THE REALITY OF THE BODY OF CHRIST—THE GOD-MAN LIVING
God’s salvation is altogether not a matter of religious improvement or a matter of moral and ethical improvement. God’s salvation is to put us into the death of Christ and then to bring us out of that death. Christ’s being put into death was something done by the Jews together with the Roman soldiers. However, Christ’s resurrection from death was something carried out not by man but by the Spirit of holiness in Him. Today it is the same with us. When we were baptized, we were immersed into the water by men. If we did not have the Spirit of God within us, our rising out of the water would be in vain, having no reality of resurrection. But we have the Spirit in us, so we have the reality of resurrection. This is true with all believers. When they live in a corporate way, what they live out is the Body of Christ. This is absolutely different from the teachings of Confucius and the teachings of religion. All the ethical teachings of Confucius and all the doctrines of religion come out of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life. God’s salvation brings us into death and then brings us out of death. It not only redeems us but also uplifts us that we may enter into divinity and live in God, that is, in life. We live by and according to this life; we do not walk according to good and evil. It is in this way that we have the reality of the Body of Christ.
Is the Lord’s recovery the Body of Christ? It depends on whether or not the believers are living the God-man life. Therefore, we must see that teaching people merely according to the letter of Scriptures is not the Body of Christ; that is a religious work. Merely using the words in the Bible to teach people to flee evil and do good is equivalent to the teachings of Confucius; this does not result in the Body of Christ. Even we may preach the gospel zealously, but unless our gospel preaching is the issue of a God-man living, it is not the Body of Christ. What is the Body of Christ? The Body of Christ is a group of God-chosen people who have been redeemed and regenerated through death and resurrection. They have been united and mingled with God and have been living in this union all the time since their regeneration. In such a union they are sanctified, renewed, transformed, conformed, and, eventually, glorified.
If we live such a life, we are the Body of Christ. If we do not live such a life, what we have is just something similar to the ethical teachings of Confucius and the superficial activities of religion. Hence, in our preaching the gospel, expounding the Bible, or visiting the brothers and sisters, we should check whether it is something lived out of a God-man living. Only that which is lived out of a God-man living is the Body of Christ. Otherwise, it is just a religious activity in society, which is no different from the moral teachings of Confucius; it belongs to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life.
THE REALITY OF THE BODY OF CHRIST—A LIVING OF BEING CONFORMED TO THE DEATH OF CHRIST THROUGH THE CROSS
This God-man living is also a living of being conformed to the death of Christ through the cross. This conformation to the death of Christ is through the power of Christ’s resurrection (Phil. 3:10). We must be those who live a crucified life continually by taking Christ’s death as the mold of our life. It is only by living this kind of life that we can have the reality of the Body of Christ. May the Lord have mercy on us so that we can live a life of being conformed to the death of Christ through the cross. May the Lord open our eyes to see this vision. Only those who have passed through death and resurrection can have their eyes opened; they live and walk by the revelation which they have seen. Only such a living is the God-man living, and only such a living can live out the reality of the Body of Christ.
(A General Outline of God's Economy and the Proper Living of a God-Man, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)