Scripture Reading: Ezek. 36:21-38
I. “Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it” (Ezek. 35:2):
A. That the judgment on Edom is repeated here (cf. 25:12-14) indicates that in the process of God’s recovery by life, there is still the need of God’s judgment, particularly on Edom, who typifies the old man (see footnote 1 on v. 12):
1. 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, and it is the same as the first “I” in Galatians 2:20.
2. 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 (Rom. 6:6), our soul should act only as an organ of Christ and should be under the control of our spirit, having Christ as its life.
3. 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).
B. In order to recover us and make us the new man, God must judge our old man, our old creation (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22-24; Col. 3:9-11).
II. For the inward recovery of His people, God acts on behalf of His holy name (Ezek. 36:21-23; Matt. 6:9; Isa. 29:23):
A. In His recovery God acts on behalf of His holy name (cf. Eph. 1:4; Rev. 21:2).
B. We have been recovered and revived not because of any merit in ourselves but because God did something in us for His own name (cf. 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 3:15).
III. For the inward recovery of His people, God applies His judicial redemption to them for their being cleansed with the precious blood of Christ (Ezek. 36:25; 1 Pet. 1:18-19):
A. The clean water in Ezekiel 36:25 refers to the redeeming and cleansing blood, which is a cleansing and opened fountain for sin and for impurity (Zech. 13:1; cf. Num. 19:2-10).
B. The Lord washes us from all our filthiness, including all kinds of sinful things, unjust things, unrighteous things, and dark things (1 John 1:7, 9; cf. Eph. 5:8-9).
C. The Lord cleanses us from all our idols (Ezek. 14:3; 1 John 5:21; Col. 1:18b).
IV. For the inward recovery of His people, God applies His organic salvation to them to give them a new heart and a new spirit so that they may be deified to become a new creation, the New Jerusalem (Ezek. 36:26; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:2; Psa. 51:10; 78:8; 1 Pet. 3:4):
A. While we are in a fallen or backslidden state, our heart toward the Lord is stony and hard, and our spirit is deadened (Eph. 2:1; 4:18):
1. When the Lord saves us or revives us, He renews our heart, making our stony heart a heart of flesh, a heart that is soft and loving toward Him (cf. 2 Cor. 3:3).
2. Furthermore, He enlivens and renews our spirit with His divine life (Col. 2:13).
3. As a result, we love the Lord and desire Him with our renewed heart, and we can contact Him, receive Him, and contain Him by exercising our renewed spirit.
B. The Lord gives us a new heart to love Him (Mark 12:30):
1. Our heart represents us with regard to our inclination, affection, delight, and desire (cf. Matt. 15:8).
2. Our heart is our representative in action, our acting agent (cf. Prov. 4:23; Matt. 12:34-35; 15:18-19).
3. God gives us a new heart because He wants us to incline toward Him, adore Him, desire Him, and love Him (1 Cor. 16:22; 2:9).
4. In order to maintain the newness of our heart, we must keep our heart turned to the Lord and seek purity, loving Him with our whole heart (Mark 12:30; 2 Cor. 3:16-18; Matt. 5:8; Prov. 4:20-23; Psa. 119:2, 11):
a. Our heart needs to be soft (Ezek. 36:26; cf. Matt. 13:19; 2 Cor. 5:10-11a; Isa. 11:2; Rom. 8:28).
b. Our heart needs to be pure (Matt. 5:8; 2 Tim. 2:22).
c. Our heart needs to be loving (Eph. 3:17, 19; 2 Cor. 5:14).
d. Our heart needs to be at peace (Acts 24:16).
C. The Lord gives us a new spirit to receive and contact Him (John 4:24):
1. The heavens are for the earth, the earth is for man, and man was created by God with a spirit so that he may contact God, receive God, worship God, live God, fulfill God’s purpose for God, and be one with God (Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 6:17).
2. For us to have a new spirit means that our old, deadened spirit has been enlivened through regeneration (Eph. 2:1; John 3:6).
3. In his subtlety Satan has hidden the matter of the human spirit from most Christians; the spirit is an overlooked part of man (Gen. 2:7; Prov. 20:27; Zech. 12:1; John 4:24; 1 Thes. 5:23; cf. Jude 19-21).
4. In order to maintain the newness of our spirit, we must continually exercise our spirit to contact the Lord so that we may walk, live, and have our being in and according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4; 6:4; 7:6; 1 Cor. 6:17):
a. We must call on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:12).
b. We must pray-read His word as the Spirit (Eph. 5:26; 6:17-18).
c. We must rejoice always, pray unceasingly, and give thanks in everything (1 Thes. 5:16-18).
d. We must fan our spirit into flame, not quenching the Spirit (2 Tim. 1:6-7; 1 Thes. 5:19).
e. We must practice prophesying for the building up of the church, not despising prophesying (v. 20; 1 Cor. 14:4b, 31-32).
V. “And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and My ordinances you shall keep and do” (Ezek. 36:27):
A. For the inward recovery of His people, God not only gives us a new heart and a new spirit (v. 26) but also puts His Spirit within us, in our spirit, making the two spirits one mingled spirit (Rom. 8:9, 16) and causing us to be one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).
B. God’s Spirit within us contains God’s nature, and God’s nature corresponds to God’s law; because we have God’s nature within us (2 Pet. 1:4), we are able to keep His law spontaneously by walking according to our regenerated spirit, which is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:16, 22-23, 25).
C. The Lord’s causing us to walk in His statutes refers to the law (the automatic principle; the innate, automatic function) of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2); this is the Lord’s guiding us to walk on the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psa. 23:3).
D. The righteous requirement of the law is spontaneously and automatically fulfilled in those who walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4, 2).
E. The Spirit with our spirit is the key, the secret, to God’s organic salvation (v. 16; 5:10).
VI. As a result of the inward recovery by life, the desolate and waste places will become like the garden of Eden (Ezek. 36:34-36):
A. The Lord’s recovery should come to the point where it is like the garden of Eden.
B. In “the garden of Eden” we have Christ as the plant of renown (34:29), Christ as the tree of life with the rich food supply (Rev. 2:7; 22:14).
VII. In His recovery by life, the Lord desires to increase us “with men like a flock” (Ezek. 36:37-38):
A. The Lord has promised to increase us, filling the waste cities “with flocks of men” (v. 38), but we still need to inquire of Him, asking Him to do what He desires to do (Luke 10:2).
B. We should not say that numbers do not mean anything and that we do not care for numbers; we need to pray for the increase, claiming the Lord’s promise in Ezekiel 36; we need to remember that quality comes out of quantity.
C. We need to pray that the Lord will give us the increase and that He will bring in flocks of men (cf. John 4:4-8, 28-30, 39-42; Luke 19:1-10).