TO BE SAVED BEING TO RECEIVE GOD’S LIFE IN ADDITION TO MAN’S LIFE
God’s salvation is not only for the forgiveness of our sins and the washing away of our filthiness; God’s salvation is to give Christ to us at the time we are saved. When Christ enters into us, He becomes our life. At the instant we are saved, we receive Christ as our life; that is, we receive God as life into us. This life in us is different from our natural life. We receive another life in addition to our natural life. Therefore, from the time we are saved, we have two different lives in us. One is the life we had originally, and the other is the life of God, which has been added into us.
Never think that we need to be saved because our life is poor, and therefore God wants to improve our life. This is not so. When God saves us, He gives us another life—His own life—in addition to our own life. In the beginning we did not have God’s life, but when we believed in the Lord Jesus and received Him as our Savior, God’s life was added into us.
The basic matter with a Christian is that he has God’s life added into him. Once this life comes into him, he has two different lives in him. One is the life he had originally, and the other is the life of God, the life that was added into him. In his own life there are all kinds of wickedness, such as evil, filthiness, darkness, hatred, jealousy, guile, and covetousness. This is his original life. However, the life that is added into him, because it is the life of God, is good, bright, meek, loving, righteous, and holy. The seeds of the goodness of God are all in this life, which is just Christ Himself.
This life which is added into us is Christ Himself. Before we are saved, we live by our own life, the life that is within us. We walk, live, and work entirely according to the life we have originally. In that life we have a little bit of goodness, love, meekness, humility, and other virtues. However, that life is not pure; it is mixed with darkness, evil, hatred, jealousy, and all kinds of deceit. Hence, through our living, we find that in our being we have hatred as well as love and jealousy as well as sympathy. We also find that we harm others as well as help others. We are so complicated and so contradictory; sometimes we are like bad people, and other times we are like true gentlemen.
LIVING NOT BY OUR OWN LIFE BUT BY GOD’S LIFE
There is pride in our humility, hatred in our love, falsehood in our honesty, and there are evil intentions even in our good intentions. There are many evil things hidden in all of our good elements. This is because man’s life has become evil, corrupted, and filthy. It is impossible for man’s life to be acceptable to God. However, even if man’s life were not evil or filthy, man’s life would still be man’s life. No matter how good man’s life is, it still is not God’s life.
Christians are people who have received God’s life. Once a person is saved, he has Christ, God, and God’s life in him. From that time on, God’s life is in him not for him to change his outward behavior. Rather, God wants him to live by God’s life. Formerly he lived by his own life, but now God wants him to live by God’s life in him instead of by his own life.
We may use the following illustration. In the past we lit kerosene lamps, but now we have lamps which run on electricity. However, many people, owing to their habit of lighting kerosene lamps, still prefer lighting kerosene lamps instead of switching on electric lamps. Hence, the question is not whether or not the light shines but what the source of the shining is. We cannot assume that once the light shines, everything is fine. We must also ask, “Does this shining come from kerosene or from electricity?” Our life was formerly a “kerosene lamp,” but after we were saved, God’s life came into us. This was like the installation of an electric lamp into us. Thus, instead of using the “kerosene lamp,” we should switch to the “electric lamp.”
We all know that if a kerosene lamp is not shining, it will not smoke; however, the more the kerosene lamp shines, the more it smokes. There is both light and smoke in the kerosene lamp. Likewise, in our natural life there is both good and evil. The more we try to do good by ourselves, the more mistakes we commit; that is, the more we “shine,” the more we “smoke.” In our being there is good and there is also evil. In fact, our natural life is simply the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s intention is not for us to forsake evil and to do good by ourselves. This is man’s concept, not God’s intention. God’s intention is that we would live not by our own life but by His life. If we live by God’s life, we will “shine” but not “smoke.” If we walk by God’s life, we will immediately see that there is only good and no evil in His life.
God’s life is God Himself. Hence, when we live by God’s life, we live by God. In this way what we live out is not only good but also God Himself. What is expressed through us is God’s nature and His flavor. When we live by our own life, we may do good or evil—either way it is lived out by our own life. People may touch the goodness in us, but they cannot touch God. They may not notice any wickedness in us, but neither can they see God’s nature in us. Why is this? It is because at the most we have only improved our behavior; the source of our life within remains unchanged. Strictly speaking, this is not to be Christians but to be moralists. Christians are not merely ethical; they also live by God. Christians have Christ as their life, and they live by Him as life. As a result, what they live out is not merely something good or ethical but Christ Himself.
We must be clear that since we are saved, we now have Christ in us as our life. What does this mean? For example, if we have a body that is without life, we will be unable to speak, think, see, hear, sit, or walk. Our whole being will be unable to move. The reason why we can move and think is that we have life within us, and all of our actions are according to this life and are of this life. That Christ is our life means that all of our actions, thoughts, words, and doings are according to Christ and are of Christ. Our moving is Christ’s moving in us, our speaking is Christ’s speaking in us, and our thinking is Christ’s thinking in us. Our entire living and walk are according to Christ in us; we do everything by Him.
Do not think that this is merely a theory. We all must grasp this basic point firmly. What is a Christian? A Christian is one who has Christ in him as his life. What is baptism? Baptism is being immersed into Christ. What is bread breaking? Bread breaking is to eat Christ—to eat the Lord’s body and to drink the Lord’s blood. It is to eat and drink of the Lord Himself and to receive the Lord Himself. The basic principle of the Christian living is to be in Christ, by Christ, and of Christ for the gaining of Christ.
(The Crucified Christ, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)