THE BODY OF CHRIST BEING
THE CONSUMMATION OF THE WORK OF THE CROSS
The consummation of the work of the cross is the church. The work of the cross goes as far as the Body of Christ and consummates with the Body of Christ. Hence, the knowledge of the cross brings us to the knowledge of the Body of Christ. The cross brings a man to a state of weakness and inability, one in which he totally loses hope in the old creation. When he is brought to this point, he is delivered in a real way from the old creation and brought into the new creation. Everything in the old creation has been condemned and terminated by the cross. The Body of Christ is the new creation; it has nothing to do with the old creation. If we resort to human methods, tactics, and skills (which we have used in the past) to deal with the affairs of the church, the result will only be disastrous. God does not approve of anything that is from the old creation, and He will not allow anything from the old creation to remain in the new creation. Everything of the old creation must pass through the cross and remain on the cross. The church has no use for anything that comes from the old man. The church only takes that which issues from Christ.
When man fell, he fell because of his own concepts, choices, and judgments. Therefore, God will not allow anything that issues from the old creation to gain the upper hand. The "backbone" of the natural man must be broken; the hollow of his thigh must be touched. Before he will submit to God, he must be crippled and fall flat on his face. This is what God is doing in the new creation. He is smashing everything of the old creation, and He is constituting us with everything that issues from Christ so that we can become the Body of Christ in practicality. I saw the evil of man’s flesh twelve years ago in Philippians 3, Romans 5, and John 5. For seven months I was hesitant to make any move at all, because I knew that everything that issued from the flesh would be rejected by God. God wants to remove everything in man that is from the flesh. God’s children must first deal with the natural life. If they deal with their natural life, they will be in the Body spontaneously, because the Body of Christ is composed of everything that issues from Christ. Nothing of the old man can remain in the Body. As soon as a man passes through the experience in Romans 5 through 8, he can enter into the experience of Romans 12.
Today the church is divided because Christians are living in the wrong realm and the wrong sphere. Christians are not living in the new creation or in the reality of the Body of Christ. They are living only in the superficiality of doctrines, which belongs to man’s natural life and is part of man’s oldness. If every Christian was willing to be dealt with and to leave the natural things and the old creation behind, and if every one of them was willing to live in the reality of the Body of Christ, there would be no more divisions. May the Lord be merciful to us to see what the Body of Christ is. May the work of the cross usher us into the Body of Christ.
(The Mystery of Christ, Chapter 2, by Watchman Nee)