A LETTER OF CHRIST
In 2 Corinthians 3:3 Paul said, "Since you are being manifested that you are a letter of Christ ministered by us, inscribed not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone but in tablets of hearts of flesh." Christ has to be written into us, to be wrought into us, to make us the living letters of Christ. People should be able to read Christ on our being. We may preach about Christ, but how much of Christ can people read on us? When people observe the way that we live, can they read Christ?
This shows again that 2 Corinthians is not a book of doctrine but a book of experience. We need to be captives of Christ and letters of Christ. We need more of Christ written upon us. This means we need more of Christ wrought into us. Christ has to be wrought into our thinking, our loving, our choosing, and into our entire being. This is not a matter of doctrine. It is absolutely a matter of experience.
A MIRROR OF CHRIST
Paul told us that we are captives of Christ and letters of Christ. Then in 3:18 he told us that we are a mirror of Christ. As a mirror of Christ, we need to behold Him that we may reflect Him. By beholding and reflecting Him, we are being transformed into His image from one degree of glory to another. This is a matter of experience. In order to behold Christ, we need an unveiled face. When all the veils are taken away, the mirror can behold the image with an unveiled face. Then the mirror can reflect the image. We need all the veils to be taken away from us so that we can have an open spirit to look at Christ. Then we will be transformed from glory to glory into His image.
THE TREASURE IN EARTHEN VESSELS
In 4:7 Paul said that we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Christ is the treasure, and we are the earthen vessels to contain Him. Chapter four goes on to reveal that we need to be broken, consumed, and reduced so that Christ as the treasure can be manifested from within us (vv. 8-12, 16-17). Do not think that if you learn more doctrines or receive more gifts, you will grow. We need to see that to grow in life is to be reduced.
Chapter four speaks of the "putting to death of Jesus," or the killing of Jesus (v. 10). Christ is killing us. He is not only the life-giving Spirit but also the killing Spirit. Christ is always putting us to death to reduce and consume us in our outer man, our natural man, so that our inner man may have the opportunity to develop and be renewed (v. 16). You may think that if you have learned all the doctrines in the Bible, you have grown up. But you are not grown-up; you are puffed up (1 Cor. 8:1). The real growth is to be reduced. We need to be reduced, to be broken. The outer man is being consumed so that the inner man may be renewed day by day. This is the real growth in life. The killing of Jesus accomplishes the reducing of our natural life.
If everything in our environment were right with us, we could not be reduced. We need the wrong things to reduce us. God sovereignly arranges our environment to allow many wrong things to happen to us. This is not Christ in doctrine, but Christ in our killing experience and even painful experience. Paul said that he experienced the killing of Jesus that the life of Jesus could be manifested in his body (2 Cor. 4:10). Without this killing, we cannot enjoy Christ’s life.
(The Experience of Christ as Life for the Building Up of the Church, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)