BEING SNARED BY DOCTRINES AND GIFTS
It is too easy for a seeking Christian to be distracted by doctrine. If someone is indifferent toward the Lord, he does not care for doctrine, but when he is raised up by Him to seek Him, it is easy to seek only after doctrine. When I was young, and even until today, I have heard many people say, “This is a good truth. I like this truth.” It is also easy to be attracted by gifts and functions. May the Lord be merciful to us. We need to be adjusted to say that we are seeking not truth or doctrine but Christ. I want to know and experience Christ in this way.
These four books—Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians—teach many doctrines. This is true, but what are the doctrines about? They are doctrines about Christ and the church, the Head and the Body, and also the Spirit. These are not mere doctrines or teachings, however, but a heavenly vision. In these four books there are no miracles, gifts, or healings. There must be a reason for this. All Bible students agree that what God does not say in His Word is as meaningful as what He does say. Why, then, in these four books that are so significant concerning Christ and His church is there nothing of gifts, healings, tongues, or miracles? The phrase works of power is used only in Galatians 3:5, probably referring to something in the past, at the beginning of their experience. We need to be delivered from the distracting things.
I have the deep feeling that my word and language are not adequate to express what is on my heart. When we were in the world, we were indifferent to the things of God; we simply did not care for doctrines or gifts. Once the Lord raised us up to seek Him, however, two snares were before us. One snare is seeking after doctrines and knowledge. We wanted to learn the doctrines of dispensations, predestination, election, and the rapture. We wanted to learn Matthew, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Ephesians, what Luther taught, and what Darby says, and we may have bought many commentaries and books. I have had the thought to get rid of many books in my library. You cannot know how much of my time they wasted and how much distraction they offered. Now I have the secret. Whenever I come to the Word in my spirit and through the Holy Spirit, everything is living; everything is enlivening, full of light and life.
The other snare is seeking after the gifts. While someone is indifferent toward the Lord, he does not have these two snares. Because he is in the biggest snare—the world, the wilderness—there is no need for Satan to use another snare. But right away when this one is raised up by the Lord to seek Him, Satan puts these two snares in front of him to trap him. I have seen so many Christians who were trapped and are still trapped by the snare of knowledge, and so many others who have been trapped in the snare of the gifts. We need to be warned, and we need to be delivered from worldliness, from seeking after doctrines, and from seeking after gifts. We have to be kept by Christ and in Christ. Sooner or later, in this country and throughout the world, people will be raised up by the Lord to sound the trumpet that nothing is as important as Christ and His Body, the church.
We must be humble before the Lord to tell Him how much we are still outside of Him. We are still not on the right track because we are following something other than Christ. Someone may say that the things besides Christ are for Christ. I say Amen to that, but the actual situation today is that they are not being utilized for Christ. We must be absolutely delivered from anything other than Christ.
THE ALL-INCLUSIVE CHRIST BEING
THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT IN OUR SPIRIT
We first must see the vision of Christ. Christ is all-inclusive. He is everything. He is God, and He is man; He is the Creator, and He is the creation; He is the first item of the old creation, and He is also the first item of the new creation. He is also life and everything to us. Moreover, this Christ today is the Spirit. This is a key point. Christ is the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b), and He is in our spirit. Regardless of how much power is in electricity, if we do not have the current of electricity, we have none of its power. All the power, function, ability, and capability of electricity is in the current. Even if we do not understand electricity, as long as we have the current and we apply it, we can enjoy it. Today the all-inclusive Christ is the Spirit, and the Spirit is the current, the fellowship. That is why we speak of three matters: the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the fellowship, the transmission, the current. Whatever Christ is, is in this current.
We must realize that Christ is the life-giving Spirit living in our spirit, and we need to learn the secret of contacting Him. We should forget everything else, never be distracted by anything, and always pay our full attention to the Spirit. We must love Him, contact Him, obey Him, follow Him, and always hold on to Him. We need to learn the way to exercise our spirit to contact Him. Galatians speaks of the Spirit and our spirit several times. We must walk by the Spirit, live by the Spirit, sow unto the Spirit to reap of the Spirit, and restore a fallen brother in the spirit (5:16, 25; 6:8, 1). Today God is in Christ, and Christ, the all-inclusive One, is the Spirit, and this Spirit is the very communication, communion, fellowship, and transmission to us. He is in our spirit, so now we must learn to exercise our spirit to contact this wonderful Spirit. Then we will enjoy Christ, and all the more we will love Him, pray to Him, turn to Him, fellowship with Him, and know not doctrine but Christ Himself.
We must know Him and realize Him more not only individually but also corporately. We should spend time with Him alone individually and also spend time with Him by being with others in the church and in the church meetings. Then we will be filled with Christ, learn Christ, and bear the brands of Jesus. Spontaneously, we will also have the experience of the cross, because the more we contact Christ and have the fellowship of the Spirit, the more we will be put to death by the killing power, the killing element, in the all-inclusive Spirit within us. The more we contact Him, the more He will kill all the negative things, such as the flesh, the desire of the flesh, the soulish life, the old nature, and the worldly things. In Colossians and Galatians we can see the working of the cross not only in the past but also in the present through the presence, the anointing, of the all-inclusive Spirit within us.
If all the thousands of Christians in this city knew this way to contact Christ—to forget about doctrines, gifts, and everything else and simply learn to live by Christ, live in Christ, and come together to fellowship with one another in the way of life—what a powerful impact there would be! The enemy, however, is subtle to distract people by various doctrines, gifts, and functions, as well as opinions, arguments, and even fighting. Nevertheless, we have the assurance that the Lord will recover the proper realization and experience of Christ, at least with a remnant, a small number of people. With them at least, God’s purpose will be fulfilled. We have to pray that we may know Christ more and more. He is the all-inclusive One who today is the Spirit.
I would suggest that we not only read these messages but even more that we spend two or three months to dwell on the four books of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Spend time in these books to read, pray, and seek the Lord through them. This will be a turning point for us. We will be turned from all things to Christ.
(The Experience of Christ in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)