II. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE BEING ALSO THE LIFE
IN WHICH THE CHRISTIANS LIVE CHRIST AND MAGNIFY HIM CORPORATELY
The Christian life is also the life in which the Christians live Christ and magnify Him corporately in their locality as a local church to be a local expression of Christ as a part of the universal Body of Christ. The Christian life must be a church life. The Christian life should not be just an individual Christian life. It should be a corporate Christian life, the church life. Wherever you are on this earth, you should participate in the local church there.
Many of us in the Lord’s recovery are very church-conscious. But actually very few Christians today are church-conscious. They do not have any consciousness concerning the church. If there were no local church on this earth, I would not know how to live, how to exist. We all are a part of a local church, and every local church is a part of the universal church, which is the Body of Christ.
The Christian life is not just to live an ethical life with the human virtues, as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, for the glory of God (Matt. 5:13-16), but to live a life that is Christ Himself with His divine attributes expressed in His human virtues to be a part of His organic Body for the universal consummation of the eternal economy of God (Eph. 3:8-11). Christianity teaches that we must have human virtues. Because we are a Christian, we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The world is rotten and corrupt, so there is the need of salt to kill the germs. The world is also dark and needs the light to enlighten it. This is all for the glory of God. This is a good teaching, but we must realize that the individual Christian life occupies just a small part of the Christian life. The greater part of the Christian life should be the church life.
In the church life, we live a life that is Christ Himself with His divine attributes expressed in His human virtues. His attributes are divine, but His virtues are human. The human virtues are to manifest the divine attributes, and the divine attributes are to be expressed in the human virtues. This is for us to be a part of His organic Body. We live a life that is Christ Himself not just for the individual Christian life, but for the Body life. We live as parts of His organic Body for the universal consummation of the eternal economy of God.
Recently, I spoke about the human and divine concepts in Psalms 1 and 2 (see Life-Study of the Psalms—Message One). We have seen that Psalm 1 is not concerning God’s economy. It concerns only the personal benefit of the individual godly man. But Psalm 2 is altogether concerning God’s economy. This psalm says God made Christ His Anointed (v. 2). God set up Christ as His King (v. 6) to inherit all the nations and to possess the earth to gain a great kingdom on this earth for God’s economy (vv. 8-11). We have to believe in such a Christ, taking Him as our refuge. We also have to love Him, to kiss Him (v. 12). This concerns God’s economy. All that most Christians think about is their personal benefit. To them salvation is only a matter of either going to heaven or perishing in the lake of fire. There is no consideration about God’s economy. But Psalm 2 reveals that Christ is altogether for God’s economy. We have to believe in Him, to take refuge in Him, and we have to love Him, to kiss Him.
We also have to admit that much of our consideration is for our personal benefit. We may consider whether we will receive a reward from Christ when He returns or be punished by Him. We do not consider God’s economy that much. The entire book of Psalms, from the first point to the last point, reveals that Christ is altogether for God’s economy. He died for us to accomplish God’s economy. He saves us to accomplish God’s economy. He also lives in us that we may live in Him for God’s economy. This is why we are not only the church, the Body of Christ, but also the kingdom of Christ, of God. The kingdom of God is the accomplishment of God’s economy. We all have to realize that the Christian life is a life that is for God’s economy.
(The Christian Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)