CONCERNING THE CHURCH
I will now give you another example, and it is concerning both the objective and subjective aspects of the church. Objectively speaking, what is the church? As a child, I was born, raised, and educated in Christianity. In Sunday school I heard many lessons which all taught that the church is a hall for worship, having a cross and a steeple on top of the building. I think that even today some of you may still have the concept that the meeting hall is the church, and when it is time for the meeting, you say, “Let’s go to church.” When people ask you where your church is, you say, “It’s on Such-and-such Road.” Later in my Christian life I met with the Brethren. They were much improved; they told people that the church is not a chapel with a steeple and that the Greek word for church is ekklesia, which means an out-calling, and that the church refers to the gathering of the called-out ones. Hence, the gathering of the called-out ones is the church. At that time I very much appreciated this kind of utterance and thought that it was very right. However, gradually I realized that these called-out ones quarreled with one another when they met together. Can you say this is the church? This kind of gathering of the called-out ones is the flesh, not the church. This kind of understanding is too objective.
Then, what is the church subjectively? The church is the temple of God and the house of God; moreover, it is the household of God. In Greek the word for house refers even more to the household. We are the family, the household, of God. A house is lovely because of the members in the household. The church is not the empty house of God but the household of God. Not only so, the church is the manifestation of God in the flesh. The Lord is in us as our person, and every one of us is filled with Him. Whenever we come together, some may praise the Lord, others may say, “Amen,” and still others may call on the Lord. This is God being expressed from within us. This is subjective, not objective.
Furthermore, the church is the Body of Christ. He is the Head, and we are the Body. I can say that my head is Witness Lee, and my body is also Witness Lee. Not only is the Head Christ, but the Body, the church, is also Christ. This does not mean that we evolve into God. What this means is that we who were fallen have become children of God and members of Christ through regeneration and transformation. We are not only the gathering of the called-out ones but also the Body of Christ. He is the vine, and we are the branches. Every branch is the same as the vine in substance, life, and nature. The life of the vine is the life of the branches, the substance of the vine is the substance of the branches, and the nature of the vine is the nature of the branches. When we say that the branches and the vine are one, it does not mean that we make the branches the vine. The oneness is something subjective.
Moreover, the Bible also says that the church is the bride of Christ. The first bride was Eve, who came from a rib taken out of Adam. Therefore, Eve was bone of Adam’s bones and flesh of Adam’s flesh. This typifies the church being produced through the blood and water that flowed out of Christ’s pierced side. We are a part that came out of Christ; we are bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh. We are members of His Body. Lastly, the New Testament says that the church is the one new man. How subjective these truths are!
These are all subjective truths in the Scriptures, which include regeneration, transformation, and the mingling of God and man. First Corinthians 6:17 says, “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” We are not only mingled with the Lord but are also one spirit with Him. God is the Spirit, and today we are one spirit with Him. Is this evolution? Absolutely not! This is the glorious salvation of God. We have been saved to such a high position—we have been put into God to become one spirit with Him. We all have to leap and say, “Hallelujah! Oh, how glorious! I am one spirit with God!”
CONCERNING THE CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE
What we have covered so far concerns God and the church. Now we come to our Christian experience, which also has two aspects: the outward and the inward, the objective and the subjective. The outward, objective aspect includes being redeemed and forgiven. We were sinful and filthy, but God has forgiven us, and the precious blood of the Lord has cleansed us. Thus, we have been justified, reconciled to God, and accepted by God. Furthermore, we have been sanctified positionally, and we are now here being taught. Everything from our being redeemed to our being taught is objective.
All these are correct, and we do acknowledge that there is this aspect in the Scriptures. The opposers say that we throw the Bible aside and do away with this aspect, but we can testify that we are being taught the objective aspect every day. Yes, I am here releasing the subjective truths, but I absolutely admit, and you would also agree, that I am also teaching here. If there were no one teaching here, you would not know that there are subjective truths as well as objective doctrines in the Scriptures. We are daily being taught in the meetings. I was saved for twenty years, but I never heard of transformation. You also did not know about the matter of transformation until you came to the meetings in the Lord’s recovery. Besides, it was also not until you came to the Lord’s recovery that you found out how we, the regenerated ones, should exercise our spirit and live out our spirit. How can people say that we have no teaching among us? We are full of teaching.
However, what is the use of mere teaching? Maybe you understand what transformation is, and you also know about your spirit, yet afterward you go back home to entertain yourself and sleep as usual. You have the doctrine but not the reality. Therefore, there is still another aspect to consider, the subjective aspect. First, we have been regenerated. Second, we have the Lord living in us. Third, not only have we been sanctified positionally, but we are also being sanctified dispositionally. Fourth, we are being transformed. Fifth, we are being conformed to His image. Sixth, we are being built up together. Then one day the body of our humiliation will be transfigured and will be conformed to the body of His glory. All these are not objective knowledge or words; rather, they are subjective experiences.
Thank the Lord that today we are here not only being taught but also being transformed and conformed. At this time when I came back, I saw that you all have grown a little. I am so happy that not only those in Taipei are growing, but those in Southeast Asia are also growing. Thank the Lord that all are growing. Among us, not only do we have doctrines, but we also have life; not only do we have knowledge, but we also have growth. We are here being transformed day by day. This is all according to subjective truth.
The subjective viewpoint truly exists in the Scriptures. This subjective viewpoint tells us over and over again that God is not only the God who is high above. Rather, He is in us today to be our breath of life, our living water, and our nutritious food. He does not want to be merely high and great. Rather, He desires to come into us to be our enjoyment. The more we enjoy Him, the more joyful He is. He is in us; He is one spirit with us; we have His life, nature, and essence. Our life, nature, and essence are exactly the same as His. This is not our evolution into God. This is His salvation—to work Himself into us and put us into Him so that we can become one spirit with Him. These are the subjective truths and experiences in the holy Scriptures.
(The Subjective Truths in the Holy Scriptures, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)