PURSUING TO KNOW CHRIST
Now let us see the proper living of a God-man who pursues Christ. Paul referred to this in the book of Philippians. He wrote to the church in Philippi, referring to his life of living Christ to magnify Him, of pursuing Christ to gain Him, and of taking Christ as the secret of his contentment. In such an Epistle with experiencing Christ as its subject, we can find out that the first thing in the proper living of a Christ-pursuing God-man is to pursue to know Christ. In Philippians 3:10a Paul said, “To know Him [Christ].” Christ is unlimited, and His riches are unsearchable (Eph. 3:8). Our knowledge of Christ is, on the one hand, by revelation and, on the other hand, by experience. In these last forty years most of my messages have been centered on Christ. I searched out from the holy Scriptures all the items concerning Christ in the types, Christ in the prophecies, and Christ in plain words. However, we still need to increase our pursuing of Christ that we may apprehend with all the saints the dimensions—the breadth, the length, the height, and the depth—of Christ. Christ is exceedingly rich; He is all-inclusive and all-extensive. We need to pursue to know Him.
PURSUING TO KNOW THE POWER OF CHRIST’S RESURRECTION
The proper life of a Christ-pursuing God-man is also a life of pursuing to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. In Philippians 3:10b Paul referred to “the power of His resurrection.” We should pursue not only to know Christ but also to know the power of His resurrection. Christians talk about resurrection, but their general view of resurrection is too shallow. Lazarus was resurrected, but his resurrection was not the same as the resurrection of Christ. Lazarus’s resurrection was a genuine resurrection, but later he died again. His resurrection was not the same as the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus means that he who believes into Him, even if he should die, shall live and even live forever (John 11:25-26).
The resurrection of Lazarus was merely his being made alive again by the power of God. This kind of resurrection was there already in the Old Testament, as seen in Elisha’s raising the dead (2 Kings 4:32-35; 13:20-21), which was raising people from the dead merely by the power of God. But it is not so with the resurrection of Christ. Christ has the Spirit of holiness, God Himself, in Him. He was resurrected not merely by the power of God but even more by the very God who was in Him. In the resurrection of Lazarus God was not there; only the power of God was there. However, in the resurrection of Christ, there was God; not only so, the resurrection of Christ was the very God. This is the resurrection power of God. Although we can speak about these things, we do not have enough experience of them. Hence, we still need to do our best to pursue to know the power of Christ’s resurrection not only in revelation but also in experience.
PURSUING TO LIVE A LIFE OF DYING WITH CHRIST TO BE CONFORMED TO HIS DEATH BY THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION
The proper life of a Christ-pursuing God-man is also a life of pursuing to die with Christ to be conformed to His death by the power of His resurrection. In church history Mrs. Penn-Lewis stands out as one who stressed the death of Christ; many of her books are on this aspect of Christ. The death of Christ which she referred to was not the objective death but the subjective death. Christ’s death on the cross has an objective aspect and a subjective aspect. Christ died for us for the forgiveness of our sins; this is the objective aspect of His death. However, when Christ died, He brought us with Him so that our old man died together with Him (Rom. 6:6). This is the subjective experience. The emphasis of Mrs. Penn-Lewis’s books is on the subjective effectiveness of Christ’s death.
Paul said that we should be conformed to Christ’s death. However, to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection and be conformed to His death, we need to participate in His sufferings (Matt. 20:22-23; Col. 1:24; 2 Tim. 2:11). Hence, Paul said, “To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10). To fellowship is to participate in; to fellowship in His sufferings is to be conformed to His death. With Christ there is a mold, the mold of His life of thirty-three and a half years on the earth, which is the mold of the cross. In God’s eyes Christ’s death did not happen only when He was crucified on the cross before men; rather, from the time of His birth He was bearing the cross daily. What did it mean for Him to bear the cross? It meant that death was upon Him all the time; He lived under the cross day by day.
(A General Outline of God's Economy and the Proper Living of a God-Man, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)