HOW THE CHURCH COMES INTO BEING AND IS BUILT UP
Now we have to see how the church comes into being and how the church can be built up as an increase to Christ, a living bride to match Christ, a counterpart of Christ. In order to see this, we need to pay full attention to how Eve, the wife of Adam, came into being. God took a part, a rib, out of Adam, and God built that rib, that piece of bone, into a woman, the increase of Adam to be his wife (Gen. 2:22).
After God created Adam, He saw that Adam as a bachelor, as a single person, was not good enough. Adam needed someone to match him. God had the intention to make a wife for Adam, but He first put Adam to a test. God wanted Adam to realize his need, so He brought all the living creatures to Adam to test him. Adam, by his wisdom, gave every creature a name, but he did not see anything that was good enough to match him. Adam did not find his helpmate among the creatures. None of the created things was qualified to match Adam, because none of them was something out of Adam. They were outside of Adam. God caused Adam to sleep, took a rib out of his side, and built that rib into a wife for Adam. When Adam awoke, he looked at Eve and said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Gen. 2:23). Thus, Adam found a wife to match him, and the two became one flesh, one body.
In the whole universe, there are thousands of items created by God. It is as if God brought all these things to His Son, Christ, and Christ said, “There is none good enough to match Me. I have to go to the cross and be broken by God.” When He was nailed on the cross and broken, blood and water came out of His side (John 19:34). Blood is for redemption, and water is for giving life. On the one hand, He redeems us by His blood, and on the other hand, He generates us, gives life to us.
The bone taken out of Adam signifies the resurrection life of Christ, a life that can stand any kind of opposition or attack. On the cross none of the Lord’s bones were broken (John 19:36). His flesh, which typifies the human nature, was broken, but His bone, which typifies the divine life, the resurrection life, could never be broken. It is from this resurrection life, from this bone, that the church comes into being. This resurrection life of Christ becomes the church, just as the bone of Adam became the wife of Adam. The church is something produced out of the resurrection life, the divine life, the eternal life, the uncreated life of Christ.
The church is not of the old creation. The church is of the crucified and resurrected Christ. The church is something out of Christ Himself. The resurrection life has been imparted into us. Within us there is a part of Christ, and that very part is a part of the church of Christ. All the parts of Christ in the real believers added together equal the church. The church is something out of Christ, a part of Christ, the increase of Christ, the counterpart of Christ, the one who can match Christ.
The church must be like Christ because the church is a part of Christ. We have to realize, by this revelation, that the church is nothing less than Christ. Anything that is less than Christ cannot be the church. The church is a part of Christ increased as the Body to match Christ. Anything in the old creation, regardless of how good it is, cannot be added to the church. It is foreign to the church. None of us has the right to bring anything that is outside of Christ into the church. The real church is something of Christ as a part of Christ.
This vision will control us and keep us from trying to bring anything outside of Christ into the church. Whenever you are going to suggest or bring something to the church, you have to ask yourself before the Lord, “Is this something of Christ as a part of Christ?” If it is not, you have to forget about it. This is vital. The church has been corrupted and divided by foreign elements. Many foreign things that were brought into the church have damaged, spoiled, and even disembodied the church.
No foreign, inorganic element can be put into our physical body or it will damage our body, yet this is what many have done to the church. The church is something out of Christ and a part of Christ. None of us has the right to bring something which is not Christ or which is less than Christ into the Body of Christ. If we try to bring something foreign into the Body of Christ, that will damage, kill, and divide the church.
We need to bring Christ as the life supply, the food, to feed the members of the Body for the growth, the building up, of the Body. The church will be increased in life by feeding on Christ. The church is absolutely something out of Christ, as a part of Christ, so the church is the increase of Christ, a counterpart, a bride, a wife, to be married to Christ. We need to pray for the Lord to show us the central thought of God and how the church comes into being. If we are going to allow the Lord to recover His testimony, we have to see all these things in the spirit.
(The Central Thought of God, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)