THE SPIRIT OF JESUS CHRIST
My burden in this message is not to share about the mystery; it is to have fellowship with you concerning the experience of the Christ who is the mystery of God. Christ is the center of all mysteries. Nevertheless, such a Christ can be experienced by us. In Philippians 1:19-26, for example, we see some mysteries. The first of these mysteries is found in verse 19: "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Gk.). This Spirit is a mystery. Why does Paul here speak of the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Why does he not call this Spirit the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit? No doubt, the Spirit here refers to the Holy Spirit. This is the only time in the entire Bible that the Spirit is called the Spirit of Jesus Christ. In Acts 16:7 we have the Spirit of Jesus (Gk.), and in Romans 8:9, the Spirit of Christ. But in this verse we do not have merely the Spirit of Jesus nor the Spirit of Christ, but the Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is a mystery, for we cannot adequately understand it.
A second mystery is found in verse 20: "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death." We see here that no matter what was to happen to him, Paul’s desire was that Christ would be magnified in his body. What does it mean for Christ to be magnified? Does it mean that Christ is made greater? Christ is already great. Does He then need to be enlarged? In Ephesians we are told that Christ fills all in all (1:23). How great He is! Many years ago some astronomers said that two hundred forty million solar systems form a galaxy and that forty billion galaxies form the unique center of the universe. Nevertheless, the Bible says that Christ fills all in all. Although Christ is so great, He still needs to be magnified.
In verse 21 Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." In verse 23 Paul said that his desire was to depart to be with Christ. In one verse Paul said that for him to live is Christ, but in another verse he said that he wanted to depart and be with Christ. At that time was Christ present with Paul, or was He absent from Paul? Christ surely was present with Paul. Why then did Paul still expect to be with Him? This is a mystery. The experience of Christ is altogether a mystery.
OUR CHRISTIAN LIVING BEING A MYSTERY
The more mysterious we are, the better. However, this mystery must be our living, not a performance. Our Christian living is a mystery. Our Christian love and humility are also mysterious. The humility taught by Confucius was not a mystery. But when we Christians live out humility, this humility is mysterious. Whatever we live out from within us should be mysterious. Regarding our humility, others should say, "We cannot explain the kind of life this person lives. Although he is humble, his humility is different from that of others. His love is also different. It seems that he doesn’t love anyone, but actually he loves others. His love is mysterious. There seems to be no limit to his love." Although human love is limited, the proper love lived out by a Christian is unlimited. Hence, it is a mystery.
Often I have heard people say, "I simply cannot tolerate this any more. This situation has exhausted my patience." If our patience can be exhausted, that indicates that it is not the patience of Christ. We Christians need to live out a patience that is unlimited. The more the circumstances exhaust our patience, the more patient we are, for our patience is inexhaustible. This is a mystery. It causes others to wonder how we can be so patient.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)