THE PREPARATION OF THE BRIDE FULFILLED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
Adam was a type of Christ, the Man, and Eve was a type of the church as the bride to Christ (Eph. 5:25-32). In Christianity we heard many messages telling us that we were sinful and that Christ died on the cross for our sins. This is true, but these messages never told us that Christ died on the cross to produce the church. Adam was a type of Christ, and Adam’s sleep was a type of the death of Christ on the cross. In God’s economy Christ had to die; He had to “sleep.” God caused Christ to sleep on the cross.
In one sense, Christ died on the cross for our sins, but in another sense, He slept on the cross. While He was sleeping, His side was pierced and out came blood and water (John 19:34). The blood is for the cleansing of our sins (1:29; Heb. 9:22); the water is for imparting life (John 12:24; 3:14-15). With Eve in Genesis 2 there was no sin, so there was no need of the blood; the rib alone was needed. However, since at the time Jesus died on the cross, man had become involved with sin, there was the need not only for water to impart life but for the blood to cleanse us of our sins.
TWO ASPECTS OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST
The Gospel of John presents these two aspects concerning the death of Christ. Verse 29 of chapter one says, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” This is the first aspect of Christ’s death, to deal with sins. Then 12:24 says, “Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” This aspect of the death of Christ has nothing to do with sin. This aspect of His death is for producing many grains to form one loaf. This loaf is the church (1 Cor. 10:17).
The church was produced by the life-imparting water. What is this water? First Corinthians 10:4 indicates that this water is the Spirit. Christ is typified by the rock which was cleft, out of which came living water. That living water signifies the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). When Jesus died on the cross, He was cleft, and the life-water, the life-giving Spirit, issued forth.
By what means is the church produced? The church is produced by the life-giving Spirit. John 3:6 says, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The same chapter also says, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom.…He must increase, but I must decrease” (vv. 29-30). Few Christians realize that regeneration is not only for our salvation but also for the producing of the church. Regeneration is not only for us to be born again. It is also for the purpose of producing the bride.
THE CHURCH BEING THE INCREASE OF CHRIST
The church is not Americans, British, Germans, Japanese, Chinese, and Puerto Ricans coming together. The church is the increase of Christ. That the church is the increase of Christ means that the church is Christ. Colossians 3:10-11 says, “And have put on the new man, which is being renewed unto full knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” In the new man, which is the church, Christ is all and in all. Therefore, the church is the increase of Christ. In the church there is no black or white; there is only Christ as all in all.
The church is the increase of Christ; therefore, it is a part of Christ. Only the life-giving Spirit with the life of Christ can make people a part of Christ to produce His counterpart, His increase. This is not a matter of teachings or gifts. It is absolutely a matter of life. No teaching or gift of any kind can produce the increase of Christ. I am not against any proper doctrine, nor am I against any genuine gift. All the proper doctrines and every genuine gift have their place. For the producing of the church, however, our unique need is the growth in life.
Ephesians, a book on the church, does not say anything about teachings or gifts for the producing of the church. Instead, Ephesians says that we all have to grow into Christ the Head in all things (4:15). In this sense, the book of Ephesians helps us to be delivered from teachings (v. 14). For the church to be the increase of Christ, we do not need the knowledge collected from teachings or the manifested gifts. We need growth.
(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)