THE VISION OF THE BODY
Scripture Reading: Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:16
Prayer: Lord, how we thank You for this precious hour that we may come to learn the way of Your recovery. O Lord, You know that our heart is full of gratitude for Your mercy and grace. We bow before You to confess that we are still sinful, that we are still in the old nature, and that we are still so much in the self. How much we still have self-seeking, self-interest, self-righteousness, and self-consciousness. Lord, how much we need Your cleansing! Lord, we have no merit, no good, for us to stand on. But, Lord, we have Your blood as our covering and as our standing. Lord, grant us a living word to speak something about Your mystery, the Body of Christ. Lord, grant us the inner grace that we need for this matter. How much we need You as the inner grace! O Lord, draw us to love You. Lord, draw us to go with You that we may be one with You and may be built up as Your living Body. Lord, deliver us from so many distracting elements and frustrating things and deliver us from our self that we may be truly one in Spirit. Lord, You know that we are weak. We look to You for Your help. In Your precious name.
In this chapter we come to the third vision, the vision of the Body. Before we consider this vision, however, let us review what we have covered regarding the vision of Christ and the vision of the church.
CHANGED FROM TRADITION TO VISION
We have seen that the real service, work, and ministry that we could render to the Lord must be something of the heavenly vision, not something traditional, religious, or natural. In the first chapter we pointed out that in the first part of his life, Paul’s service was according to tradition and religion and was without vision. He had the confidence that he was serving God, but he was serving according to the letter, knowledge, teaching, and regulations of the Old Testament. But after he received the heavenly vision, his service, work, and ministry were changed from tradition to vision. He served no longer according to the traditions of his forefathers or according to knowledge and regulations but according to the heavenly vision, the present vision. In Galatians 2 Paul went up to Jerusalem not by regulation but by revelation, by vision. He had come to see something, so he went up to Jerusalem. As we read his Epistles, we can see that Paul was a man full of visions.
CAUGHT BY THE VISION OF CHRIST
The first of these visions is the vision of Christ. To have the vision of Christ is to see that Christ is the embodiment of the Triune God and the center of all things related to God. Christ is the center of God’s plan, of God’s eternal intention. Christ is also the center of God’s work, God’s creation, and God’s redemption. Christ is the center of all that God has planned to do. Christ must have the preeminence in everything; He must have the first place in all things. We need to apply this Christ to our life, ministry, and church life. Christ must be the essence, the substance, of our Christian walk and the reality of our work, service, and ministry. Our ministry should be a ministry of Christ, full of Christ. Furthermore, Christ must be the content and expression of the church life. The church should be an expression of nothing other than the all-inclusive Christ. We all need such a vision of Christ.
In order to see the vision of Christ, you may need to pray earnestly for a period of time. You may need to cry out to the Lord day by day, saying, “Lord, reveal Yourself to me that I may see. Lord, I do not just need to know—I need to see. I need to be impressed by the vision concerning Yourself.” Eventually, something like a veil will be opened to you, and within you there will be an inner revelation, an inner unveiling. Then, as was the case with Paul, “something like scales” (Acts 9:18) will fall from your eyes, and you will be able to say, “Before now I knew something about Christ, but I did not have the vision. Now I see!” Once you were veiled, but the veil has been lifted, and the curtain has been opened. No human word can explain this; it is something that you must experience.
You may hear messages about Christ as the embodiment of the Triune God, as the center of the things of God, as the One who has the first place in everything, as the essence of our Christian life, as the reality of our service, and as the content and expression of the church life. You may hear about all these matters, but one day the veil will be opened, and you will see the vision of Christ. Once you see this vision, you will be caught by it. From that time onward your burden will be to minister Christ to others. If you speak about something other than Christ, you will not have the inner anointing. But the more you speak concerning Christ, the more you will have the inner anointing. You are now “shut in” with Christ, kept away from mere knowledge, for your eyes have been opened, and you have seen the vision of Christ.
(The Heavenly Vision, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)