THE MANIFESTATION OF FUNCTIONS—GIFTS— THROUGH THE GROWTH IN LIFE
Whether or not the various functions of our body can be expressed depends entirely on our growth in life. A newborn baby has eyes, yet he can hardly see; he has ears, yet he can hardly hear; he has a mouth, yet he cannot speak; he has feet, yet he cannot walk. This is because the babe has not yet been developed or grown up. Although we are saved and are members of the Body of Christ, due to our lack of growth in life, we cannot prophesy for the Lord, even though we may be the mouth. Although we may be the hands and should be doing certain things in the church, although we may be the feet and should be moving and running in the church, due to our lack of growth in life, our functions have not been developed to the degree that they become useful and are manifested.
Some people may ask, “Do we all have a gift?” Just look at our body. Is there any member of our body without a function? In the same way, every member of the Body of Christ has a gift. Without a gift, there is no ability, and without a gift, there is no function. There is no Christian who does not have a spiritual function in the church. In God’s ordination every saved one is a member of the Body of Christ and has his own function. However, the question is whether or not he has the growth in life. God has already ordained that every saved one be a member and that every member have a gift, an ability, and a function. However, the question is whether or not these saved ones have the growth in life. Without the growth in the spiritual life, their spiritual abilities, spiritual functions, cannot be expressed.
Why do we say that spiritual gifts are Christ? We say this because without Christ’s life, we cannot be the members of the Body of Christ, and we therefore do not have the functions of the members or the spiritual gifts. When Christ’s life comes into you, you become the mouth; when Christ’s life comes into me, I become the feet; and when Christ’s life comes into someone else, he becomes the hands. It is wonderful that when the same Christ, the same life, enters into you, you become the mouth; when He enters into me, I become the feet; and when He enters into someone else, that one becomes the hands. This means that not only are the members Christ, but also the life of the members and the nature of the members are Christ. We are the members of the Body of Christ. Thus, our inner nature, our inner life, is Christ.
For example, there are nominal Christians who have not repented, have not received salvation, and do not have the Lord’s life. Someone spoke to them about believing in the Lord, so outwardly they “believed” in the Lord. Someone told them about baptism, so they were baptized. Nevertheless, having “joined” the church in this way, does this make them members of Christ? No it does not. Why not? It does not because they do not have Christ in them. You are a member of Christ because Christ is in you; I am a member of Christ because Christ is in me; and everyone who is a member of Christ is so because Christ is in him. Moreover, it is a wonderful fact that when Christ’s life comes into us, it makes you the mouth, me the feet, and someone else the hands. Although it is the same life of Christ that we receive, this life becomes different members in different people. Some are one kind of member, and others are other kinds of members. In addition, even though they all are members, the functions of some have been manifested, but the functions of others have not. The reason some are able to manifest their functions is because Christ has increased in them and developed in them to the extent that their functions are manifested in a matured way. However, some are not able to manifest their functions because, despite the fact that they are saved and have Christ, Christ does not have the ground to grow in them. Thus, their functions are not yet manifested.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)