II. THE FULL MINISTRY OF CHRIST
The full ministry of Christ includes all the works of Christ’s accomplishments. Christ accomplishes so much by His ministry, His service, from His incarnation to the consummation of the New Jerusalem. The New Testament begins with Christ’s incarnation and ends with the New Jerusalem. Matthew presents the birth of Christ, His incarnation, and Revelation presents the New Jerusalem, the holy city.
III. THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF CHRIST IN THE STAGE OF HIS INCARNATION
The stage of Christ’s incarnation was in the flesh, in His humanity, from His birth to His death.
A. Bringing the Infinite God into the Finite Man
The first thing Christ accomplished in His incarnation was to bring the infinite God into the finite man. When we contact an unbeliever, we can say, "I want to tell you that Christ has brought the infinite God into the finite man." This will stir up his interest and he will want to hear more. By ministering Christ with these attractive, new terms, we can gain people.
B. Uniting and Mingling the Triune God with the Tripartite Man
God is triune and man is tripartite. Christ in His incarnation united and mingled these two parties—the wonderful God, who is triune, and the excellent man, who is tripartite. Some people may have heard that God is triune, but not many know that man is of three parts. If we share Christ with them in this new terminology, they will be attracted and will want to hear more.
C. Expressing in His Humanity the Bountiful God in His Rich Attributes through His Aromatic Virtues
The utterance for this point is entirely new. Christ in His incarnation came to earth not only to bring the infinite God into the finite man and to unite and mingle the Triune God with the tripartite man, but also to express the bountiful God in His humanity, His human living. God is bountiful in His rich and many attributes. The attributes of God are what God is. He is love, light, holiness, and righteousness. We all admire humility. The real humble One is God. He was the infinite God, but He humbled Himself to become a finite man. Philippians 2:6-7 says that He existed in the form of God, but He took the form of a slave, becoming in the likeness of men. Verse 8 says, "And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient even unto death, and that the death of a cross." He was in the form of God, but He humbled Himself to put on the form of man, becoming obedient to God, even unto the death of the cross. He became a servant, washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:1-11). God is the real One that is humble. Humility is one of the many attributes of God. God’s attributes were expressed in Christ as a man to be Christ’s virtues. Christ expressed the bountiful God in His human living, mainly expressing God in His rich attributes, that is, in the unsearchable riches of what God is. We have to study these things so that we can acquire these new points with these new terms.
When the attributes of God became the virtues of Christ in His humanity, these virtues were very aromatic and sweet. This is why so many people throughout the centuries have been captivated by Jesus and love Jesus. In my youth I was occupied with the world, but then I was captivated by the aromatic Christ. He is so sweet and good. Christ attracted and captivated people not by living His human life in the flesh but by living His divine life in resurrection. The incarnated Christ had two statuses. He was the Son of Man and the Son of God, having the human life and the divine life. Although He lived in the human life, He did not live by the human life. He lived His divine life in resurrection. His human life was always put aside. He said that He did not do anything out of Himself but that the Father was the source of all that He did (John 5:19, 30). He did not do anything in His natural life but He did everything in His divine life in resurrection. He always put His natural life on the cross, and through the cross He entered into resurrection. It should be the same with us today. A brother can talk to his wife in two ways. He can talk to her in his natural life, but this is wrong. He should talk to her in his natural, human life by another life, that is, the life of Christ, the divine life, the eternal life. We have to experience this. Then we can use this truth to nourish all those whom we contact.
D. Finishing His All-inclusive Judicial Redemption
In the stage of His incarnation, Christ brought the infinite God into the finite man; He united and mingled the Triune God with the tripartite man; and He expressed in His humanity the bountiful God in His rich attributes through His aromatic virtues. Finally, He went to the cross to finish His all-inclusive judicial redemption. Most Christians say merely that Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we can be forgiven by God. This is true, but we need to go on to see Christ’s death for our redemption in its deeper significance.
Christ died on the cross to terminate all things of the old creation. He also redeemed all the things created by God and fallen in sin (Heb. 2:9; Col. 1:20). On the cross He created (conceived) the new man with His divine element. Ephesians 2:15 says that Christ created in Himself both the Jews and Gentiles into one new man. Every conception requires a certain element. In Himself means in Himself as the divine element for this conceiving. In His redeeming death He also released His divine life from the shell of His humanity (John 12:24).
All of this laid a foundation for His organic salvation. His judicial, foundational redemption was accomplished through His death. Then His death ushered Him into resurrection for Him to exercise His organic salvation. Thus, His judicial redemption is a foundation of His organic salvation. Furthermore, His judicial redemption is not only a foundation but also a procedure to attain His ministry in the stage of His inclusion. We should endeavor to learn all the things presented in this message and in the following two messages concerning the unsearchably rich Christ in His full ministry in three stages.
(The Vital Groups, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)