GOD REACHING MAN
God had no way to reach us except through Christ. Christ as the Spirit is the reaching of God to us. God firstly passed through creation; before then He was not the Creator, but only God. By creating the world and all the things in it, He took a step to reach us. Then at a certain time He took a further step, the incarnation. By this means He became one with one of His creatures, man. That is why He was called Emmanuel, meaning God with us (Matt. 1:23); God the Creator became a man. He lived in a carpenter’s humble home for thirty years. Then He came forth to minister, passing through the villages in Galilee and Judea. As a man He tasted all the aspects of human life. Then through the cross He entered into death. That wonderful death terminated all the things of the old creation. He descended into the lower parts of the earth. After three days He emerged from death and entered into resurrection. At this point He was transfigured. From being a man in the flesh, He became a Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). With all these experiences, He ascended into the heavens, where He was crowned, enthroned, and glorified. God gave Him the highest name and made Him not only Lord but also Head over all things.
His story is still not over! On the day of Pentecost He descended from that throne. He reached us, God’s chosen people and the believers in Christ. He has entered into us and is now one with us. He indwells us. Such is Jesus Christ, the mystery of God.
In the New Testament we are not given ten commandments. To those who are under the New Testament economy, God’s word is that they believe in His Son. Not to believe is disobedience and rebellion against God. To perish there is no need to rob a bank, commit fornication, or to tell lies. It is sufficient to refuse to believe in Jesus Christ. Even if you are a model human being, living a highly ethical life, if you will not believe in the Lord Jesus, you will perish. God’s only command to those who are not saved is that they believe in His Son.
After we are saved, this same principle holds true. God is not interested in our doing. He has one commandment for us. What He wants is that we live Christ. Yet if we think back on the number of times we have repented, we shall realize that our repentance has mostly been over our failure to be loving, or humble, or honest. Do we repent for our failure to live Christ? For all too many of us, this is not in our concept. We are ethics-centered, not Christ-centered. As Christians, we should be “Christ-men,” but from our way of living perhaps we could more accurately be called “moral men”!
HINDRANCES TO LIVING BY CHRIST
You may feel that for years you have heard of living by Christ. You may have a heart to do so. In fact, you may have tried and tried again to live Him. Yet your efforts have been unsuccessful and you have given up. Why is it that you have not succeeded?
It is because we are buried in a seven-layered tomb! The first layer is the fall of man. The second layer is our natural life. After man was created, he fell; because of the fall, he has his natural life, with its own inclinations and intentions. The third layer, and the thickest, is human culture. To live by the culture into which we were born comes naturally; but to live Christ seems like a strange notion to us. The fourth layer is religion, which also affects all mankind. Whether we are very set in our religion, like the Moslems, or consider ourselves atheists, we nonetheless are religious. The fifth layer is ethics or morality. The concept of morality is imbedded deep in our being. To be pleasant and considerate of others is needed in human society, but in order to live Christ we must be above ethical considerations. The sixth layer of our tomb is our virtues, closely related to ethics. What we esteem as virtues others may not agree with. We may appreciate patience, but others may regard quickness as a virtue. We may like humility, but others may think ambition is desirable. Whatever our virtues, they are a layer of the tomb in which we are buried. The last layer of the tomb is spiritual seeking. To seek holiness, victory, and spirituality can be a layer of the tomb that buries us from the living Christ.
PRAYER AND VISION
To get from under these seven layers of the tomb requires prayer. Yet how shall we pray? We may resolve to live Christ and then begin our day by praying, “Lord, help me to love my wife today.” To have such an attitude is a help to human society, but it is altogether a frustration to our living Christ. Even if we pray, “Lord, we want to have the best church life,” this praying too is a frustration. To make up our minds to love our wives, or to improve the church life, or to achieve anything, prevents us from living by Christ.
Do not pray for this and that. Simply pray that you may be infused with Christ and by Him. Pray by contacting Him. Then, as each day goes by, without your intending to do or be anything, you will live and move and have your being in the Spirit. Spontaneously you will fulfill His commandment, “Walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16). Christ will be lived out of you. Your whole being will be set upon your spirit (Rom. 8:6). With your mind set upon your spirit, there will be the living by Christ. This is what God wants.
To live by Christ is the crucial focus of God’s economy. The New Testament centers on the fact that the all-inclusive Christ as the processed God is now dwelling in our spirit. We are one spirit with Him. All He wants us to do is to live Him. We may try to have an impressive church life, but if we are devoid of this living by Christ, the recovery is still empty. The content of the recovery is this very living by Christ, this Christ who is the all-inclusive Spirit and the mystery of God.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)