第一周 神的国发展为神在祂神圣生命里管治的范围


读经:可一15,约三3、5,路四43,十七20~21,彼后一4~11

可 1:15 时期满了,神的国已经临近了。你们要悔改,相信福音。
约 3:3 耶稣回答说,我实实在在地告诉你,人若不重生,就不能见神的国。

约 3:5 耶稣回答说,我实实在在地告诉你,人若不是从水和灵生的,就不能进神的国。

路 4:43 但耶稣对他们说,我也必须向别城传神的国为福音,因我奉差遣正是为此。
路 17:20 法利赛人问神的国几时来到,耶稣回答说,神的国来到,不是观察得到的;
路 17:21 人也不得说,看哪,在这里,或说,在那里;因为看哪,神的国就在你们中间。

彼后 1:4 借这荣耀和美德,祂已将又宝贵又极大的应许赐给我们,叫你们既逃离世上从情欲来的败坏,就借着这些应许,得有分于神的性情。
彼后 1:5 正因这缘故,你们要分外殷勤,在你们的信上,充足地供应美德,在美德上供应知识,
彼后 1:6 在知识上供应节制,在节制上供应忍耐,在忍耐上供应敬虔,
彼后 1:7 在敬虔上供应弟兄相爱,在弟兄相爱上供应爱。
彼后 1:8 因为这几样存在你们里面,且不断增多,就必将你们构成非闲懒不结果子的,以致充分地认识我们的主耶稣基督。
彼后 1:9 那没有这几样的,就是眼瞎、近视,忘了他旧日的罪已经得了洁净。
彼后 1:10 所以弟兄们,应当更加殷勤,使你们所蒙的呼召和拣选坚定不移;你们行这几样,就永不失脚。
彼后 1:11 这样,你们就必得着丰富充足的供应,以进入我们主和救主耶稣基督永远的国。

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听抄 (原信息中文文本)

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纲目

壹 神的国就是神自己—可一15,太六33,约三3:
一 神的国有神为其内容;神自己就是神国一切的内容—林前四20,十五28。
二 神是生命,有神圣生命的本质、能力和形状;这就形成神管治的范围—弗四18,约三15。
三 神的生命就是神的国,也是我们进入神国的入口;我们必须看见这个基本的原则—3、5、15节。
四 事实上,神在我们身上的掌权不是外在的事,乃是神圣生命自有的本能—罗八2。
贰 神的国是神圣种类的范围,在其中有一切神圣的事物—约三3、5:
一 神成为人而进到人的种类里,人在生命和性情上成为神(但无分于神格)而进到神圣的种类里—罗八3,一3~4,约一12~14。
二 要进入这神圣的范围,就是神圣种类的范围,我们就必须从神而生,有神的生命和性情,因而成为神国里的神人—12~13节。
三 我们由神所重生成为神的种类以进入神的国—三3、5。
叁 神的国是神圣生命的范围,让这生命行动、作工、管治并支配,使生命得以成就其目的—太六13下,约三3、5、15~16:
一 神的国乃是由神的生命所构成的生机体,成为祂施行管治的生命范围,祂在其中凭祂的生命掌权,并在神圣生命中彰显祂自己这神圣的三一 —5节,十五1~8、16、26。
二 进入神国唯一的路,乃是接受神作生命并得着神自己;这就是重生—三5、15,约壹五11~12。
肆 神的国乃是基督自己作生命的种子,撒到相信祂的人—神所拣选的人—里面,并发展为一个范围,使神能在祂神圣的生命里施行管治,以此为祂的国—路四43,八5、10,十七20~21,可四3、26~29:
一 神的国乃是一个奇妙的人位—作三一神具体化身的主耶稣基督—西二9:
1 祂在哪里,哪里就有神的国—路十七20~21。
2 神的国与祂同在,祂将神的国带给祂的门徒—四43,十七21。
二 主耶稣是神国的种子,撒在神所拣选的人里面,发展为神管治的范围—八5、10,可四26~29。
伍 神圣的种子已经撒在我们里面,我们需要经历包含在这神圣种子里之神圣生命和神圣性情的发展,使我们得以丰富地进入永远的国—彼后一1、4~11:
一 我们已经分得同样宝贵的奇妙之信,这信乃是包罗一切的种子—1节:
1 一切神圣的丰富都在这种子里,但我们必须殷勤发展这些丰富;长大成熟就是发展我们所已接受的—1~8节,三18。
2 借着发展这些美德,我们就在生命里长大,至终我们要达到成熟,满了基督,够资格并装备好,在要来的国里作王—弗四13~15,西二19,彼后一11。
二 我们应当殷勤追求神圣生命和神圣性情的长大并发展,好丰富进入永远的国—10~11节:
1 我们在神圣生命和神圣性情的发展里所享受全备的供应(3~7),必充分地供应我们,使我们丰富地进入我们主永远的国。
2 这供应要叫我们凭神圣生命和神圣性情一切的丰富,作我们达到神辉煌荣耀的优越美德(能力),使我们能够并合格进入要来的国—3节,彼前五10。
3 借着我们在生命里的长大,并借着神圣生命在我们里面的发展,我们就得着丰富的供应,而得以进入永远的国。
陆 我们既已由神所重生进入神的国,就当借着我们灵的直觉恢复到神直接的管治之下—太五3,林前二11,可二8:
一 无罪的时代,是神治的原则;良心时代,是自治的原则;人治时代,是人管治的原则:
1 在人堕落以前,人直接受神的管治,而活在神面前,向神负责—创二16~17。
2 从亚当被赶出伊甸园,直到挪亚出方舟的时候,神在人里面设立良心,代表祂来管治人—徒二四16。
3 洪水以后,因为人不服神治,又丢弃自治,所以神只好给人权柄代表祂来管治人—创九6,罗十三1。
二 人既是从神治堕落到人治,所以神拯救人的时候,就要把人从人治恢复到神治,叫人再单纯地活在神面前,直接地受神管治—太五3、8,六33。
三 神恢复人的计划,也照样要人从人治,经过自治,而达到神治。
四 对付良心的最终目的,还不仅是叫我们恢复到自治,更要把我们带回到神治,把我们恢复到神自己那里,而活在神面前—五3。
五 自治与神治,是大不相同的:
1 自治就是人凭良心的感觉而活,向良心负责—徒二四16。
2 神治的意思是人凭灵的直觉而活,向直觉负责,也就是向神负责:
a 在我们的灵里有一个功用能直接地感觉、知道、分辨、领悟事情,这就是我们灵里的直觉—林前二11,可二8。
b 当我们凭我们的直觉而活,受我们直觉的管治,我们就是活在神面前,直接受神的管治。
六 当我们活在神治之下,我们就是照着生命的感觉,凭灵的直觉而活—罗八6:
1 神圣的生命是最高的生命,有最丰富、最强、最敏锐的感觉(弗四18);这乃是生命的感觉。
2 生命的感觉使我们知道我们是活在天然的生命里,或活在神圣的生命里;是活在肉体里,或活在灵里—罗八6。
3 生命的感觉引导、支配、管制并指引我们—4节。
4 神的国有其实际,这实际就是在神直接管治下神圣生命的生活—太五3、8、20,六33,七21。
 


晨兴喂养
  可一15 时期满了,神的国已经临近了。你们要悔改,相信福音。
  约三3 耶稣回答说,我实实在在地告诉你,人若不重生,就不能见神的国。
  约翰职事的开头,就传神的国度,说,“要悔改,因为诸天的国已经临近了。”(太三2)他的意思是,诸天的国,神的国,已经……临近了;所有的人都应当预备好。什么叫作“神的国”?我们必须领悟,神的国就是神自己。……神一离开,神的国里就什么都没有了(神的经纶与神圣三一输送的奥秘,三七至三八页)。
信息选读
  我们对神的国必须有一个清楚的认识。神的国就是神自己,以神为其内容;这内容就是耶稣基督,祂是神成为人,也就是神的自己,是神国的实际。……神的国是一个神圣的范围,人必须有神的生命才能进入〔参约三3〕。……生命本身就是一个国,一个界,一个管制。同样的,神的国就是神自己,神自己就是生命,有神圣生命的本质、生命的能力和生命的形状;这就形成神掌权的范围(神的经纶与神圣三一输送的奥秘,四四页)。
  国度是一个又大又难的题目。我们必须领悟,任何一种生命都是一个国度。……神的生命是神的国度。你若要进入一个国度,你需要那国度的生命。你若要进入植物的国度,你需要植物的生命。你若要进入动物的国度,你需要动物的生命。我们人类都在人的国度里,因为我们生在其中—我们有人的生命。
  人的生命使我们进入人的国度。同样的原则,约三5告诉我们,我们必须从那灵而生,意思就是我们必须凭神圣的生命,神的生命,非受造的永远生命而生。这样我们才能进入神的国度。神的生命乃是我们进入神国度的入口。我们必须看见这个基本的原则(长老训练第二册,四四页)。
  已过,我们〔认为〕……神的国仅仅是神的掌权;这种认识是人的领会多过神的启示。如果神的国仅仅是神的掌权,是神掌权的范围,那么就是神来管理人。你要去偷东西,祂不让你去;你要发脾气,祂不让你发;你动怒要说气话,祂阻止你;你要作不对的事,说不好听的话,祂就先警告你,否则就管教你。这种对神的国的认识和领会,太狭窄了。
  实际上,神的掌权不是外在的,乃是生命的。比方一只猴子如果能重生,再生成为一个人,得着人的生命,这生命在它里面自然会约束它,使它能照人的方式生活;这样,它自然就进入人的国了。那时再叫它像猴子般生活、行走,它反而会觉得遭罪。所以这完全是生命本能的事,而不是外面教导、管理的事(神的经纶与神圣三一输送的奥秘,四二至四三页)。
  参读:神的经纶与神圣三一输送的奥秘,第三篇;长老训练第二册,第四章
 


晨兴喂养
  约三3 耶稣回答说,我实实在在地告诉你,人若不重生,就不能见神的国。
  5 耶稣回答说,我实实在在地告诉你,人若不是从水和灵生的,就不能进神的国。
  神国的启示是基于约翰三章的两节圣经。……三节说到见神的国,5说到进神的国。要见神的国,就必须重生。要进神的国,就必须从水和灵生。水表征我们众人受浸所归入之基督的死,灵表征复活。
  这章说到尼哥底母,他是一个真正寻求的人,在夜里来见主耶稣(2)。……主……向他揭示,他需要重生。尼哥底母反应说,“人已经老了,如何能重生?岂能再进母腹生出来么?”(4)于是主告诉他,他需要第二次的出生,一个新的出生。
  我们若不重生,就没有见神的国的性能。重生就是从表征基督之死的水而生,也是从表征基督之复活的灵而生。我们必须与基督同死,并复活成为一个新的人,属于另一个种类,就是新的种类(约翰福音结晶读经,一四七至一四八页)。
信息选读
  神的国是神的掌权。这神圣的掌权是一个范围,不仅是神圣管理的范围,也是神圣种类的范围,在其中有一切神圣的事物。植物的国是植物种类的范围,动物的国是动物种类的范围。照样,神的国是神圣种类的范围。
  神成为肉体,进到人的种类里;而人成为神,有神的生命和性情(但无分于祂神圣的神格),进到祂神圣的种类里。在约翰三章,神的国指神的种类,多过于指神的掌权。
  一样东西要在动物的种类里,就必须由动物所生。我们要进入神圣的范围,就是神圣种类的范围,就必须从神而生,有神圣的性情和生命。
  人是按着神的形像,照着祂的样式造的,这指明人是照着神的种、神的类造的。创世记一章说,各样的活物都是各从其类造的。但神造人,不是照着人的类,乃是按着神的形像,照着祂的样式造的,使人成了神的类。
  信徒借着重生从神而生,成为祂的儿女,有祂的生命和性情,但无分于祂的神格(约一12~13),他们比亚当更从神类。亚当只有神外面的样子,而没有神里面的实际,就是神圣的生命。我们里面有神圣生命的实际,并且全人正被变化并模成主的形像。神所有的儿女都是在神圣种类的神圣范围里,这样说是合逻辑的。
  因此,在重生里,神生神。人生人,羊生羊。……如果神的儿女不是从神的种、神的类,那他们是从什么种?如果他们不是神,他们是什么?我们这些从神生的,都是神。但是在发表上,由于神学上的误解,最好说我们是在神圣种类里,也就是在神国里的神人。
  这些神人是神所生的儿女,不仅构成神的家(提前三15彼前四17约十四2),也是基督身体借以建造起来的构成分子,而基督的身体要终极完成新耶路撒冷,作神与基督永远的国(林前六9弗五5彼后一11启十一15)(约翰福音结晶读经,一四九至一五一页)。
  参读:约翰福音结晶读经,第十二篇;约翰福音生命读经,第九篇
 


晨兴喂养
  路十七20~21 ……神的国来到,不是观察得到的;人也不得说,看哪,在这里,或说,在那里;因为看哪,神的国就在你们中间。
  可四26~27 耶稣又说,神的国是这样,如同人把种子撒在地上,黑夜睡觉,白日起来,这种子就发芽渐长,怎么会这样,他并不知道。
  现在我们必须看见,国度与召会之间的不同与关系。这件事很难分辨,很难领会得清楚。我们已经看见,任何一种生命就是一个国度,因此国度就是生命本身。神的国度就是神的生命,但召会不是生命,生命也不是召会。召会是生命的产物。神圣的生命就是国度,这生命产生了召会。……没有国度作生命的实际,召会绝不能产生或建造起来。要产生召会并建造召会,我们就需要国度。
  福音带来神作生命,生命就是国度。国度乃是生命的范围,让生命行动、工作、治理、管治,使生命能完成其目的,这范围就是国度。实际上,作为生命范围的国度就是生命本身。……这神圣的生命同其范围产生了召会(长老训练第二册,四五至四六页)。
信息选读
  〔我们无法凭人的教导〕进神的国。进神的国唯一的路,就是接受神作生命,得着神自己;这就是重生。所以要悔改,就是要改观念,改掉摩西的观念、律法的观念,甚至属世、天然、事奉神的观念,全数都要改一改。要悔改!(神的经纶与神圣三一输送的奥秘,四〇至四一页)
  神的国乃是主耶稣作生命的种子,撒到相信祂的人—神所拣选的人—里面,并发展为一个范围,使神能在祂神圣的生命里施行管治,以此为祂的国。神国的入门是重生(约三5),其发展是信徒在神圣生命里的长大(彼后一3~11)。神的国在今天是召会的生活,是忠信的信徒在其中生活的(罗十四17),并要发展为要来的国度,作得胜圣徒在千年国里(启二十46)所承受的赏赐(加五21弗五5)。至终,神的国要完成于新耶路撒冷,作神永远的国,就是神永远生命之永远福分的永远范围,在新天新地里给神所有的赎民享受,直到永远(启二一1~4二二1~5)。
  在永世里,新耶路撒冷将是所有信徒的总和,把经过过程的三一神照耀出来。新地将是神在其中治理列国的范围,这掌权的范围要由新耶路撒冷的照耀所形成。因此,新耶路撒冷的照耀要产生神掌权的范围。这就是神的国。
  〔在路十七20〕主说神的国“不是观察得到的”,这指明神的国不是物质的,乃是属灵的。二十二至二十四节证明神的国就是基督自己,当法利赛人问祂关于国度时,祂就在他们中间。救主在哪里,哪里就有神的国。神的国与祂同在,祂将神的国带给祂的门徒(22)。祂是神国的种子,撒在神的子民里面,并在他们里面发展为神管治的范围。祂复活以后,就在祂的信徒里面(约十四20罗八10)。因此,神的国以基督为其生命里的实际,今天就在召会里(十四17)(新约总论第八册,一〇一、一一页)。
  参读:新约总论,第二百四十、二百五十至二百五十一篇;马可福音生命读经,第十三至十六篇;CWWL一九七二年第一册,基督在我们里面长大并扩展,为着神的国,第一至三章。
 


晨兴喂养
  彼后一10~11 所以弟兄们,应当更加殷勤,使你们所蒙的呼召和拣选坚定不移;你们行这几样,就永不失脚。这样,你们就必得着丰富充足的供应,以进入我们主和救主耶稣基督永远的国。
  彼后一11……“永远的国”指所赐给我们主和救主耶稣基督之神的国(但七13~14),就是要在祂回来时显现的(路十九11~12)。这国要作赏赐,赐给那些追求在祂生命里长大以致成熟,并发展祂性情之美德的忠信信徒,使他们在千年国时能有分于祂在神荣耀里的君王职分(提后二12启二十46)。
  在彼后一3~11……,国度在我们里面发展,实在就是我们进入国度。彼得在三至四节说到神的神能,已将一切关于生命和敬虔的事赐给我们,又说到我们得有分于神的性情。然后,在五至十一节就论到借生命长大发展,而得以丰富地进入永远的国(新约总论第十三册,二九八至二九九页)。
信息选读
  我们在彼后一5~7看见,神圣的生命在我们里面发展的几个步骤。
  我们在神圣生命和神圣性情的发展里所享受全备的供应(3~7),必充足地供应我们,使我们丰富地进入我们主永远的国〔11〕。这要叫我们凭神圣生命和神圣性情一切的丰富,作我们达到神辉煌荣耀的优越美德(能力),使我们能够并合格进入要来的国。这不是仅仅得救,乃是得救后又追求在神圣生命里长大成熟,而受到国度的赏赐。
  生命的种子已经在我们里面,这种子需要生长和发展。借着内里生命的长大,我们一天过一天得以进入国度。……我们若要让国度在我们里面发展,就需要谦卑自己、倒空自己、卸下自己。我们不该充斥了文化、宗教、伦常、道德、哲学、性格改良,或努力属灵、合乎圣经、圣别、得胜。我们应该只顾到基督,顾到基督在我们里面生长。我们里面每一寸的地土都该让给祂,使祂在我们里面生长。……我们也可以借着在今日丧失魂生命,而丰富地进入国度(太十六25~28)。当我们丧失我们的魂同其享受,我们就经历变化,……我们越丧失魂的享受,就越能丰富地进入国度。
  照着彼后一1~4,神已赐下信的种子和生长的能力;祂也赐下应许,我们若与祂合作,祂要差来雨水、生长并收成。有了神的赐给,我们必须殷勤,借着接受应许并借着接受祂的话,发展信的种子(新约总论第十三册,二九九至三〇一页)。
  照着彼得在五至十一节的话,长大成熟就是发展我们所已经接受的。我们已分得同样宝贵的奇妙之信,这信是包罗一切的种子。一切神圣的丰富都在这种子里,但我们必须殷勤,将这些丰富发展为美德。然后我们需要在我们的美德上发展知识;在知识上发展节制;在节制上发展忍耐;在忍耐上发展敬虔;在敬虔上发展弟兄相爱;并在弟兄相爱上发展爱。借着发展这些美德,我们就长大,至终我们要达到成熟。结果,我们要充满基督,用保罗的话说,就是达到基督丰满之身材的度量(弗四13)。这样,我们就会有资格并装备好,在要来的国里作王(彼得后书生命读经,七三至七四页)。
  参读:彼得后书生命读经,第六至七篇;新约总论,第三百九十篇;国度,第四至六、五十章。
 


晨兴喂养
  林前二11 因为除了在人里面人的灵,在人中间有谁知道人的事?照样,除了神的灵,也没有人知道神的事。
  可二8 耶稣灵里即刻知道他们心里这样议论,就对他们说,你们心里为什么议论这些事?
  有的圣经学者,将圣经中记载的事,分作七个时代,就是无罪时代、良心时代、人治时代、应许时代、律法时代、恩典时代和国度时代。其中头三个时代,都是照着管治的原则来分的。无罪时代,是神治的原则;良心时代,是自治的原则;人治时代,是人管治的原则。……在人堕落以前,人与神之间还没有罪的间隔,这就是所谓的无罪时代。那时,人直接受神的管治,而活在神面前,向神负责(生命的经历,一一二页)。
信息选读
  人在神治之下,堕落失败了,人的里外都有了罪,圣别、公义的神,就不能不离开人。
  因此,从亚当被赶出伊甸园,直到挪亚出方舟的时候,神就在人里面设立良心,代表祂来管治人。……在这时代中,人受自己良心的管治,向自己的良心负责,所以就是自治。可惜人在自治之下,又失败了。人丢弃良心一切的责备和约束,而有了凶杀、邪淫,以至败坏至极,满了强暴。因此,神就用洪水审判那个时代。
  到洪水以后,神就吩咐挪亚说,“凡流人血的,他的血也必被人所流。”(创九6)这就是因为人不服神治,又丢弃自治,所以神只好给人权柄代表神来管治人。因此,不久就有国家的开始,人类中就有了政权的管治,社会的制裁,以及家庭中的规约。……这些都是神所设立的权柄,代表神来管治人。所以罗十三1才说,“在上有权柄的,人人都当服从。”这就是人治时代。因为人是这样受人的管治,向人负责。
  就着管治这一面来说,人类的堕落乃是从神治堕落到自治,又从自治堕落到人治。人越是受神治,就越高尚,越是受人治,就越低下。今天人的光景是完全不受神的管治了。可能还有少数人是在自治之下,受自己良心的管治,但那个力量也是极其微弱的。大部分的人都是落在人的管治之下,必须有别人的管治,才肯就范。但就在这人治时代中,人还是失败了。人不服人的管治,人逃避人的管治,人更推翻人的管治。今天摆在我们眼前的,正是这种背叛翻腾的光景。所以我们看见无论在神治之下,在自治之下,在人治之下,人都完全失败了。
  人既是从神治堕落到人治,所以神拯救人的时候,就要把人从人治恢复到神治,叫人再单纯地活在神面前,直接地受神管治。但这恢复并不是一下就完成的。人的堕落怎样是从神治,经过自治,而落到人治。神恢复人的计划,也照样要人从人治,经过自治,而达到神治。可说自治乃是神治与人治之间的一层台阶。所以人蒙恩得救了,就该先脱离人治,而恢复到自治里去(生命的经历,一一二至一一四页)。
  参读:生命的经历,第六篇
 


晨兴喂养
  徒二四16 我因此操练自己,对神对人常存无亏的良心。
  罗八6 因为心思置于肉体,就是死;心思置于灵,乃是生命平安。
  凡活在人治之下的人,都是活在人面前的。他们有许多事,都是因着怕人才不敢作。何时人管不到,或看不见,他们就为所欲为了。在自治之下的人就不是这样。他们乃是活在自己良心的感觉里,接受自己良心的管治,而不需要别人的管治。他们在一切言语行动上的约束,不是因为惧怕人,乃是因为良心的管治。良心赞同,他们才敢作;良心不赞同,他们就不敢作。虽然表面上,他们还是在人的管治之下,也是服在人的管治之下;但实际上,他们并不需要人的什么管治,他们自己的良心已经够管治并约束他们了(生命的经历,一一四页)。
信息选读
  我们总要严格地对付良心,使自己从堕落的人治光景中,蒙拯救到良心自治的里面去,好叫我们在一切事上,都能凭着自己良心的感觉而生活行动。
  但对付良心的最终目的,还不仅是叫我们恢复到自治里去。我们若只凭良心的感觉活着,而停留在良心里,这还是半堕落的光景,还够不上神的意思。所以,对付良心,不只是为着叫人从人治回到自治,从人面前回到良心里,更是为着叫人经过自治,而达到神治,经过良心,而回到神面前。……把我们带到神面前,才是积极的。所以达到神治,才是对付良心的最终目的。
  自治与神治,是大不相同的。自治就是人凭良心的感觉而活,向良心负责;而神治却是人凭灵的直觉而活,向直觉负责,也就是向神负责。我们知道,神是借着圣灵住在我们的灵里。所以我们灵里的直觉,可说就是神的感觉。因此当我们凭我们的直觉而活,受我们直觉的管治,我们就是活在神面前,直接受神的管治。良心只有是非的感觉,它定罪一切非的、恶的,而称义一切是的、善的。但直觉却是超是非的,超善恶的。它超过非,也超过是;超过恶,也超过善。它定罪所有的非,所有的恶,却不一定称许一切的是,一切的善。它只要那些出于神的,出于灵的,并属于生命的。
  〔例如,〕神乃是要我们说祂的话,说出乎祂,出乎灵,出乎生命的话。所以有的弟兄要起来为主讲道,他所讲的确实不确实,那是良心来负责监督的;但他要讲什么道,要取什么题目,神的意思要他怎样讲,这就不在是非善恶的范围之内。良心的感觉在这方面就无能为力了。他只能凭着直觉,摸到神的意思,在这方面得着神的引导,而说出神的话来。这些良心与直觉不同的地方,也就是自治与神治不同的地方。
  许多弟兄姊妹都是活在三治混合的光景中。他们有很多成分是留在人治里,还需要人来管治;也有一些成分是在自治里,受良心的管治;但很少成分是在神治里,直接受神的管治。……所以还需要更彻底的对付良心,使自己一面在消极方面脱离人治,一面在积极方面进入神治,而直接受神的管治(生命的经历,一一四至一一六页)。
  参读:生命的经历,第六篇

2019 S-ITERO GENERAL SUBJECT: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE AND THE CHURCH LIFE

Message 1. 
The Development of the Kingdom of God into a Realm over Which God Rules in His Divine Life

(TF: Morning revival is available )

Scripture Reading: Mark 1:15; John 3:3, 5; Luke 4:43; 17:20-21; 2 Pet. 1:4-11
Ⅰ The kingdom of God is God Himself (Mark 1:15; Matt. 6:33; John 3:3):
A God's kingdom has God as its content; God Himself is everything as the content of His kingdom (1 Cor. 4:20; 15:28).
B God is life, having the nature, ability, and shape of the divine life, which forms the realm of God's ruling (Eph. 4:18; John 3:15).
C The life of God is the kingdom of God and also our entrance into the kingdom of God; we must see this basic principle (vv. 3, 5, 15).
D In actuality, God's reigning over us is not an outward matter but a matter of the innate ability of the divine life (Rom. 8:2).
Ⅱ The kingdom of God is the realm of the divine species, in which are all the divine things (John 3:3, 5):
A God became man to enter into the human species, and man becomes God in life and nature but not in the Godhead to enter into the divine species (Rom. 8:3; 1:3-4; John 1:12-14).
B To enter into the divine realm, the realm of the divine species, we need to be born of God to have the life and nature of God, thereby becoming God-men in the kingdom of God (vv. 12-13).
C We were regenerated of God to be the species of God and enter into the kingdom of God (3:3, 5).
Ⅲ The kingdom of God is the realm of the divine life for this life to move, work, rule, and govern so that life may accomplish its purpose (Matt. 6:13b; John 3:3, 5, 15-16):
A The kingdom of God is an organism constituted with God's life as the realm of life for His ruling, in which He reigns by His life and expresses Himself as the Divine Trinity in the divine life (v. 5; 15:1-8, 16, 26).
B The unique way to enter into the kingdom of God is to receive God as life and gain God Himself; this is regeneration (3:5, 15; 1 John 5:11-12).
Ⅳ The kingdom of God is Christ Himself as the seed of life sown into His believers, God's chosen people, and developing into a realm over which God rules as His kingdom in His divine life (Luke 4:43; 8:5, 10; 17:20-21; Mark 4:3, 26-29):
A The kingdom of God is a wonderful person—the Lord Jesus Christ, the embodiment of the Triune God (Col. 2:9):
1 Wherever He is, the kingdom of God is (Luke 17:20-21).
2 The kingdom of God is with Him, and He brings it to His disciples (4:43; 17:21).
B The Lord Jesus is the seed of the kingdom of God to be sown into God's chosen people to develop into God's ruling realm (8:5, 10; Mark 4:26-29).
Ⅴ We need to experience the development of the divine life and the divine nature contained in the divine seed that has been sown into us so that we may have a rich entrance into the eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:1, 4-11):
A We have been allotted the wonderful equally precious faith, and this faith is an all-inclusive seed (v. 1):
1 All the divine riches are in this seed, but we must be diligent to develop them; to grow to maturity is to develop what we already have (vv. 1-8; 3:18).
2 By developing these virtues, we grow in life, and we will eventually reach maturity, be full of Christ, and be qualified and equipped to be kings in the coming kingdom (Eph. 4:13-15; Col. 2:19; 2 Pet. 1:11).
B We should be diligent to pursue the growth and development of the divine life and divine nature for a rich entrance into the eternal kingdom (vv. 10-11):
1 The bountiful supply that we enjoy in the development of the divine life and divine nature (vv. 3-7) will bountifully supply us a rich entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord.
2 This supply will enable and qualify us to enter into the coming kingdom by all the riches of the divine life and divine nature as our excellent virtues (energy) unto the splendid glory of God (v. 3; 1 Pet. 5:10).
3 The entrance into the eternal kingdom is supplied to us richly through our growth in life and through the development of the divine life within us.
Ⅵ As those who have been born of God to enter into the kingdom of God, we need to be recovered to the direct rule of God by the intuition of our spirit (Matt. 5:3; 1 Cor. 2:11; Mark 2:8):
A In the dispensation of innocence we see the principle of God's rule; in the dispensation of conscience, the principle of self-rule; and in the dispensation of human government, the principle of man's rule:
1 Before the fall man was ruled directly by God; he lived before God and was responsible to God (Gen. 2:16-17).
2 From the time of Adam's expulsion from the garden of Eden to the time of Noah's departure from the ark, God established the conscience within man to represent Himself in ruling over man (Acts 24:16).
3 After the flood, because man was subject neither to God's rule nor to self-rule, God authorized man to represent Him in ruling over man (Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:1).
B Because man has been degraded from God's rule to human rule, God, in saving man, must recover him from human rule to divine rule so that once again man may live before God in simplicity and under His direct authority (Matt. 5:3, 8; 6:33).
C In God's plan of recovery man must retrace his steps from human rule to God's rule, passing through self-rule in between.
D The final goal of dealing with the conscience is not merely to restore us to self-rule but to bring us back to God's rule and to recover us to God Himself and, thus, to live in the presence of God (5:3).
E There is a great difference between self-rule and God's rule:
1 Self-rule means that we live by the feelings of our conscience, being responsible to our conscience (Acts 24:16).
2 God's rule means that we live by the intuition of our spirit, being responsible to the intuition, that is, being responsible to God:
a Within our spirit there is a function to have a direct sense, to realize, discern, and perceive things; this is the intuition in our spirit (1 Cor. 2:11; Mark 2:8).
b When we live by our intuition and are controlled by our intuition, we are living in the presence of God and are ruled directly by Him.
F When we are under God's rule, we live by the intuition of our spirit according to the sense of life (Rom. 8:6):
1 The divine life is the highest life, with the richest, strongest, and keenest feeling (Eph. 4:18); this feeling is the sense of life.
2 The sense of life makes us know whether we are living in the natural life or in the divine life, whether we are living in the flesh or in the spirit (Rom. 8:6).
3 The sense of life guides, governs, controls, and directs us (v. 4).
4 The kingdom of God has its reality, and this reality is the living of the divine life under the direct rule of God (Matt. 5:3, 8, 20; 6:33; 7:21).
 


Morning Nourishment
  Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has drawn near. Repent and believe in the gospel.

  John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

  In the beginning of his ministry John preached the kingdom of God, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near” (Matt. 3:2). What he meant was that everyone had to be prepared because the kingdom of the heavens, the kingdom of God, was drawing near. What is the kingdom of God? We must understand that the kingdom of God is God Himself....If God leaves, the kingdom of God will have nothing left in it. (CWWL, 1986, vol. 2, “The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity,” p. 350)
Today's Reading
  We must have a clear understanding of the kingdom of God. God's kingdom is God Himself, and God's kingdom has God as its content. Moreover, this content is Jesus Christ, who is God incarnated to be a man and who is God Himself as the reality of the kingdom of God....God's kingdom is a divine realm, and man must have the life of God to enter into it [cf. John 3:3]....Life itself is a kingdom, a world, and a regulating element. Similarly, God's kingdom is God Himself, and God Himself is life, having the nature, ability, and shape of the divine life, which forms the realm of God's reigning. (CWWL, 1986, vol. 2, “The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity,” p. 355)

  The kingdom is a great and difficult subject. We must realize that any kind of life is a kingdom....The life of God is the kingdom of God. If you want to enter into a kingdom, you need that kingdom's particular life. If you want to enter into the botanic kingdom, you need the botanic life. If you want to enter into the animal kingdom, you need the animal life. We human beings are all in the human kingdom because we were born into it—we have the human life. The human life is our entrance into the human kingdom. In the same principle, John 3:5 tells us that we must be born of the Spirit, which means that we are born with the divine life, God's life, the uncreated eternal life. Then we can enter into the kingdom of God. The life of God is our entrance into the kingdom of God. We must see this basic principle. (CWWL, 1984, vol. 2, “Elders' Training, Book 2: The Vision of the Lord's Recovery,” p. 121)

  In the past...our understanding [was that] God's kingdom was merely God's reigning. This kind of understanding was based upon human realization more than upon God's revelation. If the kingdom of God is merely God's reigning and the realm of God's reigning, then this means that it is God controlling man. For example, when you are going to steal, He would not let you; when you are going to lose your temper, He would not allow you; when you are furious and are going to speak some angry words, He would stop you; when you are going to do a bad thing or say a bad word, He would warn you first, and if you refuse to listen, then He would chastise you. This kind of understanding and realization about the kingdom of God is too narrow.

  In actuality, God's reigning is not an outward matter but a matter of life. If a monkey could be regenerated, born again, to become a man and have the human life, this life would automatically regulate the monkey from within to live like a man. In this way the monkey would automatically and naturally enter into the human kingdom. If this happened, then to try to make the monkey to live and walk like a monkey again would be a suffering to the monkey. Therefore, it is altogether a matter of the innate ability of life, not a matter of outward teaching and regulation. (CWWL, 1986, vol. 2, “The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity,” pp. 354-355)

  Further Reading: CWWL, 1986, vol. 2, “The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity,” ch. 3; CWWL, 1984, vol. 2, “Elders' Training, Book 2: The Vision of the Lord's Recovery,” ch. 4
 


Morning Nourishment
  John 3:3 ...Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

  5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

  The revelation of the kingdom of God in John is based upon two verses in John 3....Verse 3 speaks of seeing the kingdom, and verse 5 speaks of entering into the kingdom. To see the kingdom we need to be born anew. To enter into the kingdom we need to be born of water and the Spirit. Water signifies the death of Christ, into which we all have been baptized, and the Spirit signifies resurrection.

  [John 3] speaks of Nicodemus, a real seeker who came to the Lord in the night (v. 2)....The Lord...unveiled to him that he needed to be born anew. Nicodemus responded by saying, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?” (v. 4). The Lord then told him that he needed a second birth, a new birth.

  If we are not born anew, we do not have the capacity to see the kingdom of God. To be born anew is to be born of water, signifying the death of Christ, and of the Spirit, signifying Christ's resurrection. We need to die with Christ and be resurrected to be a new person of another, new species, new kind. (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 4, “Crystallization-study of the Gospel of John,” p. 438)
Today's Reading
  The kingdom of God is the reign of God. This divine reign is a realm, not only of the divine dominion but also of the divine species, in which are all the divine things. The vegetable kingdom is a realm of the vegetable species, and the animal kingdom is a realm of the animal species. In the same way, the kingdom of God is a realm of the divine species.

  God became flesh to enter into the human species, and man becomes God in His life and nature, but not in His divine Godhead, to enter into His divine species. In John 3 the kingdom of God refers more to the species of God than to the reign of God.

  For something to be in the animal species, it must be born of an animal. Also, to enter into the divine realm, the realm of the divine species, we need to be born of God to have the divine nature and life.

  That man was created in the image of God and according to His likeness indicates that man was created in God's kind, in God's species. Genesis 1 says that each of the living things was created according to its kind. But God created man, not according to man's kind but in God's image and according to God's likeness to be God's kind.

  The believers, who are born of God by regeneration to be His children in His life and nature but not in His Godhead (John 1:12-13), are more in God's kind than Adam was. Adam had only the outward appearance of God without the inward reality, the divine life. We have the reality of the divine life within us, and we are being transformed and conformed to the Lord's image in our entire being. It is logical to say that all the children of God are in the divine realm of the divine species.

  Thus, in regeneration God begets gods. Man begets man. Goats beget goats....If the children of God are not in God's kind, in God's species, in what kind are they? If they are not gods, what are they? We all who are born of God are gods. But for utterance, due to the theological misunderstanding, it is better to say that we are God-men in the divine species, that is, in the kingdom of God.

  These God-men, who are children born of God, not only constitute the house of God (1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 4:17; John 14:2) but also are the constituents with which the Body of Christ is built up, and the Body of Christ will consummate the New Jerusalem as the eternal kingdom of God and of Christ (1 Cor. 6:9; Eph. 5:5; 2 Pet. 1:11; Rev. 11:15). (CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 4, “Crystallization-study of the Gospel of John,” pp. 438-440)

  Further Reading: CWWL, 1994-1997, vol. 4, “Crystallization-study of the Gospel of John,” ch. 12; Life-study of John, msg. 9
 


Morning Nourishment
  Luke 17:20-21 ...The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, Behold, here it is! or, There! For behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.

  Mark 4:26-27 And He said, So is the kingdom of God: as if a man cast seed on the earth, and sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and lengthens—how, he does not know.

  Now we must see the difference or the relationship between the kingdom and the church. This is very hard to discern and to understand clearly. We have seen that any kind of life is a kingdom, so the kingdom is the life itself. The kingdom of God is the life of God, but the church is not the life, nor is the life the church. The church is the product of life. The divine life is the kingdom, and this life produces the church....Without the kingdom as the reality of life, the church could never be produced or built up. To produce the church and to build up the church, we need the kingdom.

  The gospel brings God as life, and life is a kingdom. The kingdom is the realm of life for life to move, to work, to rule, and to govern so that life may accomplish its purpose, and this realm is the kingdom. Actually, the kingdom as the realm of life is life itself....This divine life with its realm produces the church. (CWWL, 1984, vol. 2, “Elders' Training, Book 2: The Vision of the Lord's Recovery,” pp. 121-123)
Today's Reading
  No matter how much you are taught, you cannot get into the kingdom of God. The only way to enter into the kingdom of God is to receive God as life and to gain God Himself. This is regeneration. Therefore, to repent is to have a change in your concept. You have to change your concepts about Moses, your concepts about the law, and even your worldly, natural concepts about serving God. All these concepts need to be changed. Therefore, you must repent! (CWWL, 1986, vol. 2, “The Economy of God and the Mystery of the Transmission of the Divine Trinity,” p. 353)

  The kingdom of God is the Lord Jesus as the seed of life sown into His believers, God's chosen people, and developing into a realm [over] which God may rule as His kingdom in His divine life. Its entrance is regeneration (John 3:5), and its development is the believers' growth in the divine life (2 Pet. 1:3-11). It is the church today, in which the faithful believers live (Rom. 14:17), and it will develop into the coming kingdom as an inheritance reward (Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:5) to the overcoming saints in the millennium (Rev. 20:4, 6). Eventually, it will consummate in the New Jerusalem as the eternal kingdom of God, an eternal realm of the eternal blessing of God's eternal life for all God's redeemed to enjoy in the new heaven and new earth for eternity (Rev. 21:1-4; 22:1-5).

  In eternity the New Jerusalem will be the totality of all the believers shining forth the processed Triune God. The new earth will be a realm in which God will rule over the nations. This ruling realm will be formed by the shining of the New Jerusalem. Hence, the shining of the New Jerusalem will produce a realm for God's ruling. This is the kingdom of God.

  The Lord's word [in Luke 17:20] that the kingdom of God “does not come with observation” indicates that the kingdom of God is not material but spiritual. Verses 22 through 24 prove that the kingdom of God is Christ Himself, who was among the Pharisees when He was asked by them regarding the kingdom. Wherever the Savior is, there is the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is with Him, and He brings it to His disciples (v. 22). He is the seed of the kingdom of God sown into God's people and developing in them into God's ruling realm. Since His resurrection, He is within His believers (John 14:20; Rom. 8:10). Hence, the kingdom of God with Christ as its reality in life is within the church today (Rom. 14:17). (The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 2640, 2553-2554)

  Further Reading: The Conclusion of the New Testament, msgs. 240, 250-251; Life-study of Mark, msgs. 13-16; CWWL, 1972, vol. 1, “The Growth and Spread of Christ within Us for the Kingdom of God,” chs. 1-3
 


Morning Nourishment
  2 Pet. 1:10-11 Therefore, brothers, be the more diligent to make your calling and selection firm, for doing these things you shall by no means ever stumble. For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly and bountifully supplied to you.

  The eternal kingdom in 2 Peter 1:11 refers to the kingdom of God, which was given to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Dan. 7:13-14) and which will be manifested at His coming back (Luke 19:11-12). It will be a reward to His faithful believers, who pursue the growth in His life unto maturity and the development of the virtues of His nature that in the millennium they may participate in His kingship in God's glory (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 20:4, 6).

  In 2 Peter 1:3-11...the development of the kingdom within us is actually our entrance into the kingdom. In verses 3 and 4 Peter speaks of the divine power granting to us all things which relate to life and godliness and of becoming partakers of the divine nature. Then in verses 5 through 11 we have the development through growth in life unto the rich entrance into the eternal kingdom. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, p. 3943)
Today's Reading
  [In 2 Peter 1:5 through 7] we see the development of the divine life in us through a number of steps.

  The bountiful supply that we enjoy in the development of the divine life and divine nature (vv. 3-7) will bountifully supply us a rich entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord [v. 11]. It will enable and qualify us to enter into the coming kingdom by all the riches of the divine life and divine nature as our excellent virtues (energy) unto the splendid glory of God. This is not merely to be saved but, after being saved, to pursue the growth and maturity in the divine life and thereby receive the kingdom reward.

  The seed of life is already within us; it simply needs to grow and develop. We enter the kingdom day by day by the growth of the inner life.

  If we would have the kingdom develop in us, we need to humble ourselves, empty ourselves, and unload ourselves. We should not be occupied with culture, religion, ethics, morality, philosophy, improvement of character, or the effort to be spiritual, scriptural, holy, and victorious. We should care only for Christ and for the growth of Christ within us. All the ground within us should be made available for Him to grow in us.

  We also can have a rich entrance by losing our soul-life today (Matt. 16:25-28). When we lose our soul-life and its enjoyment, we are undergoing transformation....The more we lose the enjoyment of the soul, the richer an entrance we will have.

  According to 2 Peter 1:1-4, God has given the seed of faith, the growing power, and He has given the promises that He will send the rain, the growth, and the harvest if we cooperate with Him. With God's giving, we must be diligent to develop the seed of faith by taking the promises, by receiving His word. (The Conclusion of the New Testament, pp. 3944-3945)

  According to Peter's word in 2 Peter 1:5-11, to grow to maturity is to develop what we have already received. We have been allotted the wonderful equally precious faith, and this faith is an all-inclusive seed. All the divine riches are in this seed, but we must be diligent to develop them into virtue. Then we need to develop in our virtue knowledge; in knowledge, self-control; in self-control, endurance; in endurance, godliness; in godliness, brotherly love; and in brotherly love, love. By developing these virtues we grow, and eventually we shall reach maturity. As a result, we shall be full of Christ, and, in Paul's words, we shall arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). Then we shall be qualified and equipped to be kings in the coming kingdom. (Life-study of 2 Peter, pp. 63-64)

  Further Reading: Life-study of 2 Peter, msgs. 6-7; The Conclusion of the New Testament, msg. 390; CWWL, 1972, vol. 2, “The Kingdom,” chs. 4-6, 50
 


Morning Nourishment
  1 Cor. 2:11 For who among men knows the things of man, except the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way, the things of God also no one has known except the Spirit of God.

  Mark 2:8 And immediately Jesus, knowing fully in His spirit that they were reasoning this way within themselves, said to them, Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?

  Some students of Scripture have divided the Bible into seven dispensations: the dispensations of innocence, conscience, human government, promise, law, grace, and the kingdom. The first three dispensations are categorized according to the principle of government. In the dispensation of innocence we see the principle of God's rule; in the dispensation of conscience, the principle of self-rule; and in the dispensation of human government, the principle of man's rule....Before the fall no sin barrier existed between God and man. This was the so-called dispensation of innocence, when man was ruled directly by God. He lived before God and was responsible to God. (CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” p. 283)
Today's Reading
  Man failed under God's rule and became sinful within and without, so the holy and righteous God had to leave man.

  Consequently, from the time of Adam's expulsion from the garden of Eden to the time of Noah's departure from the ark, God established the conscience within man to represent Him in ruling over man....In this period man was ruled by his own conscience and was responsible to his own conscience. Unfortunately, under this self-rule, man again failed. He ignored the rebuke and control of the conscience, the issue of which was murder and fornication, which proceeded unto utter corruption and fullness of wickedness. God judged this dispensation by the flood.

  After the flood God told Noah, “Whoever sheds man's blood, / By man shall his blood be shed” (Gen. 9:6...). Because man was neither subject to God's rule nor obedient to self-rule, God authorized man to represent Him in ruling over man. Therefore, not long afterward, there was the beginning of nations; there came into being among the human races the rule of political authorities, the power of the society, and the control in the family....These are the authorities set up by God to represent Him in ruling man. This is why Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the authorities over him.” This is the dispensation of human government, in which man is ruled by man and is responsible to man.

  From the point of view of government, man's fall was a fall from God's rule to self-rule and then from self-rule to man's rule. The more one is ruled by God, the nobler he becomes, but the more one is ruled by man, the more base he becomes. Today man's condition is a complete rejection of God's rule. There may be a few people who are under self-rule, being controlled by their conscience; however, the impact of their conscience is very weak. The majority are living under human rule and never conform unless they are being ruled by someone. Yet many still fail in this dispensation of human government. They not only disobey but also endeavor to escape and even overthrow man's rule. Today what is set before our eyes is a rebellious and disorderly condition. Thus, man is a total failure whether under the ruling of God, self, or man.

  Since man has been degraded from God's rule to human rule, God, in saving man, must recover him from human rule to divine rule, that man may once more live before God in simplicity and under His direct authority. However, this kind of recovery cannot be realized in a moment. As man became degraded by falling from divine rule to human rule, passing through the stage of self-rule in between, so in God's plan of recovery he must retrace his steps from human rule to God's rule, passing through self-rule in between. Since self-rule is the step between human rule and God's rule, when a man is saved, he must first be delivered from human rule and return to self-rule. (CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” pp. 283-284)

  Further Reading: CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” ch. 6
 


Morning Nourishment
  Acts 24:16 Because of this I also exercise myself to always have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

  Rom. 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.

  All those who live under human rule are living before man....Whenever they are not under man's jurisdiction and observation, they do as they please. However, those who are under self-rule are not so....Being controlled by their conscience, they do not need to be ruled by others. They are restrained in all their utterances and behavior, not because of their fear of man but because of the ruling of their conscience. They are free to act only when their conscience approves. Outwardly, they appear to be still subject to the rule of man, yet practically, this rule is unnecessary, because their conscience is sufficient to rule and control them. (CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” pp. 284-285)
Today's Reading
  Only severe dealings with our conscience will deliver us from the fallen condition of human rule to that rule by the conscience. Then in all things we can live and act according to the feelings of our conscience.

  However, the final goal of dealing with the conscience is not simply to restore us to self-rule. If we remain only in the feelings of the conscience, we are still in a half-fallen situation and fall short of God's will. Therefore, dealing with the conscience is not just to cause man to return from human rule to self-rule, from the eye of man unto the conscience, but even more to cause man to pass through self-rule and attain to God's rule, to pass through the conscience and live in the presence of God....The positive objective is that we be recovered to God Himself. Therefore, the final goal of dealing with the conscience is to bring us back to God's rule.

  Self-rule and God's rule differ greatly. Self-rule means that man lives by the feelings of his conscience, being responsible to his conscience; whereas God's rule means that man lives by the intuition of the spirit, being responsible to the intuition, that is, being responsible to God. We know that God through the Holy Spirit lives in our spirit. Therefore, we can say that the intuition in our spirit is the feeling of God. Hence, when we live by the intuition and are controlled by the intuition, we are living in the presence of God and ruled by Him. The conscience has only the feeling of right and wrong. It condemns all that is wrong and evil and justifies all that is right and good. But the intuition is above right and wrong, good and evil. It is above wrong and also above right; it is above evil and also above good. It condemns all that is wrong and all that is evil, but it does not necessarily approve all that is right and all that is good. It accepts only that which is of God, of the Spirit, and of life.

  [For example], what God desires is that we speak His words, words that are of Him, of the Spirit, and of life. Therefore, when a brother ministers, whether he is speaking the truth or not will be attended to by the conscience. But as to what he should minister, what subject he should choose, what God has in mind for him to speak—these are not within the limit of right and wrong, good and evil. The feeling of the conscience is unable to do anything in this respect. Only through the intuition can one touch the mind of God and be led by God to speak His words. These differences between the conscience and the intuition are also the differences between self-rule and God's rule.

  Many brothers and sisters are living in a condition that is a combination of the three kinds of government. The greater part of their being is under human rule; they still need to be ruled by man. Another part of their being is under self-rule, the rule of the conscience. But only a small part of their being is under God's rule so that they are controlled by God directly....There is the need to deal with the conscience more thoroughly so that we can, on the negative side, be delivered from human rule and, on the positive side, enter into God's rule to be directly under His control. (CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” pp. 285-286)

  Further Reading: CWWL, 1953, vol. 3, “The Experience of Life,” ch. 6

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