REMAINING IN THE DEATH OF CHRIST
Many brothers and sisters have been baptized into Christ’s death, but they do not remain in death. I can tell by the expression on their faces that they have come out of death, for it is obvious that they are not at rest. Everyone who remains in death is at rest. If we remain in death, we shall be able to say, "I don’t have problems with anyone. I am simply resting here. Whether others appreciate me or rebuke me, I am not disturbed. Rather I am at rest." The reason there is conflict between a husband and wife is that they so often come out of death. By leaving death, they lose their rest. Some brothers and sisters may come all the way out of death, whereas others may have one foot in death and one foot outside death. When they go back into death, they are at rest, but when they come out, they lose their rest. Some may remain in death, but instead of lying down in it, they stand up and try to get out. Still others may lie down in death; however, they are only partly at rest because as they lie there, they are desiring to leave death. Only those who fully rest in death actually remain in Christ’s death. These can say, "Praise the Lord that I have been baptized into His death. I am content to stay here."
THE CYCLE OF DEATH AND RESURRECTION
Those who remain in death know the power of resurrection. As they lie restfully in death, they have the experience of Philippians 3:10. They know Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. They are also conformed to Christ’s death like dough conformed to a mold.
From now on, we should not only be in Christ’s death, but also be conformed to His death. The more we are conformed to His death, the more we know the power of His resurrection; and the more we know the power of His resurrection, the more we are conformed to His death. It is in this way that we pass through the process of resurrection that leads to the out-resurrection. The more death there is, the more resurrection; and the more resurrection, the more death. This is a cycle that moves like a wheel. This is the Christian life and also the Christian walk. We live and walk by this cycle.
This cycle begins, not with resurrection, but with death. Are you ignorant of the fact that as many of us as have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into His death? Being baptized into the death of Christ is the beginning of the cycle. Through this experience of death, resurrection power rises up within us to bring us into deeper death. After we enter deeper into death, more resurrection power rises up. In this way the cycle continues from death to resurrection and from resurrection to death. Eventually, we shall arrive at the outstanding resurrection. That will be the time of our maturity, the time when we are ready for rapture and the redemption of our body. The redemption of the body is the last step of resurrection. When our physical body enters into resurrection, it will be transfigured. That will be the full maturity of our Christian life.
The Christian life is a matter of dying to live. We die so that we may live. If there is no death, there can be no life, no resurrection. The more death we have, the more resurrection we experience; and the more resurrection we have, the more death we experience. This is the cycle that is gradually bringing us to maturity until we arrive at the outstanding resurrection. This is the Christian life.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)