This week concludes our first part of the crystallization-study of Ezekiel (1), and the main topic is, The Inward Recovery by Life for the Carrying out of God’s Economy; today in particular we want to see that in order for God to recover us and make us the new man, He must judge our old man, our old creation.
The Lord has a recovery: He is constantly working to recover His people back to His original intention so that His economy may be carried out.
The way God recovers us, however, is by life – not merely in life, of life, or for life, but BY life. Life is not only the essence and content of the Lord’s recovery, but also the way, the key to carrying out the Lord’s recovery. The Lord’s recovery must be by life.
The Lord Recovers us Inwardly by Life for the Carrying out of God’s Eternal Economy
What is life? Since the Lord is recovering us inwardly by life for the carrying out of God’s economy, what is this life? Life is the Triune God Himself – the Father in the Son as the Spirit flowing out, proceeding from the throne, as the river of water of life, growing as the tree of life, to make everything life.
Life is the eternal flowing out of the Triune God; God flows from eternity on the bridge of time into man – the destination of the flowing Triune God is man.
Life is the Triune God, Father-Son-Spirit, flowing Himself into us, carrying with it all His divine riches, His life, his nature, and all the things that He is, into our being, to become our life, our supply, and our everything.
By the flow of God into man, man becomes a possessor of the divine life and the divine nature, thus having the wherewithal to fulfill God’s eternal intention, be one with Him, and have one life and one living with Him.
By the flow of the divine life into man, man is transformed, changed, renewed, sanctified, shepherded, and built up in the divine life, to be a corporate man, the Body of Christ. This corporate man who is saturated with the divine life is the same as God in life and nature, becoming His duplication and His enlargement.
He is now God’s full expression, His fulness, manifesting the Triune God in the universe forever and ever. The inward recovery of the Lord is by this life. We all should know that life is not piety, religiosity, mere spiritual knowledge, spiritual gifts, power, good behavior, activities, or saintly appearance.
Life is the Triune God flowing out into man, and by this life God accomplishes and carries out His recovery in an inward way. In Ezekiel we see how God comes in to recover His people by life for the fulfillment of His economy.
In Ezek. 1 we see a great, all-inclusive, wonderful vision of God’s purpose and its fulfillment, then from ch. 2 to ch. 32 there’s a long section on God’s judgment both on Israel with Jerusalem, and the heathen nations.
All of God’s righteous judgment as a consuming fire is for His restoration; He judges to restore and recover – recovery is what He wants to do, and judgment is a necessary process.
After these 30+ chapters on God’s judgment, we come to the vision of the Lord’s recovery by life in Ezekiel 33-39, and the issue of this recovery is the holy and divine building in chs. 40-48.
The book of Ezekiel is highly relevant to us and to our situation today, for the Lord’s recovery is for the carrying out of God’s economy, and the way He takes in His recovery is by life.
Lord Jesus, recover us inwardly by Your divine life more today, so that we may live a life and have a living one with You for the carrying out of God’s economy. We open to the flowing of Your divine life: flow into all the parts of our inner being until You fill us up to the brim with Your life. May Your life have a way to transform us, change us, renew us, sanctify us, shepherd us, and build us up into Your corporate expression in this universe.
In order to Recover us and Make us the New Man, God must Judge our Old Man Daily
Right after enjoying the Lord’s wonderful and all-inclusive shepherding in Ezekiel 34, as part of the process of His recovery by life, in Ezekiel 35 we have the Lord’s judgement on Edom. Edom signifies our old man, and the Lord has already judged Edom in previous chapters – but now the judgement is pronounced again.
The Lord is working in us to recover us back to His original intention so that He may carry out His economy, and as He is recovering us, He needs to judge the old man. On the one hand, we all know that our old man has been crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin as slaves (Rom. 6:6).
On the other hand, because the old man is very difficult to deal with and it keeps visiting us, the Lord needs to judge the old man again and again daily.
We may enjoy the Lord very much in the morning as the good land, entering into the rich enjoyment of Christ as so many wonderful aspects of the land, but then later the old man comes back in a subtle way – so we need to judge the old man daily!
We may think that our old man has been fully condemned and judged, but he keeps coming back without giving us any notice and without asking permission.
[In Romans 6:6 old man refers] to the natural life in our soul. The old man is our very being, which was created by God but became fallen through sin, and it is the same as the “I” in Galatians 2:20. It is not the soul itself but the life of the soul, which has been counted by God as hopeless and has been put on the cross and crucified with Christ. Formerly, our soul acted as an independent person, with the old man as its life and personality; now, since the old man has been crucified, our soul should act only as an organ of Christ and should be under the control of our spirit, having Christ as its life. (Rom. 6:6, footnote 2, Recovery Version)
Edom was happy to see Israel desolate, for he wanted to possess the nations of Israel and Judah, claiming that they belong to Edom; the old man hates our enjoyment of Christ and waits for us to be desolate and down to conquer us and take possession of us.
We need to learn the lesson of judging the old man, which is a continual process. We need to cooperate with the Lord to judge and exercise judgement upon the old man, whenever it returns and bothers us.
The old man refers to the natural life in our soul; the old man is our very being, which was created by God but became fallen through sin. The old man is the first “I” in Gal. 2:20, the independent soul, the life of the fallen soul.
The old man is the personality of the old man before our regeneration; now that the old man has been crucified, our soul should be only our organ and Christ should be the One on the throne with the spirit being in control.
However, because the old man is very difficult to deal with, the judgment on the old man must be repeated again and again until the day of the redemption of our body (Eph. 4:30).
On the one hand we are so encouraged that we will reflect God in His rich attributes and be His brilliant expression in the universe; on the other hand, we need to realize that the old man is still here, and he needs to be judged.
Today in our church life and Christian life there’s the aspect of a continual judgement of the old man; we need to put off the old man and be renewed in the spirit of our mind. In order to recover us and make us the new man, God must judge our old man, our old creation (see Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-11).
The genuine recovery of the Lord is not simply a matter of repenting, confessing our sins, turning to the Lord, and enjoying His blessings; there must be a change in our life and nature.
In His recovery, God needs to touch our heart and our spirit: He needs to touch our life directly and change us in life and nature.
Therefore, we need both the Lord’s shepherding and caring for us (Ezek. 34) and His inward recovery described in Ezek. 36; furthermore, we also need the continual judging of the old man, the old creation, for Him to recover us by His life.
We need to realize that, in order for the Lord to recover us and make us a new man, His new creation, God must judge our old man, our old creation.
Lord Jesus, we take You as our life and person so that we may live one spirit with You today for the fulfillment of Your purpose. We stand one with You, Lord, and we condemn and judge our old man with its manifestations. Thank You, Lord, our old man has been crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin as slaves. Oh Lord, cause us to realize that, in order for You to recover us and make us a new man, God must judge our old man, our old creation. Cause us to be one with You in every aspect of our living and let You judge our old man!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Minoru C. for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Ezekiel, msg. 17 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Ezekiel (1), msg. 12 (week 12), The Inward Recovery by Life for the Carrying Out of God’s Economy.
- Hymns on this topic:
# The flowing of life divine, / In spirit so sweetly flows— / The overflowing life divine, / Nourishing my spirit so— / Bringing the Triune God’s fullness, / In spirit operates and moves, / Bringing me all of His supply— / Life as my supply. (Song on the flowing divine life)
# Christ as my Person must possess my heart / And be preeminent in every part. / The former owner died but haunts it still. / O Lord, move in; my mind, emotion, will / Now welcome Thee. (Hymns #1179)
# My old person has been nullified; / With my Lord upon the cross he died; / Now in nothing shall he be applied; / He’s dead to me. / My new Person in my spirit dwells; / Springing in me as a bubbling well; / Flowing out until each part He fills / With abundant life. (Hymns #1180)