Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Many readers of the New Testament consider Colossians a book of doctrine. However, Colossians is also a book of experience. The extensive, all-inclusive Christ revealed in this book is subjective to us, for He dwells in us as our hope of glory (1:27), and He is our life (3:4). Nothing can be more subjective to us than our own life. In fact, our life is us. To say that Christ is our life means that Christ becomes us. How could Christ be our life without actually becoming us? It would be impossible.
Some Christian teachers oppose the revelation we have seen concerning the subjective experience of Christ. According to them, we deify ourselves, we make ourselves God. They claim that we teach that the self becomes the same as God and that this is self-deification. Although we definitely do not teach that we become God Himself or that we shall ever be worshipped as deity, it is nonetheless true that Christ dwells in us and that He is our life. He becomes us in our experience. As Paul says, “To me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). We have pointed out that Christ cannot be our life without becoming us. Life is our very being. Hence, for Christ to be our life means that He becomes our being. For Christ to become our being is for Christ to become us.
To us, Christ is both objective and subjective. We know Christ both according to doctrine and according to experience. On the one hand, our Christ is on the throne in the heavens. On the other hand, He is in our spirit. We worship the enthroned Christ in the heavens, but we experience, enjoy, and partake of the indwelling Christ in our spirit. We are one with Him in a very subjective way. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:17, “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” Christ is subjective to us to such a degree that He and we, we and He, have become one spirit. To be one spirit with the Lord is greater than to have gifts and miracles. Now that we have become one spirit with the Lord, in our daily life we need to experience being one spirit with Him.
Some years ago I stayed with some saints who talked a lot about Colossians 1:27. Although they could speak of the indwelling Christ as the hope of glory, they had very little experience of Christ. To them, the indwelling Christ was merely a doctrine, not a reality. In their practical daily living, they were ethical and religious, but they did not live Christ. Even their love was a natural, ethical love, not the expression of Christ lived out from within them. In these believers you could see religion and ethics, but you could not see much of Christ. This is true of many Christians today. They know Christ in doctrine, but they have very little genuine experience of Him. However, when Paul wrote the book of Colossians, he wrote both according to doctrine and according to experience.
In 2:7 Paul speaks of having been rooted and being built up in Christ. Both being rooted and being built up are subjective and experiential. We need a clear understanding of what it is to be rooted in Christ and to be built up in Him. We should neither take 2:7 for granted, nor avoid it because we find it difficult to understand. Instead, we should dwell on this verse, pray-reading it and studying it until we receive light.
Having been rooted in Christ and being built up in Christ are both related to walking in Christ (2:6). If we would walk in Christ, we must meet two conditions: we must be rooted in Him, and we must be in the process of being built up in Him. On the one hand, we have already been rooted in Christ; on the other hand, we are being built up in Him. When these conditions are met, we shall be able to walk in Christ. In experience we all need to know what it means to be rooted in Christ and to be built up in Him.
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