RICH IN GOD AND IN THE ONENESS
To have simply the three rings is not to be rich in the expression of the proper oneness. Genuine oneness requires a full expression, a full appearance, of the gold. Therefore, day by day we need to be overlaid more with gold. The more the initial Spirit spreads within us, the more oneness we have. In addition to admitting that we are poor in God, we should also learn to confess that we are poor in the oneness. However, by the Lord’s grace we can also say, “Hallelujah, I am rich in Christ, and I am also rich in the oneness!” When a board has been fully overlaid with gold, that is, with the Triune God, it is rich both in God and in the oneness.
Since the time the Lord’s recovery came to this country, we have emphasized the need to see the church and to know the ground of genuine oneness. Nevertheless, some still became dissenting and said that the church was wrong. However, the church is the church, no matter whether it is perfect or imperfect. For example, the United States is our country whether it is perfect or not. How foolish to say that this country is no longer our country because it may be wrong in certain respects! It is the same with the church. Even the Bible reveals that the church in this age may not be perfect; rather, it may have a number of defects. But no matter what defects there may be, the ground of the church remains unique, and the church is still the church. If we have seen the church and if we are faithful to stand on the ground of the church whatever the condition of the church may be at present, we will know that the church is simply the church.
TRANSFORMATION AND OVERLAYING
We have seen that the gold overlays acacia wood. It will never be applied to any other type of wood. This indicates that if our natural man has not been transformed, the Triune God will not overlay us. The Triune God will never overlay the flesh or the natural man. The overlaying requires transformation. This is a crucial matter.
All Christians have the initial Spirit, the three rings, but in many of them the gold has not spread because they lack transformation. They have not yet become the acacia wood. Instead, they may still be involved with the four negative things implied in John 17: worldliness, ambition, self-exaltation, and opinion. As long as part of us is still related to worldliness, that part of our being is not acacia wood. The same is true regarding ambition. Any ambitious element in our being cannot be overlaid with the Triune God. Before the overlaying can take place, that ambitious aspect of us must be transformed. Likewise, if I am still opinionated and filled with concepts, this proves that part of my being has not yet been transformed into acacia wood. The point here is not whether or not we express our opinions; it is the need for transformation. Some people would refrain from expressing their opinion if they were in the presence of the president of the United States. However, they would freely express opinions before the elders of the church. If the opinionated element of our being has been transformed, we will not express our opinion either before the president or before a little child. No matter where we may be, we will simply have no opinions, for the part of our being that used to be opinionated will have been transformed into acacia wood.
I say once again that the Triune God as the initial Spirit will not overlay us until we are transformed. This is the reason the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25 still must buy oil. To buy oil means to be transformed in order to gain more oil. This is to be transformed in order to have more of the overlaying gold. If we are still sinful, worldly, and natural, the Spirit will have no way to overlay us. We may regard our natural being very highly and not be willing to allow the Lord to touch it. We may think that we are just right, neither proud nor humble, neither fast nor slow. As long as you think that you are so right, you are through with the experience of being overlaid with gold. Yes, you may be right, but you are natural. You are not acacia wood.
ONENESS REQUIRING TRANSFORMATION
My burden in this chapter is not to pass on Bible teachings. Rather, it is to point out the actual situation among the saints throughout the centuries concerning the oneness. It is a fact that it is very difficult to realize the proper oneness. I doubt that any other group of Christians has ever emphasized oneness as much as we have. Nevertheless, although we have stressed oneness again and again, some who were once in the recovery still dared to damage the oneness. They mocked the ground of the church and virtually trampled the church beneath their feet. Some say, “What is wrong with having a meeting in my home? We enjoy the Lord here.” Although you may have some enjoyment of the Lord in a small meeting in your home, you cannot have a feast like that typified by the yearly feasts held among the Israelites. Although the Israelites could enjoy the ordinary portion of the produce of the good land at home, they could enjoy the top portion only when they came together on Mount Zion, at the unique place chosen by God for their corporate worship.
Oneness requires transformation. As I was praying about this message, I reminded myself that I need to be careful, lest after preaching to others I myself become disapproved. We cannot afford to be careless with the Lord concerning spiritual matters such as transformation. Again I say, if we are not transformed, we cannot be covered with the overlaying gold.
I have no doubt that you all have the three rings, the Triune God as the initial Spirit sealing you, giving you the sense of discernment, and enabling you to express the Lord whom you love. But I am concerned that day after day may go by without you allowing the Lord to transform you. The Lord’s overlaying us with Himself always goes along with transformation. Transformation may be likened to railroad tracks, and the overlaying to the train that moves on these tracks. If no tracks have been laid, it will be impossible for the train to move. A particular part of our being cannot be reached by the overlaying gold until that part of us has truly been transformed. This should not be a mere doctrine to us. We need to love the Lord, contact Him, get into His Word, pray, and walk according to the spirit. If we do these things, transformation will take place spontaneously.
THE SPREADING OF THE ONENESS
The overlaying of the gold is actually the spreading of the oneness. We already have the oneness of the Spirit spoken of in Ephesians 4. This oneness of the Spirit is the gold of the three rings. The initial Spirit, who is the Triune God, is the very oneness of the Spirit. Now this oneness must spread until it overlays our whole being. We have seen that God does not overlay anything natural. Whatever is not acacia wood must be transformed, that is, changed in nature and form. No matter how good our natural being may seem to be, we still need to be transformed. Transformation has nothing to do with self-correction or self-improvement. Transformation depends upon our loving the Lord, our contacting Him, our listening to His word, our praying to Him, and our walking according to the spirit. As long as we have these five things, we are living Christ. We are taking Christ as our life. Therefore, transformation takes place spontaneously. The overlaying of gold occurs simultaneously with this transformation. Wherever transformation is, there the overlaying gold is also.
This message is not the result of Bible study; it is the result of intense suffering. Because of this suffering, I have been greatly exercised before the Lord in an attempt to understand the situation. Gradually, the Lord showed me that certain dear ones had nothing more than the three rings. With them, there was no spreading of the gold because there was no transformation. The reason there was no transformation was that in the experience of these dissenting ones there was no dealing of the cross. In the next chapter we will see that the standing boards are crossed by the uniting bars. This indicates that although we may be standing upright, the uniting Spirit crosses us. Some today hate the cross; they even despise the word cross. But without the cross there can be no resurrection. The cross is very positive because it ushers us into resurrection. It is in resurrection that our natural life is transformed. This transformation in resurrection brings in the overlaying gold.
THE ONLY SAFEGUARD
Only when we all have been transformed and overlaid with gold will it no longer be possible for there to be dissension among us. Until we are thus transformed and overlaid, we will always be in danger of falling into dissension. The only safeguard is to be overlaid with gold. We must not go on according to the natural being; instead of a natural humanity we must have a transformed humanity with the very humanity of Jesus as its element. In other words, as Hymns, #1146 says, we must be “human, Jesusly.” Only the humanity of Jesus, which is a humanity in resurrection, is qualified to be overlaid with gold.
I beg you to bring this matter to the Lord in prayer. We need much prayer in order to realize that the steps to the genuine oneness come from our experience of God. Do not think that simply by reading this chapter you have the reality of what it is talking about. In order to have the reality of this word, we need time and much prayer. The realization of oneness is not easy, because it is a divine reality. The divine nature must be wrought into our being. The initial Spirit, the Triune God installed in us as the rings, must spread throughout our being. This spreading requires transformation, and transformation demands that we take Christ as our life by loving Him, contacting Him, listening to His word, praying to Him, and walking in the spirit. If this is our experience, we will be transformed and overlaid with gold. Then the oneness will be completed within us, and we will be safeguarded from dissension and division.