THE CHURCH BEING THE EXTENSION AND THE SPREAD OF CHRIST
We all have had the kind of experience where we intend to do good, yet we are not able to do it. This is because we are weak. We must realize, however, that because Christ has come into us, there is no good thing that we cannot do, and there is no good deed that we cannot perform. The infinite life of Christ with its infinite power has entered into us. Just as He is, so also are we. Just as He has the life of God, so we also have the life of God. Moreover, the life that is in us is the power of God. All Bible readers know that the four Gospels are the biographies of Jesus, and Acts is the biography of the disciples. Strictly speaking, however, Acts is also the biography of Jesus. The four Gospels are the biographies of Jesus as an individual, while Acts is the biography of Jesus in the disciples. Hence, there is not only one Jesus in Acts. The disciples of the Lord became the church as His extension in time and His spread in space. After two thousand years of extending and spreading, this Jesus is now in the United States and in China at the same time; He is in the East and in the West simultaneously. This is the purpose God intends to accomplish. The reason the Lord Jesus had to die and be raised was so that He could enter into man to be man’s life for His spread and extension.
In Christianity today, however, people present God’s salvation and the truth in a very superficial way. Since they do not see the deep and mysterious content of God, they merely tell people, “You are sinful, but Christ died for you and bore your sins that He might give you joy and peace. If you believe in the Lord Jesus, you will receive only blessings and will not suffer loss.” Sometimes when people do not have peace, after praying to the Lord they have peace. The same is true with their business; sometimes their business is blessed when they pray. However, Christianity has missed a great and precious point—God’s life enters into man at the time he believes in Jesus.
Let us use the installation of an electric lamp as an illustration. If everything is ready, but the lamp has not yet been connected to the electric source, the lamp cannot shine. Once the lamp is connected to the electric source, the electricity will immediately enter into the electric lamp to make it shine. This shining does not come from the outward polishing. If the electric lamp is polished outwardly but not connected to the electricity, it still will not shine. Once the electricity enters into the electric lamp, the lamp will emit light. We Christians are the same. Do not think that if you “polish” yourself outwardly, that is, if you improve your behavior, you will be saved. Without the light, without Christ’s coming into us, and without God’s life, we are still empty within. Nothing can satisfy us until the day that we open our heart to receive the Lord Jesus—not only receiving His bearing of our sins but also receiving Him as our life. Then He will come into us, and we will be saved.
CHRIST’S LIVING IN US
We look to God to show us that the most precious matter concerning a saved person is nothing other than the fact that he has Christ, the very God, in him. One day in 1934 while I was preaching in Tientsin, I saw that Christ is in me. At that time, I was almost beside myself, and I wanted to tell everyone, “Do not touch me. Within I am too great and too glorious. The God of glory, the great Christ, is living in me.” Christ in us is truly too great a matter! When we are sorrowful, He comforts us. When we are weak, He strengthens us. When we are in darkness, He enlightens us. When we are unable to do good, He empowers us from within. He lives in us as our life and our disposition. He is our very being. Therefore, now for us to live is Christ, and Christ is also magnified in us.
There is a brother whose colleagues all regard him as a good and blameless man, but they feel that there is one thing about him that is strange. He is always preaching Jesus to people and urging people to believe in Jesus. Thus, this brother’s colleagues have given him the nickname “Jesus.” Actually, this is not a nickname—this is a glory. In fact, he is Jesus. He has the life, the love, and the disposition of Jesus—he is Jesus. Hence, he can do things that others cannot do, and he can live a life that others cannot live. Where does his power come from? It comes from Jesus, not the Jesus in heaven but the Jesus who lives in him.
Those who are inexperienced may think that this brother is crazy. How could Jesus enter into a man? How could Jesus be our life? If we truly know this, we will shout that He is very willing to come into us. We are lowly and unable to stand in His light, yet He is willing to come into us to be our life, our personality, our love, our morality, our holiness, our patience, and our power. Herein lies the real power of God’s salvation. This power is the life of Christ in the Christians.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)