Taking the Way of Enjoying Christ as the Tree of Life – Week 2
The Two Trees and the Two Principles of Living
2 Cor. 11:2-3
2 For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
3 But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts would be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity toward Christ.
15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever,
17 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.
Eph 4:29-30, 32
29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, according to the need, that it may give grace to those who hear.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed unto the day of redemption.
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ also forgave you.
The tree of life is simple. With this tree, there is just one element, and that element is life. The tree of life issues in life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, on the contrary, is complicated and also complicating. With this tree, we have good, evil, knowledge, and death.
The Bible as a whole is a development of these two trees. The tree of life signifies God in Christ as the Spirit to be life to us…Satan is the power of death. The tree of knowledge of good and evil signifying Satan as death includes knowledge, good, and evil. The serpent distracted Eve from the tree of life by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil with its complications. Because Eve was distracted and caught, she lost her singleness and purity toward God. The result was that Eve fell, and death came in through the fall. This is the story of how the serpent distracted Eve from God’s economy. (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, pp. 465-466)
In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul applies to the Judaizers and the church in Corinth what the serpent did to Eve. I believe that, deep in his spirit, Paul realized that these two matters were actually one and that what was happening in Corinth was a repetition of what took place in the garden of Eden. Eve was a wife, and the church in Corinth was a pure virgin, betrothed to one husband, Christ. For this reason, in 11:2 Paul says, “I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God; for I betrothed you to one husband to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” Furthermore, the wife in the garden of Eden was distracted by the subtle serpent. In Corinth the virgin was being distracted by Satan through the Judaizers…Paul associates the Judaizers with Satan. “Such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers, transfiguring themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself transfigures himself into an angel of light” (vv. 13-14)…Paul indicates that the Judaizers, the false apostles, are ministers of Satan [v. 15].
When the serpent came to Eve, he did not openly deny God’s word. Rather, the serpent said to the woman, “Did God really say, You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). Here we see that the serpent asked, “Did God really say?” This kind of question seems, on the one hand, to recognize what God has said. On the other hand, it undermines God’s word. By asking this question, the serpent injected poison into Eve to undermine God’s speaking.
It was difficult for the Corinthian believers to discern the difference between the Jesus preached by Paul and the one preached by the Judaizers. The name was the same. But there was still the need of discernment.
The best way to discern a matter is to discern according to life or death. We need to ask questions like this: Does this teaching help me to enjoy the Lord more and bring me into life, or does it cause the poison of death to be injected into me? You may find that if you accept a certain kind of teaching or preaching, taking it into you, immediately your inward enjoyment of the Lord is cut off. Some things function like insulation that stops the flowing of the divine electricity. Therefore, we must learn to discern, to differentiate, matters by life and death.
As long as someone’s teaching or preaching deprives us of the enjoyment of the Lord as our life supply, that teaching is of the serpent. However, the genuine ministry of the Lord always strengthens us in the enjoyment of Him as our life supply.
Anything that cuts you off from the enjoyment of the Lord is of the serpent. But anything that causes your enjoyment of the Lord to increase is of the Spirit and of the New Testament ministry. (Life-study of 2 Corinthians, pp. 466-467, 469-470)
Further Reading: Life-study of 2 Corinthians, msg. 53
Corporate Reading: The Tree of Life, chapter 16, sections: The Tree of Life and the River of Life in Revelation for the Transformation in Life and the Building in Life, paragraphs 9-end
CWWL, 1978, vol. 2, Life Messages Volume 1, ch. 26
CWWN, vol. 56, Two Principles of Living, 418-432
Life-study of 2 Corinthians, msg. 53
There is a certain sense of life
With life of every kind;
And in th’ eternal life in us
It is a sense divine.
The higher any life may be,
The better is its sense;
The life divine the highest is
And has the highest sense.
It is the sense of life in us,
It is the sense of God;
‘Tis in our spirit made alive,
And more than sense of good.
It is the inner sense in us,
The inmost consciousness,
Discerning matters inwardly,
God’s will to thus express.
‘Tis by this sense that God we know,
The sense of inner life;
‘Tis pow’rful and spontaneous,
And not of any strife.
The greater is our growth in life,
The keener is this sense;
The more we walk and act in life,
The more it is intense.
The sense of life when exercised
Will make our spirit bold,
And by this inner sense of God
True fellowship we hold.
© Living Stream Ministry, 2021, used by permission