THE NEED TO KNOW THE SECRET
As the book of Galatians indicates, Christ has been revealed in us (1:15-16). He is living in us (2:20), and He is being formed in us (4:19). Furthermore, we have put on Christ as our clothing (3:27). Thus, Christ is not only our inner being, but He is also our outward expression. Although all this is true, we must still go on to ask how we can experience Christ moment by moment. How much do you experience in a practical way the Christ who has been revealed in you and who is now living in you? As believers, we all have received Christ, but what is the secret of applying Him continually?
Recently, I had a little problem with my health, and I tried to apply Christ to my situation. I must confess that I found it difficult to apply Him. I could sing, "Hallelujah, Christ is Victor!" However, as soon as I stopped singing, it seemed as if Christ had vanished. I was very troubled about my difficulty in applying Christ. When I was singing hymns and praising the Lord, I could sense that Christ was Victor. But as soon as I stopped singing, I was occupied once again by thoughts of sickness. What should we do when we face such difficulties? How shall we apply Christ when our husband or wife gives us a difficult time? When we face so many hard situations in our daily living, we realize that the secret of experiencing Christ is very precious. To apply the all-inclusive Christ, the One who is so present and available, requires that we know the secret.
THE HEARING OF FAITH
A clue to the secret of experiencing Christ in Galatians is found in the phrases "in faith" and "through faith." Toward the end of 2:20 Paul says, "And the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Paul did not live by his own faith; he lived by the faith that is both in the Son of God and is of the Son of God. This indicates that we need to live by a certain kind of faith; however, this faith is not something that we ourselves have. Rather, it is the faith of the Son of God.
Many Bible teachers understand the word "of" in 2:20 to mean "in." But in this verse Paul speaks not of the faith in the Son of God, but of the faith of the Son of God. What we need is not only faith that is in Christ, but also faith that is of Christ. The faith is His, not ours. But we can be in this faith.
In chapter three Paul goes on to speak about the "hearing of faith." In verse 2 he inquires of the Galatian believers, "Did you receive the Spirit by the works of law or by the hearing of faith?" According to this verse, the receiving of the Spirit has much to do with the hearing of faith. In verse 5 Paul goes on to say, "He therefore who is supplying to you the Spirit and doing works of power among you, is it by the works of law or by the hearing of faith?" The supplying of the Spirit is also related to the hearing of faith. In verse 2 Paul uses the past tense, and in verse 5, the present tense. On the one hand, we received the Spirit when we believed in the Lord Jesus. This was accomplished once for all in the past. But on the other hand, the supplying of the Spirit is not once for all, but takes place continually. The hearing of faith is involved both with the receiving of the Spirit and the supplying of the Spirit. We have received the Spirit and are continually supplied with the Spirit through the hearing of faith.
What does Paul mean by faith here? If I were writing this Epistle, I would have said "by the hearing of the gospel" or "by the hearing of the word." In Romans 10:17 Paul says, "Faith comes out of hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." In the past we have pointed out that in the New Testament faith has two aspects—the objective aspect and the subjective aspect. The objective aspect of faith includes the things in which we believe; the subjective aspect refers to our act of believing, or to our ability to believe. Although this distinction is helpful, it is not sufficient to help us know the meaning of faith in 3:2 and 5. In order to understand the meaning of faith in these verses, we need to have spiritual experiences that are very fine.
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, what we heard was not faith. Rather, what we heard was the message of the gospel, the preaching of God’s word. Apart from hearing the gospel, it would not have been possible for us to have faith. Faith comes from hearing the word of God. When we preach the gospel, the good word of God, this word infuses something into those who hear. This element that is infused into others is faith. When we heard the preaching of the gospel, faith was infused into us.
(The Secret of Experiencing Christ, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)