Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall give an introductory word to the book of Ephesians. Although this is an introductory word, we shall cover some crucial and weighty matters.
The subject of the book of Ephesians is the church. Ephesians covers seven aspects of the church, the first of which is the church as the Body of Christ, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. In order for a living person to be complete, he must have a body as his expression. The Body of Christ is the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The term “fullness” has been misused, misunderstood, and misapplied by today’s Christians. Most Christian teachers confuse fullness with riches. Thus, when Christians speak of the fullness of Christ, they think it means the riches of Christ. (However, although many Christians speak of the fullness of the Holy Spirit or the fullness of God, not many speak of the fullness of Christ.) According to the book of Ephesians, the word fullness does not mean riches; it means expression. The term the “riches of Christ” is found in 3:8, and the term “fullness” is found both in 1:23 and 4:13. Chapter one mentions the fullness of Him who fills all in all, and chapter four, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. According to 4:13, the fullness has a stature, and the stature has a measure. Because we have a body, we all have a stature. If we were a head without a body, we would not have a stature. The fullness of Christ is the Body, for 4:13 says that this fullness has a stature with a measure. Thus, we have the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
This fullness is different from the riches. The riches have no stature. But the fullness as the Body has a stature, and with this stature there is a measure. Thus, this strongly proves that the fullness of Christ is not the riches of Christ, but the Body of Christ.
It is important to know why the Body of Christ is called the fullness. This is very significant. The body of a person is simply the fullness of that person, and this fullness is his expression. As I speak, I move with my body. In this way, my being is expressed through my body. Likewise, the church is the Body of Christ, and this Body is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. How profound this is! The whole universe is filled with Christ. As the One who fills all in all, Christ is exceedingly great. Such a great Person needs a great Body. This Body is the church. Hence, the church is the Body of Christ, His fullness.
The riches of Christ may be likened to all the rich foodstuffs produced in America. These riches are not for exhibition; they are for eating. As we eat of the rich American foodstuffs, these riches seem to disappear into us. When these riches are digested and assimilated by us, they become part of us. As a result, they are no longer the riches, but the fullness. Thus, the husky young American men, who assimilate so much of the rich American foodstuffs, are the fullness of America. By means of this illustration we can differentiate between the riches and the fullness. The riches are the food which has not yet been taken into us. But when the food is eaten, digested, and assimilated, it becomes the fullness. The riches of Christ are all the items of what Christ is. When we digest and assimilate into our being the riches of Christ, these riches become part of us, and we become the fullness of Christ. Thus, the church is the Body of Christ, the fullness of the universally great Person who fills all in all. This is the first item or aspect of what the church is.
Secondly, the church is the new man (2:15). In the universe there is just one new man; hence, the church is the new man. There is a significant difference between the Body and the new man. The Body requires only life, but the new man requires both the life and the person. My body has life, but my being as a man has a person. The church is not only the Body of Christ having the life of Christ; it is also the new man having Christ as the person. No doubt, this new man is corporate, for 2:15 says that Christ created two peoples, the Jews and the Gentiles, into one new man. This means that two collective peoples have been created into the one new man. If we see that the church today is not only the Body, but a man with a person, our realization of the church life will be uplifted.
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