Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Ephesians 1:22 and 23 say, “And He subjected all things under His feet, and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body, the fullness of the One Who fills all in all.” The words “to” in verse 22 and “toward” in verse 19 both indicate a transmission from Christ to the church. Even those of us in the church life do not know fully what is taking place between Christ and the church. Since the day of Pentecost a transmission has been going on,
This transmission is not once for all. According to our thinking, we consider that certain things take place once for all. Take, for example, the matter of being crucified with Christ. Those who emphasize the objective teachings of the Bible claim that our crucifixion with Christ took place once for all. In a sense I agree, because Christ died once and does not need to die again. Furthermore, He has been resurrected once for all and does not need to be resurrected again. Whatever He accomplished for us, He accomplished once for all. However, the application of what He has done is not once for all. Rather, it is still continuing. According to Galatians 2:20, it seems that Paul’s co-crucifixion with Christ happened once for all. But according to 2 Corinthians 4 he was continually under the death of Christ. Therefore, on the one hand, Christ’s death is once for all; but on the other hand, it is a matter that continues throughout our Christian life. In like manner, the power that operated in Christ in raising Him from the dead, in seating Him at the right hand of God in the heavenlies, in subjecting all things under His feet, and in giving Him to be Head over all things operated once for all. Nevertheless, Christ is Head over all things to the church, and the surpassing greatness of the power that operated in Him is toward us who believe. The divine power is not transmitted to the church once for all; on the contrary, it is transmitted continually.
This transmission began on the day of Pentecost, and it is still continuing today. Even now this transmission is to the church. Electricity was installed in our meeting hall once for all, but now electricity is being transmitted into the building continually. Likewise, all that Christ has accomplished as the Head is continually being transmitted to His Body. The divine power will continue to be transmitted to the church for eternity; it will never cease.
Since coming to this country, I have heard Christians talking about the Body and the Body ministry. This talk has troubled me very much, for I realize that people simply do not know what they are talking about. What they mean by Body ministry is having several preachers instead of one. The Body is not an organization; it is an organism constituted of all the regenerated believers for the expression and activities of the Head.
The Body is the issue of the incarnated, crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ who has descended to the church. According to our natural life, we are not qualified to be part of the Body. On the contrary, we are qualified only to be terminated and buried so that we can be resurrected. By nature, not even our spirit is qualified to be part of Christ. Before Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, the Body of Christ was not in existence. He had a number of followers, but He did not have the Body. The Body of Christ could not come forth from the incarnated Christ until He had been crucified to terminate the flesh, the natural man, and the entire old creation. After terminating all these things through His crucifixion, Christ entered into resurrection to germinate something new. Therefore, it was after His resurrection that the Body of Christ came into being. In our natural life and in the old creation, we are not the Body. But we are the Body in the new creation germinated by Christ’s resurrection life.
By incarnation God the Creator became a man named Jesus. Although God was living, moving, and acting in Jesus, there was no way to have the Body, for at that time Jesus was not the Head. Only after He had ascended into the heavens did God give Him to be the Head over all things to the church. By Christ’s all-inclusive death, the old creation, including our old man, our flesh, and our natural being, was terminated. After crucifixion, Christ brought the old creation with Him into the tomb and buried it there. When He entered into resurrection with the new creation, He left the old creation in the tomb. Then He ascended to the heavens and was given to be the Head over all things.
It took tremendous power to send a spacecraft from the earth to the moon. But how much greater was the power required to cause Christ to ascend from the earth to the third heaven! It was the surpassing greatness of God’s power that raised Christ from among the dead, seated Him at God’s right hand in the heavenlies, subdued all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church. Now this power is being transmitted to the church.
As we pointed out, on the day of Pentecost, the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Christ, who was given to be Head over all things, began to transmit all that He had accomplished, attained, and obtained to the church. Since that day, this transmission has not ceased. This indicates that this transmission has a beginning but that it has no ending. After all the wonderful steps taken by the Triune God—creation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—He came into the church with all His accomplishments. Thus, the church, the Body, is an entity altogether in resurrection and ascension with both the natural elements and the old creation terminated. The Body, an organism in resurrection and ascension, is wholly in the new creation and has nothing to do with the old creation. If you still live according to the old man, the natural man, or the flesh, you are not part of the Body. Every part of the Body is of the new creation. Many who talk about the Body and the Body ministry are natural and fleshly; they are not in resurrection. We all need to see that the Body came into existence when Christ ascended. Having ascended to the right hand of God, He continually transmits His attainments into the church. It is in this way that the church comes into existence.
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