Married life is somewhat like this. Two people are involved, the husband and the wife, but for a happy marriage, there can be only one life lived. If the wife lives her own life instead of living by her husband’s, their marriage will be miserable. This comparison of marriage with our relationship to the Lord is not superficial. Ephesians 5:23-32 tells us that Christ is the Husband and the church is the wife. Should the church have a living separate from the living of Christ?
Married life actually is a faulty illustration because there are two lives involved. The husband’s life cannot literally be his wife’s life; they each have a life of their own. But in the case of the Father and the Son, the Two of them truly had only one life. In the case of Christ and the church, also, there is only one life; what Christ has as life is what the church has as life.
However earnestly the wives try to be subject “to their husbands in everything,” and however sincerely the husbands try to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church,” their efforts will be in vain. This will be the case even if the wife follows the principle of taking her husband’s life as her own. The exhortations in Ephesians can only be carried out by both husband and wife taking the life of Another. The love and the submission are from the Lord. When they take Christ as their life, in the wife submission will come forth, and in the husband love will arise.
EXPRESSING SOMEONE CONCEALED
When we were saved, we were joined to Christ as one Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). We are one with Him. Today Christ cannot be seen. He is concealed from the eyes of men, firstly in the heavens (Acts 3:20-21) and secondly in us (2 Cor. 13:5). While He was on earth, He followed the principle of living by a concealed life. John says, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (1:18). As the Son expressed that hidden life, so today we His disciples are charged to take His life as our living, thus making manifest His concealed life.
NOT A MATTER OF IMPROVING BEHAVIOR
When the disciples of Confucius try to follow their master’s teachings, all their efforts are directed at trying to improve their behavior so that it will conform to what Confucius said. This is our natural concept also, when we come to the Bible. Christians think that they must behave in an ethical, morally upright way. They study the Bible in order to find out what constitutes the proper Christian life. Then they strive to meet that standard.
All such efforts are nothing but a frustration to the way Christians should live. The proper Christian life is not related to ethics but to a Person. No doubt Christian morality and ethics are the highest, but it is because they are Christ Himself. It is He who is love or humility or kindness. These traits are expressed when we live Him.
It is all too common to think that we should improve our behavior after we get saved, that we must try to act like the children of God rather than like the children of the Devil. Better conduct is not God’s intention for us. Do you think the Son lived by the Father because His own life was not good enough? By no means! The Son simply wanted to fulfill the Father’s desire to be lived out by the Son. “I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him Who sent Me” (John 5:30). The Son’s commission was to express the Father, not to do anything else. “The living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father” (6:57). The Son took the Father’s life not because of any sin or weakness or inadequacy on the Son’s part, but just to accomplish the Father’s desire. He was sent not to establish an empire nor to perform a great work. Even to say that Christ came to save sinners is only partly true. He came to live the Father. If the cross had not been the Father’s will, if saving sinners had not been the Father’s will, Christ would not have submitted to the cross. You remember His prayer in Gethsemane, “Not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39).
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 25, by Witness Lee)