TRANSFORMATION BY THE SPIRIT
This wonderful Spirit who is Christ Himself is going to transform us absolutely into Christ with Christ. I would use a simple illustration. Suppose I have a white cotton ball, and I want to make it a red cotton ball. What should I do? I have to fill the very heart, the very center, of the ball with red ink. Then the red ink will gradually permeate and saturate the ball, and the ball will gradually absorb the red ink until it loses its white color and expresses something red. This means that the cotton ball, having been completely saturated and permeated by the red ink, is transformed into the red ink with the red ink.
You are the "ball," and this wonderful Spirit of Christ, who is Christ Himself, is the "red ink." At the time you received Christ, this wonderful Spirit came into you, into your spirit and heart, the center of your being. Now His intention is to permeate and saturate you with Himself so that you may absorb Him. By receiving Him and absorbing Him, your whole being, including all your inward parts, will be renewed, permeated, and saturated with Him and be transformed into Him. Eventually, your whole being will be full of Christ, mingled with Christ. Then you will lose your natural color and have the spiritual color, the "Christ" color. This is the central thought of God, and this is what God is seeking today.
We need a heavenly vision to see this matter in an adequate, concrete, and full way. We need to see and know that God’s purpose, God’s intention, is to have the all-inclusive Spirit of Christ come into us as everything that He may permeate us, saturate us, and transform us into Christ with Christ. This is not just a change of our behavior or living. This is a transformation of our nature.
Sanctification involves not only a change in position, that is, a separation from a worldly position to a position for God, as illustrated in Matthew 23:17, 19 and in 1 Timothy 4:3-5; it involves also a transformation in disposition, that is, a transformation from the natural disposition to a spiritual one by Christ as the life-giving Spirit saturating all the inward parts of our being with God’s nature of holiness. This is what is mentioned in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18. We have been sanctified in position, but we still need to be sanctified in our nature, in our disposition. This means that we need to be permeated and saturated by the Spirit so that we may be transformed into Christ with Christ. Then we will be absolutely and practically a part of Christ. As parts of Christ, we are members of Christ’s Body.
TRANSFORMATION FOR THE BODY LIFE
Suppose we have two brothers—one American and one Chinese. On the one hand, I would say they are members of the Body of Christ because they are two genuine believers. They have been born again and are children of God. But on the other hand, it is hard to see that they are members of Christ because the Chinese brother is still very Chinese and the American brother is too American. Can something Chinese or American be in the Body of Christ? Colossians 3:11 tells us that in the Body "there cannot be Greek and Jew"; there cannot be any natural person. We should not bring anything Chinese or American into the Body of Christ.
In the Body there is no Greek, no Jew, no Chinese, no Japanese, no American, no Frenchman, no Englishman, no German, no Mexican, and no Puerto Rican. In the Body there is room only for Christ. If the Chinese brother remains Chinese and the American brother remains American, they are not members of Christ in actuality. They may have a little "red ink," a small measure of Christ, in their heart, but they have not yet been saturated by Christ. If you are saturated by Christ, you are in Christ and have been swallowed up by Christ to express Christ.
Some have asked me, "By what way do you run your church?" I said, "By the way of Christ." In Ephesians 4 we are told to put off the old man and to put on the new man (vv. 22, 24). What is the new man? The new man is the Body, and the Body is Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). We have to put on Christ, but first we have to put off the old man. We have to put off being Chinese or American. We have to realize that we were buried at the time of our baptism (Rom. 6:3-4). We have been terminated, we are finished, and we are through! The Americans are through and the Chinese are through. In the Body of Christ, there is no American, Chinese, British, and German; there is no old man. There is only the new man, who is Christ Himself.
(The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)