EATING CHRIST AND LIVING CHRIST
The theologians in Christianity do not have the concept of eating Christ and living Christ. If they hear this kind of speaking—“eating Christ to become Christ”—they are bothered and are quick to judge it as heresy. They wonder first of all, how can we eat Christ? Secondly, how can we become Christ? However, the Bible is very clear concerning this. The Lord Jesus said, “He who eats Me, he also shall live because of Me” (John 6:57). This word is not my speaking; it is the speaking of the Lord Jesus and is recorded in the Bible. Later, a disciple who was called Paul also declared, “For to me, to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21a). Can you see this? Eat Christ and live Christ. The words eat and live are not adjectives but verbs. I eat Christ and I live Christ. Eventually, to me, to live is Christ. This is not heresy.
We have been fighting for this truth for many years in America. America is known as a Christian nation, and it has old, traditional theology. Since the Lord’s recovery went to America, we have released messages on eating Christ. The theologians and seminary professors in that country said, “This man from China is of a small stature, yet he is so bold; we have never heard such a thing as eating Christ!” They began to fight against this teaching, and we also fought back. After fighting for a period of time, they stopped and conceded defeat. This is because the light in the Bible is very clear. It is sufficient simply to read John 6:57, where the Lord Jesus said, “He who eats Me.” Therefore, they could not argue any longer. After that, we released messages declaring that if you eat Christ, you will become Christ. They began fighting again, saying, “Now we have found reason to say that you indeed teach heresy. Christ is God, so how can you say that you are Christ? Do you really mean to say that you can become God?” But Paul clearly said in Philippians 1:21, “To me, to live is Christ.”
Now let me ask you if you can declare, “To me, to live is Christ”? Can you? Your “amen” is quite feeble. I know you may be thinking, “This word is right and is clearly in the Bible. However, I am not Paul. An hour before the meeting time, I had an exchange of words with my wife at the dinner table. How can I say that I am Christ? I cannot lie, so I cannot say that I am Christ.” Therefore, if I ask you if you can declare, “To me, to live is Christ,” you can only utter a soft “amen.” This is not a proper Christian. Today Christians will not make this declaration, “To me, to live is Christ,” mainly because they disobey the Spirit. This is a pitiful situation. Nevertheless, we need to see that a Christian who is up to the standard is one who eats Christ and who lives out Christ; perhaps we should not use the word “out” and simply say, who lives Christ.
MAN’S TWO SINS BEFORE GOD
In the Bible we see that in this time of the New Testament, man has only two sins before God. If you are not a believer, you will go to the lake of fire and perish there not because of any other sin but because of your not believing into the Lord Jesus. In John 16:9, the Lord said, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe into Me.” The unique sin of the unbelievers before God today is the sin of unbelief. This is because God does not charge us to do anything other than to receive the Lord Jesus. In the Old Testament there were the Ten Commandments. In the New Testament, however, there is only the one commandment: Repent and believe in Jesus. This is the one and only commandment. Whether you commit sins or do good, you should repent and believe in Jesus. If you do not believe in Jesus, your unbelief is sin; this is the unique sin. In the future all the perishing ones will go to the lake of fire not because of stealing or lying but because of not believing in the Lord Jesus. Many good men will end up in the lake of fire in the coming age, even though they have never committed murder, robbery, or adultery. Perhaps they will argue with God, saying, “I have not sinned, so why am I here in the lake of fire?” God will say, “It is because you do not believe in Jesus.” People perish because of their unbelief.
After believing in the Lord, we have another sin. Many brothers and sisters are not sensitive to this. What is this sin? It is the sin of not living Christ. Your not living Christ and not living by Christ is the greatest sin. I saw this many years ago but did not have a strong consciousness of it until mid-July of last year when I was on a mountain having a quiet, intimate time with the Lord. At that time I practiced confessing my sins daily. Whenever I had a wrong intention, said a wrong word, or had a wrong attitude, I would confess my sins. Every day I would confess my sins just like I would wash my hands. Then the Lord asked me, “Have you ever confessed this one sin, that you do not live Christ?” I said, “Lord, forgive me! I have not confessed this sin. Although I have confessed saying the wrong thing or having a wrong attitude, I never confessed this sin of not living Christ. O Lord, I do not live You out. O Lord, I do not live You. O Lord, forgive me!”
From that day on, I would confess this sin thoroughly before the Lord. Then I found out that there is no end to the daily confession of this sin. It is extremely difficult for us to live Christ every moment of the day. I did a little calculating for myself and for others as well. There are twenty-four hours in a day. After deducting eight hours for sleeping, there are still sixteen hours. How much of the remaining sixteen hours do I spend living Christ? I found out that I may not even have two hours of living Christ. In the other fourteen hours although I did not commit any sin, neither did I live Christ. Do you see this? Within the sixteen waking hours, I had only two hours at most in which I was living Christ.
These two hours of living Christ started with my prayer time. In fact, at the beginning of my prayer time, I was not in my spirit but still in my mind. Then gradually I prayed myself into my spirit. When I prayed myself into my spirit, I lived Christ in my spirit. When I prayed, I lived Christ. After praying, I was living in my spirit, but this did not last long. After five minutes Sister Lee asked me, “Yesterday you gave some money to So-and-so. Why did you not discuss this with me first?” Her questioning halted my living of Christ. Immediately I turned to my mind, asking, “What is this?” This was not to live Christ. I spent the next fifteen minutes telling her all the reasons, and in those fifteen minutes I did not live Christ. What did I live? Even I myself do not know. I did not sin or lose my temper, but neither was I in my spirit living Christ. This would go on until two or three o’clock in the afternoon; then I sensed something was wrong. I turned to the Lord to confess, “Lord, I did not live Christ throughout the day. Although I did not do anything wrong, I have been living in myself. Lord, I am not trustworthy. Lord, forgive my sin! Lord, remind me that I am one spirit with You, and You are one spirit with me. I do not want to live outside of this spirit. I want to live only in this spirit.” After my confession I felt much better within and sensed the Lord’s sweetness, and I was again in my spirit living Christ. However, at this moment the phone rang, and I picked up the receiver. That one phone call got me out of my spirit again. Also there were times when the telephone did not ring, and I was just working and not committing any wrong, yet I still was not living Christ.
What do I live when I am not living Christ? First, ethics; second, logic; and third, biblical teachings. For example, when a husband and wife who are believers quarrel, they condemn themselves. But suppose that, instead of quarreling, they love each other, yet not in spirit. Since not loving each other in the spirit is not counted as a sin, they do not condemn themselves but rather consider that they are doing the right thing. In this way, every day we live mostly either according to ethics or according to logic; we spend very little time living Christ in our spirit. One day I did a little more calculating. I am afraid that even the best brothers and sisters among us live Christ only five percent of the time; ninety-five percent of the time they do not live Christ. Some are contentious and do not live Christ; others are peaceable and never say much, but they also do not live Christ.
(Living Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)