November 15, 2019

Christ Growing in Our Heart (3): The Growth of Christ within the Believers as Typified by the Growth of Isaac

What God is after today is not a vast number of believers who have been regenerated yet have not grown in the divine life. Rather, to fulfill God’s purpose we must grow in life and progress from our initial experience of Christ being born in us until we arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (1 Cor. 3:2; Heb. 5:12; 1 Pet. 2:2; Eph. 4:13). This growth in the divine life, which is also the growth of Christ as life within us, is typified by the growth of Isaac.

After passing through many stations, Abraham finally experiences the fulfillment of God’s promise concerning his seed through the birth of Isaac in Genesis 21. In Galatians, Paul makes it clear that Isaac signifies Christ (Gal. 3:16), and Sarah signifies grace (Gal. 4:21-31). The fact that Isaac was born of Sarah shows us that Christ is brought forth in us by God’s grace. The birth of Isaac did not cause difficulty; it was his growth that began to stir up trouble. According to Genesis 21:9, the maidservant Hagar’s son, Ishmael, began to mock Isaac after he grew and was weaned. Paul describes this in Galatians 4:29, which says, “But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.”

Our experience today matches the situation with Isaac’s birth and growth. Whereas it is not so difficult for Christ to be born in us, the growth of Christ in us really stirs up “trouble.” Not only do the things in our environment oppose Christ growing in us, but also things that are much closer, like our self and flesh, oppose the growth of Christ. The flesh, the result of the effort of the flesh (signified by Ishmael), our self, and many other things from within will rise up to persecute, “mock,” and oppose Christ from being formed in us (Gal. 4:19). However, just as Sarah charged Abraham to cast out the maidservant and her son, so also we, according to God’s grace, should fully abandon the law (Hagar) and the result of the effort of the flesh (Ishmael) (Gen. 21:10; Gal. 4:30).

Despite the inward and outward persecution that may arise to hinder our going on, we must endeavor to allow Christ the ground in us so we may be brought onto maturity to satisfy God’s heart’s desire (Eph. 3:17; Phil. 3:12-14; Heb. 12:1-2).

Further Reading:

Witness Lee, Life-Study of Genesis, Messages 56, 46-48 (NookKindleiBooksPrint).

Holy Bible Recovery Version, footnotes on Genesis 21 and Galatians 4:22-31 (NookKindleiBooksPrint).

(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)

One thought on “Christ Growing in Our Heart (3): The Growth of Christ within the Believers as Typified by the Growth of Isaac

  1. “We must allow Christ the ground in us so we may be brought onto maturity to satisfy God’s heart’s desire.”
    Isaac’s living is a picture of a person on the right track toward the growth of Christ. The result of this living provides the most definitive human fulfillment, God’s satisfaction. Its course, as seen in Isaac’s experience, ascends to the height of Mount Zion. Mount Zion represents the highest experience of Christ. In order to attain to this degree of the experience of Christ, a believer must continue to allow Christ make home in his heart. This growth however, is a long process which brings hardships and struggles. Similar to Isaac, to sustain a normal progressive experience of Christ, one must take God as his source of living.
    In this chapter of Genesis, it is easy to see the development of life with its various aspects. The well of Isaac at Beersheba, the seven ewe lambs, the covenant, and the tamarisk tree are different aspects that can be applied to a believer’s growth in life. The well for Isaac is a type of Christ as the life giving Spirit, who is the source of the divine supply for God’s people. The seven ewe lambs to redeem the well is a type of God’s complete redemption. The covenant is a seed of the new covenant enacted by Christ’s redeeming blood. The tamarisk tree signifies the flow of the riches of life, the issue of the experience of the tree of life. Together, every aspect produces a progressive growth unto maturity to satisfy God’s heart’s desire.
    The well of Isaac is very significant in that it represents his source of living. Ishmael’s well was in the wilderness near Egypt. The wilderness is a place for wandering, which signifies our soul. Our living must have its source in God, according to our spirit. When we take Christ as our enjoyment and exercise to drink Him as the Spirit, we are filled with true satisfaction. Every morning we must wake up to enjoy Him. The Psalms are full of experiences of drinking. Our experience should be enriched today. Psalm 36:8 “You cause them to drink of the rivers of Your pleasure.” These rivers are a pleasure to God, how much more to us?! Psalm 110:7 “He will drink by the brook by the way, therefore He will lift up His head.” Our consecration is a watering to Him. The more He drinks from us, the more we enter into His victory. Psalm 65:9 “the river of God is full of water.” Drink the river of God! Psalms 78:20 “Behold, He struck the rock, and water gushed out, and streams overflowed.” Experiencing the crucified Christ is accompanied by streams which overflow. Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore you will draw water with rejoicing, from the springs of salvation.” Rejoicing and salvation issue from drinking! Isaiah 27:3 “I, Jehovah, am its keeper, every moment I water it.” Jehovah is our keeper who waters us each moment. Praise the Lord for this seed sown in Genesis. Each day we should pray to live because of Him, by taking Him as our source of life.

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