LIVING IN CHRIST
I grew up in China and saw a number of Chinese who were moral. Their morality was quite high, but they did not have Christ within them. On the other hand, I also saw a few of the Western missionaries who went to China whose love and morality were truly outstanding and remarkable because their love and morality had Christ in them. The morality of the Chinese moralists is purely Chinese morality without Christ. However, if Christ is in me, when I love, it is not I who love, but Christ who loves. I have been crucified with Christ and I am completely finished. Now it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. It is not I who love nor I who obey nor I who honor my parents; even more, it is not I who am gracious, kind, and virtuous, but it is He. My loving is His loving; it is He who loves from within me. My honoring my parents is His honoring; it is He who honors them from within me. This is because He already lives in us as our everything, and as long as we live according to this Christ who is within us, He will be all the virtues being lived out from within us. Thus, we will become those who live in Christ (2 Cor. 12:2).
In Philippians 3:9 Paul said, “And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is out of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is out of God and based on faith.” Paul had been altogether in the Jewish religion under the law and had always been found by others in the law. However, when he saw the great light on the road to Damascus, he repented and received revelation (Gal. 1:15-16). Then he turned from the law and the religion of his ancestors to Christ and aspired to have his entire being saturated with Christ and filled with Christ that Christ might overflow from him so that all who observed him might find him to be one who was fully in Christ. This was why he said, “Not having my own righteousness…but that which is through faith in Christ.” This was to be in Christ where Paul aspired to be found by others. God could be expressed through him only in such a surpassing condition. Such a condition was not the result of his keeping the law but of his living Christ. This was not Paul’s behavior nor Paul’s righteousness but God’s righteousness obtained through faith in Christ.
The salvation which we have obtained today is a salvation not by “relying on Christ” but by “living in Christ.” Today we are not just in Christ, but we are even living in Him. This can be compared to taking a 747 jet plane. We can walk up and down within the plane. We not only sit in the plane, but we also live in the plane. Paul said that he wanted to be found living in Christ. Christ is not only our life but also the realm of our living; we can live in Him. First Corinthians 1:30 says that it is of God that we are in Christ. God has made Christ to be our righteousness. When we are joined to Him and live Him out, we have the righteousness which is in Him.
PURSUING THE EXPERIENCE OF CHRIST
Christ is living. Once He gets into our spirit, He has an organic union with us. Because of this organic union, we can have a kind of living that is not lived out by us but lived out by Christ from within us. In this way the righteousness of God is manifested in us. This is the living that Paul desired to live out. Paul knew Christ, appreciated Christ, and realized that Christ was exceedingly precious; so he diligently pursued the experience of Christ. We need to experience Christ and the power of His resurrection. Resurrection is a matter of life. A stone cannot resurrect, but a seed can because the seed has the power of life within it. Christ is in us as a seed that sprouts and grows within us to bear fruit thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold.
MANIFESTING THE FRAGRANCE OF CHRIST
As we have seen, we are not in religion but in Christ. Christ is life, and within Him as the seed of life there is the power of resurrection. He grows within us that we may participate in His sufferings, being conformed to His death. In this way we experience His resurrection power and know that He is a treasure within us. In this treasure there is an exceedingly great power, even the most excellent power. This transcendent and remarkable power which is in us enables us to endure the sufferings that others cannot bear and to live a life that others cannot live, thereby manifesting the fragrance of Christ. Through the power of His resurrection Christ leads us in joyful triumph in His victory procession and manifests the savor of the knowledge of Him through us.
This is the transcendence of Christ. This is the Christ whom we live out. This is not human culture, religion, philosophy, ethics, morality, traditions, or customs. This is the living Christ as life within us who is leading us in triumph and manifesting His fragrance.
(Christ in His Excellency, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)