THE CORPORATE LIVING BY THE PERFECTED GOD-MEN
Now, what is the reality of the Body of Christ? In brief, the reality of the Body of Christ is a kind of corporate living, not a living by any individual. This corporate living is the aggregate of many saints who have been redeemed, regenerated, sanctified, and transformed by the processed and consummated God within them. By this indwelling consummated God, these redeemed saints have been made actual God-men.
In regeneration a person is made a God-man, but he is not a matured God-man. When some babes are born, they are so small and weak that they have to be put in an incubator. But after much growth these little ones can become tall and husky. We have been regenerated, but many of us are still like these little babes. We need to be nourished and perfected so that we can grow in life and become mature. The procedure in the church work is to beget, to nourish, and then to teach and perfect so that the saints may be mature to be built in the local churches for the building up of the Body of Christ. Thank the Lord that in His recovery a number of seeking ones have been perfected.
We know that God became a man to be a God-man. That little Jesus in the manger was a God-man, but who could realize this? He lived not only a life of man but also a life of God. Thus, His life was a life of a God-man. He appeared to His disciples and to the people as a genuine man. Many who heard Him were astounded and said, “Where did this man get these things? And what is this wisdom given to this man, and how is it that such works of power take place through His hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” (Mark 6:2-3). They wondered how a man could do these things, displaying the top virtues among mankind.
Who is He? He is God becoming a man, a real man. Yet this Man would not live by Himself, by His own human life. Rather He rejected His human life. He denied Himself. He lived as a man by another life, by the life of God. He told us that whatever He did and whatever He spoke were not of Himself but of the Father who sent Him (John 14:10, 24). He was a real man living there, yet He was dying to His natural life. He was dying to live, dying to His natural man to live by God’s life. That dying to His natural life is the cross, and His living by the divine life is in resurrection.
For thirty-three and a half years, this God-man, Jesus, was a genuine man, but He lived not by man’s life but by God’s life. To live such a life He had to be crucified. The crucifixion mentioned in the New Testament transpired on the wooden cross on Mount Calvary. But you have to realize that before Christ was there in the physical crucifixion, He was being crucified every day for thirty-three and a half years. Was not Jesus a human being, a genuine man? Yes. But He did not live by that genuine man. Instead, He kept that genuine man on the cross. Then, in the sense of resurrection, He lived God’s life. God’s life with all its attributes was lived within this God-man Jesus and expressed as this God-man’s virtues.
Such a life was there originally just in an individual man, Jesus Christ. But this life has now been repeated, reproduced, in many men who have been redeemed and regenerated and who now possess the divine life within them. All of them have been nourished, sanctified, transformed, and perfected not just to be matured Christians, but to be God-men. The reality of the Body of Christ is the corporate living by the perfected God-men, who are genuine men but are not living by their life, but by the life of the processed God, whose attributes have been expressed through their virtues.
After my thirty-two years of ministry in the United States, I have the assurance that a number of you have been perfected. What is it to be perfected? It is to be matured by continually exercising to reject the self and live by another life. This is according to what Paul said: “I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20a). Paul lived by dying to live. He was dying to his natural man and living by his new man with the divine life. So he said that by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, he lived and magnified Christ (Phil. 1:19-21a).
We should not live by ourselves. According to God’s design in His economy we were already put on the cross. We should not call ourselves back off the cross. To remain on the cross is to bear the cross and be under the cross. I have been crucified. There is no more I. I am finished. I am through. But there is a new man with me. That is the resurrected God-created man uplifted with God’s divinity in him. That man is actually God Himself. Now I live by that man. But if I do not practice to keep my old man on the cross, I can never live the new man. This is why in the first chapter of Philippians, Paul told us he lived such a life by the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
(Practical Points Concerning Blending, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)