Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Churchby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Christ is not merely our Savior. Rather, He is God, man, the Spirit, our wisdom—righteousness, sanctification, and redemption—our life within, and the One who is all-inclusive and unsearchably rich. Such a One is in us today to be our life and everything in order that we may experience and enjoy Him.
Paul said that Christ is the treasure that we contain as earthen vessels, vessels that are worthless and fragile (2 Cor. 4:7). We are earthen vessels, yet within us, the earthen vessels, is Christ as the treasure. Therefore, to experience and enjoy Christ, we first must not live by ourselves but let Christ live in us (Gal. 2:20).
In Galatians 4:19 Paul says, “My children, with whom I travail again in birth until Christ is formed in you.” This means that we need to pass through a period of travailing in order for Christ to be formed in us. When we were newly saved, the life in us was like an infant in the beginning stage of pregnancy. Christ is our life, but at first we do not have much inner sense of life and do not know how to live by Him. It takes nine months of pregnancy for a baby to be fully formed in the mother’s womb. Likewise, we need to continually practice living by Him and thus pass through a time of travailing so that Christ may be formed in us.
What kind of life should we live today as Christians? Is it merely a life of normal human relationships or a life of morality? We should live a life of having Christ formed in us. This is not an easy thing, because we are too natural and too accustomed to living by our natural life. Unconsciously we still live a proper life, a righteous life, but not a life of having Christ formed in us. If we do not live by Christ, we still cannot have Christ formed in us even if we have no faults. To have Christ formed in us and to be faultless are altogether two different things. Copper and gold may be very much alike in appearance, but their inner content is altogether different, and their degree of preciousness is also quite distinct. We may live by our natural life and even become perfect men, but we are still human beings; we are merely copper, not gold. Only a life that allows Christ to be formed in us is a life of gold. We all need to endeavor and strive that Christ may be formed in us.
In Philippians 1:20 Paul says, “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all boldness, as always, even now Christ will be magnified in my body, whether through life or through death.” What Paul hoped for here was not that morality, kindness, normal human relationships, or patience would be magnified but that Christ would be magnified. Our problem today is that after we are saved, we keep trying to be a proper Christian living a pure and faultless life. Whereas formerly we had an irritable temperament, now we hope to be gentle; whereas in the past we had a wrong attitude, now we hope to be proper. However, even if we become faultless, that is still not Christ. The question is, What do we express? Whether we express temper or patience, both are wrong because neither is Christ. The only One whom we should express is Christ.
Like Paul, we should hope that we magnify Christ, as always, whether through life or through death. This means that, instead of letting others see our patience, humility, sanctification, goodness, and perfection, we should let them see Christ being lived out in us. We live Him out to such an extent that for us, “to live is Christ” (v. 21a).
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