In all thy work, O Lord, Thou didst
In hymns concerning the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, Brother Nee used the term form, as in stanza 1 of Hymns, #492 and stanza 5 of #490. This does not mean that we teach modalism. Modalism teaches that the Son is the Father in another form and that the Spirit is the Son in another form, and that originally only the Father existed. Modalism further teaches that the Father ceased to exist when the Son came and that the Son ceased to exist when He became the Spirit. Hence, proponents of modalism do not acknowledge the truth that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit eternally coexist, which is known as coexistence in theology. Modalism is a huge error and heresy.
Genesis 1:26 says, "God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness." Both Us and Our refer to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Since God said "Us" and "Our" in eternity, it means that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit coexist from eternity to eternity. It is not that when the Father became the Son, the Father ceased to exist; nor is it that the Son ceased to exist when He became the Spirit. Although the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one, They are also three and coexist. Their coexistence is not merely to exist at the same time, as some would understand. They exist simultaneously and mutually within one another. In theology this is known as coinherence. This is the pure teaching concerning the Trinity according to the Bible.
The first stanza of Hymns, #492 says, "In all Thy work, O Lord, Thou didst / At Calv'ry's cross once come to rest; / Yet Thou art working still today, / But in another form expressed." On the surface, the term form in this stanza resembles modalism, which is a heresy because of its extreme error. It nonetheless contains some scriptural basis; otherwise, it would not be acceptable to people. Hence, form is not an incorrect word. Stanza 5 of Hymns, #490 says, "Thou, Lord, the Father once wast called, / But now the Holy Spirit art; / The Spirit is Thine other form, / Thyself to dwell within our heart." Here form also means "mode." The error of modalism was briefly mentioned in chapter 5 and will be further explained in this chapter.
Stanzas 2 through 4 of Hymns, #492 read,
Thy saving pow'r Thou still dost show;
Thou still dost speak, enlighten, guide;
Thou and the Spirit in one stream
Sweep many in Thy living tide.
Through Him Thy power's not withheld;
Through Him Thy working does not cease;
Thou still dost comfort and command,
Encourage, strengthen, and release.
Since Thou art with the Spirit one
His coming means that Thou hast come,
And His indwelling is Thine own.
Since Thou the Spirit hast become.
In these three stanzas of this hymn in Chinese, Brother Nee mentions four times that Christ has become the Spirit. [In the English translation only stanza 4 states explicitly that Christ has become the Spirit]. First Corinthians 15:45b says, "The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit." Therefore, it is scripturally sound to say that Christ became the Spirit. The incarnated Christ, the last Adam, became the life-giving Spirit through resurrection. Whenever resurrection is mentioned, death is implied. The chapter in the New Testament that speaks specifically about resurrection is 1 Corinthians 15. John 11 gives an example of resurrection, but 1 Corinthians 15 is specifically concerning the doctrine of resurrection.
For more than thirty years I have been preaching the truth of Christ becoming the Spirit in resurrection, but until now the saints have not received much of this truth into themselves, and some are not interested. Everyone feels that it is best to preach about wives needing to be subject to their husbands and husbands needing to love their wives. Most of us do not have any feeling concerning Christ becoming the Spirit in resurrection, for we still want to live according to moral principles, ethics, culture, and teachings, which are in the Chinese blood. People think that Christ's becoming the Spirit is too vague, and they do not feel that there is a need for us to speak concerning this. However, people are interested and even moved to tears when we say that Christ was born as an infant in Bethlehem, died on the cross for us, and shed His precious blood because He loves us. Such speaking corresponds to the logic of the natural mind. People would be interested if we were to say that Christ died and then was resurrected on the third day because He is the almighty God. These are the reasons that Christianity likes to celebrate Christmas and Easter.
The resurrection of Christ, however, is significant because in resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit. To religious people this is vague. What is the Spirit? What is life? What is "giving"? How is it given? Who gives it to whom? Most people do not pay attention to 1 Corinthians 15:45b. I have been a Christian for fifty-six years and have not heard anyone speak concerning this. But if we study these few hymns written by Brother Nee, we will see that he clearly states that Christ became the Spirit. This is a crucial truth. We may forget everything else but not this one point: Christ became the Spirit.
Let us continue with stanzas 5 through 7 of Hymns, #492:
He executes within my heart
All Thy desires and Thy demands,
As for the Father here on earth
Thou hast performed all His commands.
By knowing Him we know Thyself;
Obeying Him we Thee obey;
Allowing Him ourselves to fill,
We're filled with Thee, O wondrous way!
Thou art not far away in heav'n,
Leaving us here alone, apart;
But Thou art still on earth; how grand!
Thou livest right within my heart.
In these three stanzas He and Him refer to the Spirit, while Thy, Thou, Thyself, and Thee refer to the Son, our Lord Christ. How wonderful that by becoming the Spirit, Christ can dwell in our heart!