how to worship God, how to serve God, and how to enter into
relationship with God. Therefore, the function of the spirit is to have the sense of God.
Through the soul, the spirit controls man's whole being. Whenever the spirit wants to do something, it passes its
intention on to the soul, and the soul exercises the body to obey the command from the spirit. According to God's
arrangement, the human spirit is the highest part of man and should rule his whole being. Yet, the will is the most
prominent part of man's personality and belongs to the soul. The will of man is also able to make its own choice. It can
choose whether to be ruled by the spirit, by the body, or by the self. Because the soul is so powerful and occupies the
seat of personality, the Scriptures call man "a living soul."
God's Purpose in Creating Man
We have said repeatedly that God has an eternal purpose, which is to dispense Himself into man. His delight is to enter
into man and become one with man so that man may have His life and nature. He created man, Adam, and put him into
the Garden of Eden. In the midst of that garden the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis
2:9). Those two trees were the most conspicuous and drew man's attention. Concerning the trees in the garden God
said, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt
not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17). On the other hand He
implied that the fruit of the tree of life could be eaten. Had man eaten of the fruit of the tree of life, he would have
chosen God, for the tree of life signifies God Himself. Oh, the God of creation - His purpose toward man is so wonderful
Originally man was made by God (Genesis 2:7); man's original life was made by God also. As far as man's original
created life was concerned, it was upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29) and it was good (Genesis 1:31). But as far as God's
eternal purpose, man had not yet received the uncreated life of God. Therefore man still needed to choose God and
God's life. In Greek there are three different words, all of which translate into the one English word, life. One of these
words is bios. It refers to life in the flesh. The Lord Jesus spoke of the widow who put all her living into the treasury
(Luke 21:4); the word translated living is from the word bios. The second Greek word is the word psuche. Psuche
refers to man's natural life, which is the soul-life. When the Scriptures speak specifically of man's life, this is the word
used (Matthew 16:26; Luke 9:24). The third word for life is zoe. Zoe is the highest life, the spiritual life, and the
uncreated life. When the Scriptures speak of eternal life, as in John 3:16, the word used is zoe.
However, the man Adam did not choose life. He sinned and became fallen by eating the fruit of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil which God forbade him to eat. Before that time it was possible for man's spirit to have
fellowship with God, but after man fell, his spirit became estranged from God (Ephesians 4:18) and dead to God
(Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1). God told Adam from the beginning that the day he ate of the tree of knowledge of
good and evil he would surely die (Genesis 2:17). As far as Adam's flesh was concerned, after he ate the fruit of the
tree of knowledge of good and evil, he lived for several hundred years (Genesis 5:3-5). Therefore, the death spoken of
here implies that the spirit will die before the flesh expires. Death simply means to be estranged from life, and, as we
know, God is a God of life. By being estranged from God, Adam was estranged from life. We know that Adam's spirit
died. This does not mean that his spirit disappeared, but that his spirit lost its fellowship with God; it lost its keen
sense. When Adam's spirit died it was still there but it was dead to God. Adam had lost the function of his spirit. After
man fell, he became dominated by his soul and was fleshly (Romans 7:14). He could no longer understand the things of
God (I Corinthians 2:14). Man also was not subject to the law of God, neither could he be. Furthermore, according to
Romans 8:7-8, man in the flesh cannot please God.
Taking these facts into account, does this mean that God's eternal purpose will not be accomplished? No! God is God!
He has planned according to His good pleasure and He will accomplish His eternal will and fulfill His eternal purpose. He
still desires to dispense His own life to man, enter into man, and be one with man. To do this He has to solve the
problem of man's sin and redeem fallen man; He has to release His life through His Son, and He has to regenerate man
through the Holy Spirit.
The Way of God's Salvation
In order to deal with man's sin and bring fallen man back to Himself, God sent Christ. Christ Himself bore our sins in His
body on the cross, "that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness" (I Peter 2:24). This was typified in
Numbers 21:4-9, when Moses lifted up the brass serpent in the wilderness. The children of Israel had committed sin
and deserved death, but God told Moses to lift up the brass serpent so that those who had been bitten by the serpent
might look upon it and live. In the same manner Christ was also lifted up. He died for us and bore our sins. Now we
who were dead in sin may have God's life and live (John 3:14-15).
God desires to release His life, so for that purpose He put His life in Christ (John 1:4; I John 5:11). The life of God which
is in Christ was released when Christ died on the cross, for Christ is the grain of wheat which fell into the earth and died
(John 12:24). When Christ died, God's life was released. It is also true that God regenerated us through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3).
Regeneration means to be born of God (John 1:13), to be born of heaven (I Corinthians 15:47). Regeneration also
means to be born of the water and of the Spirit (John 3:5). Concerning this we need some explanation. When John the
Baptist came preaching and baptizing, he said, "I baptized you in water; but he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit" (Mark
1:8). John the Baptist put water and the Holy Spirit together, and the Lord Jesus also put water and the Holy Spirit
together. The water to which John referred is the water of baptism; hence, the water to which the Lord Jesus referred
must also be the water of baptism. The words spoken to Nicodemus by the Lord Jesus must have been words which
could be easily understood. At that time many knew that John baptized with water; so when the Lord Jesus mentioned
water, Nicodemus would readily understand that this referred to the water of baptism practiced by John. If the water
mentioned by the Lord Jesus had implied something else, it would have been difficult for Nicodemus to understand. The
water spoken of, therefore, must have referred to the water of baptism.
The baptism which John practiced was the baptism of repentance. He told people that they should believe on Him that
should come after him, that is on Jesus (Acts 19:4). The baptism of repentance which John performed could not cause
men to be regenerated. To be regenerated, one must be born both of water and of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of
repentance means not only that man's actions are evil and dead and he needs to repent; it means also that man himself
is corrupt and dead and needs to be buried, that is, to be baptized. When a man goes down into the water to be
baptized, he admits before God that his actions are evil and confesses that his whole being is corrupt and dead in sin;
therefore he deserves only death and burial.
But man is not born merely "of water." He must be born "of water and of the Spirit." He must also receive the Holy Spirit
which the Lord Jesus gives in order to obtain God's life. John the Baptist came preaching "Repent!" (Mark 1:4), to
which the Lord Jesus immediately added, "Believe" (Mark 1:15). Repentance causes man to leave all that is of himself,
while believing causes man to enter into all that is of God. Because of repentance man enters into the water, and
because of faith he enters into the Holy Spirit. By entering into the water and the Spirit, he is born of water and of the
Spirit. Through repentance we enter into the water and terminate the life of the old man. By believing we enter into the
Holy Spirit and obtain God's life. This is regeneration.
Although regeneration is to be "born of water and of the Spirit," the work which brings a man subjectively to
regeneration is accomplished completely by the Holy Spirit. (Objectively, it is accomplished completely by Christ.)
Therefore, in John 3 the Lord Jesus spoke only once of being "born of water," While he mentioned being "born of the
Spirit" three times (verses 5,6,8). Regeneration means that we have been "born of the Spirit." The Spirit comes to
"convict the world concerning sin" (John 16:8) and cause man to repent; He leads man to receive the Lord Jesus by
faith; He then enters into such a believer who has repented and imparts God's life to him that he might be
regenerated. The Spirit enlightens man, causes him to repent, leads him to believe, and causes him to receive God's
life. He does all this by using the words in the Scripture, that is, by means of the word of truth of the gospel. Therefore
the Scriptures say that God regenerates us by the gospel and by the word of truth, (I Corinthians 4:15; James 1:18).
We have been "begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and
abideth" (I Peter 1:23). Through the Spirit and by the use of His words, God imparted and sowed His life into us.
Because the Holy Spirit touched us, we believed God's words, and God's life entered into us. God's life is embodied in
His words. Moreover, God's words are life (John 6:63). Therefore, when we receive God's words, we receive God's life.
The life which we receive at the time of regeneration is not fleshly life, but spiritual. Like the wind, this life is without
form and cannot be seen (John 3:8). Yet it is very practical and can be realized by man. Therefore, regeneration is
simply this: that in addition to his own life, man receives the life of God.
When we are regenerated, we have "authority to become children of God" (John 1:12), and we are related to God in life
as a son to his father (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:15-16). God's uncreated life is God's life and also "eternal life" (John
17:3). It is the life which Adam could have obtained but did not. It is the life which man does not have before
regeneration, but which enters into us at the time of regeneration. This is the characteristic of the new covenant, the
glory of the new covenant. Hallelujah!
In God's life is God's nature. Therefore, when we have God's life, we become "partakers of the divine nature" (II Peter
1:4). We can understand God's heart, we spontaneously desire to do what God desires to do, and it is possible for us
to live out God's image (Colossians 3:10). If a man says that he has received the life of the Son of God and yet does
not in the least live out the nature of this life, neither does he love righteousness nor hate sin, then this man's faith and
regeneration are doubtful. God's nature is in God's life. If we are without the nature of God's life, how can we say that
we have God's life?
"The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah" (Proverbs 20:27). After Adam's fall, man's spirit became darkened. When
the Holy Spirit regenerated us and put God's life into us, He made our spirit alive (Ephesians 2:5). It was like lighting a
lamp. The first part of man to die at the time of Adam's fall was the human spirit; therefore, at the time of regeneration,
when the Holy Spirit puts God's uncreated life into man's spirit, the first part of man to become alive is his spirit. The
work of the Holy Spirit starts from within man, working from the center to the circumference, from the spirit to the soul,
and then to the body. When the Holy Spirit regenerates man, it is something done completely in the human spirit. In
the past, our spirit died because of sin. Now the spirit has become alive (Colossians 2:13), and we can know God and
be sensitive to sin. For this reason, if a man says that he is regenerated, yet has no knowledge of God and no feeling
concerning sin, his regeneration is doubtful.
When the Holy Spirit regenerated us, He gave us a "new heart' and a "new spirit" (Ezekiel 36:26). For the Lord to give
us a new heart does not mean that He has given us another heart, but that He has renewed our corrupted heart. In like
manner, for God to give us a new spirit does not mean that He gives us another spirit, but that He enlivens our
deadened spirit and renews our old spirit. A new heart enables us to think of God, desire God, and love God. A new
heart enables us to have new desires and new inclinations toward heavenly and spiritual things. With a new spirit we
are not weak and impotent toward spiritual things as before, and we are no longer ignorant of the things of God. With a
new spirit, we become strong and powerful concerning spiritual things, we obtain understanding regarding the things of
God (I Corinthians 2:12), and we have to fellowship with God.
Another glorious thing which happens when we are regenerated is that God puts His Spirit within our spirit (Ezekiel
36:27). After regeneration the Spirit indwells our renewed spirit. This is something the people under the old covenant
knew nothing of. In the old covenant time the Holy Spirit of God did work upon man, but the Scriptures never say clearly
that God's Spirit came to dwell in man forever. How do we know that in the new covenant time the Holy Spirit dwells in
us continually? We know this by the word the Lord told His disciples: "And I will ask the Father and He will give you
another Comforter, that He may be with you forever; even the Spirit of reality, Whom the world cannot receive, because
it does not behold Him or know Him; but you know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you" (John
14:16-17). The Comforter is really the Lord Himself coming in a different form, for the Lord continued: "I will not leave
you orphans; I am coming to you" (verse 18). "He" in verse 17 is "I" in verse 18. Therefore the Comforter is the Lord
Himself coming in another form. When the Lord was on the earth He was with His disciples all the time, but He could not
dwell in them. After resurrection, the Lord became a life-giving Spirit. Hence, He could dwell in them. As God incarnate,
Christ in the flesh could only be in the midst of men, but Christ as the Spirit can enter into men. Therefore, when the
Spirit is in us, it is Christ in us (Romans 8:9-10; II Corinthians 13:5); and when Christ is in us, it is God in us (the Christ in
Ephesians 3:17 is the God in verse 19). What a blessed thing it is that the Creator dwells in His creatures. This is the
most wonderful, the most blessed, and the most glorious thing in the whole universe!
The Lord did not leave us orphans. This means that He Himself will take care of us, nourish us, nurture and edify us,
and bear all our responsibilities. What Christ accomplished on the cross is objective, but the Spirit indwelling us turns
the objective facts into our subjective experience. The Spirit of reality guides man into all the reality.
The word "comforter" in Greek has two meanings: one is "the helper who stands by." This speaks of the Holy Spirit
being our available Helper. Whenever we need His help it seems He is beside us and is ready to help us. The second
meaning is "advocate." Christ pleads our cause before God for our benefit.
When we were regenerated, we became a saved person. Moreover, when God saved us, it was through the washing of
regeneration (Titus 3:5). Regeneration not only caused us to have life, but also washed us. Through regeneration our
old creation was washed away. This means that we are saved and delivered from the old creation. We were originally
an old creation, but now through the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) we have a new heart, a new spirit, and an
uncreated life. "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become
new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
When man has God's life, he can know God and understand spiritual things. Today, spiritually, he is in the kingdom of
God; in the future, in reality, he will enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3; 5).
Through regeneration we not only have God's life today, but also a living hope for the future. We have an inheritance
incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for us (I Peter 1:3-4). Upon the earth today we
are a heavenly people, and in the future we shall enjoy the heavenly portion. We can praise and thank God that
regeneration is so wonderful and that its results are so blessed and glorious.
When we were regenerated we became God's kind. But we still need to grow up to maturity that we may be like His
kind, that is, that we may become a glorified God-man. We must realize that every life has its own characteristic and
ability. For instance, the birds have the bird life with its characteristic and ability. Birds like to fly and have the ability to
fly. The fish have the fish life with the characteristic and ability of the fish life. The fish life enjoys living in the water and
possesses the ability to live in water. Not only is the animal life like this, but the plant life as well. "Every good tree
produces goodly fruit, but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. A good tree cannot bear evil fruit, neither can a corrupt
tree bear goodly fruit" Matthew 7:17-18). This is the spontaneity of life; this is the law of life.
Since we were regenerated we have God's life. This life also has its characteristic and ability. However, we must realize
that, although this life which we have obtained is complete, it has not matured. The organism of this life is complete; it
can reach the highest level. However, when we were regenerated, what we experienced was just a new birth. The life
we received was not yet grown up and matured. It was like fruit whose life is complete yet immature. The new birth is
complete in organism but not in maturity. Only maturity can bring completeness to every part of the organism.
Therefore, after regeneration man needs a long process of renewal by the Holy Spirit until this life is perfected in every
part of his being. In later paragraphs we shall see point by point how this seed of life manifests its character and ability.
THE LAW OF LIFE
Let us read Hebrews 8:10 again: "I will impart My laws into their mind, and on their hearts I will inscribe them." This
verse shows the difference between the new covenant and the old. In the old covenant the law was placed outside of
man and written on tables of stone. In the new covenant the law is put inside of man and inscribed upon his heart. That
which was placed outside of man and written upon tables of stone must be of the letter ( II Corinthians 3:6). In that
case, what is the law that can be put inside of us and inscribed upon our hearts? And what is the nature of this law?
From God's Word we see that the law which can be imparted into us and inscribed upon the heart is not the law of
letters, but the law of life. Not every law is necessarily of life, but every life must have a law. The law which God
imparted into us comes from the life which God imparted into us. Since we have the life of God, we must also have the
law of God's life. God came into the world in His Son, and the Son of God enters into man through the Spirit. The Spirit
causes man to have life. This life has its function in man, and this function is the law of life we are referring to here. In
other words, this law of life comes from the Spirit. This is what is mentioned in Romans 8:2: "the law of the Spirit of life."
Note that this law is singular. In the old covenant there were many laws, but in the new covenant there is not the first
law, the second, the third, and the last. In the new covenant there is only one law, the law of life. This is the new
Here we must point out that the nature of the law of life is that it has a spontaneous function. For example, your ears
can spontaneously hear - there is not need to regulate them with effort. Likewise, with the eyes, there is no need to
make special effort to regulate them. The eyes see spontaneously. With the tongue you need not use your strength to
regulate it. When it tastes anything bad, you spontaneously spit it out; when it tastes anything good, you spontaneously
swallow it. If the ears cannot hear, the eyes cannot see, and the tongue cannot taste properly, it is due either to some
physical illness or the absence of life. What God has imparted into us is life, and this life has a law; God has not put
some kind of regulations or letters into us, but something living. It is the law of life; it is something spontaneous.
The following example will illustrate the point. Suppose you say to a dead peach tree, "You should have green leaves,
you should have pink flowers, and in due time you should bear peaches." You may speak to it in this manner from the
beginning of the year to the end, but you will be speaking in vain, for it is dead - it does not have life. If, however, your
peach tree is living, you need not say anything. Spontaneously it will bud, grow leaves, blossom, and eventually bear
fruit. This is the law of life. This law has its spontaneous function.
Since what God has imparted into us is life, the law of the life must also be there. It must have its spontaneous
function. This law will spontaneously live out the life in us, and this life will naturally bring forth the content of this life
through the law. Moreover, this life will manifest God's wisdom and all that He is through this law. As long as we do not
hinder it, it will spontaneously come forth.
THE LAWS AND THE INWARD PARTS
Jeremiah 31:33 says, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it." In order to understand what
the inward parts are, we must consider the composition of the heart. The heart we are considering here is not the
biological heart, but the heart referred to in the Scriptures and known in the experience of many who belong to the
Lord. According to the scriptural record, the heart includes several parts. We shall now consider them one by one.
The Parts of the Heart
(1) The heart included the conscience. We see this in Hebrews 10:22 which says, "Having our heart sprinkled from an
evil conscience..." First John 3:20 says, "If our heart condemns us..." To condemn is the function of the conscience,
and we see from these verses that the conscience is within the system of the heart. For this reason we say that the
heart includes the conscience.
(2) The heart includes the mind. In Matthew 9:4 we read: "Why are you thinking evil things in your hearts?" Mark 2:6
speaks of reasoning in the heart; Luke 1:51 speaks of the imagination of the heart; and Luke 24:38 of the questionings
of the heart. Understanding also takes place in the heart (Matthew 13:15). Mary kept certain sayings and pondered
them in her heart (Luke 2:19), and according to Hebrews 4:12, thoughts are in the heart. From these verses we can
see clearly that the heart includes the mind.
(3) The heart includes the will. Acts 11:23 has this phrase: "with purpose of heart"; Romans 6:17 mentions having
"obeyed out from the heart;" II Corinthians 9:7 says that one can purpose in his heart; and Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the
"intents of the heart." These verses show us clearly that the heart includes the will.
(4) The heart also includes the emotion. Genesis 45:26 says that "Jacob's heart fainted." Luke 24:32 says, "did not
our heart burn within us?" John 14:1 says, "Let not your heart be troubled"; and in 16:22 it says, "your heart will
rejoice." These verses indicate clearly that the heart includes the emotion.
Although we dare not say that the conscience is the heart, that the mind is the heart, that the will is the heart, or that the
emotion is the heart, we can say that the heart includes the conscience, the mind, the will, and the emotion. The heart
controls the conscience, the mind, the will, and the emotion, and is the totality of these four aspects of our being. Later,
when we mention the specific parts of the heart, we will refer to them as the conscience of the heart, the mind of the
heart, the will of the heart, and the emotion of the heart.
From this we can see that the inward parts mentioned in Jeremiah 31:33 include at least the four parts of the heart: the
conscience, the mind, the will, and the emotion.
The Relationships between the Heart and the Laws
In Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16 we have the plural word laws, although the law of life is singular not plural. Why then in
these two verses does it say laws? Why has the law become plural? The reason is that the life which we have received
through regeneration has only one law. This is the law of life itself. But this law has more than one function in us.
God's life in each of our inner parts has its function. In the spirit it has its function; in the mind it has its function; in the
will it also has its function, as well as in the emotion. In all the inward parts it has its function. When Jeremiah says that
"I will put my law into their inward parts," it means that the law of God's life in each of the inward parts has its function.
Therefore, as far as the law itself is concerned, it is singular; but concerning the function of this law in our being, it is
plural. It is just like running water; the source is one, but the pipes are many. Life has only one law in us, but this law
has spread to our inward parts. We have this law in our spirit, in our mind, in our will, and also in our emotions. As far
as life itself is concerned there is one law, but as far as the function of its operation is concerned there are many laws.
The law spreads into the different parts and becomes several laws, but the source is one.
The Heart Being the Gate of Our Being
Although the spirit is the highest part of man, what represents man's self is not the spirit but the heart. It is the heart
which represents man. Psalm 4:4 speaks of communing with your own heart. This indicates that the heart is man's true
self. Our heart is the most important part of our being.
The heart is between the spirit and the soul. Therefore all that enters into the spirit must pass through the heart, and
all that comes forth from the spirit must also pass through the heart. Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep thy heart with all
diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." This means that the heart is the exit through which the life flows out. In
other words, the fruit which man produces outwardly comes out of his heart, and for this reason the heart is the most
important thing. The heart is the necessary path through which the life moves. Therefore, before God's life enters into
us, what must be touched first is our heart. If our heart has not become sorrowful and has not yet repented, God's life
cannot enter. Whether God causes us to feel the sufferings of sin, the sweetness of His love, or the preciousness of
Christ, He always does it by touching our heart, causing us to feel sorrowful and bringing us to repentance. The
sorrowfulness of the heart is the specific function of the conscience, and being repentant is the turning of the mind.
When our heart is thus touched, our will decides and our heart believes. By this receiving of Christ, the life of God
enters into us and is planted within us (I Peter 1:23).
The Heart Is the Switch of Life
A grain of wheat planted into the earth will begin to grow and continue to grow. However, its growth does require certain
conditions. For instance, if the seed is planted but is never watered, its growth will be hindered. We see this same
principle not only in life, but also in physics. Electricity is powerful, but when the little switch is turned off, the flow of
electricity is stopped. It is true that life is powerful and spontaneous, but if there is something hindering its development
of if the conditions for its development are absent, it will not grow. It will appear as if the growth has stopped.
How then can this life develop within us? We must remember that the receiving of life begins with our heart and that the
growth of this life also begins with our heart. Whether the life within us can grow depends upon whether our heart is
open toward God. If our heart is open toward God, the life in us will grow and spread; but if our heart is closed toward
God, the life in us will not be able to develop and spread out. Therefore, the growth and development of life in us is
entirely a matter of the heart. We must not ignore this matter.
We must realize that the heart has desires and inclinations, while the spirit enables us to have fellowship and
communion with God. Therefore, to desire God and love God is not a matter of the spirit, but a matter of the heart;
whereas, to worship and serve God is not a matter of the heart, but a matter of the spirit. The heart can love God, but it
cannot touch God. The heart can incline to God, but cannot have fellowship with God. Only the spirit can touch God
and have fellowship with God.
Some would say that if we wish to touch the things of God we need to use our mind, just as when we hear sounds we
need to use our mind. While it is true that to hear sounds we must use our mind, it is also true that to hear sounds we
must use our ears. If someone is speaking yet you do not have ears, your mind cannot understand what is being said.
The same is true with seeing; if there are red, white, yellow, and blue colors present and you do not have eyes to see,
you will not be able to understand what is red, white, yellow, or blue. If you wish to see, you must use your eyes. The
sounds are transmitted to your mind through your ears, and the colors are transmitted to your mind through the eyes.
Likewise, spiritual things need to be touched by the spirit.
If God wants to have fellowship and communion with us, yet we do not have a heart, it is impossible for Him to do so.
Our heart is like the electric switch; when it is turned on, the light goes on. When it is shut off, the light goes out. If our
heart is open to God, it is easy for God to have fellowship with us, but if our heart is closed to God, it is difficult for Him
to have fellowship with us. It is true that God's life is in us, but the heart is the switch of this life. Whether God's life can
pass through our spirit to the conscience, whether His life can reach our mind through the spirit or touch our emotion
through the spirit, is a matter of the heart. If the heart is open, God's life has a way; if the heart is closed, God's life has
The Heart Can Hinder the Moving of Life
When the Holy Spirit regenerated us, we received the uncreated life of God. This life is powerful and without limitation.
It is not restricted by space or time. But if our heart has problems, God's life will be greatly hindered. If there are
problems with our conscience, our mind, our will, or our emotions, God's life will be hindered. God's life has been
imparted into our spirit, but this life desires to spread out and move into the different parts of our inward being. If there
is any part in us which has problems, this life will be hindered and stopped.
Everyone who belongs to the Lord by God's grace has God's life in him. This is definite and cannot be denied. That
God's life is alive and lives in us also cannot be denied. Because we have God's life in us, we receive revelation and
enlightenment. His voice and feeling are within us. Why then do so many of God's children say, "I do not receive
revelation or enlightenment, and I do not have His voice or feeling?" Does this mean that God's life in them is not real?
Does it mean that God's life is not living? No, God's life is definitely real and definitely alive. Furthermore, God's life is
living in them. The reason they do not receive revelation or enlightenment, the reason they do not hear His voice nor
sense the feeling, is because on their part there is a heart problem. Perhaps there is a problem in the conscience.
Some sin which the conscience is condemning may need to be dealt with. Or perhaps the mind has the problem of
being full of anxieties, worries, evil thoughts, reasonings, or doubts. There may be a problem with the will, such as
stubbornly holding on to our opinion or being unwilling to obey. The emotion also may be full of fleshly desires or
natural inclinations. At any rate, there is some part in the heart which has a problem.
God's life has been imparted into us, and this life wants to move out from the spirit. But on our part we do not allow it to
get through. Sometimes our conscience will not allow it through; sometimes our mind will not let it through; sometimes
our will, and at other times our emotions, will not allow the life through. Therefore God's life cannot manifest itself
through us. We must remember that when God's life moves through us it must pass through the different parts of our
heart. If any part of the heart has problems, it will hinder the moving of God's life.
This can be proved by Ephesians 4:17-19: "This therefore I say and testify in the Lord, that you no longer walk as the
nations also walk in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, estranged from the life of God
because of the ignorance which is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; who having ceased from feeling has
given themselves over to lewdness to work all uncleanness in greedy unsatisfied lust." The word "mind" in verse 17 is
nous in the Greek text. This word is used twenty-four times in the New Testament. Sometimes it is translated "mind" (as
in Luke 24:45; Romans 1:28; 7:23, 25; 11:34; 12:2; 14:5; I Corinthians 1:10; 2:16; Ephesians 4:17,23; Colossians 2:18;
II Thessalonians 2:2; I Timothy 6:5; II Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:15; Revelation 17:9), and other times "understanding" (as in I
Corinthians 14:14-15, 19; Philippians 4:7; Revelation 13:18). The word nous in meaning includes both mind and
understanding. In our human being there are three organs of perception: in our body there is the brain, in our spirit
there is the intuition, and in our soul there is the mind. Our mind should be governed by our intuition. We all
understand the matter of the brain in our body, but the intuition is hidden and less obvious. Sometimes we feel it and
sometimes we do not; sometimes it urges us and sometimes it stops us. This we call the intuition. In between the
intuition and the brain is our mind. The mind expresses the meaning of the intuition and causes the brain to make it
clear. However, even if our intuition is strong and our brain is healthy, if the mind has a problem, the meaning within us
cannot be made known. The nous in Ephesians 4:17 is an organ which is capable of thinking. It can be likened to our
eyes. But the word "understanding" in verse 18, which in Greek is dianoia, defines the function of this organ and can
be likened to our seeing. It is the power to understand.
Man's vain mind (the nous) is his imagination, his "castles in the air." This kind of mind is always filled with vain
thoughts. On a certain occasion, after a preacher had finished his message, he asked some in the congregation to
pray. In the course of one man's prayer, he said something about 250 strings of money. (In those days money was
counted by strings.) The mind of this man was entirely filled with the imaginations of wealth. When God's life moved
into this part of his being, how could it pass through? From this example, we see that whether it be a person, a matter,
or a thing, it can all become an imagination to occupy our mind. Whenever our mind is occupied by some imagination,
God's life is choked (Matthew 13:22).
When a man's mind is occupied by some imagination, his understanding becomes darkened and the power to
understand becomes weakened. Once there was a young Christian who was occupied by a certain matter. He
continued to turn the matter over and over in his mind until he was fully exhausted by it. At one moment he thought it
was God's will; at another moment he thought it was not God's will. His mind was continually turning, with the result that
he became confused. This means that his dianoia, his understanding, became darkened.
The reasons the mind becomes vain, the understanding darkens, and we become estranged from the life of God are
due to our inner ignorance and the hardness of our heart which cause us to forsake all feeling. The heart may become
hardened to such an extent that it no longer has any feeling. For this reason, the source of the problem is in the heart.
In summary, we can say that when the heart is hardened, we become estranged from the life of God, we become
ignorant and unable to understand. The result is that the growth of life is hindered. Therefore, we must realize that the
growth of life is hindered. Therefore, we must realize that it is not that the law of life does not move in us - the law of life
is always waiting to spread out through our inward parts. However, if the different parts of our heart have problems, the
moving of the life will be hindered. Thus, in order for the life of God to spread and move without hindrance, the heart
must first have no problem.
The Softening of the Stony Heart and the Moving of Life
Ezekiel 36:25-27 speaks of at least five things: 1) we have been cleansed with clean water; 2) we have been given a
new heart; 3) we have a new spirit within us; 4) our stony heart has been removed, and we have been given a heart
of flesh; and 5) God's Spirit has been put within us. The result of putting these five things together is that we might walk
in God's statutes and keep His ordinances. We have already pointed out that God has given us a new heart with a new
spirit and that the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Now we shall give attention to the matter of how God removes our stony
heart and gives us a heart of flesh. We must realize that when we speak of a stony heart and a fleshly heart, it does not
mean that we have two hearts. We have only one heart. A stony heart refers to the hardness of the heart, while the
fleshly heart refers to the softness of the heart; but the heart is still one. When we were saved, God gave us a fleshly
heart, but our stony heart was still there. We could say that on one hand we had a fleshly heart, while on the other
hand we had a stony heart. The removal of the stony heart is not something which occurs all at once, but is a gradual
softening. To what extent God's life can grow in us depends completely upon how much our heart is softened. Our
stony heart must be gradually transformed into a fleshly heart so that God's life can move out with no hindrance.
Among God's children, many have had the following experience: first they were saved and their hardened heart became
softened, but not completely softened. At the time of their salvation their heart was softened perhaps seventy percent,
but after a while their heart becomes hardened again. It seems as if they have gone back to their former condition.
Moreover, this hardening of the heart seems worse than before. Perhaps the heart is caught by certain things, touched
by a certain person, entangled by some object, or attracted by a certain job. These things begin to drag the man
down. They are all problems of the heart. Whether the life can grow and spread in us depends completely upon
whether our heart is transformed. It depends upon whether our heart is soft or hard. If our heart is caught by things
other than God, whether it is some thing, some person, or some matter, it will always hinder the moving of life.
Therefore, God wants to transform our heart. He will continue to transform us until our heart is completely changed into
a fleshly heart. Then God's Spirit will cause the life in us to move out in a strong way.
When God's life desires to move out within us, He always touches our heart first, causing our stony heart to be
softened. Some people are touched by God's love, others by His disciplining. When the children of Israel turned away
from God, He smote them and they turned back to Him. Another example is that of a sister who was captured by her
child, overly treasuring it. God spoke once, but she would not listen. God spoke twice and three times, but still she
would not listen. Then God took the child away. At that time her heart was turned to God. Another brother was
ensnared by his business. God spoke once, twice, five times, ten times, but he would not listen. Then God caused his
business to fall apart. At that point he was turned to God. Some who have served God have been caught by the work -
being busy from morning till night. It is true that the work is something spiritual, but it can capture the heart and take the
place of God. To a certain one in such a situation God spoke once, but he would not listen. God spoke ten times, and
still he would not listen. God struck him and he fell; his heart became enlightened, and thus he turned to God. Some
brothers and sisters have their special practice, their special merit, or their special righteousness. But their practice,
merit, or righteousness becomes their boast, the yardstick by which they measure others. These things crowd their
heart. God speaks to them once, twice, ten times, twenty times - but they do not listen. Then God's hand comes upon
them. At that time they become enlightened and prostrate themselves before God. Their hearts are completely turned
to God. By such a work God is transforming a stony heart into a fleshly heart so that His life can move without any
hindrance. If your heart has been touched by God, you will spontaneously say, "O God, I consecrate myself to You. I
want You to turn my heart wholly toward You." When you offer yourself in such a way and allow God to do the work, He
will move in you, and when He moves you will see something, hear something, and feel something. If you are willing to
obey God, His life will move out into your conscience, into your mind, into your will, and into your emotions. In this
manner, God's life will continue to move in you without ceasing.
Two Conditions for the Moving of Life
The law of life should be continually moving out. God wants to move out through the different inward parts of our being,
but many times when the law of life moves it runs into a hard wall and cannot get through. There is a hindrance to the
moving. Therefore, in order for the life to move and get through, we need to fulfill two conditions.
Obeying the First Sense of Life
The first condition is to obey the first sense of life. Unless a man is not regenerated, he will have some sense of life. A
Christian who was a medical doctor asked a preacher the following question: "Both the beginning and the growth of our
spiritual life start with hunger and thirst. However, many people do not feel hungry or thirsty. When that is the case,
how can we cause them to become hungry and thirsty?" The reply was: "You are a medical doctor. You know that a
man has life. Unless a man is dead, he will have some appetite. Then how do you increase his appetite? You
prescribe something for him to increase his appetite. As he takes medicine, his appetite increases little by little. You
continue this until his appetite is restored to normal. Therefore, whenever we have a little sense, we should obey this
sense. When we obey this sense, our hunger and thirst increases again and our sense becomes stronger. Then we
obey a little more. The more we obey, the stronger the sense will be. By taking this way we become alive from within."
The Lord's life moves within us in the same way. It moves into our emotion, causing us to turn to God; it moves into our
mind, causing us to turn to God; then it moves into our will, causing us to turn to God. By such continuous moving and
turning, the life within us will be increased, deepened, and caused to grow. Therefore, we need to begin by obeying the
least sense. Whenever there is a sense, we should obey.
Some will ask, "After obeying, what is next?" The answer is that before you obey the first sense you need not worry
about the next step. According to the Scriptures, God never gives a man two senses at the same time. Abraham is an
example. When he went out, he did not know where he was going (Hebrews 11:8). He only knew that God wanted him
to leave his home, his land, and his kindred and go into a place which God would show him (Acts 7:3). His first sense
was to leave Ur of the Chaldees. The leading of life will never cause you to be independent, but always dependent.
Abraham's experience was this: "I will take this first step. The next step I do not know." But as he walked step by step,
he was fully dependent upon the Lord. God not only gave Abraham faith, but also wrought His life and nature into
Abraham. Therefore, after obeying in the first step, you still need to continue to look to God, committing the second
step to God through fellowship. By going on in this way, step by step, God will give you guidance.
When by God's grace we learn to follow Him from within, there will be feelings in us. When we go on in this way step by
step and make a move which is beyond God, a move which does not match the life within us, we will immediately sense
the forbidding of the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6). This is very precious. Immediately, you will sense that the Spirit of Jesus
suffers you not (Acts 16:7). If you obey the inner guidance again and again, either to do or to stop, you will grow in life.
We repeat that we need to obey the first sense of life; even the least sense needs to be obeyed, for obeying is an
important condition in allowing the life to move.
Another condition is to love God. Mark 12:30 says, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." According to the original language, the word "mind" should be
translated as "understanding" (dianoia). The verse shows that we have to use our whole heart, our whole soul, our
whole understanding, and our whole strength to love God. God's Word shows us that loving God is related to the
moving of life. The experience of many saints indicates that God first plants life into us, then touches our emotion with
love. In the Gospel of John the emphasis is upon faith and also upon love. This gospel says that he who believes has
eternal life (John 3:16). It also says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will
come to him and make an abode with him" (John 14:23). Faith means to receive the life into us, while love means to let
the life flow out. Only faith can let the life come in, and only love can let the life flow out.
Therefore, we need to allow this love to reach our heart and flow into our emotion, mind, and will. We need to lift up our
heads and say: "O my God, I want to love You with all my heart; I want to love You with all my soul; I want to love You
with all my understanding; I want to love You will with all my strength!" Anyone who truly does this will immediately see
his mind change, his words change, and his behavior change. Everything within and without will be totally changed.
For in this person a love story has taken place. Brothers and sisters, what God expects of us today is that our heart,
our soul, our understanding, and our strength be touched by Him. Second Corinthians 3:16 says, "But whensoever it
(the heart) shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away." Whenever the heart turns to the Lord, there will be the
enlightenment, His voice, and the sense of life.
So the question is not, What is enlightenment? What is His voice? or What is the sense of life? the questions is, Where
is your heart? If your heart is glued to some person, matter, or thing; if it is attached to gifts, spiritual experiences, or
spiritual work, the spreading of life will be hindered. The life within will be restrained from flowing out, because it cannot
pass through the heart. For this reason, the heart must be turned to the Lord and fixed upon God Himself. If our heart
is turned to God, we will have enlightenment within us, and we will hear His voice and have the sense of life within.
Brothers and sisters, if we want to know God's will, we should not attempt to understand with our mind; we should first
turn our heart to God. We must say: "O God, I desire only You; I want nothing else." If we do this, we will very easily
understand God's will.
Romans 12:1-2 can prove these things for us. Paul first said, "I beg you therefore, brothers, through the compassions
of God..." By these words he first touched their emotion. Then he said, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice." With
these words his intention was to move the will. Then he told them, "Be transformed by the renewing of the mind, that
you may prove by testing what the will of God is, that which is good and well-pleasing and perfect." This is the knowing
of God's will in the mind. This shows us that the life which is in man can spread to his emotion, his will, and his mind. In
this way the life permeates the inward parts of our being and flows out through us. When our heart is absolutely turned
to God, He will impart feeling within us, and He will guide and uphold us, so that we may have the strength to obey Him.
Then inwardly and outwardly we shall be changed. Therefore, if we want the life within us to spread to the outside, if
want the life to grow, we need to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our understanding,
and with all our strength!
The Two Functions of the Moving of Life
God's life is continually moving. If we are wiling to give Him the way by obeying Him, the life within will naturally grow and
develop. If we allow this life to continue to move in us, letting it move into our conscience, our mind, our emotion, and
our will, such continual moving will eliminate all the things we should not have and leave within us all the riches of God.
In this way there is always something being eliminated and something being added. The more things are eliminated, the
more things will be added. What is eliminated is something we should not have; what is added is something of Adam,
while that which is added is something of Christ. That which is eliminated is old, while that which is added is new. That
which is eliminated is dead, while that which is added is living. By this process of gradual elimination and gradual
addition, the life within us grows.
When God's life is thus moving within us, there are two functions. The first is death and the second is resurrection.
The function of death is to remove the illness, while the function of resurrection is to give us health. The first element of
the Lord's cross is death, while the second element is life. Romans 6 tells us that these two elements are the most
powerful and useful elements in the life of Christ. The cross simply means that when our heart is touched by God we
offer ourselves to Him so that His life can continue to move within us. When His life is moving, there is an element which
puts us to death. This function of death will eliminate the things in us which we should not have. It will eliminate the
things which are contrary to God, contrary to life, and contrary to the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, there is an
element of life which makes us alive. This function of life causes us to live out all the riches of the Godhead, so that we
are full of light, full of joy, and full of peace. The death of Christ and the life of Christ thus cause us to be delivered from
sin and from all that God hates and condemns. On the other hand, they cause us to receive something fresh,
something illuminating, something of joy and peace. Just as there is the elimination, there is also the addition. We
need to allow God's life to operate, to move in us. Whenever His life is moving, something is being eliminated and
something is being added. Every time God's life moves in us we die a little more, and at the same time we live a little
more. The more God's life moves and eliminates the things which should not be there, the more the things which
should be there will be added; the more the death is eliminated, the more the life will be increased. May we go on
according to the moving of God's life so that His life in us can reach all the different parts, moving without hindrance,
always eliminating something and always adding something.
The Great Power of the Moving of Life
Hebrews 8:7 says, "For if that first covenant was faultless, no place would have been sought for a second." We have
mentioned before that the reason the first covenant had fault was not because the covenant itself was faulty, but
because it was weak when applied to man. The first covenant composed of the commandments of letters was written
upon stone tablets. It could only demand man to keep the law; it could not give man the power to do it. The reason the
new covenant is a better covenant is because through it the law is imparted into man; it is inscribed on man's heart.
The new covenant law of life can cause man to obey God's will and does not need man's teaching. It enables man to
know God from within. Therefore, we say that the new covenant is exceedingly glorious and extremely precious.
In the new covenant God's laws are put into the inward parts of man. If God's life moves to a certain part and cannot
get through, it is hindered and will remain stopped there. It will be unable to spread out. This does not mean that there
is something which the new covenant cannot do. No, the new covenant can do all things, for the new covenant means
that "with God all things are possible." The reason the new covenant can do all things is because the moving of this life
is powerful. This power is the power of the indestructible life (Hebrews 7:16). The mighty power of the moving of this
life is the same power which raised the Lord Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:20). It is also the power of the moving of
this life which is able to do superabundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).
Let us now consider some examples.
It Can Cause Man's Heart to Turn to God
We are told in II Corinthians 3:14-16 that the hearts of the children of Israel became hardened. When they read the Old
Testament there was a veil on their hearts. It also tells us that whenever their hearts would turn to the Lord, the veil
would be taken away. This makes it clear that the veil of the Israelites was their hard heart, a heart which did not want
the Lord. Whenever their hearts, would turn to the Lord, the veil would be taken away. Therefore, whenever we have a
veil within us, it means that our heart has a problem.
The question then is how can our heart be turned to the Lord? The Scripture says that man's "heart is in the hand of
Jehovah as the watercourses: He turneth it whithersoever He will" (Proverbs 21:1). As long as we are willing to put our
heart in God's hand He can turn us.
If we are willing to pray to the Lord saying, "Lord, I pray that You will turn my heart unto Your testimonies, and not to
covetousness" (Psalms 119:36), God will be able to turn our heart. If we are those who are truly saved, whose heart
has been renewed, even if we have turned to other things and become cold, yet we clearly realize within us that God is
having mercy toward us, His life keeps moving within us, until one day it will move us to say aloud or in silence, "O God, I
pray that You will turn my heart." Based on this slight giving in, the life will move further and increase more. In this way
our heart is stirred up and is being turned to the Lord.
It Enables Man to Obey God
Philippians 2:12-13 says, "Even as you have always obeyed, not only as in my presence, but now much rather in my
absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." How could they do this? The answer follows: "For it is
God Who operates in you both the willing and the working for His good pleasure." Many times, not only are we not able
to obey God, but we do not want to obey God. However, if we are truly saved and our heart has been touched, even
though at times we backslide and our heart becomes hardened, yet within us we know the story: God has mercy toward
us, His life is still moving in us, and eventually it will move until our heart will again have the desire to obey God. We will
then decide to obey God, and we will also be enabled to obey God. The reason is simply that God's life has moved into
our emotion and will. It has moved to the extent that we become able to obey God.
The conscience of a certain sister was so accused that she felt she would never want God's will and never be able to
obey God again. It seemed that all she waited for was the verdict of God's judgment, so great was her suffering. But at
this same time there was a prayer within her. She whispered to God: "O God, I may not be able to seek Your will, but I
still ask You to make me to seek Your will. Even though I cannot obey You, I still ask You to cause me to obey You."
That was a wonderful prayer. Philippians 2:13 upheld her that day. She realized that if God had not been working in
her heart she would not have had such a prayer. Since God's moving had caused her to pray such a prayer, God must
also be able to cause her to obey His will, for His moving is for the accomplishment of His good pleasure. When she
saw this, she was revived with joy.
It Enables Man to Do the Works Which God Has Prepared
Ephesians 2:10 says, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God before prepared
that we should walk in them." This work was accomplished by God Himself in Christ Jesus. We can say that it is God's
masterpiece. A masterpiece is simply the most excellent, fine piece of work, the best production. Nothing can be better
than a masterpiece. God has not only saved His people, but in Christ Jesus He has made them into a masterpiece.
This has been done through the working of the power of His life in man. This is an aspect of the characteristic of the
new covenant. God has made man into such a masterpiece that He could not do better. This has not been done so
that man could be satisfied in himself, but so that God's purpose of fulfilling the good works which He has prepared
before might be accomplished. What a wonderfully high standard! The good works which God has prepared for us
must be something which He considers to be good. Only that which has its origin in love is the good works which God
considers good (Matthew 19:17). Any good work that does not originate from love, even bestowing all our goods to
feed the poor, or even giving our body to be burned for others, is still not profitable (I Corinthians 13:3). The good
works which originate from love are not ordinary good works, but good works which issue from a life of love and which
are done based on the principle of love. The good works which God has prepared for us to do can only be fulfilled and
lived out by God's life. Praise God, He has saved us and put His life in us! It is through the power of this life that the
masterpiece can be accomplished and that we can do the good works which He has prepared for us. This is the
gospel. This is the glory of the new covenant! Hallelujah!
It Enables Man to Labor and Strive
The Apostle Paul said: "His grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain" (I Corinthians 15:10). We know
this was true because he labored more abundantly than all the other apostles. Yet he says, "Not I, but the grace of God
which was with me." He could labor more abundantly than others, not because his body was stronger, nor because he
was more diligent than others, but because the grace of God was with him. He says further, "Whom we announce,
warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man full grown in Christ; for which
also I labor, struggling according to His operation which operates in me in power" (Colossians 1:28-29). The word
"power" in verse 29 can also be translated "exploding power." In other words, what God was operating inwardly was an
exploding power; hence, what Paul was working outwardly was also an exploding power. The Apostle Paul worked, not
because he was energetic in himself, but because within him there was an exploding power. This exploding power
exploded continually within him, enabling him to labor diligently and to struggle to bring all men before God perfect in
Christ. This exploding power is the power of the working of God's life! It is the power of this life which enables us to
labor diligently and to strive in our work.
To labor more abundantly and to strive or struggle prove both the inner grace and the power of the inner life. This
indicates that God gives us grace, not to make us those who appreciate spirituality, nor that we might enjoy our own
spirituality, but that we may be more diligent, laboring, and striving more than others. If anyone says that he is the
Lord's servant, and yet continues to love himself, to be lazy, and not to work, then he is not only slothful, he is also
surely evil (Matthew 25:26). This kind of servant is condemned by the Lord. Therefore, we must not talk about empty
doctrines. We must look to God that we may live out His grace and manifest His power.
It Enables Man to Have a Living and Fresh Service
Before considering how this life enables us to have a living and fresh service, let us read three passages. The first is II
Corinthians 3:5-6: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is
from God; who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter
killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
The second is Romans 7:6: "But now we are discharged from the law, having died to that in which we were held, that we
should serve as slaves in newness of spirit and not in oldness of letter."
The third passage is Romans 2:28-29: "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither the circumcision which is
outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter,
whose praise is not from men, but from God."
These three passages of Scripture show that there is a great difference between the service of the new covenant and
that of the old. Service in the old covenant was of the letter, but service in the new covenant is of the spirit. The
service of the old covenant was old, but the service of the new covenant is fresh. The service of the old covenant killed,
but the service of the new covenant is fresh. The service of the old covenant killed, but the service of the new covenant
gives life. In other words, the service in the old covenant was according to the written letter, commandment after
commandment. It was a service according to form. But the service in the new covenant is according to the Spirit. In the
new covenant the Spirit dictates how man should act, and he acts accordingly; the Spirit tells man how to pray, and he
prays in that way.
We may say that the service of the old covenant was outward, while the service of the new covenant is inward. The
service of "the letter" in the old covenant resulted only in death, while the service of "the spirit" in the new covenant
results in giving man life. In other words, the service which is by "the letter" is dead, while the service which is by "the
letter" is old, but service which is based on living "in Christ" is alive. Service which is according to "the letter" is only in
letters, but service which comes from living "in Christ" is spiritual.
We can say then that any kind of service which is outward, according to the letter, and in oldness, is the service of the
old covenant. But any service which is inward, according to the spirit, and in newness, is the service of the new
covenant. Any service which comes from copying or imitating something outward is not the service of the new
covenant. The service of the new covenant is something which is the result of having a relationship with Christ and is
worked out from within. The service of the new covenant is spiritual, of revelation, and in newness. The service of the
new covenant is of God, through God, and to God (Romans 11:36). The strength of service is of Him, the course of
service is through Him, and the result of service is unto Him. This is spiritual service. This is living service, and this is
the new covenant service.
Paul says, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from
God; who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant" (II Corinthians 3:5-6). God was working in them to
such an extent that they were enabled to become ministers of the new covenant, that is, they became the serving ones
under the new covenant. Paul also said, "Of which I became a minister according to the gift of God's grace. This gift
was not tongues, nor was it visions, miracles, wonders, healing, or casting out of demons - although Paul had all of
these gifts (see I Corinthians 14:18; Acts 13:9-11; 14:8-10; 16:9; 16-18; 18:9). Neither was this gift excellency of
speech or of wisdom (I Corinthians 2:1). This gift was not something which came down suddenly out of heaven. Paul
says very clearly that this gift was given to him according to the operation of God's power. It was not a miraculous gift,
but a gift of grace. It came through the power of God's operation in Paul. This gift enabled Paul to "preach to the
nations the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel, and to bring to light what is the dispensation of the mystery,
which from the ages has been hidden in God, Who created all things" (Ephesians 3:8-9). This gift is marvelous! This
marvelous gift was given to him according to the power of God's operation.
Christ Being Formed in Us, Transformation, and Conformity to Him
When the law of life is allowed to move in us without hindrance, it will develop to a state where Christ can be formed in
us (Galatians 4:19). When Christ is gradually formed in us, we will be transformed (II Corinthians 3:18). The goal of
transformation is to be like Him (I John 3:2). Christ being formed in us cannot be separated from the working of God's
life in us. To the extent that God's life becomes mingled with us, Christ will be formed in us, and to that extent we will be
To the extent that a man is filled with the life of Christ, lives Christ out, and expresses Christ, he is conformed to the
image of God's Son, as mentioned in Romans 8:29. This is what Paul pursued, and this was Paul's experience (see
Philippians 3:10; 1:20). This can also be our experience today and should be the pursuit of every child of God. As far
as being fully like Him is concerned, we must wait until the Lord appears (I John 3:2). That day will be the time of the
redemption of our body (Ephesians 1:14; 4:30; Romans 8:23). At that time we will be completely like Him.
Christ Being Formed in Us
A simple illustration will help us to see what it means to have Christ formed in us. In an egg there is the life of a
chicken. However, if during the first days of incubation you use a light to look through the egg, you cannot tell which
part is the head and which is the foot. It is when the chicken is almost ready to break through the shell and come out
that you can see what the complete shape of the chicken is. At that time we can say that the chicken has been formed
inside the egg. In like manner, Christ's life in immature Christians is not well-formed. It is only formed in grown-up
Christians. The life of Christ is complete, but it is restricted by us. Therefore, Christ is not yet fully formed in us. This
means that the growth of life is hindered.
Paul was in travail again for the Galatian believers until Christ was formed in them (Galatians 4:19). We see from this
that the formation of Christ is very important. Paul was not speaking empty words here, nor was he feeling sorry for
himself. He was travailing again, which takes time, love, intercession, tears, and daily expectation. How many of God's
children today have Christ formed in them? How many who serve the Lord care for the spiritual state of God's children
and labor painfully in spiritually birth? Oh, when we speak of this we repent, we are pained, and we weep, not only
because we are in such a poor situation, but that even towards some of God's children our love is so inadequate.
Some children of God are immature and abnormal. Others even shrink back and fall. Can we put all the blame on them
for their poor situation? Can we feel at ease and go on day after day without feeling sorrow and praying for them? "O
God, forgive us and be merciful to us. Give us time to learn and to experience. Give us time to travail again for those
who are like the Galatian believers."
According to Romans 12:1-2 there are two prerequisites for transformation: one is the presentation of our bodies; the
other is the renewing of our mind. The presentation of our body can be likened to regeneration - it is done once for all;
whereas transformation is a process and is something gradual.
Let us now consider specifically the relationship between the mind and transformation. Romans 12:2 says, "Be
transformed by the renewing of the mind." Ephesians 4:23 says, "And are renewed in the spirit of your mind." Both of
these verses refer to the relationship between the renewing of the mind and transformation. The work of the Holy Spirit
is always from the center to the circumference. Because the spirit is especially related to the mind, the spirit must be
renewed first; then the mind must be renewed; finally, man's behavior will gradually be changed.
Repentance means to have a change of mind; it means that the eyes have been opened. To have our mind renewed
simply means that our eyes have been enlightened. The more our mind is renewed, the more we are transformed. Day
by day, through the light of life, God is causing us to know ourselves, to repudiate ourselves, to know the reality of the
inner life, and to experience putting off the old man and putting on the new man regarding our manner of life. This is a
matter of our subjective experience. Objectively speaking, Christians have already put off, as regards their former
manner of life, the old man, and have also put on the new man (Ephesians 4:22, 24; Colossians 3:10). These are all
facts which have been accomplished in Christ.
We must realize that transformation is not like regeneration. Regeneration is something that happens once for all, but
transformation is a daily gradual process. We must ask ourselves this question: to what extent have I experienced
transformation? If there has been no change in us since the time we became a Christian, if we are still self-loving,
self-pitying, selfish, proud, self-exalting, and full of worry and doubt, then it is questionable whether we have really met
the light. If, as we go on, we become more cold, more hardened, more proud, more conceited, more loose and unruly,
then there is illness either in our heart or in our mind. If this is the case, we need to humble ourselves and begin again
to deal with our heart. We need to ask the Lord to be merciful to us, to enlighten us and to give us strength to get rid of
any sin and every bit of self that is hindering the move of the law of life.
The Holy Spirit says, "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts..." (Hebrews 3:7-8). May the Lord be
merciful to us that our heart may be softened before Him. At the same time we need to believe Philippians 2:13: "For it
is God Who operates in your both the willing and the working for His good pleasure." This is the characteristic of the
new covenant. This is also the glory of the new covenant. We must praise God!
Transformation and Conformation
Conformation spoken of in Romans 8:29 and Philippians 3:10 means in the original text to be of like form and nature or
to be alike. This Greek word is used only three times in the New Testament: in Romans 8:29, in Philippians 3:21, where
it is used as an adjective, and in Philippians 3:10, where it is used as a verb.
What is the difference in being transformed and being conformed? Transformation speaks of a process, while
conformation speaks of the completed work. Transformation means that the Lord's life gradually grows up in us, that we
are the same as the Lord. Conformation means that we are transformed completely and are the same in form and
nature as the Lord. To be conformed can be compared to something which comes out of a mold. When a smith puts
melted brass into a mold, this melted brass takes the shape of the mold. It could also be likened to a person making a
cake who puts the dough into a mold. The result is that the cake becomes the same in shape as the mold. Our
likeness to the Lord will be a likeness to this degree.
Romans 8:29 says, "...to be conformed to the image of His Son." This means that our image will be the same as that of
the Lord's glorified humanity. If a person wants to be transformed and be conformed to the image of the prototype that
God has ordained, he must have a change of nature from within. God's life must enter into his spirit and permeate his
whole being until he is completely changed in nature. Accordingly, there will be a complete conformation in image.
Thus the Spirit of the Lord works step by step, from glory to glory (II Corinthians 3:17-18). Praise the Lord for such a
Here again we need to consider the matter of the heart. Second Corinthians 3:18 says, "We all, with unveiled face
beholding as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by
the Spirit of the Lord." Here a mirror is used as an illustration. A mirror can only reflect what it is directed at, what is in
front of it. Likewise in our daily life, the more we see Christ, the more we will reflect Christ. An unveiled face means that
our face is not covered with a veil; thus we can see Christ in a complete way. When II Corinthians 3:12-16 is examined
carefully, it is apparent that the veil was due to the fact that the heart did not want the Lord. In the past, Moses' face
shone because God spoke to him. Because the Israelites feared the light of the shining of his face, they hesitated to
draw near to him. Therefore, when Moses came into the presence of God he removed the veil, but when he came out
he used the veil to cover his face again (Exodus 34:29-35). The veil upon Moses' face speaks of the condition of the
children of Israel, that their hearts were far from God. Later, the Israelites were again in the same condition of being
afraid of the light. They did not want the light. The veil upon their heart had not yet been removed: therefore, when
they read the old Testament they could not understand it. Verse 16 says very clearly that whenever their heart turned
to the Lord the veil was taken away. This is the key to whether or not we can clearly see the Lord. If our heart is turned
to other things, it will be as if it were covered with a veil, and naturally our life will be as if under a dim light and will reflect
Christ in an incomplete way.
It is a problem of the heart, a problem of the mirror. Whenever we feel that there is a barrier, a veil, between the Lord
and us, our heart needs to be turned once again to the Lord. When our heart is turned to the Lord we can see clearly,
and the reflection is also clear.
To Be Like Him
We have said already that the goal of transformation is to be like Him. But complete likeness to Him must wait until the
Lord appears. That is the time of the redemption of our body. Then we will be wholly like Him. For this reason we must
also say a word concerning the redemption of the body. We have seen that when Adam fell the spirit died first, and
man became completely controlled by the soul and completely in the flesh. Later, the body also died (Genesis 5:5;
Romans 8:11). This means that the death which took place in the spirit eventually reached the body.
When man is regenerated his spirit is made alive first. Then through the work of the cross the Holy Spirit puts to death
the evil practices of our body (Romans 8:13; Colossians 3:5), causing us to deny ourselves daily (Luke 9:23).
Furthermore, through the operation of the life in us day by day we are being changed increasingly both in our nature
and in our form, so that we may be conformed to the image of the Son of God. Eventually one day when the Lord
appears "we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is" (I John 3:2). This is the redemption of the body for
which Paul was waiting (Romans 8:23). This matter is also mentioned in Philippians 3:21, where Paul says that the Lord
Jesus will "transfigure the body of our humiliation, conforming it to the body of His glory, according to the operation of
Him Who is able even to subject all things to Himself."
From these verses we see that God's salvation begins with making our spirit alive and ends with the redemption of our
body. The phrase "you will live" mentioned in Romans 8:13 refers to our daily experience of living in the body. It does
not refer to the redemption of your body. The Scriptures tell us that resurrection and transformation are a mystery (I
Corinthians 15:51-52). The redemption of the body in which we are made like unto His own glorious body is also
exceedingly glorious. The Apostle John believed that this would be fulfilled one day. Therefore, he said that when the
Lord appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. This is the characteristic of the new covenant. This is
also the glory of the new covenant!
Although the redemption of the body is clearly a matter of God's grace, nevertheless, after the Apostle John said the we
should be like Him and see Him as He is, he immediately followed by saying: "And every one that hath this hope set on
him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (I John 3:3).
Put into its context, this hope refers to the words "be like him." Purifying in this verse is different from being clean. To
be clean means to be without defilement, but purifying means not only to be without defilement, but also to be without
mixture. The way to purify ourselves is through the shining of the light of life within us (John 1:4), so that we may know
ourselves (Psalm 36:9) and eliminate all that displeases Him.
We are those who have God's nature; therefore, according to the consciousness which comes from the nature of the
life of God, we should deal not only with sin, but with all that is of ourselves and all that is not of God's will. This is the
meaning of purifying ourselves. But there is a purification even deeper than this. A brother who has become learned in
the Lord spoke of purification in this way: "The danger of spirituality is to experience victory and sanctification, to be
fruitful in our work, to possess spiritual gifts and righteousness that are of life...Deeper purification means that even that
which comes from God's revelation, which issues from the resurrection life of Christ, should not be allowed to remain.
There is the process of metabolism in the growth of life...this means that anything which comes from the resurrection life
will never be lost; it will forever be fresh. However, it must be kept in the newness of the Holy Spirit and not merely
remembered in the mind. That which has its source in His resurrection life will not be lost but will remain in us forever; it
will become part of our life and be constituted into our being. Whenever that particular thing is required, we need only
to take it in the Holy Spirit. Then it will be as fresh and living as if we had just seen it."
These words are not easily understood, but they do call forth a response in us. Brothers and sisters, if we have such a
hope in Him, we will say to ourselves what the Apostle John said, "Everyone that hath this hope set on him purifieth
himself"; and then we will rise up and walk according to the shining of the Holy Spirit.
God Desires to be God in the Law of Life
The continual moving of God's life in us has a great purpose. In the second part of Hebrews 8:10 it says, "I will be God
to them, and they shall be a people to Me." This tells us what is on God's heart and what His purpose is from eternity to
eternity. God wants to be our God, and we need to be His people according to the law of life. This is real and very
wonderful. We shall now see from the Scriptures what an important matter in the universe this is.
God's Eternal Purpose
What does God intend to have in the universe? In Genesis 2 we see that after God had created man, He indicated that
man should exercise his free will to choose His life. However, we are not told what God intended to have in the
universe. Genesis 3 speaks of man's fall, but it does not tell us what the Devil was really after. It was not until God led
the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them to Mount Sinai, where He declared the Ten Commandments, that He
revealed what was on His heart. It was not until the Lord Jesus was tempted in the wilderness that He revealed what the
Devil was really after, and it was not until the Lord prayed the prayer which He taught His disciples, that again He clearly
spoke of God's true desire. The first of the Ten Commandments is: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." The
second is: "Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that
is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve
them: for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God." The third commandment is: "Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah
thy God in vain." The fourth is: "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:3-8).
In these four commandments God revealed His will and clearly unveiled His formal requirements for man. Here He
spoke clearly of the purpose of His creation and the purpose of His redemption. The purpose is simply that God wants
to be God. God is God, and He wants to be God among men.
In the New Testament there is a great revelation which parallels God's revelation upon Mount Sinai. It is the Lord's
temptation in the wilderness. In the books of Ezekiel and Isaiah we are clearly told of the cherub which God had made,
who later exalted himself to become equal with God. He rebelled against God, was judged by God (Ezekiel 28:8, 12-19;
Isaiah 14:12-15), and became the Devil. However, this matter was not as clearly revealed as it is in the Gospels when
the Devil made his open bid to usurp God's position. The strongest part of the Devil's temptation of the Lord was: "...if
You will fall down and worship me." But the Lord without any hesitation rebuked him saying, "Go, Satan." Then the
Lord solemnly declared: "You shall worship the Lord you God, and Him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:9-10). Oh, only
God is God!
In the New Testament, the prayer which the Lord taught His disciples was also a great revelation. In this prayer, He also
reveals God's will - that God wants to be God." The Lord said, "Pray, then, like this: Our Father Who is in the heavens,
let Your name be sanctified" (Matthew 6:9). In the heavens God's name can only be used by God, but on earth there
are people who take His name in vain, and yet He hides Himself as if He did not exist. However, one day our Lord
taught His disciples to pray, "Our Father Who is in the heavens, let Your name be sanctified." The Lord's purpose in
wanting us to pray in this way is that we would declare that only He is God. The rest are not. We need to glory in His
holy name as the Psalmist did (Psalm 104:3). We need to say: "O Jehovah, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all
the earth (Psalm 8:1). O God, may Your praise be perfected in "the mouth of babes and sucklings" (Matthew 21:16).
God Desires to Dwell among the Children of Israel as Their God
Although God is God, the marvelous fact is that He desires to dwell among men. God commanded Moses to build Him a
sanctuary, saying clearly, "...that I may dwell among them" (Exodus 25:8). Again He said, "And I will dwell among the
children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am Jehovah their God, that brought them forth out of
the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them: I am Jehovah their God (Exodus 29:45-46). God wanted Moses to tell
the children of Israel plainly that He was Jehovah their God who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt to give them
the land of Canaan and to be their God (Leviticus 25:38). Leviticus 26:12 is clearer still: "And I will walk among you,
and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." God is God! He is very high and very great! Yet He comes to dwell
among men to be their God.
The Word Became Flesh, Dwelling among Men, to Declare God
When the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (John 1:14), this word of life which was from the beginning
was heard and seen and touched by man (I John 1:1). "No one has ever seen God"; but now "the only begotten Son,
Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him" (John 1:18). This is Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23).
God Dwells in the Church as God
When the church was built as a spiritual house (I Peter 2:5), it became God's dwelling place in spirit (Ephesians 2:22).
This is a very mysterious and glorious matter. When the Word became flesh and tabernacled among men, He was
limited by space and time; but when God dwells in the church in spirit, He is limited by neither time nor space. Hallelujah!
In the Kingdom Age God Will Be the God of the House of Israel
Although in the old covenant time the people of Israel forsook God, in the future God will make a new covenant with
them. In the future He will impart His laws into their minds and inscribe them upon their hearts so that He may be their
God (Hebrews 8:10).
In Eternity Future God Will Dwell among Men as God
One day the tabernacle of God will be with men: "And He shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and
God Himself shall be with them" (Revelation 21:3). This is most wonderful! "And He shall wipe away every tear from
their eyes; and death shall be no more; nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain - they shall be no more; for the former things
have passed away" (Revelation 21:4). At that time God and man, man and God, will never be separated again.
God as the Father and God as God
On the resurrection day Jesus told Mary Magdalene: "Go to My brothers and say to them, I ascend to My Father and
your Father, and My God and your God" (John 20:17). This verse tells us that we have not only a Father but also a
God. The difference between God as Father and God as God as shown in the Scripture is that God as the Father
indicates His relation to individuals, while God as God indicates His relation to the whole universe. God as our Father is
a matter of life, showing that we are related to Him as a son is related to a father; while God as God is a matter of
position, showing that He is the Creator.
When we know God as the Father, we will dare to throw ourselves upon His bosom. And when we know God as God,
we must bow down and worship Him. We are God's children, living in His love and gladly enjoying all that He gives us.
We are also His people, standing upon the position of a man, worshipping and praising Him. Because God is God we
need to worship Him in holy array (Psalm 29:2) and in fear (Psalm 5:7). Anyone who knows God as God in all things
cannot but fear Him and pay attention to such things as his clothing and behavior. Anyone who is loose, careless,
haughty, doing whatever he will, and allowing sin to remain is one who does not know God as God.
We know that "there is no creature that is not manifest before Him, but all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of
Him to Whom we are accountable" (Hebrews 4:13). Therefore, "Do not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness,
but rather even expose them; for the things which are done by them in secret it is shameful even to speak of"
If a man is afraid to open up anything to God, that is called darkness. Anything which a man dares not open to God is a
shame. Paul said, "Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade men" (II Corinthians 5:11). We dare not but
fear the Lord and entreat men, telling them that unless they are repentant they must know that "our God is a consuming
fire" (Hebrews 12:29). If man does not deal seriously with all the sins which should be dealt with, he will fall, one day,
into the hands of the living God. This will be a terrible experience (Hebrews 10:31).
Do you think that God is sleeping because He temporarily hides Himself? God is patient and tolerant, waiting for you to
repent. Do you think that He can be mocked? The Scriptures tell us "God is not mocked" (Galatians 6:7). Brothers
and sisters, we must fear God.
If you know that God is God, you will want to be a man. The fall infected us with the desire to be God, but salvation
once again instills in us the willing desire to be man. The principle of the Garden of Eden is that after eating the fruit of
the tree of knowledge of good and evil we will be like God (Genesis 3:5), but the principle of Golgotha is the restoration
of our position as man. Thus, if we know God as God, we will stand in our position as man. Our Lord was born as a
man in the house of a carpenter (Matthew 13:55). As a man He submitted Himself to the baptism of John the Baptist
(Matthew 3:13-16). Three times as a man He rejected the temptation of the Devil (Matthew 4:1-10). Also as a man He
suffered and was tried (Hebrews 2:18). As a man He was mocked upon the cross and did not come down (Matthew
27:42-44). If the Lord took His position as a man, what about us?
The twenty-four elders of Revelation 4:4 are the elders of the whole universe. (The twenty-four elders already have the
crowns, are already sitting upon the thrones, and have the number "twenty-four," which is not the number of the church;
therefore, they must be the elders of the whole universe, representing the angels whom God created and being the
elders among the angels.) Because they know God as the God of creation, they worship Him and say: "You are worthy,
our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of
Your will they were and have been created" (Revelation 19:4).
When the angel flew in the air, preaching the eternal gospel to the people upon the earth, he said, "Fear God and give
Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him Who has made the heaven and the earth and
the sea and springs of water" (Revelation 14:6-7). This indicates that when we know God as God and the Creator we
will worship Him.
Anyone who knows God as God and takes the position of a slave will worship Him (Revelation 22:9). Surely he who
"sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God," is the one who opposes the Lord (II Thessalonians 2:4). He
who is able to do signs and deceive people upon the earth, telling them to worship the beast (Revelation 13:14-15) is
surely the false Christ (Matthew 24:23-24). Anyone who knows God as God will worship Him. This is what glorifies God.
God as God in the Law of Life
Now we must see that God has imparted His law into our mind and inscribed it upon our heart for the purpose that He
may be our God in the law of life and that we may be His people in the law of life. The second half of Hebrews 8:10
immediately follows what has gone before. It does not say here that God wants to be our God upon the throne. Rather
it says that God wants to be our God in the law of life and that He wants us to be His people in the law of life. We and
God, God and we, both have our relationships in the law of life. If we are not in the law of life, we cannot touch God. If
we live in the law of life, we shall be God's people and God will be our God. The only way to draw near to Him, serve
Him, and worship Him is by touching God in the law of life.
Why is it that God becomes our God and we become His people in the law of life? To explain this we need once again
to consider man's creation and new birth. Because God is Spirit, anyone who desires to have fellowship with Him must
have a spirit. When God made Adam, there was an element in him which was the same as God's. That element in man
was the spirit. When Adam fell and became alienated from God's life, his spirit was dead to God. However, due to
God's redemption, when man repents and believes, not only does his spirit become alive, but he also receives God's
uncreated life. Through the Holy Spirit, God enters into us and dwells in us, and from that point on we can worship God
in spirit and in reality. John 4:23-24 is very clear. Verse 24 says that "God is Spirit; and those who worship Him must
worship in spirit and reality." This means that only the element in man which is the same as God can worship God.
Only the spirit can worship Spirit. Only worship which is in spirit is true worship. This kind of worship is not something in
which one uses his mind; neither is it something in which one uses his emotions or will. This worship is in spirit and in
reality. Verse 23 says, "The true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and reality; for the Father seeks such to
worship Him." This is very meaningful. When we read this with what follows, we see that if a man desires to worship
God, he must first know how to worship the Father. If a person does not have the relationship of Father and son with
God, he does not yet have life and his spirit is still dead; he cannot worship God. When a person is born again, his
spirit is made alive, he becomes a child of God, and he can have fellowship with God. It is such that the Father wants is
to worship Him. Therefore, before we can be God's people, we must first become God's children. For this reason we
say that God becomes our God in the law of life, and we are God's people in the law of life.
Titus 2:14 says, "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify to Himself a people
for His own possession, zealous of good works." As God's peculiar people we become His acquired possession
(Ephesians 1:14). The reason we can become God's peculiar people is because He is our God in the law of life, and we
are His people in the law of life.
Revelation 21:7 says, "He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be God to him, and he shall be a son to
Me." In eternity, as far as the relationship of life and the individual relationship are concerned, we will be sons to God;
but as far as God's position and our knowledge of Him as God are concerned, He shall be our God. How glorious this is!
Finally, we must speak to ourselves the same words that were spoken to the Apostle John: "Worship God" (Revelation
The New Covenant, by Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, Copyright 1981, Living Stream Ministry.
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