CONFORMED TO THE MOLD OF CHRIST’S DEATH
The Lord Jesus had a human life. Nevertheless, in answering God’s ordination, He did not live by His human life, but by God Himself. Instead of keeping the law, He lived by God, not caring for requirements, regulations, or commandments, but only for God Himself. The Lord Jesus did not live merely according to His Father’s commandments; He lived according to the Father Himself. Living such a life requires us to be terminated. This is the model, the mold, of Christ’s death to which we are being conformed.
If we see this, we shall realize how far off the mark most of today’s Christians are. Most of them are still in the Old Testament economy, under God’s former ordination. But in the New Testament we should not be under that old ordination, but under the new ordination, the ordination of living not by ourselves, but by Christ. As long as we live by Christ, whatever we do and wherever we go is all right, because it is actually not we who are doing a certain thing or going to a particular place, but Christ who lives in us. In the past many of us thought that to be a Christian was simply to do whatever God asked us to do. But this is the Old Testament economy, not the New Testament economy. In the New Testament economy God does not ask us to do certain things, but to live by Him. Acting according to God’s commandments does not require us to die, for we are needed to do something. But living by God requires us to die, not to do anything. In one sense, God needs us, and in another sense, He does not need us. He does not need us to do anything, but He does need us to die. God only needs us to go to the cross and die. To learn this lesson do not go to a professor to be educated; go to John the Baptist to be terminated.
The Lord Jesus was no exception to this. When He came to John the Baptist, John at first declined to baptize Him. But the Lord said, "Permit it now, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15). The Lord Jesus had to be buried and raised up by God so that He might live no longer by Himself, but by God. This was the highest righteousness. For example, no wife is better than the one who lives by her husband, not by herself. This is what God desires today. He does not want us to do anything; He only wants us to die to our own life and to live out His life. This is the righteousness which is God Himself.
BURIAL AND RESURRECTION
Before His ministry began, the Lord Jesus passed through such a death. All the time He was on earth, He did not live by Himself. Rather, He always lived by the Father and said, "I can do nothing from Myself" (John 5:30). The Lord had been buried. How could a buried one do anything? Suppose you are buried. What would you be able to do? If you are still able to do something, it indicates that you have not been buried. Our status must be that of a terminated and buried person who can do nothing from himself. The Lord Jesus seemed to say, "I can do nothing from Myself. When I came out to minister, I was baptized, buried, under the water. Now, as a buried person, how can I do anything?"
Hallelujah, where burial is, there is resurrection! The burial is of the human life, and resurrection is of the divine life. Because He was buried and resurrected, the Lord Jesus did not live by His human life, but by the divine life. The Lord Jesus did everything by the Father who lived within Him (John 14:10), living as One who had been buried. Thus, the power of resurrection was always with Him.
At the end of His ministry, the Lord Jesus physically died on the cross. When the two sons of Zebedee came to Him seeking for a position, He said, "Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" (Mark 10:38). When they said to Him, "We can," Jesus said, "Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized" (Mark 10:39). In the book of Acts we see that the apostles were in fact baptized in this way. They were all buried and resurrected. For example, in Acts Peter did not live by his human life, but by the divine life. He was under the death of Christ and was being conformed to it.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)