Let us now consider Paul’s situation regarding this matter when he wrote the Epistle to the Philippians. Do you believe that he was thoroughly resurrected at that time? I do not believe this. At least a small percentage of his being must still have been natural; it was not yet Paul the Apostle, but still Saul of Tarsus. On the way to Damascus, he was enlightened and knocked down to the ground. On that day, he was saved, and his spirit was resurrected. Nevertheless, his whole being was not resurrected at that time. However, a great deal more of his being, probably more than ninety-five percent, had been resurrected. Because he was not fully in resurrection, he was still endeavoring to arrive at the out-resurrection from among the dead. He was still in the process.
RESURRECTED UNTO LIFE
My burden in this message is to point out to you that our Christian walk is a matter of death and resurrection. Today we are all on the way to the out-resurrection from among the dead. Paul desired to be conformed to Christ’s death so that, by any means, he might arrive at the out-resurrection from among the dead. As we have pointed out, this does not refer merely to the resurrection of the dead in the future. The future resurrection of the dead will not be a resurrection unto life, but unto judgment. When the dead unbelievers are resurrected, they will be judged. The believers, however, are resurrected from among the dead. This is a resurrection, not unto judgment, but unto life. Thus, we are being resurrected, not for judgment, but for life. Day by day and little by little, we are being resurrected unto life. Every time I am resurrected a little more, I have more life. Each step of the process of the out-resurrection from among the dead is unto life. The Christian walk is not a matter of behavior or ethics; it is a process of resurrection. We are being processed into resurrection. We are all in this process, and we are all in resurrection. The difference between us is a matter of degree. For example, one brother may be fifty-five percent resurrected and another brother, forty-five percent.
BEING CONFORMED TO CHRIST’S DEATH
We need to forget the teachings about the improvement of behavior. Do not try to love others, to control your temper, or to be a good husband or wife. Instead, endeavor to be conformed to Christ’s death. You may still be under the concept that you must improve your behavior. But the only thing you need to do is to be conformed to the death of Christ. I admit that this is much easier to say than it is to practice. In this matter, we need Christ to help us. I have no burden to help you control your temper or be a good wife or husband. My burden is to charge you to be conformed to the death of Christ. As you are about to love someone, be conformed to His death. As you are about to lose your temper, be conformed to His death. As you are about to go somewhere or do something, be conformed to His death. Simply be conformed to the death of Christ. Unbelievers cannot be conformed to Christ’s death because they do not have the Holy Spirit within them. But because we have the Holy Spirit within us and because we have been regenerated with the divine life, we can be conformed to the death of Christ.
We need to see the vision that God’s economy is not a matter of ethics or religion, but of being conformed to the death of Christ. This means that we need to be buried and remain always in death to be conformed to Christ’s death. However, time after time, we come out of the tomb and thereby stop being conformed to Christ’s death. Often we live and act in a natural way, even in doing spiritual things or scriptural things. We may act according to the Scriptures, but we are not conformed to the death of Christ in doing so. Rather, we are in our natural life. It is easy for Christians to give up evil things, but it is very difficult to be conformed to the death of Christ and not to do anything by our natural life. Nearly fifty years ago I gave up the sinful things, but I am still learning how to be conformed to Christ’s death. We all were born natural, raised to be natural, and educated and trained to be natural. We are continually doing things in a natural way. This is why it is so difficult for us to drop the self. In so many things we are not yet resurrected.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)