A CHRISTIAN BEING ONE WHO HAS CHRIST IN HIM
What is a Christian? A Christian is one who has Christ in him. The Greek form of the suffix -ian of the word Christian denotes man. Many people think that to be a Christian is comparable to being a disciple, but in fact, it is not so. Whereas a disciple may simply refer to an apprentice, a Christian refers to a Christ-man. For instance, suppose we have a glass that contains water. We would then call this glass a water glass. It was originally just a glass, but after we put water in it, it becomes a water glass. In the same way, formerly you were just a man, but now you contain Christ. As a result, you are called a Christ-man. However, the term “Christ-man” sounds quite strange, so the Bible translators use the word “Christian” instead. Nevertheless, today many people have a misconception, thinking that a Christian is a disciple of Christ who learns of Christ, a person who does whatever Christ did. Actually, the word Christian in Greek simply means “Christ-man”—a person with Christ in him. Christ is in him, and he and Christ are joined together.
God is mingled with Christ, and Christ is mingled with man; this is a Christian. In other words, a Christian is one who has Christ in him. God is in Christ, and Christ is in the Christian. The people who have Christ in them are Christians. A saved person must have Christ in him. If he does not have Christ, he is not yet saved. When a person has Christ in him, he is a “Christ-man,” a Christian.
THE CHURCH BEING THE TOTALITY OF ALL THOSE WHO HAVE CHRIST IN THEM
Then what is the church? The church is a composition of all those who have Christ in them. I have Christ in me, you have Christ in you, and he has Christ in him. The Christ in each of us added together is the church. Even if there were no other Christians in Taipei except a few of us, when we were added together, we would still be the church in Taipei. What is the church? The church is the mingling of Christ with all those who belong to Him. Collectively, these ones are called the church. Some people say that they are going to church. In fact, to say this is not accurate. They are not going to church but to a meeting hall. The church, however, is not a meeting hall or a building. The church is Christ plus all those who belong to Christ. A person who belongs to Christ is called a Christ-man, and when a group of people who belong to Christ are added together, they are the church.
Because people do not know this, they think that the church is a place of worship. In the English language, people always use the word church to refer to both the church and a place of worship. This is due to a lack of knowledge of the truth. Some who know the Bible have used the word assembly for the church. What is the church? The church is a group of people who have received Christ and who all have Christ in them. Please remember that God was in Jesus the Nazarene, whose name was Christ, and that this Christ has entered into many people. Individually these ones are Christians, and corporately they are the church. In the Bible another spiritual term for the church is the Body of Christ.
In the New Testament, the title Christ has two different meanings or two different usages. In some places it refers to the Lord Jesus Himself, but in other places it refers to the corporate Christ. The individual Christ refers to the Lord Jesus Himself (Matt. 16:16), whereas the corporate Christ refers to the Lord Jesus and those who have Christ in them (1 Cor. 12:12). The church is the corporate Body of Christ.
Suppose I point at Brother Huang’s head and say, “This is Brother Huang.” Is this right? Yes, this is absolutely right. Suppose I point at Brother Huang’s body and say, “This is Brother Huang.” Is this right? Yes, this is also right. Brother Huang’s head is part of Brother Huang, and his body is also part of him. The two added together are Brother Huang. What is the church? The church is the Body of Christ, and the Body of Christ is Christ. What is a Christian? A Christian is Christ. What is the church? The church is Christ. Why is this? It is because what is within a Christian is Christ, and what is within the church is also Christ.
Since degraded Christianity has not seen this due to a lack of light, many people say that the church is a charity organization or an evangelistic mission. These names are superficial and degraded and do not indicate the content of the church. The content of the church is Christ Himself. Christ is the church, and the totality of all Christians is the church. Some people believe in Buddha. The world calls this Buddhism. At the same time, some believe in Christ, and the world calls this Christianity. Hence, Christianity has become one of the world religions. It has become a religious organization that is without Christ.
Although there is no such thing as Christianity in the Bible, in the human race there is Christianity. What is Christianity? Christianity is a religious organization that has lost Christ and is without Christ. Individually, a person who has Christ is a Christian; corporately, all those who have Christ are the church. However, today there is a group of people who belong to Christ in name but do not necessarily have Christ within them. In terms of being a religious organization, they can be considered a part of Christianity, but if they do not have Christ within them, they are not the church. In other words, what people consider to be Christianity is not the church. What people consider as Christianity is a religious organization, an evangelistic mission, but the genuine church is composed of those who have Christ in them as their life and content. Within these people, all of their personality, disposition, thoughts, interests, desires, feelings, and contents are just Christ Himself. When people touch them, they do not touch merely their outward being, but they touch the Christ within them. For example, you may touch a water glass, but what you drink is the water in the glass. The reason it is called a water glass is that it contains water. Similarly, a group of people is part of the Body of Christ because within them they have Christ as their content and they are filled with Christ.
Paul said that the Jews required signs and that the Greeks sought wisdom. The Jews believed in God, but they required signs. Through and through, all that mattered to them were signs. The Greeks sought wisdom, and they talked about knowledge with regard to everything. However, Paul said that we who serve God do not preach the Jewish religion or Greek philosophy—we do not preach signs or wisdom—but we preach Christ (1 Cor. 1:22-23). Please bear in mind that the spiritual reality of the church is Christ Himself. To say this in the simplest way, Christians are those who have Christ in them, and the church is the sum total of all those who have Christ in them.
After hearing the gospel, someone may say, “I cannot believe right away. I have to do a little study first.” Outwardly speaking, this word is reasonable, but in fact, this is not the way to believe in Christ. For our education, it is right to study, but it is not right when it comes to believing in Christ. For instance, when someone gives you an orange, do you study it before eating it? No one would study an orange before eating it. If you try to study the Bible before you believe in Christ, then I am afraid that after you have studied the entire Bible, Christ will still be Christ, and you will still be you. You will have nothing to do with Christ. Why will this happen? This will happen because although you may have used your mind to study Christ, inwardly you have never touched Christ. Even if after your thorough study, you finally approve of Christ, understand the doctrines of Christ, and are baptized, you still will not be a Christian if Christ has not come into you. Thus, you will still not be a saved person.
Some elderly women who live in villages and may be considered nearly illiterate have received Christ. Such ones do not know Genesis, nor are they clear about Revelation, but they have received Christ inwardly and have contacted Christ. They pray all the time and allow Christ to fill them. When you contact them, you sense a sweet and glorious flavor, because what you touch is neither Christianity nor doctrines but a living Christ. Although they cannot read much and are not eloquent in prayer, when you pray with them, you sense a sweetness, and you have the feeling that they have brought you to Christ. Why is this? This is because they have Christ in them, and they are filled with Christ inwardly.
This is a Christian. This is the church. This is the reality of the church. Not only so, this is spiritual reality. The genuine church is not the Christianity seen by men outwardly. Neither is it the doctrines of Christ outwardly studied by people. The genuine church is the living Christ who has become our life and content. This is the reality of the church, the spiritual reality.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)