A Thorough View of the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee


Now that we have acquired a clear impression concerning element, essence, and reality, we can apply all three to the Body of Christ. Since the church is the Body of Christ, it must possess its own constituents and elements. The blood, the cells, the skin, the flesh, and the bones are all constituents of the human body, and these in turn have their own essences and substances. What then are the essences and constituents in the Body of Christ? Two essences constitute the Body of Christ. One is the processed Triune God, which is the divine element; the other is the tripartite man regenerated by God, which is the human element. These two elements are two constituents. The constituent of the processed Triune God enters into us to mingle with us, the tripartite man, to produce the Body of Christ. When we were saved and regenerated, God in Christ came into us to be the divine life in us, and this divine life became the divine essence within us.

However, merely to have Christ as the essence of the divine life within us does not result in the church, since the church is the mingling of divinity with humanity, that is, man without and God within. We realize that although the church and a social club are both human gatherings, there is a great difference between them. A club is an association of people who share certain traits, such as a common birthplace. The church is different; it has people from all places. What we have in common is not our birthplace, but God. You have God in you; I have God in me; he has God in him—we all have God in us. Whenever God is mentioned, everyone responds. This is the “God-responsiveness” in us. Hence, the church is different from any kind of group, such as professional societies and trade unions. In these associations, there are only human beings without God in them. The church, however, is not only men; there is God within. That which has only men and not God is not the church. A single constituent is not enough; there must be both the divine constituent as well as the human constituent. We can say that the church is both man and God. It is the mingling of God and man, the blending of humanity with divinity, a hybrid entity of divinity joined with humanity, with two elements or constituents.

Not only so, within the two elements of the Body of Christ are the essences and substances of each. Thus, besides having the human element with its human essence, the church also possesses the divine element with its divine essence. Human organizations frequently have friction and disputes due to self-interest and self-gain. This is because among them there is only the human essence and not the divine essence. In the church of God there is not only the human essence but also the divine essence. There is no room for man’s natural flesh. On the contrary, since we all have the element of God’s life with the divine essence within us, the church displays an uncommon condition, one which expresses the reality of God.


The Processed Triune God—the Divine Element

Now we will follow the outline to get into this present message, which is entitled “The Elements, Essence, and Reality of the Body of Christ.” Let us start with the elements of the Body of Christ. The first item is the processed Triune God, who is the divine element (Eph. 4:4-6). The church is different from all organizations because it possesses the divine element of the processed Triune God. This Triune God passed through incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection in order to enter into the members of Christ that they might be the elements of the Body of Christ (John 20:22).

God is holy, righteous, and glorious. In order to enter into us, the filthy sinners, He first became flesh and put on a body of flesh and blood that He might be crucified for us and shed His blood to make propitiation for our sins and satisfy the righteous requirement of God’s law. He also resurrected to become the life-giving Spirit so that He might get into all who believe in Him and call upon Him. When we obtain Him in this way, He becomes our life element and life constituent within us.

Now this Triune God who has entered into us, the members of Christ, has not only become our life element and constituent, but also exists together, lives together, and mingles with us who are the members of the Body of Christ (Rom. 8:9-11; Gal. 2:20a). Some of us did have these experiences. Before we were saved and had the divine life and divine constituent in us, we frequently quarreled with our spouse. Such arguments were usually intensified and strengthened by reasonings as they went on. After we believed in the Lord Jesus and the divine element of the Triune God entered into us, He often stopped us just when we were about to start an argument. This is because the Lord Jesus, in whom we have believed, came into us to be our divine element. Whereas once we were a cup full of bitter water, now the bitterness is diminishing and the water is being sweetened by the addition of the “lemon” and “honey.”

(A Thorough View of the Body of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)