Christ versus Religionby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have spoken of three of the new items, but we have not indicated much concerning the new cloth. What is the significance of this? The Lord Jesus, we know, is God. One day He became incarnated as a man on this earth. From His incarnation to His crucifixion there were thirty-three and a half years in which He passed through all the human living. He was at that time the new cloth, untreated, undealt with, either by man or by God. Christ incarnate, from His birth to His crucifixion, was the new cloth. Such a Christ is indeed wonderful but not adequate, however, to cover us. Such a piece of cloth is indeed new but not yet in a suitable condition for us to wear. It requires some cutting, some sewing, some work to be wrought upon it. All this was accomplished on the cross. On the cross Christ was treated. He was crucified and He was buried: He was dealt with by man and even more so by God. After this He was raised in resurrection. Now in resurrection He is the new garment. The resurrected Christ is the new garment. Before His crucifixion He was a piece of new cloth, but after His resurrection He became a new garment for us to put on.
I do not like to present mere teachings and doctrines—I prefer the practice, the experience. Let me check with you: Since after His resurrection Christ became the new garment, how then can we put Him on? How do you put Him on? You should not forget Galatians 3:27: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” We must put on Christ. Then by what way can we put Him on? By being baptized into Christ. The way for us to put on Christ is to be baptized into Christ. How may we be baptized into Christ?
Up to this point, we are still dealing with doctrine. We need something practical. We have seen that after His resurrection Christ became a new garment, but the Bible also tells us that after His resurrection He became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). If Christ were not the Spirit, how could we be baptized into Him? Have you seen the point? How can we be baptized into Christ? Because Christ became a Spirit. Christ, by being crucified, buried, and resurrected, became a life-giving pneuma, a life-giving breath, the living air. As the breath it is so easy for Him to get into us, and as the air it is so easy for us to get into Him. Christ in resurrection became a Spirit. This life-giving Spirit is the all-inclusive One. In this Spirit is all that Christ is and all that He has accomplished. This all-inclusive Spirit is the all-inclusive Christ Himself, and this Christ as the Spirit is the new garment for us to wear. You see, even this garment is the Spirit. We were baptized into Christ as the Spirit—it is thus that we put on Christ. Christ is the pneuma, the all-inclusive Spirit; when we are baptized into Him, we put Him on. Immediately, He as the Spirit becomes our clothing, our covering, and we are qualified. Hallelujah! So the new garment which we must put on is Christ Himself as the all-inclusive Spirit.
This is the meaning of the Lord’s word in Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and disciple all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The reality of the name is in the Spirit. To baptize people into the name means to baptize them into the Spirit. And who is the Spirit? The Spirit is just Christ as the all-inclusive pneuma. He became incarnated, He lived on this earth, He was crucified and accomplished redemption, and He was resurrected. After everything was finished, He became in His resurrection the all-inclusive pneuma. Incarnation is included in this pneuma; crucifixion and redemption are included in this pneuma; resurrection, the power of His resurrection, and the life of resurrection are all included in this pneuma. When we were baptized into Him, we were baptized into this pneuma. When we were baptized into Him, we put Him on. Hallelujah!
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