Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, by Witness Lee

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[The church is also the new man (Eph. 2:15; 4:24; Col. 3:10). There is a sense in which the whole human race is just one corporate man. All the different peoples on earth comprise this one man, who in the Scripture is called the old man or Adam. God at the beginning did not create two men, but only Adam. This one man was mankind. In Genesis 1:26-27 the whole human race was created. But on the cross, through Christ and in Him, God created another man, a new man! This man is also corporate; we are included in him. Adam was the old man; Christ with the church is the new man. This new man is not only Christ, but also the church. Christ is the Head of this universal man; the church is His Body.

As the body exists for the expression of the head, so the church as the Body of Christ is Christ’s expression. As man exists for the expression of God, so the church as the new man is God’s expression. The whole church is a corporate yet single man. There are many local churches all over] the earth, [yet altogether they are only one man. Throughout the earth today, this one universal man expresses God. As the Body, the church expresses Christ. As the new man, the church expresses God.]

[Ephesians 2:15 says that Christ through the cross “abolished in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man.’’ Then in Ephesians 4:22-24 we are told to put off the old man and to put on the new man. This new man is the Body of Christ. To put on the new man means to live a life by the Body. Before our salvation we were living in the old man, in the old society, but now we are members of Christ, living in His Body. We should put off the old man with the old social life, and we should put on the new man, the church.]

As the church people, we have left the old man through baptism into the new man; however, we may still think, act, talk, and look like people from the old society. We have left the old man through baptism; therefore, we should walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4). We must spend more time in prayer, in reading of the word, in the gospel, and in the meetings to be transformed by the renewing of the mind and to live in the practical church life. If we remain in the old way of life, we cannot be renewed and we have little participation in the new man church life.

[In this new man there is nothing natural, nothing Jewish, nothing Greek, nothing of social rank; everyone is full of Christ, so Christ is everyone and Christ is in everyone (Col. 3:10-11). There is nothing but Christ in the new man. Our life is Christ, our living is Christ, our intention is Christ, our ambition is Christ, our will is Christ, our love is Christ, and everything else about us is Christ. He saturates our entire being.]

A. Created by Christ on the Cross

[Ephesians 2:15 reveals that the church as the new man was created by Christ. Christ created the one new man with God’s nature wrought into humanity. This action was something new. In the old creation God did not work His nature into any of His creatures, not even into man. In the creation of the one new man, however, God’s nature has been wrought into man to make His nature one entity with humanity.

The new creation, like the old creation, is not something individual but something corporate. In the old creation God did not create millions of men; on the contrary, He created one man Adam, who includes all men. The principle is the same with God’s new creation. In the new creation we are all parts of the new man, the church, composed of the many sons of God.

There is a basic difference between the new creation and the old creation. God’s life and nature are not wrought into the old creation, but the new creation does possess the divine life and the divine nature. Although the old creation came into being through the work of the mighty God, He Himself does not reside in it. Hence, the first creation has no divine content. The divine nature does not dwell in the old creation, and that is why it has become old. Adam did not have the life of God or the nature of God. We can receive the divine life and the divine nature only by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and being regenerated by the Spirit. When we believed in Christ, God’s life and nature were imparted to us and made us a new creation.

Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.’’ Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old things of the flesh have passed away through the death of Christ, and all has become new in Christ’s resurrection. To be in Christ is to be one with Him in life and in nature. This is of God through our faith in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 3:26-28).

The words, “Behold, they have become new,’’ are a call to watch the marvelous change of the new creation. The word “they’’ refers to the old things. The old creation does not have the divine life and nature; however, the new creation, composed of the believers born again of God, does have the divine life and nature (John 1:13; 3:15; 2 Pet. 1:4). Hence, the believers are a new creation, not according to the old nature of the flesh but according to the new nature of the divine life.

The new creation is actually the old creation transformed by the divine life, by the processed Triune God. The old creation was old because God was not part of it; the new creation is new because God is in it. We who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God are still God’s creation, but we are now His new creation. However, this is real only when we live and walk by the Spirit. Whenever we live and walk by the flesh, we are in the old creation, not in the new creation. Anything in our daily life that does not have God in it is the old creation, but what has God in it is part of the new creation.

If we would be in the new creation, we must enter into an organic union with the Triune God. Apart from such a union we shall remain in the old creation. But now, by the organic union with the Triune God, we are in the new creation. As believers in Christ, we are the new creation through an organic union with the Triune God.

In Adam we were born into the old creation, but in Christ we were regenerated into the new creation. Here in the new creation we are not only God’s assembly, God’s house, and God’s kingdom and not only Christ’s Body and counterpart—we are also the new man. God’s intention is to have a corporate, universal man. God wants such a man for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose. On the one hand, we were created in God’s old creation and became the old man; on the other hand, we have been re-created in God’s new creation and have become the new man.]

[The new man was created by Christ in Himself in a particular way. This particular way was Christ’s death, for Christ created the new man when He was on the cross. While Christ was being put to death, He was working to create the one new man. In His death He created the different peoples into the new man. His death, therefore, was a tool used to work out the new creation.]

(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)