THE EXPERIENCES OF LIFE BEING THE EXPERIENCES OF CHRIST
Christ Revealed in Us
Because God is life to us in Christ His Son, the real experience of life is the experience of Christ. God can be life to us only in Christ. It is in Christ that God is life to us, so in order to experience God as life, we must experience Christ as life. By our experiences and our spiritual knowledge, we know that the experience of Christ as life has steps, or stages.
According to the Scriptures, the first step, or stage, of the experience of Christ is that God reveals Christ in us. This is the word of the apostle Paul, who in Galatians 1:15-16a says, “It pleased God…to reveal His Son in me.” If we have the real experience of life, we have at least had this very first step of experiencing Christ. Christ has been revealed in us. This is a work of the Holy Spirit. One day the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to us in a very subjective way, and He brings Christ into us. When we believe in the Lord Jesus, we receive Him, but in what way do we receive Him? It is by the Holy Spirit revealing Christ into us.
We may classify Christians in three different categories. Some are Christians of Christianity, some are Christians of Christian teachings, and some are Christians of Christ. We should not be quick to say we are not Christians of Christianity. We should say, “Apparently I am a Christian of Christianity, yet I am something more.” We are also Christians of Christian knowledge and teachings, but we are still something more. We are not only Christians of Christianity and Christians of Christian teachings; we are Christians of Christ Himself.
I was born of my mother a Christian of Christianity, although I was not yet reborn. Later, when I was young I became improved. I became a Christian of Christian teachings by the teachings of the pastors and preachers in the denominations. I was taught by Christian teachings to be a Christian. Praise the Lord, eventually I became a reborn Christian of Christ! One day the Holy Spirit revealed Christ into me. From that time I had a certain experience of Christ. I knew that Christ is within me as my life. Christ is no longer merely objective but subjective to me. Formerly I was in Christianity, and I accepted all the Christian teachings, but at that time I did not have Christ. It was at a certain time that the Holy Spirit revealed Christ into me.
I saw many so-called members of Christian churches. They repented, and they were baptized, but later on they simply gave up Christianity. Some who were my age became important members of the Communist Party, which is against Christianity, yet I can recall that when we were young, they were apparently zealous Christians. However, they never met Christ. Christ was never revealed to them. To be a Christian in Christianity is one thing, to be a Christian by Christian teachings is another thing, and to be a Christian by Christ being revealed in us is a third thing. This is to be a real Christian, and this is a real experience of Christ. The first step of the experience of Christ as life is that Christ is revealed into our spirit by the Holy Spirit.
Christ Living in Us
The second step, or the second stage, for us to experience Christ as life is Christ living within us. After Christ is revealed in us, He lives within us. Galatians 2:20 says, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” If someone does not know this verse, he has no real part in Christianity.
(Basic Principles of the Experience of Life, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)