THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN REVELATION AND RELIGION
We already know what is meant by service according to religion, but do we understand what service according to revelation is? Service according to revelation is service that is according to the revealed Christ. Any service that we do without touching Christ or contacting Christ is not service according to revelation; rather, it is religious service. Only when we contact Christ can our service be according to revelation. This is the same with our salvation. Only salvation that is according to revelation counts. What is salvation according to revelation? It is the salvation in which a person touches and contacts Christ. “Salvation” according to religion follows a formula. As long as a person fulfills a first, second, and third step, and as long as he carries out a certain procedure, he is considered saved. This is the “salvation” according to religion, which “salvation” does not count before God. The salvation that counts before God does not require man to do a first, second, and third step. Our salvation before God has no formula. When we touch Christ in our spirit, we are saved before God. This is salvation according to revelation.
This is not the case only with our service and salvation. All of our Christian experiences are the same. For example, what is holiness according to revelation in the Scriptures? And what is holiness according to a formula? Holiness according to a formula is something of religion, not of revelation. One day God opens our eyes and shows us that Christ is not only our Savior and our life but the One who lives in us and who is our holiness. This is holiness according to revelation. Everything that is according to revelation has Christ. Everything that is according to religion does not have Christ.
CHRIST BEING OUR PATIENCE
In 1933 in Shanghai, I met Brother Watchman Nee, who was a very deep brother in the Lord. One day he asked me, “Brother, what is patience?” I thought that this should be an easy question to answer, but because of Brother Nee’s depth in the Lord I also thought that it must not be that simple, so I dared not answer. He asked me again, “What is patience?” Then I said, “When we endure others’ persecution by gritting our teeth, is this not patience?” He said, “Brother, this is not patience.” Then I turned the question back to him, and he said, “Patience is Christ.” Later, I thought about this over and over again, considering how patience could be Christ. Thank God! It was because of this word that I came to know God in a deeper way. On that day God opened my eyes to see what patience is.
Religious patience is patience that requires great endurance. For example, when my wife troubles me, I restrain my temper and say nothing; likewise, when your husband gives you hardship, you do not react. This is what we consider patience. However, this kind of patience is artificial and is of the flesh. It does not require man to be in the Spirit or in Christ. It is altogether based on man’s own effort. If we have this kind of patience, we will have confidence in our flesh and will boast in our own ability to endure. Yet this is not what God desires. Such religious patience is artificial and is apart from Christ. One day God will show us that He does not want this kind of patience because it results in giving glory to man. God will show us that the glorious Christ who lives in us is our patience. When our wife troubles us, we do not need to try to restrain our temper and keep quiet. When our husband distresses us, we do not need to try to exercise our magnanimity or be extraordinarily patient, because Christ is in us bearing everything and living in us to be our patience. This is something apart from man’s work, something in Christ. This is not our own patience but is the living out of Christ.
(The Path of Our Growth in Life, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)