THE BODY BEING A MATTER OF LIFE AND THE NEW MAN BEING A MATTER OF PERSON
The Bible has a few passages that are so profound that our natural mind cannot understand them at all. Why is the one new man also the one Body? Why does verse 15 say that Christ has created the two in Himself into one new man, while verse 16 says that He has reconciled both in one Body to God? There must be a reason and an explanation for this. What then is the difference between the Body and the new man?
First, we must see that the Body is a matter of life, and the new man is a matter of person. Our body has life in it; without life, it is not a body but a corpse. When we speak of the Body, we understand that it has life in it. Thus, the Body is a matter of life. When we speak of one new man, though, it is a matter of person. A man has a person. Today my body does not need a person; my body only needs life. In other words, my body needs to be healthy, and health is life. When I have a rich and proper life within me, my body is healthy. If my life has a problem, my body becomes sick. Therefore, the body is a matter of life. The new man, however, is a matter of person. My body cannot plan where it will go, but my person can make a plan. There is a person within me who decides, saying, “This morning this body will go to this place, and this evening this body will go to that place.” By this you can see the difference between the person and the life that is in the body. The person makes a decision about where to go, and the body immediately takes action. The Body of Christ is a matter of life, whereas the new man is a matter of person.
Still, you all must know that both the life and the person are Christ. The life in this Body is Christ, and the person in this one new man is also Christ. The church is the Body, and this Body needs Christ to be in it as life. The church is also the one new man, and this one new man needs Christ to be in him as his person.
IN THE BODY WE BEING MEMBERS ONE OF ANOTHER
As I have said before, Christianity teaches people mostly to love one another, and if you cannot love, you must simply give up. However, the New Testament tells us not only to love one another but also to be members one of another. Being members one of another is not something you can give up. In our body the hand is beneath the arm, and the arm is beneath the shoulder; regardless of whether or not they love one another, they are members one of another. You must see this vision. I speak truthfully that it is this vision that has bound me for forty-five years. You should never think that all the brothers who coordinate with me in the service, whether co-workers, elders, older ones, or younger ones, are according to my taste. I would like to tell you that out of ten brothers eight and a half are not according to my taste, and the remaining one and a half are only twenty percent according to my taste and eighty percent not according to my taste. When you calculate all this, you can see there is not much that is according to our taste. What then should we do?
This is why in the past I made the following calculations again and again to determine the gains and losses involved. First, I calculated whether or not I wanted to be a man. This, however, was not something for me to decide; it was God’s ordination. Since God ordained me to be a man, there was no way for me to avoid it. Likewise, in your case God also ordained that you would be a man. Please forgive me for saying that I sometimes cannot understand why I had to be born. If I had not been born, then I would not have so many troubles. Nevertheless, this was something not up to me; I was simply born. Should I, then, be a man or not? I should.
Then I went on to calculate. Since I am a man, should I be a Christian? There is no way not to be. If I am a man but not a Christian, then it is truly, “Woe is me, for I am finished!” Therefore, I have to be a Christian because there is no other way.
Next, I considered that since I am a Christian, should I be a Christian in the denominations? I should not. Then what should I do? I should do things according to the Bible. After all these considerations—from the first question to the second, to the third, and to the fourth—I eventually became completely chained and shackled. Since according to the Bible I must be a Christian, what does the Bible say about a Christian? The Bible tells me that since I am a Christian, a member of the Body, I cannot be without others. Therefore, at times I could only go to the Lord and complain secretly to Him, saying, “Lord, this brother is not very good. Why did You put me together with him?” I knew that if I complained too much, the Lord may say, “All right, since you don’t like this one, I will give you another one.” I knew what would happen next. Although the taste of the coordination at the time was very hot, if I went on to complain to the Lord, He may give me something even hotter. Therefore, after complaining, I immediately confessed my sins. Do you agree with what I have said? I do know this matter.
I am already more than seventy years old, and I have tasted many bitter, hot, sour, and sweet things. I certainly have some knowledge of the Lord, and I know His ways; therefore, I tell you that you should never complain. Once you complain, it will be heat upon heat. The next one you get will be even harder for you to bear. The heat will reach a point where you will not be able even to feel it anymore. At this point in your situation, hot or not hot is all the same, so you stop your complaining. When you get to this stage, you are about ready to graduate.
Thus, the conclusions of my calculations were: I have no choice but to be a man; as a man, I must be a Christian; and as a Christian, I must be a member of the Body. As to the brothers and sisters who are my co-workers and my fellow members, it was not I who sought them out. I did not seek them out; it was the Lord who sent them to me, one by one. While one brother moves as fast as lightning, another brother is exactly the opposite. When you explain something to this slow one, you can speak for three days and three nights, and he still will not understand. Nevertheless, since he is a fellow member, I cannot expel him. An employer can discharge an employee, but the arm cannot expel the hand. If the arm were to expel the hand, the hand may not suffer, but without the hand, the arm would not be able to do anything.
Today we see that Christianity does not have the Body; instead, everyone simply comes together. If today they are happy, they will come together; if tomorrow they are unhappy, they will just forget about it. In the Lord’s economy, however, if you have really seen the Lord’s Body and that the brothers and sisters are members one of another, that is enough. There is nothing to discuss; you are simply a member, and you have no choice but to be a member. If you merely love one another, then when you are happy, you love the others, and when you are unhappy, you do not love them. However, as a member, you have no choice but to be a member; whether or not you are happy, you are a member.
(One Body, One Spirit, and One New Man, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)