BUILDING UP THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST
Let us now consider the other sign in John 2, the sign of building up the mystical body of Christ. We need to realize that the rebuilding of the destroyed temple has already been accomplished. In Christ’s resurrection we all have been resurrected. Peter tells us that we have been regenerated through the resurrection of Christ (1 Pet. 1:3). This means that in God’s view, according to His accomplishment in His economy, the Body of Christ has already been built.
The tense of the verbs in the book of Revelation indicates this. For example, the Apostle John does not say that the New Jerusalem will come; he tells us that he saw the New Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God. Approximately nineteen hundred years ago, John saw the New Jerusalem. This shows us that, according to God’s way of seeing, the Body of Christ has already been built up.
Do you know what our living is? Our living as Christians is simply a matter of the changing of death into life for the building up of the mystical Body of Christ. The entire Christian life consists of two matters: changing death into life and building up the mystical Body of Christ. This is the proper, genuine, and complete Christian life. There is no third item in our Christian life. Now we are in this building by our daily living, and our daily living is a matter of changing water into wine.
We may summarize our Christian life by saying that the Christian life is the changing of death into life, water into wine, for the building up of the Body of Christ. What is our living? Our living is the changing of death into life. What are we doing here? We are carrying out the work of building up the church, the Body of Christ. This is our living, and this is our goal. Our living is the changing of death into life. Our goal is the building up of the church. We have a living of the eternal life, the eternal zoe, for the purpose of building up the mystical Body of Christ.
A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT
This message is a word of encouragement. We all should be encouraged by what is revealed in chapter two of John. In the church life we are doing the work of building in three days, that is, in resurrection.
Some may say, “Brother Lee, on some occasions you have told us that we are short, lacking, and somewhat off from the central vision of God’s economy.” Yes, in the past I have spoken concerning our shortcomings. But what we have in John 2 is a word of encouragement. Many things have both a positive side and a negative side. But the positive side is not for the negative side. Rather, the negative side is for the positive side. I do not know if this is true in physics, but I know it is true in “spiritual physics.” According to my experience in the Christian life, the negative side is for the positive side. Every time I have a defeat, I soon enjoy a victory, and every sorrow is followed by joy. This is why I say that the negative side is always for the positive side.
As believers in Christ, we are not a people without hope. On the contrary, we are a people full of hope. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God the Father has regenerated us unto a living hope. We have the eternal life within us as our hope. With eternal life, everything is hopeful. We may still be short and somewhat off from God’s goal. However, we cannot deny the fact that the situation among us today is much better than it was years ago. I can testify that there is more building in the churches than there was some years ago or even a few months ago. This is the raising up of the destroyed temple in three days.
According to the Lord’s word in John 2, He allowed the enemy to destroy the temple of His body. That was a test to resurrection life. There is also a test to resurrection life in our experience in the church life. Let the enemy destroy God’s temple. We have resurrection power within us. Without the negative side, this positive power could not be manifested. Everything else is going down, but the church exists forever. We may fluctuate, but the church never fluctuates.
When some hear this, they may say, “This I cannot believe. I feel that a few years ago the church in my locality was wonderful. We were happy and excited. But now the condition of the church is worse.” I would reply that your feeling, which is related to something outward, is not true. Perhaps in the past there was more excitement, more shouting, more so-called release in singing. That, however, is not life. I have the full assurance that there is more life in the churches today than even a few years ago. I can say this because I have the assurance that many of us are living a water-changing life, and by this life we live in the building.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)