The Vital Groups, by Witness Lee


The humanity of the new man of the believers in God’s new creation is also in resurrection (Eph. 4:23-24). In the new creation, we are exactly the same as Jesus. We were reborn, regenerated, not with Adam’s life but with Christ’s life. Ephesians 2 says that we were once dead in offenses and sins, but God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up together with Him (vv. 1, 5-6). The crucified Christ was quickened, made alive, and we were made alive with Him. After this resurrection follows. We were made alive with Him and then we were resurrected with Him. Regeneration firstly makes us alive and then raises us up from the dead. Actually, regeneration itself is resurrection. Regeneration made us God’s new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). This is the main stress in the New Testament.

Some deny that Christ resurrected with His humanity, but this teaching is wrong. He became the resurrected Christ with a resurrected humanity. Even while He was walking on this earth before He was resurrected, He was living in resurrection. Whatever He did was in His resurrected humanity, not the natural humanity. We can see this kind of living with the apostle Paul. He said, "I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith" (Gal. 2:20). Paul said that he no longer lived, but then he said, "I live." The "I" who now lives is a new "I" in resurrection. In other words, it is no longer I who live, Christ lives in me, yet I still live. Now I live a life that is not the natural life. My natural life has been crucified and resurrected. Now the life that I live is in resurrection.

Regeneration is resurrection, but do we live like a regenerated, resurrected, person? Do we live in resurrection or in our natural life? We have to admit that most of our daily living still remains in the natural life, not in resurrection. To be in resurrection means to be in Christ as the embodiment of the Triune God realized as the consummated Spirit. God, the Divine Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, is resurrection.

God did not create Adam in resurrection but in the natural realm. God’s placing Adam in front of the tree of life indicates that Adam needed another life. This life is Christ. The New Testament shows that Christ is the real tree of life (John 15:1; 14:6; Rev. 2:7). Eventually, in the new testament age, many of the descendants of Adam partook of the tree of life. This is the life of God, the life of Christ, the life of resurrection. Today we should live a life in this resurrection.

In Philippians 3:10 Paul said that he desired to know Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. In order to experience Christ as the resurrection, we must always deny our self. Our self is a sinful self, but Christ’s self was not sinful. Even though His self was not sinful, He still rejected Himself. He said, "The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself," and, "The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me" (John 14:10, 24). This shows that the Lord Jesus lived by another source in resurrection. This is very deep and very touching. Especially in these last few years, nearly every day I have been under a strong light. Under this light, I am checked within by the Lord: "Is this from yourself or from another person? Is this from your natural life or from the life of Christ?" This life is the Triune God Himself, who is resurrection.

When we contact people, we should not put on a mask. This is hypocrisy. Instead, we should be persons who are crucified in ourselves and resurrected in Christ. Then we will live in the same way that Jesus lived. We will be genuinely charming without any masks. Any kind of humility that comes from our natural life is false and ugly. It is performed with a mask. Both our pride and our humility should be crossed out. Then we do not live by our self. Instead, we live in our humanity by another life, by Christ who indwells us. He is living and real because He is the resurrection. We have such a One living in us.

We should not teach people to be humble, because this does not work. To teach people to be humble is to teach them to wear a mask. Paul’s teaching is real. His teaching breaks our mask. In our teaching on character, we have shared that we need to be genuine, exact, and strict. But this is possible only for a resurrected person. In human history, there was only one person, Jesus the Nazarene, who was genuine, exact, and strict. He did not perform, but He lived in a spontaneous and genuine way. As members of the vital groups, we must be such persons. Then we will cherish people. When we contact people, they will be touched by us because we are living in resurrection. Then our humanity is not the original humanity but the crucified and resurrected humanity.

Before Jesus was crucified and resurrected, He lived a life in resurrection. Jesus was in resurrection before He was resurrected. He was a person living a human life in resurrection, not by Himself, but by another source, that is, His Father. Thus, He could say that when He spoke, that was the Father working within Him (John 14:10). He was one with the Father. If we live such a life today, a life in humanity by resurrection, everyone will realize that there is something different about us. We will be sweet, charming, and attractive, without deception or hypocrisy.

In order to be vital as members of the vital groups, we must be such persons. When we visit people, we must have the Lord’s presence. His presence is the charming factor, and that presence comes from the cross plus resurrection. We must be a person on the cross and in resurrection. Then we will have the real presence of the Triune God with us, and that presence is resurrection.

How can we be vital? We may say that we have to pray much. This is right, but we need to see that the real prayer is by a person crucified in resurrection. If we are not a person crucified in resurrection, we cannot pray much. The genuine prayer means crucifixion plus resurrection. Crucifixion plus resurrection means everything to us Christians. If we are such persons, right away the Triune God is with us, and His presence goes with us wherever we go. When the divine presence is with us, people will not be able to explain or designate this, but they will sense that we are different, and they will be attracted to the Lord.

We can experience this only by being crucified and resurrected. This is stressed by Paul in Philippians 3:10. In order to know Christ, we have to know the power of His resurrection to be conformed to His death. His death should be a mold to which we are conformed. By experiencing Christ in this way, resurrection will be our portion, and we will have His presence. This presence is the Triune God as resurrection experienced by us in our being crucified and conformed to the death of Christ.

(The Vital Groups, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)