The Experience of Christ, by Witness Lee

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The mystery of the Christian life is related to the fact that both Christ and we have two lives, the divine life and the human life. Christ was God, but one day He became man. As God, He had the divine life; as man, He had the human life. Thus, Jesus was the God-man, a Person with both the divine life and the human life. Was God’s intention that Christ live out the human life or the divine life? The answer is that God intended Christ to live out the divine life in His human life. It will help us to understand this if we ask another question: Did God intend Christ to express His humanity or His divinity? The answer to this question is that God wanted Christ to express divinity in His humanity by means of the divine life. God can only be expressed by the divine life. For example, a cat cannot express a bird, for a bird can only be expressed by the life of a bird. In like manner, the human life cannot express God. To expect God to be expressed by the human life is like expecting a bird to be expressed by a cat. A cat cannot possibly express a bird because it does not have the life of a bird. Likewise, a man cannot express God if he does not have God’s life. God’s intention was that Christ would express Him by the divine life. Nevertheless, God wants to have Himself expressed in man. If God is expressed only in Himself, He will not be satisfied. He loves man and wants to be expressed in man.

Once again, let us use the relationship between a husband and his wife as an illustration. Every husband wants to be expressed, not in himself, but in his wife. Thus, the secret of being a good wife is for the wife to be the expression of her husband. For example, I enjoy eating Mandarin dumplings. However, I do not like to say this. Instead, I prefer that my wife say it for me. This indicates I desire to be expressed by my wife. If she does not express me, I am disappointed and displeased. Just as a husband wants himself expressed, not in himself, but in his wife, so God desires to have Himself expressed, not in Himself, but in man. This is not my concept; it is the concept of the Bible, wherein the relationship between God and man is likened to that between a husband and wife. A wife needs to learn one secret: to know what is in the heart of her husband and express it. If your husband likes to eat Mandarin dumplings, do not simply tell others that he likes to eat them. Rather, you should say, "We like to eat Mandarin dumplings." This will be most pleasing to your husband. Whenever my wife says this, my heart leaps for joy. This shows how much I desire to be expressed through her. In like manner, God wants to express Himself in man.

For the expression of God in man, two lives are needed, one life to express Him and another life to be the channel for this expression. This means that one life is needed to express God and another to be the channel. When some hear this, they may say, "This is not logical, for to express is to be the channel, and to be the channel is to express." Nevertheless, there is a difference here. It is impossible for man’s life to express God, just as it is impossible for the life of a cat to express a bird. Only the divine life, God’s life, can express God. Nevertheless, God desires that this expression be in man. Although the human life cannot express God, the human life is needed for the accomplishment of this expression. As we have pointed out, the Lord Jesus had two lives, the divine life and the human life. The divine life expressed God, and the human life accomplished the expression of God.

We have seen that only the divine life is able to express God. We have also seen that God does not want Himself expressed in Himself, but in man. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, everyone could see that He was a man. But very few realized that God was concealed within Him. God did not want Jesus to express Himself; He wanted Him to express God. Therefore, in order for Jesus to express God, He had to deny His human life by constantly putting it to death under the cross. In other words, He had to live a crucified life. Although He was always being crucified, nevertheless He lived, yet not He, but God. As Jesus lived the crucified life, this crucified life gave the opportunity for the divine life to be lived out for the expression of God. The power of Christ’s resurrection needed the death that killed His natural life. The Lord Jesus had to place His natural life under death. When this took place, there was the opportunity for the divine life to rise up. In this we see the power of Christ’s resurrection.

(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)