GOD AND MAN JOINED
Man is ready, because of his having been created with a spirit, to be joined to God. God, now that He has been through the process we have described, is ready to be joined to man. Romans 10:8 tells us that He is as near as our mouth. He is like the air; we simply breathe, and the air comes into us.
As soon as you confess that you need Him, He will come in. You may say only, “O Lord,” very softly, and you will breathe Him in. Many can testify that something happened inside when they said “O Lord.”
This is how the two spirits are joined and the two lives grafted into one. “He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Cor. 6:17).
This matter of the mingled spirit Christians do not grasp. In 1961 I was preaching this right here in Taipei; even some of the hymns we sang tonight were written at that time. Yet now, eighteen years later, I listen to your testimonies and hear nothing about these two spirits becoming one. Your testimonies still concern how you are pressed by your environment. What is the reason for your trying circumstances? We must be broken, you say. No! God does not want you whole or broken. He does not want you. What He is after is this Spirit. He wants the Spirit. He wants the Spirit to be lived out from you.
VIRTUES SUBSTITUTED FOR CHRIST
Why do we neglect this clear truth in the Bible, and instead focus our attention on humility, for example? We read some passages in the Bible, and then begin to walk with our shoulders stooped over. This meekness is short-lived. If we are deprived of our sleep, that will be the end of our meekness! It is like a monkey taught to eat in the Western way. Many years ago I saw a monkey in the zoo being trained to eat a meal with a knife and fork. After the trainer finished the lesson, the monkey tossed away the knife and fork, and resumed eating in monkey fashion. So it is with our humility; the most it can last is a day or two.
When the sisters read Ephesians, they come across the term “in Christ” again and again. Nothing gets through to them, however, till they come to Ephesians 5, “Husbands, love your wives” (v. 25). Then they begin to consider whether their husbands love them and whether the elders really love their wives. After applying the Scriptures to others, they turn back to apply it to themselves. “Wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord” (v. 22). They remember how many times they have made up their minds to submit and have failed. They repent, with tears, and confess to the Lord that they cannot make it. They reread Ephesians, then again try and fail to submit to their husbands. Finally, they have a talk with the elders and tell them that the Bible does not work.
We do not notice that in the very same chapter of Ephesians it says, “Be filled in spirit” (5:18). We know Romans 8:28 about all things working together for good, but Romans 8:4, about walking according to spirit, we cannot quite grasp.
How much of our day are we living Christ? Even in the recovery there are probably very few of us who live Christ at all. Those who do are living Him for only a small portion of their day. The rest of us live in our flesh. We may, or may not, lose our temper, but we are not living Christ. There are Chinese philosophers, like Wang Yang-Ming, whose standard of morality exceeds that of most Christians. But even if we can come up to his standard, God is not interested. God wants the Spirit, not our good conduct.
He has created us in His own image and likeness, not in the image of the virtues. We are not only His picture. When He comes into us, we are part of Him, grafted into Him, having His life, and being one spirit with Him. He has no need of our virtues.
CHRIST REPLACING THE SUBSTITUTES
Do not draw a wrong conclusion when I say that God does not want our virtues. In previous messages I have said that God does not want our culture. This is not to say that we must begin to act like barbarians. The point is that our culture or our virtues are substitutes for Christ. Once we have Him, we no longer need those substitutes. But if society had no culture, how could it be maintained? How could family life hold together? Our children must be raised according to cultural standards; they have not grown sufficiently to experience Christ. Meantime they must be kept in the sheepfold of the law until Christ comes (see John 10; Gal. 3:24-25).
For us who are older, Christ has come. Why should we ride in a horse-drawn cart when we can take a 747 jet to our destination? There is no longer any reason for us to remain in the fold. We have no need of the substitutes. We can live directly in the Spirit. Such living is different from the law, from culture, from ethics, and from morality. Before we have the Spirit, we need culture and morality; we need the rules and regulations of society. But what God wants is that we live out the Spirit.
When we live out the Spirit, the result will exceed the law and the ethical virtues. It surpasses the bright virtue mentioned by Confucius. This Spirit is God Himself.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)