Witness Lee

B. Childress
May 9 2011

Ephesians 1:3-23

Our burden in this book is to share that the New Testament revelation shows us a clear picture of how the church as the
collection of all the believers is not an organization, but the Body of Christ, which is an organism.  In this chapter we
want to see that the church as the Body of Christ is the issue of the dispensing of the divine Trinity - the Father, the
Son, and the Spirit.


Choosing Us in Christ

Ephesians 1 shows us that for God's purpose of gaining a Body for Christ, He chose us in eternity past.  The purpose of
His choosing us in Christ was that we would be holy and without blemish (verses 3-4).  To be holy according to the New
Testament is not to be perfect, to be good, or to be right.  
To be holy is to have the divine, holy nature of God
permeate and saturate our entire being to make our entire being as holy as God is
.  To have God's holy
nature wrought into us that we may be holy in nature like God is a matter of dispensing.  God has dispensed Himself
into our being so that we can have His holy nature.  This holy nature has become ours to saturate our entire being.

Predestinating Us unto Sonship

Within the matter of God's choosing, He has also predestinated us unto sonship through Christ to Himself (verses 5-6).  
"Unto sonship" simply means to be born of God as God's sons to have God's life.  In God's choosing and
predestinating, we can see how God intended to have His nature wrought into us that we may be holy and to have His
life born into us that we may become His sons.  God's choosing and predestinating indicate one thing - God's desire is
to dispense Himself into our being that we may have His nature and life.  Eventually, as His sons, we will fully express
Him in His eternal holiness.  This is the issue of God the Father's dispensing of the divine element into our being.


Redeeming Us through His Blood

Ephesians 1 also shows us that following that Father's choosing and predestinating us, the Son, Christ, came to redeem
us.  In Christ's redemption there is not only His redeeming us out of our sin.  Christ's death for our redemption also
released the divine life out from Him, and in His resurrection He has imparted Himself into us as our very life, which is
the life of God.  Thus, in Christ's redemption He has taken away our sin and sins and has also imparted Himself into our
very being as the divine life for us to live a life of the sons of God.  We were "sick" in sin, in sins, and in death.  We were
dead persons (Ephesians 2:1), but Christ in His redemption has healed us of all sicknesses that we might be brought
back to Him and to His headship.  Before we were saved, we were not under the proper headship.  But through Christ's
redemption we were healed, and in His salvation we were brought back to Christ's headship for the purpose of God
heading up things in Christ for the accomplishment of His eternal economy (Ephesians 1:7-10).  God has an eternal
economy to have all the things created by Him headed up in Christ.  His redemption also implies the dispensing of
Himself into our being.  In His death and resurrection, Christ has imparted Himself into our being that we may have His
divine life.

Making Us an Inheritance of God

When He redeemed us, He also made us an inheritance of God for God's enjoyment (verses 11-12).  We are one with
Christ in His divine life to be God's inheritance so that God can enjoy us as His enjoyment.  

This is the result of the dispensing of the Triune God.


Sealing Us as God's Inheritance

Ephesians 1 goes on to tell us that the Holy Spirit sealed us as God's inheritance for His enjoyment (verse 13).  The
Holy Spirit is the consummation of the Triune God.  God the Father is embodied in God the Son (John 14:10;
Colossians 2:9), and God the Son is realized as God the Spirit (John 14:16-20; I Corinthians 15:45b; II Corinthians
3:17).  The Spirit of God is the consummation of the Triune God reaching us to dispense all that God is and has into
our being.  To be sealed with the Holy Spirit means to be marked with the Holy Spirit as a living seal, the ink, and the
paper is sealed with ink, the seal, the ink, and the paper all become one.  The ink in the form of the seal will be
absorbed by the paper, and they will be mingled and blended together as one entity.  The paper is now a sealed paper,
a paper with a seal.  Before we received the Lord, we were blank sheets of paper.  After Christ's redemption, we were
cleansed and the consummated Spirit of God came to seal us with the very element and essence of the Triune God as
the ink.  Now in this universe there is a group of people who have been sealed by the consummated Spirit of the triune
God.  We sealed ones are one entity with the entire Triune God.  This is the dispensing of the divine Trinity in all the
divine elements into God's chosen people redeemed by Christ.

Being a Pledge to Us of God as Our Inheritance

The sealing Spirit is also a pledge to us of God as our inheritance for our enjoyment (Ephesians 1:14).  God has not
only gained us, acquired us, as an inheritance, but He has also given Himself to us as our possession, as our
inheritance, for our enjoyment.  On the one hand, we are God's acquired possession, God's inheritance, for His
enjoyment.  On the other hand, God is a possession to us as our inheritance for our enjoyment.  Again, this shows us
that we redeemed ones and the Triune God, the redeeming One, become one entity through His divine dispensing of
His divine essence and element into our very being.


The issue that flows out of the dispensing of the divine Trinity is the church as the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:17-23).   
The unique God is triune - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.  The divine Person, the Triune God, has
dispensed Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit into all God's chosen and redeemed people, making them an
issue out of His very essence, His very element.  The issue of the dispensing of the divine Trinity is the church as the
Body of Christ.  The dispensing Triune God becomes the Head, and the issue that comes out of His dispensing  
becomes the Body.  This is a great, universal Man.  The Head of this Man is the Triune God, the dispensing One, and
the Body of this Man is His issue of the dispensing God.  The church is the Body of the dispensing Triune God.

Called into a Hope without Limitation

We, the chosen ones of God the Father, have been called into a hope without limitation - the Triune God as the
unlimited hope to us (verse 18b).  The unbelievers do not have any hope, but we, God's chosen ones, have an
unlimited hope.  This hope is the unlimited God Himself.  We are hoping for what God has promised to give us, which is
He Himself.  His unlimited self has been given to us as the unlimited hope, into which we, God's chosen ones, have been
called.  We are living in America, and we may say that we have been called into America to explore the riches of
America for our enjoyment.  Likewise, we have been called by the Triune God into the Triune God.  We have to declare
that we are now in the Triune God, but the Triune God is unsearchably rich.  We have only enjoyed Him to a small
extent.  There is a vast territory of His riches to be possessed.  We have not exhausted Him.  We have been called into
the vast territory of the Triune God.  We are in the Triune God as our hope and we are exploring Him as our hope.

Having Been Made His Inheritance

We, the predestinated ones of God the Father, have been made His inheritance with the glory of His riches - the very
Triune God expressed in the riches of all that He is (verse 18c).  God has given Himself to us as an inheritance in
hope.  He has also made us His inheritance with the glory of His riches.  The hope into which we have been called is
God Himself.  God is both our hope and our glory.  This glory is the very Triune God expressed in the riches of all that
He is.  God is life, light, love, and many other items.  Each item is one of His riches.  All of these riches will bear different
degrees of glory to express God in different degrees.  Ephesians 1 presents a picture of where we are and where we
shall go.  We are in God as our hope, and we shall go to Him as our glory (I Peter 5:10).

Having Been Healed and Brought Back to the Headship of Christ

We, the redeemed ones of Christ the Son, have been healed and brought back to the headship of Christ that all things
might be headed up in Christ for God's economy and made an inheritance of God for His enjoyment (Ephesians
1:7-12).  The purpose of the universe is to have all things headed up in one unique Head, and this one unique Head is
our Redeemer, the very Christ, the second in the divine Trinity.  At the present time, the entire universe is in a heap of
collapse, but the day will come at the fullness of the times when all things will be headed up in one wonderful Person.  In
order for this to be carried out, there is the need for a group of people in God's creation to be firstly gained by this
Head.  The way for this Head to gain this group of persons is through His death and resurrection.  Through His death
our sins are taken away, and through His resurrection His life is imparted into us.  We are now taking the lead among
the created things to be headed up in this one Head.  We have received Him, and He has wrought Himself into us to
make us one with Him, making us a group of headed up people.  The headed up Body of Christ is a living organism with
absolutely nothing related to organization.  In bringing us back to the headship of Christ, God made us His inheritance
for His enjoyment.

Having Been Transfused with the Great Power of God

At the end of Ephesians 1 is God's great power, which is the power of resurrection (verses 19-20), and this resurrection
power is the processed Triune God.  We, the members of Christ, have been transfused with the great power of God,
which raised Christ from among the dead, seated Him in the heavenlies, subjected all things under Him, and gave Him to
be the Head over all things (verses 20-22).  This great resurrection power  has accomplished so much with Christ and in
Christ.  God's great power that operated in Christ gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, making it the Body
of Christ, the fullness of the One who fills all in all (verses 22b-23).  Whatever this great power has accomplished with
Christ and in Christ is to the church.  "To the church" implies a kind of transfusion or transmission.  Christ as the great
power of resurrection is transmitted into our being, making us the Body of Christ.

Many Christians have heard something about the church, but not many know the real significance of the church as the
Body of Christ.  The word for church in Greek is
ekklesia, which means the called-out assembly.  The church is a
congregation of God's called ones.  But this is not the ultimate revelation concerning the church.  Ultimately, the church
is the Body of Christ.  The church is the Body of a wonderful Person.  Because this Person is wonderful, His Body is
wonderful.  The Body matches the Head.  Christ as a wonderful, all-inclusive, Triune Person needs a wonderful Body,
the church.  The church is the Body.  It is not an organization, but an organism.  This Body of Christ is the fullness, the
expression, of the One who fills all in all.  Christ needs an expression, and this expression is His Body.  If a person does
not have a body, he does not have an expression; he is not complete, or full.  His body is his fullness, the very
expression of his being.  God desires to have a church as the very Body of Christ to match Him as the universal Head
for His full expression.

Being under the Continuous Sealing of the Spirit and with the Pledge of the Spirit

The church as the Body of Christ is under the continuous sealing of the consummated, compound, all-inclusive, and
life-giving Spirit of the processed Triune God (verse 13).  An unceasing sealing is going on in us.  It is like the
circulation of our blood because it is continuous.  Such a Spirit as the seal is sealing us all the time with all the
ingredients, elements, and essence of the processed Triune God.  The all-inclusive Triune God has a consummation,
and this consummation is the compound, all-inclusive, and life-giving Spirit.

On the one hand, we are under the sealing of such a Spirit.  On the other hand, we are with this Spirit as the pledge of
the all-inclusive, processed Triune God for our foretaste during the church age and our full taste in the coming age for
eternity (verse 14).  We have not only a sealing but also a pledging going on within us.  The Spirit has been given to us
as a pledge, as a guarantee that God is ours.  He is our inheritance for us to enjoy both in the church age and in the
coming age for eternity.  The processed, all-inclusive Triune God has given Himself to us as such an inheritance for our


We have to see that the church as the Body of Christ is an organism.  I have the burden to point this out because when
many Christians talk about the church, they have the understanding that it is an organization.  We have to reject this
concept.  We are not a part of an organization.  We are members of an organism, the Body of Christ.

If we go visit another local church, do we consider ourselves as being one with the saints in that locality?  We may
unconsciously feel that we belong to the organization in our locality and that now we are guests in the church which we
are visiting.  Humanly speaking, the saints we are visiting are the hosts and we are their guests.  But spiritually
speaking, as Christians, believers in Christ, we are members of the one Body of Christ.  If we go to visit the saints in
London, are we merely a group of Americans in London?  Humanly speaking, we are Americans in London.  But in the
Body of Christ there are no human members; there are only divine members.  In the Body of Christ as a divine
organism, we all are members in life.  When we go to visit any local church, we should not consider that we are

Today we practice the administration of the local churches according to the Bible.  A local church is comprised of the
saints with the elders, deacons and deaconesses (Philippians 1:1; Romans 16:1).  Do you consider yourself as a saint,
an elder, a deacon, or a deaconess in the local church where you are?  My point in asking this question is this - in the
local churches, we should not consider ourselves in an organizational way, considering ourselves as a part of an
organization.  We should only consider ourselves in an organic way.  Wherever we are and whatever we do, we should
consider ourselves as living members of the organic Body of Christ.  When we gather together in the Lord, we all should
function as living members.  Wherever we go, we are the living members of the Body of Christ.  When I go to Anaheim, I
go there as a member of the Body of Christ.  When I go to Taipei, I go there as a member of the Body of Christ.  I never
consider myself as someone who belongs to an organization.  As the members of the organic Body of Christ, we should
live in an organic way.


THE BODY OF CHRIST, by Witness Lee, Copyright 1988, Living Stream Ministry