The Intrinsic View of the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee


In the previous chapter, we saw two sections of Ephesians 4. The first section of verses 4 through 6 shows that in this universe there is a wonderful, marvelous mingling of three divine persons with one human person. These verses speak of seven "ones"—one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one God and Father with one hope, one faith, and one baptism. These seven "ones" describe a universal, marvelous, wonderful mingling of the Triune God with His redeemed and uplifted people. The Spirit, the Son, and the Father are mingled with the Body through baptism and faith, with a hope of something to come.

Paul went on to speak more in Ephesians 4 concerning the building as the consummation of the Body (vv. 11-16). This building is by Christ as the Head, not directly but indirectly. Christ as the Victor won the battle. According to Ephesians 4:8, He captured all of Satan’s captives, and He made Satan’s captives His own captives. We became Christ’s captives, and He brought us to the heavens. The Amplified New Testament says in Ephesians 4:8 that He led a train of vanquished foes. He led us all to the heavens. We Christians want to go to the heavens. Actually, though, we were there once already. When Christ went there, we were brought there. Christ led us all as captives to the heavens, and He presented all of us as a present to the Father. Then the Father returned us to Christ as gifts (Psa. 68:18). Christ received these gifts, one of whom was named Saul of Tarsus. The Head, Christ, then gave these gifts to the Body to perfect all the saints (Eph. 4:11-12). The apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers are for the perfecting of the saints. They perfect the saints to do the work of the New Testament ministry, that is, to build up the Body of Christ.

Instead of perfecting the saints, however, the traditional practice of Christianity annuls all the functions of the members of the Body of Christ. This is why the Lord showed us the new way, the God-ordained way, to build up the Body of Christ. Thank the Lord that we have seen such a vision. We have come back to the pure Word, and we are here practicing the new way, in which everyone is being perfected to function.

The burden of this ministry is to perfect the saints to be living, active, positive, functioning members of the Body of Christ. We need to be perfected to prophesy, to speak something for God and to speak something of Christ forth into others. This builds up the church as the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 14:4b). My burden is to perfect the saints to do what the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers can do, to accomplish, to consummate, God’s New Testament economy to build up the Body of Christ.

The Body of Christ is built up by our holding to the truth, the reality (Eph. 4:15). In the whole universe, what is truth? What is the reality? These four persons in Ephesians 4—the Body, the Spirit, the Lord, and God the Father—are the reality. Everything other than these four persons is vanity of vanities. Everything else is vain. In the whole universe only God the Father is real, only Christ is real, only the Spirit is real, and only the church as the Body comprising all of us is real. This is the reality to which we must hold. We must hold to God the Father, to the Son, to the Spirit, and also to the church as the Body. We must hold to this truth, to this reality, in love. Then we all will grow up into the Head, Christ. We are now in Him, but speaking truthfully, we are not in Him enough. We need to be more and more in Him. This is why Paul says that we have to grow up into the Head, Christ, in everything (v. 15).

(The Intrinsic View of the Body of Christ, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)