God made man a vessel he

1
God made man a vessel he
With a spirit, soul, body.
God to man his content be
That through man His glory see.
2
Man does have God's image true,
Noble in his status, too.
But God's life man also needs
Divine nature to receive.
3
Christ in death as God expressed
Man redeemed, His blood was shedd'st.
In His resurrection He
Enters us our life to be.
4
Man without Christ will perceive
That all things are vanity.
Human life is meaningless
Without hope or purpose.
5
But when man takes Christ as life,
He's in spirit born anew.
When he daily lives by Christ,
Vanity is turned to song.
6
Therefore, man can God express
That the whole world he would bless.
Living water flowing out
People's thirst to satisfy.
7
When in glory Christ returns
Glorified our body be
To His glorious body conformed
With Him for eternity.

We may also consider the center and meaning of the universe and the human life. I have composed nearly three hundred hymns during my life. Recently, I composed a hymn for a gospel meeting that speaks concerning the meaning of human life (Appendix #4 of the Chinese hymnal). Since the center of the universe is God, we should ask, what does God want to do? Just as an ordinary person has certain things that he desires to accomplish, so also God, who is greater than an ordinary person, has things that He desires to accomplish. Hence, we should ask what God wishes to accomplish, what His purpose was in creating the heavens and the earth, and what His purpose was in creating man. The Bible reveals that God's intention is to gain a group of people to be His vessels (Rom. 9:21, 23; 2 Cor. 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:21). The Chinese hymn that I recently composed addresses the question, saying, "God made man a vessel / With a spirit, soul, and body. / God desires to be man's content / That His glory may be expressed through man." God, who is Spirit, created a spirit for us so that we may receive Him into us as our life and live Him out. This receiving of God to live Him out is not only individual but also corporate. In other words, God desires to gain the church as His corporate vessel (Eph. 3:8-11). The church is a corporate vessel to receive the great God, and as He lives in us, we become His expression, which satisfies Him. God's work to gain the church as such a vessel is still going on and has not been completed. However, we must see that based on the prophecies in the Bible and the present condition of this age, God's work will soon be completed. When it is completed, the church will become a city, the New Jerusalem, with the believers as its constituents to be God's eternal expression in the universe unto all the generations forever. God will be glorified in that city, and the believers will be satisfied there.

Stanza 4 of the hymn I recently composed says, "Man without Christ will perceive/ That all things are vanity; / Human life is meaningless / Without hope or purpose." The meaninglessness of human life without Christ can be illustrated by a glove, which is made to contain a hand. As long as a glove does not have a hand in it, it remains empty and vain, not serving its purpose. Stanza 5 of the hymn says, "But when man takes Christ as life, / He is in spirit born anew. I When he daily lives by Christ, / Vanity is turned to song." Receiving Christ as life is not a teaching. I often tell those who study the Four Books of Confucianism that the contents of The Great Learning are good, but the highest point in the principle of The Great Learning is no more than developing one's "bright virtue." The bright virtue of Confucianism is the conscience spoken of in the Bible. Man's conscience is one of the functions of man's spirit (Rom. 9:1). The principle of The Great Learning is merely to express and magnify the bright virtue, which is man's conscience. However, the Bible reveals that the Triune God desires to enter into our spirit, to regenerate our spirit, to strengthen our spirit, and to mingle with our spirit as one. Thus, 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, "He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." The one spirit that issues from our being joined to the Lord refers not merely to the inner bright virtue or the good ability in our spirit; rather, it refers to the Spirit of God added to our spirit, which includes our conscience.

After we believe into and receive the Lord, we have the sense that another person lives in us, for this One often bothers us when we desire to do things contrary to Him. For instance, when we wish to criticize people, the indwelling person within us may say, "Do not criticize him; rather, love him." Such an operation in our conscience, the leading part of our spirit, far exceeds the original function of the conscience, for the Spirit of the Lord, who passed through death and resurrection, now dwells in and operates in our spirit. This indwelling and operation of God the Spirit in our spirit for His expression is the center of the universe created by God, the center of the revelation in the Bible, and the center of the human life.

The United States is a Christian country in which gospel preaching is common. Nevertheless, the gospel commonly preached in this country touches only the surface of what was mentioned above. When many Christians preach Christ, they mainly emphasize that God sent forth His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us because God loves the world, and we are all sinners. They point out that Jesus Christ was crucified and died on the cross for our sins in order to move people to believe in Him. Then they suggest that those who believe into Him and are good people can glorify God and go to heaven to enjoy eternal blessings when they die. However, since the Lord has caused us to dig out the precious items and genuine gold in the depths of the Bible, what we preach should not be so shallow.

In essence, the center of the universe, the center of the Bible, and the center and meaning of the human life in our experience is Christ as our life (Col. 3:4). Therefore, the fifth stanza of the hymn that I recently composed says that after we believe in the Lord and live by Him, "Vanity is turned to song." Hymns as the crystallization of literature are works of the highest skill. After we believe in the Lord, we not only receive salvation but also live a life that is a kind of hymn; eventually, our living is a hymn that is sung to God. This is the center of the Bible, the center of the universe, and the center of the human life.