Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the book of Colossians Paul sets forth not only the revelation of the all-inclusive Christ, but also the experience of Christ. As we consider this book, we need to see both the revelation and the experience. In this message we shall see that in the experience of Christians, Christ has been replaced in every way.
The revelation concerning Christ in Colossians is both all-inclusive and extensive. Colossians reveals that Christ is everything. Christ is the Firstborn both of the old creation, the universe, and of the new creation, the church (1:15, 18). The new creation is not as extensive as the old creation, the universe. The church is all-inclusive, but it is not extensive. For Christ to be the Firstborn of both the original creation and the new creation means that He is both extensive and all-inclusive. In the new man there is room only for Christ; Christ is all and in all (3:11). This shows His all-inclusiveness. However, the fact that He is the Firstborn of all creation indicates His extensiveness. In the words of Ephesians 3, Christ is the breadth, length, height, and depth.
The revelation of the all-inclusive and extensive Christ is found adequately, fully, definitely, and clearly in the Epistles of Paul, in particular in the book of Colossians. In 1:25 Paul says that he became a minister according to the stewardship of God to complete the word of God. Colossians was written to complete the word of God, to complete the divine revelation in the Scriptures. Without Colossians, the divine revelation in the Scriptures would not be complete.
The completion of the Word of God found in Colossians is the mystery of God’s economy—Christ in us, the hope of glory (1:27). This means that without Christ in us as the hope of glory, God’s revelation would have no completion. We thank the Lord that His revelation is completed, recorded, and presented to us.
For centuries, Christians have had this revelation in their hands. However, it has been neglected. Although Christ has been revealed adequately, definitely, emphatically, and fully, in the experience of Christians He has been replaced by many other things. Although there are millions of Christians in this country, not many have paid adequate attention to Christ in us, the hope of glory. This has been true even among us. In particular, culture has replaced Christ. In 1961 I wrote the hymn, “Not the law of letters, but the Christ of life” (Hymns, #541). But in this hymn I did not say anything about culture. When I wrote it, I did not see that culture was the strongest and most subtle replacement of Christ in our experience. Nevertheless, more than forty-five years ago, I saw that God does not want anything other than Christ. Although this vision is very clear, I must confess that I still do not live Christ adequately. From time to time, I have been distracted from Christ to other things.
Have you ever asked yourself how much you live Christ day by day? For the most part, we live Christ only when we are praying in the spirit. By this we see how little we actually live Christ. In our daily living Christ is replaced by other things. In particular, things that are good in our eyes become replacements for Christ. For example, Christ may be replaced by your humility. Spontaneously and unconsciously, you live your natural humility instead of Christ. Inwardly, a naturally humble person may be proud of his humility, especially when he compares himself with others. But this humility of which he boasts is a replacement of Christ. Actually, such humility is not a virtue in the eyes of God. Because it replaces Christ, it is something very unpleasant. Day by day, Christ is replaced by many things. He may be replaced by our diligence, frankness, and honesty. Instead of living Christ, we may live these natural attributes or characteristics.
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