The Mystery of Christ, by Watchman Nee


Since the nature of the new man—the church—is Christ, we can say that the church is Christ. Let us read two passages. In Luke 12:50-52 the Lord said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with,...Do you think that I have come to give peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." Why did the Lord say this? He said this because He had said that He would cast fire on the earth. This fire is the fire of God’s life. This means He would release His life on the earth to all those who would believe in Him so that they would be regenerated and receive God’s life. This matter, however, could only be accomplished after His baptism, which refers to His crucifixion. John 12 reveals that the church is produced out of Christ’s death and resurrection. He is the grain of wheat that fell into the earth, died, and brought forth many grains—the church—in resurrection. From these two passages we can see that the church is produced by the life of Christ. Through His death and resurrection, Christ released His life and dispensed it into the believers. These believers are then joined together to become the church.


In the New Testament there are two ways to look at Christ. On the one hand, He is Jesus Christ the Nazarene—this is the individual Christ. On the other hand, He is Christ plus the church—the corporate Christ. First Corinthians 12:12 refers to the second aspect when it says, "All the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Christ." Anything apart from Christ is not the church. There is only one thing in a Christian that forms a part of the church—Christ. The church is the corporate Christ. In the church there is only Christ. During the bread-breaking meeting, the portion that we break off from the whole still signifies the Body of Christ, the church. The church is not what is added to Christ but what issues out from Christ.

Today there are divisions among God’s children because there are differences in organizations, personal views, concepts, choices, preferences, and doctrines. But in God’s eyes the church is inseparable. All these differences are merely outward differences; they are not differences in the intrinsic reality of the church. The church is the composition of all the believers with Christ. The church is the corporate Christ. When all the saints are joined together in Christ, we have the church. Since there is only one Christ, there can be only one church. Hence, it is indivisible and inseparable.

(The Mystery of Christ, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)