"THE LIFE WHICH I NOW LIVE IN THE FLESH
I LIVE IN FAITH, THE FAITH IN THE SON OF GOD"
I am crucified with Christ. I am through. God says that I am utterly corrupt, and I also say that I am utterly corrupt. God says that I am absolutely useless, and I also say that I am absolutely useless. God says that I only deserve to die, and I also say that I only deserve to die. "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." This is a fact. It is a fact that it is no longer I who live, and it is a fact that Christ now lives in me. Why is it that it is no longer I who live? Two minus one is one. When Adam is subtracted, what is left is, of course, only Christ. Formerly the two lived together. Now one has moved out, and Christ is the only One left. This is a fact. But how can this fact be manifested? The unique way is faith.
Faith in God’s Fact
The gospel of God shows us that He has given us His Son. God’s Son has become our righteousness, our redemption, and even our holiness. We do not have to receive Him as our life first and then expect Him to give us His perfection, patience, and meekness later; He is our life already. The Bible shows us that Christ is our Head already. Just as a head has a feeling for the body, being responsible for it and ruling over it, Christ is the Head to us. We do not have to ask Him to be our Head and we do not have to ask to be His Body. He is the Head already, and we are His members already. This requires faith on our part. On the negative side, we have surrendered to Him. But on the positive side, do we believe that Christ is our Head and that He has the proper place in us, bearing our responsibility and ruling over everything for us? Do we believe that He is our Head, as the Bible says, and that He assumes all of the responsibilities as the Head? God’s Word says that He is the Head. Do we believe that He is indeed our Head? Do we believe that there is no responsibility upon us any longer and that He will be responsible for everything from now on, even being responsible this very minute?
God’s Word also shows us that He is the vine and we are the branches. It does not say that He will be our vine and we will be His branches. We do not become His branches and He does not become our vine in the near future when our spiritual condition is more advanced. We should bear fruit the same way that He bears fruit. We should be full of virtues the same way that He is full of virtues. He is giving us all the juice, life, and power for fruit bearing. He is the vine, and we are already His branches. He is now supplying us within with His life, holiness, perfection, and all that He is. Brothers, do we believe this? Do we believe that He is now our tree and that we are now His branches? When we believed in Him as our Savior, we were completely joined to Him. (Of course, there was still the mixture. Now even the mixture is gone.) Do you believe in this? You do not have to try to do anything to join yourself to Him, because God has made you one tree with the Lord already. Do you believe that He will treat you in the same way that a tree treats the branches? You do not bear fruit for Him. Instead He bears fruit through you.
God has shown us also that the union between the Lord Jesus and us is like the relationship of food to our body. He is the blood that we drink and the flesh that we eat. He is the One who sustains our life. Just as food supplies all our inward needs, and just as we die when we are cut off from this supply, so also is the Lord Jesus to us.
God shows us in His Word that we are joined to the Lord Jesus. He is our Head, our tree, and our food. We do not have to ask God to empower us to live as Jesus lived. God has given us His Son, who is responsible for us, who is living for us, and who is the power of life to us. God gave Him to us in order that all His perfection, fellowship, joy, and riches may be lived out through us. In the past, we did not understand this truth, and we tried to build up our own holiness, thereby denying God’s holiness. Now on the negative side, we have ceased from our own work. But this is not enough. God’s Word says that He has given us His life. We must believe that He is our life. He can express through us everything that He has. He will give us whatever we need. We should believe that He has already done this.
The secret to victory is realizing that it does not come gradually. By faith we know that Christ has become our victory. Victory is just Christ, and faith substantiates everything that Christ is in us. God’s grace has given the Lord Jesus to us. All that we need to do is receive what God has given to us by faith. When this happens, Christ’s life, power, freedom, and holiness will be manifested in us.
This mysterious union has been accomplished by God. He has made Christ’s unsearchable riches ours. Do we believe this? Do we believe that all that is Christ’s is now ours? Do we believe that God has given His holiness, perfection, life, power, and riches to us? God has joined us to Him and made Him our Head, our tree, and our food. Now He is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption, and He is living His life out of us. Do we believe this? God is inviting us, as well as commanding us, to believe that our union with the Lord is the same as His union with God. In such a union all of His patience, meekness, purity, and goodness become ours. Just as we believed that He is our righteousness, we should now believe that He is our holiness. Brothers and sisters, many people have failed in this very matter. They know God’s way of victory, but they do not have the faith. They know that they do not have the power, but they do not know the power of Christ. They know the utter corruption of their own flesh, but they do not see that God has given the riches of Christ to them as a gift.
How do we receive a gift? We do not have to do anything. All that we need to do is receive. When we believe in God’s Word, we receive His grace. This is the gospel. When we receive by faith, the Holy Spirit makes our faith the starting point of God’s miracles. If a man has never experienced God’s power, he will not think much of it. But those who have experienced it know the reality of this faith. When we believe that everything that is in Christ is ours, the Holy Spirit will cause all that is in Christ to be ours. What a gospel this is! Everything that is Christ’s becomes ours through faith! By faith Christ’s perfect life is lived out of our mortal body day by day! By faith not only is it "no longer I who live," but it is also "Christ who lives in me!" Beyond any doubt, Christ is living within us and for us! But this can come only by faith!
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)