LIVING A GRAFTED LIFE
BY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE CROSS
The life that we live together with Christ is a grafted life (Rom. 11:24; 6:5). We are joined with Christ and live together with Christ. When we live by Christ, Christ’s element is added into us. This element is the life-giving Spirit. We live a life that is actually Christ living through us. God has no intention of asking us to do anything for Him. We have been terminated. In the past, our teaching concerning the cross stopped with termination. For this reason our teaching was incomplete. Termination is not the end. Paul said, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). In Galatians, Paul said that he lived a life not by himself alone, but by Christ as his partner. He lived a life by Christ who was with him. Christ was living in him and through him. The turning point in Paul’s experience was the cross of Christ.
Sixty years ago I read some books concerning the cross. I was helped to know that I had died, that I was finished, and that I should not do anything. As a result of this understanding, I determined not to do anything. Eventually, I realized that my understanding concerning the cross was wrong. To say that I have been crucified with Christ is certainly right, but I also must live. I still live and do things, but I no longer do them by myself; I do them with Christ who lives within me. In this way I live a grafted life.
In our experience the turning point in living a life with Christ is the cross. Without the cross, we live, but not Christ. With the cross, we still live, but we no longer live by ourselves; Christ now lives with us. When I prepare to speak a message, I check with myself as to whether I am going to speak by myself or with Christ. I realize that if I do not go through the cross, whatever I speak has nothing to do with Christ. We must always realize that we have been crucified, and that we should no longer live by ourselves but by Christ who lives within us. Death terminates the old creation; resurrection germinates the new creation. The cross is the turning point. When we reckon ourselves as being on the cross, we are terminated. We die in the old creation, and we now live in the new creation. In resurrection we no longer live alone. We now live in the new creation with Christ living with us. We and Christ live together a grafted life.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST BEING
THE GOAL OF CHRIST’S INCARNATION—
CHRIST’S MANGER POINTING TO HIS CROSS
The cross of Christ was the goal of Christ’s incarnation. His manger pointed to His cross. He was born to be crucified, but when we were reborn, we were already crucified (Gal. 2:20a). His story is one of going to the cross to be crucified, and our story is one of being crucified already. Now we live a crucified life (2 Cor. 4:10-12). This crucified life is the application of Christ’s crucifixion, issuing in the manifestation of His resurrection life.
THE CROSS OF CHRIST
BRINGING FORTH THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT
The cross of Christ is not the goal, but the means to reach the goal. The goal is to bring forth the life-giving Spirit in resurrection. So where the cross is, the resurrection follows, and in the resurrection is the life-giving Spirit. This is the way for us to experience and participate in the life-giving Spirit. The way is to take the cross, and the issue is the life-giving Spirit in resurrection.
OUR SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE BEING
A CYCLE OF THE CROSS AND THE SPIRIT—
NO DEATH, NO SPIRIT; MORE SPIRIT, MORE DEATH
Our spiritual experience is a cycle of the cross and the Spirit. If we do not experience death, we do not experience the Spirit. But the more we experience death, the more Spirit we enjoy. Then the more Spirit we enjoy, the more death we experience.
(The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)