THE TIME OF THE GRAFTING
When did this grafting occur? It was at the time we believed and were baptized. Romans 6:3 says, “Or are you ignorant that as many as have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” When we were baptized, we were baptized into the Lord Jesus in spirit and were identified with Him. The life within Him came into us.
GROWING TOGETHER WITH HIM
Romans 6:5 goes on to say, “For if we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.”
The words “have grown together with Him” in the Greek imply an organic union. The meaning is quite rich. It can be likened to a skin graft. The surgeon may cut a piece of flesh from a patient’s leg and attach it to his arm. After a few days the skin taken from the leg will grow together with the flesh of the arm; they will be organically joined to each other. Life growth will occur.
This is the very kind of union meant in Romans 6:5. We have been grafted to the Lord Jesus and are now supplied by His life and His riches. A growth is taking place as we are enjoying Him. This union is not like two dead pieces of wood put together; however closely they may be placed to each other, there is no growing together. There must be a living branch grafted into a living tree for there to be not only a joining but also an organic growing together, with the branch enjoying the riches of the life of the better tree.
The Chinese version translates “grown together with Him” as “identified with Him.” This is quite good, but we do need to include the thought of being joined and growing together with Him. Both the joining and the growth are essential for a successful graft. If the two pieces of flesh do not grow together after a graft, within a few days the grafted skin will decay. The joining together must bring the growth; then the two lives become one.
When a branch is grafted, both it and the tree must be cut. Just binding them together will not join them organically. Both must be cut and then grafted together at the site of the cut. When the two wounds kiss each other, the graft can take and there will be the growth.
When was the Lord Jesus cut? It was on the cross. The wound of the Lord Jesus is waiting for sinners. His side has been pierced, the blood shed.
When is the sinner cut? He too has been cut on the cross. He experiences this cutting when he repents and receives the Lord.
We had a co-worker from the northeast of China who, before his conversion, was arrogantly opposed to Christianity. One day he went into a temple and noticed an open Bible on the table in front of the idols. His curiosity was aroused, and he began to read Psalm 1. Its words quite impressed him, and he decided to take the Bible home and read it. He did so. The more he read, the more the light shined. Convicted of his sins, he wept, beat his breast, and rolled on the floor in repentance.
Was this repentance not a cutting? He was a branch being cut. Then when he called on the Lord to save him, he was grafted to this One who had already been cut. At the site where the wound of the sinner met the wound of the Lord Jesus, they were grafted together. The Lord began to live and grow in this newly grafted branch to supply him.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)