The Centrality and Universality of Christ, by Witness Lee


Now we come to the last item concerning Christ as everything in God’s intention—Christ in the Christian life or Christ in the Christians. In the Christians, or in the Christian life, we should not have anything other than Christ. Christ must be everything in our Christian life.

One day in 1933 the Lord opened my eyes to see that Christ is everything to us. Many times the saints came to me to praise someone by saying that he was humble or lovely. But after 1933 whenever I heard this kind of praise about a person, I always had a question within me. What do you mean by being humble? What do you mean by being lovely? Do you mean that here is a part of the old Adam that is so humble? Or here is a man in Adam who is so lovely? The real humility and loveliness of a Christian must be Christ Himself. Our love toward others must be Christ. Our patience, our humility, our wisdom, our knowledge, and our insight must be Christ.

However, we were not born in Christ, of Christ, or with Christ. What we had originally was absolutely out of Adam. But now we have been born of Christ. Yet still something of the old nature remains with us. We have Christ and the old Adam as well. We can even be humble and nice by the old Adamic life. In China I saw some people who were taught, educated, by the teachings of Confucius. They were really nice and lovely, but there was nothing of Christ. Our humility and loveliness must not be something of the old life but something of Christ. The Christian life must be a life which is Christ Himself expressed through us.

Brothers and sisters, I think I have given you a picture of the centrality and universality of Christ in a very brief way. In the Godhead Christ is the center. In God’s eternal purpose Christ is the Head, the center, and everything. In God’s creation Christ is everything, and everything is for Christ. In God’s new creation, that is, in the church, the Body of Christ, Christ is everything. And in the Christian life, that is, in us Christians, Christ must be everything. This is very clear.

Now let us look at the situation of Christianity today. There is very little of Christ in today’s Christianity. Instead, Christianity is full of three categories of things. First, today’s Christianity is full of forms and regulations, and it is organized as a religion. Second, today’s Christianity is full of doctrines, knowledge, teachings, and theology. Once I met a person who spoke with me about justification by faith. But I found out that he himself had not been justified, though he was so much for justification by faith. This is because he had the doctrine of justification by faith but he did not have the living person of Christ. If you have Christ, you are justified. If you do not have Christ, you are not justified. Someone may have a doctor’s degree in divinity and yet not be saved. He is full of doctrines but void of Christ.

Sometimes people asked me, "Brother Lee, do you believe in absolute grace?" I said, "I believe in the very Christ who is grace itself. What do you believe? You believe in the doctrine of grace, but do you have grace? Who is grace? Who is the all-inclusive grace? Who is the absolute grace?" Brothers and sisters, we must see that grace is a living person, not a doctrine. Grace is Christ Himself (John 1:17). You can teach grace and even fight for the doctrine of grace, yet you do not have grace if you do not have the living person of Christ. You may not have the word grace in your vocabulary or dictionary, but if you have the reality of Christ, you have the reality of grace. It is not a matter of doctrine but a matter of the living Christ to be realized by you.

(The Centrality and Universality of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)