NOT I, BUT THE GRACE OF GOD
In Galatians 2:20 Paul says, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ"; in 1 Corinthians 15:10 he says, "Not I, but the grace of God." In the first part of this verse Paul tells us, "By the grace of God I am what I am." This grace is the resurrected Christ becoming the life-giving Spirit to bring the processed Triune God in resurrection into us to be our life and life supply that we may live in resurrection. Thus, grace is the Triune God becoming life and everything to us.
In 2 Corinthians 13:14 grace is related to love and fellowship. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." The love, grace, and fellowship here correspond to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit in Matthew 28:19. On the one hand, we baptize people into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, we may also say that we are baptizing people into the love, the grace, and the fellowship. With the Father we have love; with the Son, love and grace; and with the Holy Spirit, love, grace, and fellowship. This means that to have the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is to have the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ with the love of God. This is the Triune God by whom we fulfill God’s requirements for the carrying out of His economy.
LIVING, ACTING, BEHAVING,
AND WORKING IN CHRIST AND BY CHRIST
The crucial matter that we need to realize is that God wants us to live, act, behave, work, and have our being in Christ, by Christ, with Christ, through Christ, and in oneness with Christ. We all should be able to say, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me."
Every servant of the Lord should match Him. But in ourselves and by ourselves we can neither match Him nor serve Him. We are utterly lacking the capacity to do this. We are nothing, we have nothing, and we can do nothing. How can we match God or serve Him? As far as we are concerned, this is impossible, but it is possible through the Triune God embodied in the Son, who is realized as the Spirit. This Spirit is everywhere, yet He is embodied in the Bible for us to inhale that we may do all things in Christ and by Christ.
We should not try in ourselves to do anything for God. Rather, we should hate and reject our effort to serve God and match Him, for it is actually abominable in the sight of God. Yes, God wants us to fulfill His economy, but He does not want us to do this by ourselves. God’s desire is that we cast ourselves aside, forget ourselves, and fulfill His economy by the Spirit, that is, by the realization of the Son, who is the embodiment of the Father. We should live, act, behave, work, and have our being by the very Christ who is the life-giving Spirit. Then it will be no longer we who live but Christ who lives within us.
In Romans 10:8 Paul refers to "the word of the faith which we preach." This word of faith includes repentance, returning to God, holding fast to God, and believing into the Triune God in order to have an organic union with Him and to live together with Him as one. Are you living? Are you behaving and working? To these questions we should be able to say, "Yes, I am living, behaving, and working, but I am doing this not in myself and by myself but in Christ and by Christ. I am living in the organic union with the Triune God." This is the Christian life, this is the church life, the Body, and, ultimately, this will be our life for eternity in the New Jerusalem. In the Christian life and in the church life, it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us.
(Life-Study of Deuteronomy, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)