II. BEING FULL OF THE LIFE AND NATURE OF CHRIST
Concerning the content, being full of the stature of Christ means that we are full of the life and nature of Christ. When a person’s experience of life reaches its climax, the life and nature of Christ have permeated all the various parts of his being. The different parts of his spirit as well as the mind, will, and emotion of his soul are filled with the life and nature of Christ. Even his physical body at times is supported by this strength from the spirit. (Christians today cannot as yet be full of the element of Christ in their bodies; this can only be attained when we are raptured and transfigured.) At this time his life comes to maturity.
There are many among us who have believed in the Lord for years, but to this day there is but little of the element of Christ in them. Their thoughts are filled largely with themselves. Though there is little filthiness or corruption in their thoughts, there is also little of Christ. This also means that in their thoughts there is very little of the stature of Christ. With regard to their will, though it may not rebel against God, oppose Him, or seem to be wrong in any way, the element within it is largely of themselves and very little of Christ. With regard to their emotion, their mood, desire, and inclination may be blameless, but they are still not filled with the element of Christ. This proves that the stature of Christ within them has not reached full measure, and that they have made very little progress in spiritual growth.
How can we gradually be filled with the life and nature of Christ? We know that man has three parts: spirit, soul and body. The spirit is the center, the body is the outer circumference, and between these two is the soul. When we are regenerated, Christ as the Spirit enters into our spirit. From this time, He lives and grows within us. First He fills us in our spirit; then He spreads outward from our spirit to the mind, emotion, and will in our soul. He uses the cross to deal with our self and our natural constitution, that is, to deal especially with the soul life which is in our mind, emotion, and will. The more our mind, emotion, and will are dealt with and broken by the cross, the more Christ as the life-giving Spirit can enter into these parts. At a certain point, all the elements of our mind, emotion, and will are Christ; then the stature of Christ is fully grown in us.
At this time, all the considerations, concepts, ideas, and viewpoint of our mind; all the pleasure, anger, sorrow, joy, delight, and inclination of our emotion; and all the judgment, decision, intention, and choice of our will, are filled with the element of Christ. Our mind is like the mind of Christ, our delight is His delight, and our intention is His intention. In other words, when we think, it is Christ that thinks; when we delight, it is He that delights; and when we intend, it is He that intends. At this time, every part of our inward being has been dealt with by the cross, and there is no place for self or the natural constitution; all the ground has been given over to Christ. We can say that our whole being is filled with Christ’s life and nature.
It is like pouring grape juice into a glass of water, with the water representing us, and the grape juice typifying the life and nature of Christ. One who is newly saved can be compared to a glass of water with a little grape juice added, the greater part being water. There are Christians who seem at time to have, and at other times not to have, a little grape juice in the bottom, causing others to doubt their salvation. With others, one can be certain that they contain the grape juice, though very little. Formerly, it was purely water; now there is the element of grape juice within it. When there is more growth in life, it is as if the grape juice increases, and the color thus becomes deepened. Before, when loving others, the love of such a person was solely of himself; now in his love for others there is undoubtedly an element of Christ added. Before, he looked at things in a certain way with a certain concept; now it is different; there is the element of Christ added. Likewise, his emotion and will have the element of Christ added into them. Whatever he loves or delights in, whatever he considers and decides upon, may still be mixed with impure elements, but to some extent the element of Christ has been increased and the color of Christ deepened. This means that Christ has grown within him.
With regard to Christ being formed in us, we may use as an illustration grape juice whose color is deep enough to be easily recognized. Before Christ is formed in us, we may be likened to grape juice that is very lightly colored, making it difficult to be identified. However, when Christ is formed in us, men can definitely see the grape juice inside. Proceeding a little further, the water in the glass will no longer be seen; it will be swallowed up and overshadowed by the grape juice. This means figuratively that the life and nature of Christ has increased in us to such a degree that Christ has become all in us, overshadowing and swallowing up all of our own elements. What is manifested is completely the element and color of Christ. This we call the maturity of life, or being full of the stature of Christ.
(The Experience of Life, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)