INCARNATION AND THE PRINCIPLE OF INCARNATION
Incarnation is God entering into man to mingle Himself with man, making Himself one with man. God was incarnated in the Man Jesus Christ. He is a wonderful person, a unique person, with two natures. He has the divine nature and the human nature, yet these two natures do not stand separately; they are mingled together. He is the unique God-man.
The two natures of Christ being mingled together can be illustrated by tea and water. Tea is composed of two elements: tea and water. When we say that we are drinking tea, we actually are drinking tea and water. Therefore, we can say that we are drinking tea-water. God can be likened to tea, and man can be likened to water. As tea and water are mingled together to make tea-water, God and man were mingled together to make a God-man, the Lord Jesus. This God-man is the mingling of two elements, two natures, into one entity without a third nature being produced. In tea-water, the two elements of tea and water remain distinct but are not separate. They exist together in a mingled way. It is the same with the Lord Jesus Christ as the God-man with the two natures of divinity and humanity.
LIVING A LIFE OF COINHERENCE AND MINGLING VERSUS LIVING AN EXCHANGED LIFE
In theology the word coinhere has been used to describe how two things not only co-exist but also exist within one another. In John 14:10 the Lord said to the disciples, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?” And in John 15:4 the Lord said further, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself.…” Both of these passages indicate coinherence, which is the mutual indwelling and mingling of two elements for them to be one entity, and these two mingled elements are distinct but not separate.
The matter of coinherence is often missed by Christians in their reading of the New Testament. As a result, our relationship with the Lord is often misunderstood. Some have said that we as Christians live an exchanged life. According to this understanding, Christ replaces and discards our poor human life with His superior divine life. If we read Galatians 2:20 in a superficial way, we may be misled to think that the concept of exchange is spoken of in this verse. This is because Paul says that he was crucified with Christ, that he no longer lives, and that now Christ lives within him. Many Christians, in reading Galatians 2:20, have held and still hold such a concept. The biography of Hudson Taylor has helped many Christians over the years, but the writer of this biography, Hudson Taylor’s daughter-in-law, Mrs. Howard Taylor, promoted the mistaken concept of an exchanged life.
The proper concept concerning our relationship with Christ is coinherence—Christ lives in us and we live in Christ (John 15:4-5). God in Christ put Himself into us (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10) through regeneration (John 1:12-13; 3:6), and then we were put into Christ through baptism (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27; Matt. 28:19). We were not thrown away or discarded, but we were put into the Triune God (Matt. 28:19). Instead of being thrown away, we have been put into Christ. Christ is now within us, and we are in Christ. This is really wonderful!
THE LORD’S PRAYER IN JOHN 17 REVEALING THE COINHERING ONENESS
In John 15 the fact of our being in Christ and Christ being in us is clearly revealed (vv. 4-5). But in John 17 the Lord prayed for our realization of this fact (vv. 20-21). He prayed so that we would realize we are in Him like He is in the Father and He is in us like the Father is in Him. With the divine Trinity, there is such a wonderful coinhering oneness. This coinhering oneness has been duplicated by Christ with His believers. Today Christ is in His believers, causing His believers to be in Him. This is like the Father being in the Son, causing the Son to be in the Father. The prayer of Christ in John 17 is a revelation of such a coinhering oneness. According to John 15 and 17, our relationship with Christ is one of coinherence, not of exchange.
(The Experience and Growth in Life, Chapter 25, by Witness Lee)