THE RESURRECTED CHRIST IDENTICAL TO THE SPIRIT
I have also been accused of teaching heresy for saying, according to the Bible, that Christ today is the life-giving Spirit. We should not regard the life-giving Spirit as a Person separate from the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Lord was in the flesh, He was Jesus. But in resurrection He has become the life-giving Spirit. We are not the only ones who have seen this fact and teach it. A number of other Christian writers have said that, in Christian experience, Christ is identical to the Spirit. In doctrine or in theology it is very difficult to explain how the second of the Trinity, the Son, can be identical to the third, the Spirit. Nevertheless, in Christian experience the resurrected Christ is identical to the Spirit. Second Corinthians 3:17 says explicitly, “The Lord is the Spirit.” First Corinthians 15:45, a confirming verse, says, “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” Although it is according to the Bible to say that Christ is the Spirit, I have been condemned as heretical for teaching this.
The Bible reveals that the resurrected Christ, the very Christ in resurrection, is the life-giving Spirit. This can be confirmed by our experience. We have Christ within us, and we also have the Spirit within us. But in your experience do you have two in you, Christ and the Spirit, or do you have one? Although both Christ and the Spirit are in us, in experience we have one in us, not two, for Christ today in resurrection is identical to the Spirit.
In resurrection the Christ who dwells within us is a wonderful Spirit. This Spirit is life, power, holiness, love, righteousness, might, strength, wisdom, grace, kindness, mercy. Oh, this Spirit is everything! This is why we say that this Spirit, who is God and Christ, is all-inclusive.
In particular I wish to point out that this Spirit contains the effectiveness of Christ’s death. The Spirit certainly does not contain death, but it does include the effectiveness of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.
WALKING ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT
In the New Testament we are commanded to walk according to the Spirit. For example, Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh.” In Galatians 5:25 Paul says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Referring to the mingled spirit, the Spirit mingled with our regenerated human spirit, Romans 8:4 says, “That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to spirit.” Therefore, we should simply walk according to the Spirit. There is no need for us to do anything else.
Married brothers and sisters may be concerned about how to have a good marriage or how to be a proper husband or wife. If a brother were to ask me how to be a proper husband or how to have a good married life, I would give just one answer: Walk according to the Spirit. This word applies to brothers and sisters, to husbands and wives. Today many books have been written by Christians on how to have a good family life or how to avoid divorce. There is no need for us to read those books. Do you want to be a good husband or wife? Walk according to Spirit. Do you want to have a good marriage? The answer is the same—walk according to Spirit. Because the Spirit is all-inclusive, it is sufficient for us to walk according to Spirit.
Our problem is that we are not faithful always to walk according to Spirit. Of the approximately sixteen waking hours of each day, how much do you walk according to Spirit? If daily we walk according to Spirit for even one hour and a half, we would be an outstanding saint. Even in the church meetings we may fail to be in the Spirit. For example, you may not sing according to Spirit. Instead, you may sing according to your emotion. If you are excited, you sing in a certain way according to your emotion. But perhaps at the next meeting, you may be very cold in your emotion. Nothing can stir you up because you care for your emotion, not for the Spirit. Your coldness in the meeting may be due to the fact that someone has offended you. Because you have been offended, you will not allow anything to stir you in the meeting. You may be low for several days, until something happens to stir you up again or to cause you to be excited. Then in the meeting you may praise the Lord in a loud way. However, in that kind of situation your praise is according to emotion, not according to Spirit.
We all must see that the church is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We have pointed out that to be in Jesus Christ means that everything negative and everything of the old creation has been terminated. This means that our natural emotion and our self should be terminated. If this is your situation, you will not be offended by others. How can a dead person be offended by anything or anyone? It is impossible. No matter what you may say or do to a dead person, he will not be offended. To be in Jesus Christ is to be terminated and buried, for to be in Christ is to be in His death. If we truly are the church in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall not function in the meeting according to our emotion, but we shall function according to the Spirit.
We have seen that to be in Christ is to be in the spiritual air, in the life-giving Spirit. If in our experience we are in this spiritual air, we shall not be offended by others. The more others give us a difficult time, the more we shall be able to praise the Lord. This is the church in Christ as the life-giving Spirit.
The reality of the resurrected Christ as the life-giving Spirit is far beyond our ability to describe. Power, strength, might, authority, the throne, holiness, righteousness—all the divine virtues are involved with this resurrected Christ. Thus, when we are in Him, we have all these virtues. We have patience, endurance, and all that Christ is. Christ is the reality of the divine attributes and the human virtues. If in our practical living we are in Him, we shall be humble, kind, and enduring. We shall be those in resurrection, in the resurrected Christ.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)