THE HIGHEST RIGHTEOUSNESS
This is the reason that in Matthew 3 the Lord Jesus said that He had to be baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15). When I read this portion of the Word as a young man, I was troubled by it. I could not understand why Jesus, the Son of God, had to do something to fulfill all righteousness. It seemed to be that He was already perfect and complete and did not need to be baptized. In His New Testament economy, God wants us to be terminated in order that we might receive the One who will germinate us. In other words, in the New Testament the righteousness God requires is that we live, not by ourselves, but by God.
Once again we may use married life as an illustration. Suppose a wife keeps her husband’s commandments and does everything according to them. She does whatever her husband tells her. Although such a wife may be a good wife, she is not a sweet wife. The sweetest wife is the one who not only keeps her husband’s word, but also lives by his life. There is a vast difference between these two things. However, it seems impossible for a wife to live by her husband’s life because he cannot get into her to be her life. But our divine Husband, the Lord Jesus, has come into us to be our life. In the New Testament God does not command us to do this and that. Rather, He simply commands us to live by Him. Moses came with God’s commandments, but Jesus Christ came with God Himself. Thus, the only thing God wants is for us to live by Him.
Living by God requires that we be killed. If we are still living, it is impossible for us to live by the life of another person. Some wives are very good in a legal way and do whatever their husbands say. But often these legally good wives have a judgmental attitude toward their husbands. The best wife is one who lives in the person of her husband, according to the very heart and desire of her husband. Such a wife does not live or act on her own, but lives and acts in and by her husband. Even though her husband cannot actually get into her and be her life, she still lives by him. The wife who lives like this is a sweet, lovely wife.
In the Old Testament, God sent Moses with ten commandments to the people. But in the New Testament God sent His Son to put Himself into His people so that they might live, not by themselves, but by God. Such a living is the highest righteousness, the righteousness required for entering into the kingdom of the heavens, the righteousness which surpasses that of the Pharisees, the righteousness which is according to God’s law (Matt. 5:20). This righteousness surpasses the righteousness of the Pharisees because it is according to God Himself. In fact, it is even God Himself lived out of us.
The Lord Jesus took the lead to live this kind of life, living not by Himself, but by God. Therefore, when He came out to minister, the first thing He did was to go to John the Baptist to observe God’s ordination to be terminated in baptism. This was a symbol of His death, the termination of His human life. His death terminated His human life so that the divine life might rise up in Him. In all the years He was on earth, he lived, behaved, acted, and moved by God and not by Himself. In baptism He buried His human life and was resurrected in the divine life. Thus, He was a person who kept His human life under the death of the baptism that buried his human life and resurrected Him in the divine life. In this matter the Lord Jesus did not live according to the law; He lived by God Himself. In John 6:57 He said, "As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me shall also live because of Me." This is not a matter of conduct according to laws and regulations; it is a matter of living by Christ. To live this way means that we are in the model of Christ’s death.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)