The Glorious Vision and the Way of the Cross, by Witness Lee


During the past sixty years, I have been observing the Christian humanity. The humanity I am talking about today is not that of an ordinary person but that of a servant of the Lord. It is the humanity of those who are very seeking among us, who have forsaken the world and who love the Lord dearly.

The question of humanity touches a deep and wide area. According to my knowledge, the book which speaks about humanity the most is the New Testament. In the New Testament, the person who speaks about humanity the most is Paul. In Paul’s Epistles, there are many places which speak concerning humanity.

Other than this, many countries in the world have philosophies that study humanity. The Chinese Confucianists are considered the best and highest in the study of humanity. The Confucian teaching is so high because of the fact that it takes human ethics as its center. Human ethics can be considered the central thought of humanity. It deals with human relationships such as those between parents and children, brothers, sisters, and friends. Chinese Confucianism is very close to the Bible when it comes to matters of ethics. The only difference is that when the Bible talks about ethics, it has to do with the life of God, while the ethics that the Confucianists talk about have nothing to do with God; there is only a development of humanity. There is no divinity involved. The difference here is very great.


Man was created by God. Moreover, when man was created, he was created according to God’s own image (Gen. 1:26), that is, according to what God is. According to the Bible, the Ten Commandments are a description of God. All laws are descriptions of the lawmakers. The Ten Commandments are the laws made by God. These ten commandments can be represented by four words—light, love, holiness, and righteousness. These are the essence and nature of the Ten Commandments. They are also what the image of God is.

The law in the Old Testament is a testimony and a description. When man was created, he was created according to what God is in all these aspects. God is light. Hence, the man whom He created is also light. Although we have been degraded and corrupted, we still desire light. Even a robber aspires to things that are forthright and upright. If he has robbed a bank, he would not like others to know about it. This proves that there is still the element of light in his nature. Furthermore, in our nature there is also love. No one teaches us from youth how we ought to love our brothers and sisters. But we can all love, and we all aspire to love. This love is created by God. This is not all. What God is also includes holiness and righteousness. The Chinese use expressions such as “brightness and uprightness” and “supreme holiness and righteousness” to describe humanity. All these are revealed in the man whom God created according to what He is.


The Chinese Confucianists say that “the way of the Great Learning is in the development of the bright virtue.” This bright virtue refers to the source of our goodness. It is the function of our conscience. Wang Yang-ming, a philosopher of the “Li-shue” school in the Ming Dynasty, expanded the teaching of the “bright virtue” to that of the “function of the conscience.” To develop and cultivate the function of the conscience is to develop the bright virtue. Although these philosophies are good, they are good only in the human sense; no outside power is added into them. For example, one can push a tram with his own hands. But if electricity is applied to it, the tram will move differently; it will instead be powered by electricity.

After much studying, we have to agree with the same words that Paul spoke, “For to will is present with me, but to do the good is not” (Rom. 7:18b). We all know that to know is one thing but to do is another. John 3 gives a record of a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He addressed the Lord Jesus as Rabbi, and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God” (v. 2). Perhaps he thought that he needed better teachings to improve himself. But the Lord answered him, “Unless a man is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 3). It seems as if the Lord was telling Nicodemus that after man was created, he had only the image of God. He did not have the life of God, nor did he have the power to do good. Hence, Nicodemus needed to be born anew, that is, he needed to be born of water and the Spirit before he could enter into the kingdom of God (v. 5b). However, Nicodemus still did not understand, and the Lord had to say to him again, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life” (vv. 14-15). When the Son of Man was crucified on the cross to bear and take away our sins, we were regenerated and received the eternal life. It is the very God who entered into us and mingled with us who produced all the virtues of humanity.

True Christian humanity not only comprises the divine attributes that fill us within; it also comprises the attributes that we received at creation. At the time man was created, he had only the image of God’s attributes; he did not have the content and reality of these attributes. This is why we all have to receive this God of creation into us to be our content. When He fills us, we can truly love Him. This is not to live ourselves but to live Him. It comes out of divinity and is expressed through humanity. This is the humanity a Christian should have.

However, many times, we do not see ourselves or others living the proper humanity. On the contrary, sometimes there appears to be a deep degradation. I have been bothered before by this. The answer I have is the illustration of the grafting of a tree. After a branch is grafted, what comes forth from the original tree are still the original fruits. Only those which come out of the grafted branch are the desired fruits. If there is no divinity in our humanity, what is lived out will only be our oldness. Hence, we have to know that as Christians we do not live a life of one attribute. Rather we must live a “double” life of two attributes. There must be the divine attribute, and there must be the human attribute. Only this will guarantee us a proper kind of humanity.

In the New Testament, Paul said, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). It is true that Christ is living today; but we have to know that He lives within us. He is living Himself out from within us. This is what the Gospel of Luke reveals to us. The divine attributes of God are expressed through the human virtues of man. The divine nature is mingled with the human nature. The divine nature is the source and the content, and the human nature is the expression and the form. This is what we mean by humanity. We can also call it morality or virtue. It is a kind of character of a Christian and is something that every servant of the Lord should have.

(The Glorious Vision and the Way of the Cross, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)