THE CHANGELESSNESS OF CHRIST
In 2 Corinthians 1:17 Paul says, “This therefore intending, did I then use fickleness? Or the things which I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, so that with me there should be Yes, yes and No, no?” Paul did not purpose things according to the flesh so that he said yes at one time and no at another time. He was not a fickle person of yes and no. Paul was a person with whom there was no fickleness. When he said yes, he said it with Christ. When he made a decision, he made it with Christ. When Christ said yes, he said yes. When Christ said no, he said no. There was no fickleness, no changing with Paul because he said yes not by himself, not according to the flesh, but according to the indwelling Christ.
In 1:18-20 Paul says, “But as God is faithful, our word toward you is not yes and no. For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you through us, through me and Sylvanus and Timothy, did not become yes and no, but our word has become yes in Him. For as many promises of God as there are, in Him is the Yes; therefore also through Him is the Amen to God, for glory through us to God.” With Christ there is no changing. Since the Christ whom Paul preached according to God’s promises did not become yes and no, the word he preached concerning Him was not yes and no. Not only his preaching but also his living was according to what Christ is. He was not a man of yes and no, but a man who was the same as Christ. He was a person living by Christ. When he said yes, he said it with Christ. In himself Paul had been reduced to nothing, so he could say that the yes of Christ was his. Christ is not yes and no, but He is always the same. Paul was always the same because he lived by Christ.
We need to pray that the Spirit would help us to realize and to see what kind of person the apostle Paul was when he was on this earth. He was a person absolutely reduced to nothing but taking Christ as everything in his spirit. We all have to be reduced to such an extent that we are in our spirit taking Christ as everything. When we say yes to people, we should say it with Christ. If Christ would not say yes, we should not say yes. We have no position, right, or standing to say anything apart from Christ, because we have been crucified with Him (Gal. 2:20). Paul had been reduced to the spirit. He had been excessively burdened, beyond his power (2 Cor. 1:8) so that it was no longer him but Christ who lived in him. Even when he said yes, he said it with Christ.
We may love the Lord and try to live by Christ, but how many of us practice this whenever there is a question for us to answer? Do we consider answering it with Christ? This is why some of the brothers are always changing—in the morning it is yes, but in the afternoon it is no. They are changing all the time. But if we would take Christ as our answer, as our Yes, as our Amen, there would be no changing. Christ is always the same (Heb. 13:8), and the apostle Paul took Christ as his Yes.
THE MEEKNESS AND GENTLENESS OF CHRIST
In 2 Corinthians 10:1 Paul says, “I myself, Paul, entreat you through the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” We may be meek and gentle, but is our meekness and gentleness something of Christ? We all agree that we have to reject or repudiate the character that is not meek and gentle. But have we ever realized that we have to reject our meekness and our gentleness? Some brothers and sisters may be proud of their meekness and gentleness. A certain sister may have an inward attitude that she is more meek than other sisters. But the apostle Paul said that he entreated the Corinthians, not in his own meekness or gentleness but in the meekness and gentleness of Christ. This again shows us a person living in the spirit, always taking Christ as his everything. He experienced Christ not only as his power but also as his meekness and gentleness. He was a person living by Christ.
THE TRUTHFULNESS OF CHRIST
In 11:10 Paul says, “The truthfulness of Christ is in me.” We all would say that we have to reject the lies and speak truth, but have we ever asked ourselves whose truth we speak? Do we speak the truth of Christ, or do we speak our own truth? Paul said that the truth of Christ was in him. We have to speak the truth of Christ, not the truth of the human nature, of the old man, of the self. We have to learn to not only repudiate all the lies but to also renounce, or reject, our truth. We have to repudiate our truth as well as our lies; then we can take the truth of Christ. Paul forgave in the person of Christ, he entreated in the meekness and gentleness of Christ, and he said that the truth of Christ was in him. Since the apostle lived by Christ, whatever Christ was became his virtue in his behavior.
THE POWER OF CHRIST
In chapter 13 Paul told us something concerning the power of Christ (vv. 3-5). The power of Christ is experienced not when we are powerful but when we are weak. Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am powerful” (12:10). It is harder to be weak than it is to be powerful. Paul said that Christ was “crucified out of weakness” (13:4). We realize that Christ was the almighty God, but at the time He was crucified, He became weak. If He had not become weak, how could human beings have crucified Him? As the almighty, all-powerful God, how could He have been arrested? Who could put Him on the cross? But He was willing to be weak, and He became weak. Therefore, the apostle Paul said, “We are weak in Him” (v. 4).
Have we ever learned the lesson to be weak in Christ? We always like to talk about being powerful in Christ, but have we ever tried to be weak in Christ? The power of Christ could never be perfected or manifested until we are weak. The power of Christ, which is His grace to us, is perfected in our weakness (12:9). When we are weak, we may experience the power of Christ in our weakness. Again we see that 2 Corinthians shows us a person who has been reduced to nothing, with no strength, that the power of Christ might be perfected in his weakness. Here is a person absolutely reduced to nothing but taking Christ as everything.
THE GRACE OF CHRIST AND CHRIST SPEAKING IN HIM
In 13:14 Paul refers to the grace of Christ, and in 13:3 he says that Christ is speaking in him. Again we see a person who has been reduced to nothing but Christ. Christ speaks in him. Christ’s person is his person; Christ’s meekness is his meekness; Christ’s gentleness is his gentleness; Christ’s truthfulness is his truthfulness; Christ’s power is his power; and Christ’s grace is his grace. Whatever he is, is Christ. This is a person who is living in the spirit.
(Autobiography of a Person in the Spirit, An, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)