The Intrinsic View of the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee


In order to see the revelation of the Body of Christ, it is helpful to consider our physical body. My body is not a lifeless organization but a living organism. When I speak, my entire body participates in my speaking in a living and organic way. The Body of Christ is an organism. An organism is something of life. If there is no life, there is no organism. Christ’s Body is organic. It is a matter of life.

Now we need to consider the life with which the Body of Christ is constituted. According to Genesis 1 and 2, in the whole universe created by God there are lives on four levels. Firstly, there is the plant life, the lowest level of life (1:11-12). The next level of life is the animal life (vv. 20-25). Then Genesis shows us the third level of life, which is the human life (vv. 26-27). This is a life that is not God’s life, but a life that can be like God. As the created people, we did not have God’s life. God did not put His life into man when He created him. But God did create us with a life that resembles Him. This is similar to a photo of a person. It does not have the person’s life, but it does bear his image. In a sense, the photo of a person is that person, but in an actual sense, it is not that person. We have to realize that in Genesis 1 God created man in His image as a photo of Himself. Genesis also shows us a life higher than the human life. This is the fourth level of life, the highest level of life, the life of the tree of life (2:9). This life is the life of God, the divine life. Thus, Genesis 1 and 2 reveal the plant life, the animal life, the human life, and the divine life.

The Body of Christ is altogether organic. It is a matter of life, but of what life? Surely the Body of Christ is not of the plant life or of the animal life. Then is it of the human life or of the divine life? Actually, the life of the Body of Christ is a mingled life, a life that is a mingling of God’s life and man’s life. The model of such a mingled life can be seen in the four Gospels. The four Gospels are four biographies of one person—Jesus Christ. The four Gospels show us a person who is both God and man. He was God but He was also a little child in a manger. How could God in the heavens, who is so majestic, great, marvelous, and glorious come to be in a manger? Who was that little child lying in a manger by the name of Jesus? He was a God-child. He had bones, flesh, and blood. He was a real boy, but He was also God.

When He grew up to be thirty years of age, He came out to minister. When people saw the things He did, they wondered who He was. Some said, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?" (Mark 6:3). Who was this One? This One was not merely a man. He was God plus man. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). This Word, who was God, became flesh (v. 14).

Four thousand years after Adam was created and about two thousand years ago, God became flesh. According to God’s reckoning, this was just two days ago since to Him a thousand years is as one day (2 Pet. 3:8). Thus, we can say that He became flesh the day before yesterday. The very God in eternity became a lowly man in time! He is the complete God plus the perfect man by the name of Jesus. Jesus means Jehovah the Savior. Who is Jesus? He is Jehovah the Savior; the very infinite God in eternity became our Savior. In order for Him to become the Savior of us sinners, He needed to become a man. He needed a human body and blood to shed for our sins.

(The Intrinsic View of the Body of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)