Christ versus Religion, by Witness Lee

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In the great Babylon there is gold, precious stone and pearl, but there is no flow of the living water. In the New Jerusalem, however, in the city which is built of gold, precious stones, and pearls, there is a pure river of water of life flowing out of the throne of the redeeming God. The call is sent out, "Come!" Come where? Come to the great Babylon? You cannot get the water there. "He that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely" (22:17). You must come out of Babylon, you must come to the New Jerusalem to drink. If you are in a place where you sense there is no river, no flowing, but on the contrary a dry and barren land, you must be clear that you are either in the great harlot or in one of her little daughters. The first sign that you have entered a genuine local church is that you meet something flowing, something watering, something which quenches your thirst. You may discern the situation by seeing whether or not there is a flowing river. You may see the gold, the precious stones, and the pearls in Babylon, but you can never find the flow of the living water there. There is nothing there to quench your thirsty spirit. Which is Babylon and which is the local church? Find where the river flows—that is the local church. "And He said unto me...I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely" (21:6). This is the sign of the local churches.


Eventually and ultimately Christ will be manifested and expressed in the New Jerusalem as everything for eternity. He is "the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Rev. 22:13). He is everything! As the center of the Holy City, He is the Lamb on the throne with God within Him as His content (Rev. 22:1). As the expression of God, He is the Lamp shining forth. with the glory of God, who is the light within Him (Rev. 21:23—"light" in Greek is "lamp"). As the presence of God, He is the temple within the Holy City (Rev. 21:22), in which the saints as the priests worship and serve God. As the life supply to the entire city, He is the tree of life in the flow of the river of water of life (Rev. 22:2). As the ultimate manifestation of the fulness of the Godhead, He is the reality of every part of the Holy City. He will be magnified there with all His riches to the uttermost as everything in the ultimate manifestation of God’s economy. There will be no more religion, no more doctrine, no more teaching, no more regulations, forms and rituals. There will be no more "-isms"—no more heathenism, no more paganism, no more Catholicism, no more Protestantism, no more fundamentalism, no more Pentecostalism, no more denominationalism, and no more sectarianism. Christ will be everything. All religious things will be past; everything will be purely Christ. There will be no ground for anything religious—Christ will have all the ground. Everywhere and everything will be Christ. Christ will be the center and the circumference. Christ will be the inward content and the outward expression. Christ will be all in all! Hallelujah! May Christ be such in every local church today! Amen!

Not the law of letters,
But the Christ of life
God desires to give us,
Saving us from strife;
It is not some doctrine,
But ‘tis Christ Himself
Who alone releases
From our sinful self.

Any kind of teaching,
Any kind of form,
Cannot quicken spirits
Or our souls transform;
It is Christ in Spirit
Gives us life divine,
Thus through us to live the
Life of God’s design.

Not philosophy nor
Any element
Can to Christ conform us
As His complement;
But ‘tis Christ Himself who
All our nature takes
And in resurrection
Us His members makes.

Not religion, even
Can fulfill God’s purpose
Or economy;
But ‘tis Christ within us
As our all in all
Satisfies God’s wishes,
And His plan withal.

All the gifts we’re given
By the Lord in grace,
All the different functions
Cannot Christ replace.
Only Christ Himself must
Be our all in all!
Only Christ Himself in
All things, great or small!

(Hymn #541 in Hymns)

(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)