Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Church, by Witness Lee


Romans 8:2 reveals that the Spirit is the Spirit of life and that this Spirit of life has a law. This indicates that the Spirit Himself is life because a life is a law. Since the Spirit has become one with life and contains the element of life, He of course is life. Therefore, the Spirit of life is life.

John 3:14-15 says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that every one who believes into Him may have eternal life.” Here it does not say “the Son of God” but “the Son of Man.” The Son of Man is Jesus in the flesh who was lifted up on the cross as the brass serpent in order that every one who believes into Him may have eternal life. In Greek the word here for life is zoe, which denotes the eternal life. This life is in the Lord Jesus (1:4), and it is the Lord Jesus (John 11:25; 14:6; Col. 3:4). Thus, the Lord Jesus and life are one and cannot be divided. For this reason, 1 John 5:12 says, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” When I was young and read 1 John 5:12, it was hard for me to believe this verse in the Word. I felt that before I believed in the Lord, I already had life. How can this verse say that I did not have life? At that time a pastor taught me, saying, “Before you were saved, you had life, but the life which you had was not very good. After you were saved, your life became good. This is what this verse means.” I was not satisfied with this kind of teaching. Later in the Brethren Assembly, I was taught by an elderly brother who had been a student of Benjamin Newton. The Brethren had published a book which purported to be a true explanation of regeneration, and I was very happy when I saw the title of that book. After reading it, however, I was even more confused because the book explained that the teaching of regeneration was the same as the Chinese saying that everything in the past died yesterday, and everything henceforth is born today. I thought that if this were the case, then why did Western missionaries need to come to China to preach this religion? Since we Chinese knew about this long ago, why did we still need missionaries to come teach us? This old brother who taught me understood much about the types and was able to logically and clearly explain them, so I was drawn to him and learned from him for seven and a half years. I truly respected him in this matter. However, I did not feel satisfied with his explanations concerning life.

Later I became clear that there were three Greek words for life. In 1 John 5:12 life is zoe, which denotes the eternal life. In John 10:10, the Lord Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” The life here is the zoe life. Verse 11 goes on to say, “I am the good Shepherd; the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” The Greek word for life in this verse is psuche, which denotes the psychological life, that is, the soul-life. Every person has the psuche, the soul-life. The word psuche is the root of the English word psychology. Before we were saved, we all had the psuche life, but we did not have the zoe life, the divine, eternal, and uncreated life of God. In our biological aspect, we also have the physical life, bios. Without the Son of God, we can have the psuche life and the bios life, but we do not have the zoe life, the eternal life of God. When the Lord Jesus died for us on the cross, He laid down His soul, His psuche life, His human life, that we may share His zoe life. Thus, when we have the Son of God, we have the zoe life.

All the verses listed at the beginning of this message refer to the zoe life. The zoe life is the divine life, the uncreated life, the eternal life. This life is God Himself. In John 14:6, the Lord Jesus said that He is zoe; He is the life. Therefore, if we have Him, we have the life, but if we do not have Him, we do not have the life. Apart from Him, no other person, matter, or thing is zoe. In the whole universe, only He can say, “I am zoe; only I am life. Besides Me, no other person, matter, or thing is life.” How do we gain Him as the zoe life? It is through His death and resurrection. He died and rose to become the life-giving Spirit, and this life-giving Spirit is also life. Christ is the Spirit, and the Spirit is life. This Spirit is in us as the life in us, that is, the Spirit of life is in us (Rom. 8:2) because this Spirit dispenses God’s life into us. Therefore, Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”

Today Christianity has been on this earth for two thousand years, but many people continue to grope in the dark as if they still lived in the age before the apostle Paul. In John 10:7-8, the Lord Jesus says, “I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers.” The robbers here mainly refer to the Pharisees because they did not come into the sheepfold through the Lord Jesus. These robbers beat people half to death (Luke 10:30) and still felt that they were not bad. Before the apostle Paul was saved, he was such a robber (Phil. 3:5b-6a). All the Pharisees were robbers, not wild robbers with knives and guns, but cultured robbers speaking of love, justice, and morality. Because they only spoke of kindness, justice, and morality instead of Christ, they did not give Christ to people but instead required things of them. In this way they stripped people and became robbers.

Since the nineteenth century, many saints have touched the matter of life and have left us many writings concerning life. Today we are standing on their shoulders to put their writings together, compare them, and add to them our own knowledge and experience of the truth of the Bible. Undeniably, what the Lord has shown us is clearer than what other saints have seen throughout the centuries. We are not boasting; since we are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before, we can see things more clearly. Today a small electrician knows more about electricity than Thomas Edison, the father of electricity, did because today’s electrician is standing on Edison’s shoulders. We are not proud, but we are truly standing on the saints from earlier centuries, and we should thank them for this. On the other hand, the Lord has given me a heart to research. In my library there are various versions of the famous, authoritative translations and expositions of the Bible. By the Lord’s mercy, today we can know that Christ is life and that Christ became the life-giving Spirit, who is the Spirit of life. Today this Spirit dwells in us mainly as life (Rom. 8:11).

In general, people’s greatest fear is of death because death is the end of life. When life is over, everything ends. We thank the Lord that John 3:15 says that we who believe into the Lord have the zoe life, the eternal life, that is, the divine, uncreated, unlimited life. The word eternal here in Greek is related both to space and time and refers to something without the limitations of space and time. This is the true meaning of eternal. Thus, the zoe life which we believers have received is very precious. Today this life is within us. This life is the Spirit, the Spirit is Christ, and Christ is God, not the “raw” God but the processed God, the One who is divinity mingled with humanity. This is life.

(Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Church, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)