THE CHURCH BEING THE GREAT MYSTERY OF GODLINESS, GOD MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH
What is the church? In the past few days we have learned many new terms. The church is the reprint of the Holy Spirit with Christ and the place of God’s infusion. Now we must say that the church is God manifested in the flesh. What is the church? To put it a little more poetically, the church is the great mystery of godliness, which is God manifested in the flesh. I would ask you, however, “If you are living by your self, and if I am living by my self, and if we all are living by the self, then is the church the manifestation of God in the flesh?” No! That is merely the manifestation of the natural man in the flesh. In order for the church to be the manifestation of God in the flesh, we must live not by our self but by God. If we live by God and take God as our living and our person, then when we come together, it will be the manifestation of God in the flesh.
Let me give a little illustration. Suppose some of the young brothers who live together are talking, laughing, and playing ping-pong before the meeting; some are losing their temper and others are criticizing the saints. Then one brother says, “It is time for the meeting. Let’s go!” You all go to the meeting, and one by one you enter and sit there. Do you think that at such a time this is “Great is the mystery of godliness”? I do not think so; rather, I think you would have to say, “Woe is the pitiful flesh!” Some brothers and sisters are married; the meeting is at 7:30, but at 6:30 they may begin arguing, and they argue until 7:00. At that time a sister who lives next door may come and say, “It’s almost time for the meeting!” Therefore, this married couple reluctantly goes to the meeting. What is this? This is “Woe is the quarreling flesh.” You simply cannot say that these conditions display the great mystery of godliness.
What is the church? The church is a group of people who have been called by God, who have received His life and nature, who live by God, and who have the element of God added into them daily, transforming them and being formed within them. They grow in this life, putting off the old living and putting on the new living, which is the church life. Thus, when they come together, they do not need even to speak; all they need to do is sit there, and the angels will say, “Behold! Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh.” This is the church.
The church is not a religious organization, nor is it a human gathering. The church is a group of people who have been redeemed and regenerated and who live by God. God is their life, their nature, their person, and their living; when they come together, all the angels will say, “Confessedly, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh.” This is the church.
We must know the church to such an extent that we know the church as the great “mystery of godliness: He who was manifested in the flesh.” Simply put, the church is the manifestation of God in the flesh. Thank the Lord that although I dare not say that every meeting in the local churches is the manifestation of God in the flesh, I do dare to say that many times when the brothers and sisters in the Lord’s recovery meet together, even the angels nod their heads and say, “This is God manifested in the flesh.” They joyfully say, “Devil and little demons, look; is this not God manifested in the flesh?” Even the demons must admit, “Yes, this is God manifested in the flesh.” Tonight as we are speaking here, I believe that there is such a condition. Hallelujah! This is the church.
(The Subjective Truths in the Holy Scriptures, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)