NOT RELIGION BUT THE LIVING CHRIST
Because no one speaks about this, most of today’s Christians consider the Bible—the divine revelation—as a religious classic. They look on the Christian truths as a religion which teaches people according to a set of beliefs. Because of some knowledge of God and reverence for God, they worship Him, and since they worship God, they teach people according to this One whom they worship. They may say, “As a wife who fears God, you must behave properly by submitting to your husband that you may glorify God. As a husband who worships God, you also must love your wife with all gentleness that you may glorify God.” We cannot say that this kind of teaching is unscriptural. However, we must realize that this kind of moral and ethical teaching is religion, in which people are taught according to whom they worship. Strictly speaking, this violates God’s spiritual principle. What is God’s spiritual principle? Paul said in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ,” that is, only when I am finished can Christ propagate Himself into me. Remember that Paul spoke this word to a group of Christians who had been under Judaism. This group of religionists who were fervent for Judaism, on the one hand, received the Lord Jesus, and on the other hand, brought the practice of law-keeping into the midst of the Christians, so that they became a people with two religions. They were a people who were, on the one hand, Christians, and on the other hand, Judaizers. Paul was originally a Judaizer, but when the Lord met him on the way to Damascus, he turned fully from the Jewish religion to Christ, not to Christianity. That was why he declared boldly that he had died to the law. How did he die? He did not die by committing suicide. Rather, he was brought to the cross by Christ to die with Him in His crucifixion. “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). Who is this Jesus who lives in us? He is the Spirit who was breathed into the disciples in John 20. This Spirit is the Christ who lived in Paul. This is not Christianity but Christ. This is not religion but the living Christ. This is not to teach according to a set of beliefs. Rather, this is to pass through the death of the cross and allow Christ to multiply and increase in us.
Because to us to live is Christ, our love is far more transcendent than the love of a husband who loves his wife by himself. Because to us to live is Christ, our submission is much more spontaneous than the submission of a wife who submits to her husband by clenching her teeth. Since our submission is not merely a human submission but a submission that is lived out by the Holy Spirit and Christ in us, it is transcendent and spontaneous. Hallelujah, this is the multiplication and increase of Christ!
If as a wife you abide by religious doctrines, trying cautiously and fearfully to be a good wife every day by submitting to your husband, or if as a husband you restrain yourself with fear and trembling to be a good husband, this is not Christ’s multiplication or His increase. At most, Christ has gained you as a disciple or an apprentice whom He can teach to follow Him. He has not entered into you to make you His multiplication and increase. Even though you love your wife to the uttermost, you cannot say, “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live.” On the contrary, you can boast by saying, “It is I who live.” You cannot say, “It is no longer I”; rather, you can say, “Much more it is I.” However, if you say, “Much more it is I,” this is a shame. In God’s economy, He does not care for you or me to be this or that. He only cares for Christ’s multiplication and increase.
Brothers and sisters, if the truth which we preach is different from what is preached in Christianity, the difference lies in the multiplication and increase of Christ. What a pity that today in many church buildings you cannot hear such teachings concerning the multiplication and increase of Christ, and you cannot find such textbooks in the Bible seminaries. Nevertheless, we harbor a hope that the truths which we have seen in these years will be spread among Christians in a short time. At this point, we have labored for eleven years to have two trainings every year, one in the summer and one in the winter, to specifically study the twenty-seven books in the New Testament. We have already finished twenty-six books. Recently, we published a set of nine volumes of life-studies on the exposition of Paul’s fourteen Epistles. We hope that these truths can be spread to every part of the world. We have already started to do this in America. In America, there are several dozen churches. We encourage each church to contact their local libraries, especially the libraries of the Bible seminaries, and donate a set to them. Now at least a few dozen sets have been given away. Those libraries generally welcome receiving this set of life-studies. We do this in the hope that these truths will spread everywhere and reach everywhere that all may be blessed in the same way.
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)