CHRIST LIVING IN US
In Galatians 2:20 Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Here Paul is saying that he has been terminated and that now Christ lives in him. If Christ were not the living Spirit, how could He live in us? This would be impossible. Some say that Christ is on the throne and that He is represented in us by the Holy Spirit. However, this is not what the Bible says. In Galatians 2:20 Paul says definitely, “Christ lives in me.” In Galatians 4:19 Paul says that Christ is being formed in us.
I am burdened that we would see that our Creator became our Redeemer to die on the cross for us, and now He is not only our Savior but also our life. As our life, He is now living within us. This should not be only a doctrine or theory to us. We must be able to testify that, in a way that is actual and practical, we have been terminated, crucified, and that now Christ is living in us. We should be able to say, “It is no longer I who live—Christ lives in me. My living is His living, for I live Him. The Lord is the Spirit, the life-giving Spirit, and now I live by this Spirit. I walk according to the Spirit, not according to religion or ethics. I do not walk according to my knowledge of what is good; I walk according to Christ, a living Person who dwells in me. I have my being in this One. I talk to others not by my old man, but by the living Christ. I live by Christ twenty-four hours a day, not only when I pray or when I come to the church meetings. In a real and practical way, Christ is my life, my person. I live Him, and I am now one spirit with Him. I abide in Him, and He abides in me. Therefore, He and I have one life and one living.”
This is the serpent becoming the bride. It is by this kind of life that the church can be built up. Do you know what the built church is? The built church is the bride. When we live Christ and walk according to the living Spirit, we become the bride and spontaneously we are built up.
LIVING BY THE OLD BEING OR THE NEW BEING
I have been in the church life more than fifty years. During all my years in the church, I have been observing the situation of the saints. I have noticed that when the saints come together, they usually talk about good things. However, when most of the saints speak, they speak by the old man, not by their regenerated person, by their new being. This is strong indication that the majority of the saints do not live, walk, and have their being in the Spirit. I know from experience that if we would live Christ and practice being one spirit with the Lord and having our being absolutely in the spirit, our talk would be very limited. When we come together, we would not talk in a natural way. Rather, it would be easy for us to pray, praise the Lord, or testify of what we have experienced of the Lord during the day. However, because we do not live and have our being in the spirit, there is still too much gossip among us. Even when we talk about the Bible, we may not speak in the spirit. This proves that our conversation about the Scriptures may also be in the old man. We need to ask ourselves if we are living Christ or living the old serpent. Are we living a life that causes us to be transformed from the serpent into the bride?
Concerning everything we do, we need to ask if we are in the Spirit. Suppose you are listening to a message. You need to inquire of yourself, “Am I listening to this message in my spirit? Am I taking the riches of this message into my spirit, or am I merely receiving the word as some kind of mental stimulation?” We need to ask the same kind of question about our study of the Bible. Do you study the Bible by the old man or by the Christ who is living within you? There is a great difference between the two ways of reading the Word. We also need to check with ourselves about the way we write letters. Do you write letters in the spirit or in your natural man? It is very possible that much of our correspondence is done in the natural man, not in our regenerated being. There may be nothing wrong in a letter you write. Nevertheless, it may be written by the natural man, not by the spirit. The same may be true concerning our talk on the telephone. Much of the saints’ talking on the telephone is done by their natural being, not by their reborn being.
LEARNING TO LIVE BY OUR REGENERATED BEING
It is important for us to realize that as believers in Christ not only do we have two natures—the old nature and the new nature—but we also have two beings, two persons. Although we have been regenerated and thereby have a new person, most of us continue to live by the old person, even in doing so-called spiritual things. We may even endeavor to live the church life by the old man. This is a serious problem.
On other occasions I have told you that in recent years my confession to the Lord has mainly been related to my failure to live Him. Often I have said, “Lord, forgive me for not living You adequately today. In my family life and in my fellowship with the brothers, I am short of what You require.” I have seen that I may be religious, ethical, moral, and scriptural—all without Christ. Because the Bible commands us not to steal, we would obey this commandment. However, this may not be the living of Christ. Rather, we may be the one obeying the commandment not to steal. But we all need to be able to say with Paul that we have been crucified and that Christ now lives in us. We should be able to declare this with assurance, not as a doctrine but as our experience day by day. When we have this kind of living, then in reality we are serpentine beings in the process of transformation into the bride of Christ. This is the transformation revealed in the New Testament. As we are transformed from serpentine beings into Christ’s being, we become His increase, His bride. The consummation of this bride will be the New Jerusalem as the tabernacle of God and the wife of the Lamb.
I urge you to bring this message to the Lord in a serious way and pray, “Lord, show me by what person I am living. Am I living by my old person or by my new person? Am I living by the old nature or by the new nature? Lord, am I living You? Am I practicing being one spirit with You?” We all need to pray to the Lord like this. May the Lord have mercy on us that we may learn to live by our regenerated being.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)