WHAT THE RICHES OF CHRIST ARE
Now I want to speak a little on what the riches of Christ are. Today the pastors and preachers in Christianity mostly say that Christ, who is the Son of God, was incarnated, and because He loved sinners, He died for us on the cross, resurrected on the third day, and then ascended to heaven. What they say is right, but it does not give people the impression that Christ is rich and that His riches are unsearchable. Today’s preaching in Christianity cannot give people this impression. Nonetheless, Paul’s preaching gave people such an impression. We hope, by the mercy of the Lord, that the Lord’s recovery also will give others this impression.
What, then, are the riches of Christ? In these years many brothers and sisters have been studying the New Testament and have all seen something. In the last two meetings, for example, we have covered what Christ is and what He has accomplished. What He is, is so rich. We can enumerate some of the items: He is God, the complete God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; He is the Triune God; He is Jehovah, the One who is without beginning and without end and who is self-existing and ever-existing; He is the great I Am. Jehovah is the I Am, and everything else in the universe is not. Temporarily, they are, but after a while, they are not; they exist only for today. He alone is the One who was, who is, and who will be. He is also the Creator, the omnipotent God. The word God in Hebrew is Elohim, meaning the almighty faithful One. In addition, He is the Angel of the Lord who is sent to take care of us. To a certain extent, we have experienced all these points.
Christ is also a man. This matter of His being a man is even more involved. As a man, He was conceived not of man but of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit entered into the womb of the virgin Mary for this conception. Christ was born as a man with two natures, the divine nature and the human nature, because His conception involved both God and man. It was a great mystery that He possessed both divinity and humanity. This special person was a “Super-man.” The blood He shed was human blood which qualified Him to make propitiation for our sins. Not only so, but since as God’s Son He possessed divinity, the all-inclusiveness and unlimitedness of divinity became the efficacy of His blood. Therefore, His blood can redeem all people, and the redemption which He accomplished was an eternal and infinite redemption. If He were only a perfect man, His blood could redeem only one person, not billions of people, but since He is God, the eternal unlimitedness of God was within Him. Therefore, His blood became the eternal blood.
The riches of Christ also include the entire human living through which He passed. He said, “Come to Me all who toil and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). How could He say such a word? It is because He, being meek and lowly, passed through human living. We can come to Him to take Him as life. When we enter into Him, the element of His human living becomes our element. This is also an item of His riches.
As we have already seen, His death was all-inclusive because when He died on the cross, He died with seven statuses. His death was a death not of only one aspect but of many aspects. When He died, He dealt with our sins, our sinful deeds; He dealt with our sin, our sinful nature; He destroyed Satan and nullified death; He dealt with the old man; He terminated the old creation; and He abolished all the different practices, customs, and ordinances among people. In addition, on the positive side, when He died, He released the divine life within Him from the shell of His humanity. By this we can see that His death was an all-inclusive death, and we can enjoy His death. The death of Christ preached to us by most Christians seems to have only one aspect, that is, that He was crucified for our sins and punished by God on our behalf that we may not suffer an eternal penalty. However, according to the revelation of the Bible, the death of Christ is rich with many aspects.
Christ also resurrected. This does not mean that He lay in the tomb, slept for three days, and then suddenly came out of Hades, as we formerly may have understood it to mean. This is not what resurrection means. If you study the Bible thoroughly, you will see that when He was nailed on the cross and dying there, His Spirit within was activated. This is like a grain of wheat which is sown into the ground. While its shell is decaying in the soil, the life within it is activated and begins to grow. When Christ was dying on the cross, His body passed through death and His Spirit within became operative. On the third day, He did not escape from death; rather, He lived and grew out of death. His resurrection was also His work and power. We often have problems, burdens, and sufferings, but we pray much, and the more we pray, the more we get into the Spirit, and the more we get into the Spirit, the more we touch Christ. This Christ within us has the effect both of death and of resurrection. This is our enjoyment of both His death and His resurrection.
Furthermore, He ascended. We cannot exhaust our speaking concerning all these aspects. In Ephesians 3 Paul seemed to be saying, “I, Paul, have been given the grace and have received a ministry to announce to you the unsearchable riches of Christ. I neither announce Judaism nor announce the Old Testament to you, but I announce to you Christ as a living person. He was God yet man, and He was also man yet God. He was the One who created and redeemed; He became flesh and passed through human living. He entered into death and in His death He did various works. He also resurrected, and in His resurrection He accomplished a further exceedingly great work. All these are the elements of His riches.”
The Gospel of John speaks many items of Christ as the I Am: I am the life, I am the light, I am the bread of life, I am the door, I am the green pasture, I am the good Shepherd, and I am the Lamb of God. In 1 Corinthians, there are also numerous items of what Christ is, such as God’s wisdom, God’s righteousness, God’s sanctification, God’s power, the depths (deep things) of God, our food, our living water, the last Adam, the second man, and the life-giving Spirit in resurrection.
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)