Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have pointed out that the book of Colossians first gives us an objective revelation of the extensive and all-inclusive Christ. Then it presents the subjective ministry, the stewardship, by which the all-inclusive Christ is dispensed into us. Finally, it tells us of the practical experience of the Christ who has been ministered into us. Therefore, in Colossians we have the objective revelation, the subjective ministry, and the practical experience.
We who experience Christ have a close, deep, intimate, and subjective relationship with Him. But we need to ask three questions: Who is Christ? What is Christ? Where is Christ? Because Christ is so much, it is difficult to say adequately who He is and what He is. To begin with, Christ is the very God. According to Colossians, He is the Firstborn of all creation. The Bible indicates that Christ is the reality of many different kinds of trees: the fig tree, the olive tree, the vine tree, and the cedar tree. Christ is also the real ox, lamb, lion, eagle, and dove. Furthermore, Christ is our real food, water, milk, honey, air, sunshine, rain, dew, and snow. Eventually, Christ becomes our all-inclusive land, a land in which we have mountains, hills, valleys, fountains, brooks, streams, stones, iron, and brass. Because Christ is such an all-inclusive One, when He was on earth He could use various objects in nature as illustrations of Himself.
Concerning where Christ is, we need to realize that, although He is omnipresent and, in particular, is at the right hand of God in the third heaven, He dwells in us (1:27). However, it is not easy to realize that Christ is actually in us. We are complicated people, with many chambers, many inward parts. Proverbs 20:27 speaks of man’s inward parts, his inner chambers. These chambers include the mind, emotion, will, heart, soul, inner man, and hidden man. First Peter 3:4 speaks of the hidden man, and Ephesians 3:16, of the inner man. We may believe that Christ is in us, but in what chamber of our being is He to be found? Second Timothy 4:22 indicates that the Lord is in our spirit.
Now we must go on to ask what the spirit is and how it differs from the heart and the soul. The Chinese version uses the strange term “heart-spirit.” However, there is no such thing within us as the “heart-spirit.” How regrettable that the translators of the Chinese version used such a term in speaking of the human spirit! Although the translators were scholars, they were mistaken in this point. Others claim that the spirit and the soul are the same. On the one hand, the human spirit is not the heart; on the other hand, it is not the soul. The mind, emotion, will, soul, and heart are included among man’s inward parts, but not one of them is the spirit. The human spirit is in the center of man’s inward parts. For Christ to be in our spirit means that He is in the center of our being, in its very depths.
The spirit, where Christ dwells in the believer, is different from the body and from the soul. The Bible reveals that man is tripartite, composed of spirit, soul, and body. Since the spirit is different from the soul, we must be very definite in speaking of where Christ is within us. We need to say, according to the Bible, that Christ is in our spirit. In the words of 1 Corinthians 6:17, we are one spirit with the Lord. The Lord is the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45), who is one with our spirit. Therefore, these two spirits are one. The Lord not only indwells our spirit, but He has even made Himself one with our spirit. In this way, the two spirits— the life-giving Spirit and our spirit—become one spirit. How close and intimate is our relationship with the Lord! He and we, we and He, are one spirit. What relationship could be closer and more intimate than this? Surely such a relationship is the ultimate in closeness and intimacy. If we would experience Christ adequately, we need to realize that we have such an intimate relationship with Him.
However, to realize this is one thing, and to practice it is another thing. We may know that we are one spirit with the Lord, but in our daily living we may not practice living in one spirit with Him. Instead, we may confine the Lord to our spirit and live according to our thought, feeling, and choice. We may insist on the freedom to choose whatever we like, to think our own thoughts, and to allow our affection to run its own course. We may not want to be bothered by the Lord in our spirit. For this reason, in our actual daily living, we may limit Him to our spirit. We may even go so far as to deny our spirit, living as if we had no spirit, but had only a body and a soul. For example, if we want to be angry or talkative, we may do so according to our preference. We simply do not practice living in one spirit with the Lord. When we pray-read, we may praise the Lord that we are one spirit with Him. But in so many practical matters we may utterly neglect the Lord in our spirit.
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