The Spirit and the Body, by Witness Lee

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Many Christians cannot differentiate Romans 12 from 1 Corinthians 12. To them, Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 are the same, for both speak of the Body life. Romans 12, however, is much more advanced than 1 Corinthians 12 because the Body life there in Romans 12 comes after transformation. After 1 Corinthians 12, we have 2 Corinthians 3, where we find the matter of transformation. This indicates that in the two Epistles to the Corinthians transformation is mentioned after the Body life. In other words, in the Corinthian Epistles the Body life is practiced before transformation. However, Romans 12 is different, because there transformation comes first and then the practice of the Body life follows.

Seemingly, 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 are talking about the same thing. But both the condition and the stage are different. First Corinthians 12 is before transformation, and Romans 12 is after transformation. Before transformation, in 1 Corinthians 12, Paul mentioned the miraculous things and gifts such as speaking in tongues and interpretation. But after transformation, in Romans 12, he said not a word regarding miracles, healings, tongues, or the interpretation of tongues. This indicates that to drop these things is a great advance. In 1 Corinthians 12 there are many toys, but in Romans 12 there are no toys. The more we grow, the fewer toys we have. The dear ones in 1 Corinthians were very young, still at the age of playing with toys. But those described in Romans 12 are more mature, more advanced, and have no toys.

The crucial matter here is transformation. To repeat, the church life in 1 Corinthians is before transformation, but the church life in Romans 12 is with transformation. This reveals the fact that we need to advance by being transformed so that we may have a solid church life with fewer toys. In the childish Body life there are many toys, things such as healings, miracles, and tongues. But in the solid church life, in which there has been a good deal of transformation, there will not be many toys. We expect that the churches in the Lord’s recovery will grow through transformation. We all should grow by having Christ written upon us by the life-giving Spirit. Then we shall be epistles full of Christ for others to read. Furthermore, because Christ has been impressed upon us, we shall reflect Him, and people will see Christ by looking at us. Thus, we shall be Christ’s epistles for people to read and His mirror reflecting Him that others may see Him. This is a church life that has advanced in the expression of Christ. This is a more solid church life, with many who have been transformed for the Body life. If we cannot see this today, I expect to see it in the future. Nevertheless, I hope that even today in all the churches there will be more epistles and mirrors, not only children playing with toys. Many are in 1 Corinthians playing with toys, but others are in 2 Corinthians. They are epistles in which others can read Christ and mirrors reflecting Christ to others. This is the Body life.

We all need to be ambitious to be made long epistles for Christ. We need to pray, "Lord, make me a long epistle, even more than two hundred pages long. Lord, let others read You in me. Lord, I am ambitious that whenever I come to the meeting, people will see Your reflection in me." If you are such a reflection of Christ, you will not need to stand up or say a word. Even if you just sit there in the meeting, you will reflect Christ and radiate something of Christ into the whole meeting. I have known brothers and sisters whose simple coming and sitting in the meeting uplifts that meeting. How the meetings are enriched by their presence! But when they are not present, the meetings are empty. We need some saints who enrich the meetings in this way. If all the rich ones were taken away from the church, nothing would remain. But when the rich ones are in the church life, the church is solid, weighty, and full of life. We need the epistles and the mirrors. We need a great deal of transformation so that we can be transferred from 1 Corinthians 12 to Romans 12. The Body life must advance from 1 Corinthians 12 to Romans 12 through the process of transformation.

(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)