EXPRESSING CHRIST WITHOUT LIMITATION
To magnify Christ is to express Christ without limitation. It is to show to the whole universe that the very Christ who is our life and by whom we live is unlimited. According to the human concept, Christ is limited. But when people see us living by Him, they will realize that He is not limited. If the Apostle Paul had not been put in prison, no one would have understood how unlimited Christ was. It was through Paul’s imprisonment that the Christ by whom Paul lived was expressed as the unlimited One. Because Paul’s endurance was Christ Himself, it would have been impossible to exhaust his endurance no matter how long Paul had been kept in prison. Hence, it was inexhaustible and unlimited. Sometimes Christians ask others to pray for them because they are coming to the end of their endurance. Such endurance is not Christian endurance, for it is not endurance magnified. The Christ whom we experience as endurance cannot be exhausted. If we live by Him, He will be magnified; that is, He will show forth His inexhaustlessness. Because Paul’s endurance was Christ, it was unlimited. Such an unlimited endurance is the magnification of the unlimited Christ. To the universe, this is a mystery.
Like endurance, our faithfulness, patience, and humility must also be unlimited. Any attribute we have through living by Christ will be unlimited and thus mysterious. By this we can see the difference between the human virtues and the virtues that are the magnification of Christ. All human virtues are limited. For example, human tolerance will eventually be exhausted. But the very magnification of Christ lived out of us cannot be exhausted. This mystery subdues the Devil, the demons, and all the evil angels. It also convinces everyone. Any proper human being will be convinced by seeing the magnification of Christ. Our Christian patience is a mystery because it is the magnification of Christ. This is not merely Christ manifested; it is Christ manifested as the unlimited One.
Even our forgiveness of others needs to be a magnification of Christ. In Matthew 18 Peter asked the Lord how many times he should forgive his brother. He asked if he should forgive him even seven times. But the Lord told him that he must forgive seventy times seven. This is inexhaustible forgiveness. Such forgiveness is the magnification of Christ. Our forgiveness is the inexhaustible Christ Himself. Again and again, throughout the years, we forgive others. This unlimited forgiveness is Christ magnified in us.
SUFFERING TO MAGNIFY CHRIST
Because the Christian virtues should be inexhaustible, often God will not reduce our sufferings. Rather, in order to magnify Christ, often He will increase them. In order to magnify Christ, it is necessary that we suffer. Suppose you pray, "O God, my Father, You are kind and merciful. You know that I cannot endure very much. Please reduce my suffering." If God answered your prayer and reduced your suffering, Christ would not be magnified. We need the sufferings for the manifestation of Christ. As our sufferings increase, Christ is magnified all the more. However, do not be concerned about what kind of suffering enables us to magnify Christ. Instead of analyzing this matter, we should simply love the Lord and experience Him.
When sufferings increase, we may think that our heavenly Father is cruel and merciless. Remember, this word about magnifying Christ was spoken by someone in prison. The longer he was in prison, the more he magnified Christ. To be magnified means to be enlarged. As we have pointed out, to magnify Christ means to express Him as the One who is unlimited. He is magnified through the increase of our sufferings. Do not be afraid of suffering, for it is a joy to magnify Christ through suffering. Many Christian teachers realize that the book of Philippians is a book of joy. Over and over again, in this book Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord. When we are in a pleasant environment, it may not mean very much to be joyful. But to rejoice when we are in prison means a great deal.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)