The bride of Christ is not an individual spiritual Christian but a corporate entity, a building up of the believers who pursue Christ, enjoy Him, grow in life unto maturity, and pay the price to be built together as the Body of Christ.
The bride of Christ is particularly composed of the overcomers, those who mature in life and are built together as one bride to bring the Bridegroom back and be one with Him for the wedding feast and the ending of this age.
In order for us to be part of the bride of Christ, we need to not only grow in life unto maturity and arrive at a full-grown man, but also to be built together with the saints into the Body of Christ for the preparation of the bride. The central and divine thought in the Scriptures is that God seeks a divine building, which is not physical but it is the mingling of Himself with man.
What God is after is not temples built by man’s hands but a living composition of living persons redeemed by Him and mingled with Him, who have been matured in life and who are built up together.
We may think of God’s building and immediately associate it with something inorganic like a physical building, but what God has in mind is a living compositions of redeemed, regenerated, transformed, built-up, and glorified saints with the processed and consummated Triune God to be His corporate expression.
For this, Christ came as God incarnated, He died on the cross, and in His resurrection He regenerated millions of believers to be the members of His Body; now we go through a process of being regenerated, sanctified, renewed, transformed, and built up, so that we may grow in life unto maturity and be built up together as the Body of Christ, thus preparing the bride for the Bridegroom’s return.
We need to let God build Himself into us by allowing Christ to make His home in our heart, and we need to let God build us into Himself by spending much time with Him and being saturated with His element. It is to the extent that God has been built into us and we have been built into God that we can be built with one another.
Being Built up with Fellow Believers is the Lord’s Supreme Requirement of His Seekers
What God is after today is not individual spiritual giants but a building that expresses Him corporately. Just like me and you, God has only one image and one expression, and what He desires to gain in humanity is this one expression.
How can the thousands of believers on earth be the one expression of God? It is by means of God’s building. God’s purpose is to be expressed and represented through man on earth, and the way He gains this is by first gaining and regenerating people, and then building them up together into the Body of Christ, the one new man, to have one corporate expression.
It is impossible for individual believers to fully express God, but when we all are built up together and function in our measure in the Body of Christ, God gets a corporate expression in the Body. Only when we are mutually coordinated and built up together in spirit and soul can we express God.
The first man, Adam, failed God; God wanted Adam to express Him and represent Him (Gen. 1:26), but Adam failed and was disqualified from partaking of God as life.
However, God created a new man through the Lord’s death on the cross: in the body of Jesus Jews and Gentiles were joined together in the divine life to become a new man, the Body of Christ, a corporate man to be God’s real expression on earth.
Many Christians struggle and fight, toiling to please God and do many good works for God, and trying their best to express Him; we need to be saved from all our strugle, toil, and fighting, and simply be built up together with fellow believers into the Body of Christ.
In our physical body no member is struggling to do anything but they all function in their measure and portion as they remain in the body. As long as we abide and remain in the Body, being built up with the saints a properly related to the Head, Christ, we will be alright.
What is needed, therefore, is building; in order for God to accomplish His eternal economy, He needs His believers to be built up together. The top attribute of the Triune God is oneness: God is one, yet He’s three – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; oneness is the top divine attribute of the Divine Trinity.
The Lord’s highest and supreme requirement to His faithful seekers is that they would be built up together and thus become the enlarged oneness of the Triune God. Being built up with fellow partakers of the Lord, those who enjoy the divine life with all its riches, is the highest virtue of the one who pursues after Christ in God’s eternal economy.
God requires that we would be built up in His life and by His Spirit, and for us to be built up together is the highest virtue in our Christian life.
Oneness is a communicable divine attribute; as we enjoy the Lord, receive His dispensing, allow Him to be built into us and build us into Him, we will spontaneously be one, and we will be perfected into one.
Lord Jesus, build us up with our fellow believers into the Body of Christ for Your corporate expression in humanity. We want to enjoy Your divine dispensing and transmitting so that we may be brought into the divine oneness. Lord, grant us to have the highest virtue in the Christian life, that is of being built up together. Save us from trying to be spiritual in an individualistic way. Lord, build us up in Your life with the believers You put us with, so that together we may become Your corporate expression and prepare Your bride!
There’s much Beauty, Excellency, and Virtue in the Harmony and Building of the Body
On the one hand, in order for us to be prepared as the bride of Christ we need to grow in life unto maturity and be built up, and on the other hand, the bride of Christ needs to be beautiful. As the bride, the counterpart of Christ as the Bridegroom, the church needs beauty (John 3:29; S.S. 1:15-16; 4:1-5, 7).
If you read Song of Songs you see how the Beloved appreciates and loves the beauty of the seeking one, and how she loves His beauty. When we speak of a bride, beauty is what is emphasized and desired; everyone hopes to marry a beautiful person – and the good news is that all brides are beautiful.
One proverb says, Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is true: the Lord has a certain concept and expectancy of the beauty of the bride. My concept of beauty may differ from your concept of beauty, but God’s concept of beauty is clearly laid out in the Bible, His love letter.
In Isa. 33:17a we read that, Your eyes will see the King in His beauty – the King is beautiful; in Psa. 45:11a we see that “the King will desire your beauty”, showing us that just as the King is beautiful, the bride is also beautiful. Christ and the church, the Bridegroom with the bride, is a beautiful couple.
What is this beauty? Is it merely outward beauty? The top attribute in the Divine Trinity is oneness; what makes the Triune God very beautiful is being three yet one, and the divine coordination in oneness is awesome.
All the beauty, the excellency, the attributes, and the virtues found in the Godhead depend upon the divine Godhead being three yet one. Three yet one—here is the beauty; here is the excellency. Likewise, in the corporate constitution of the Body of Christ, composed of millions of members, there is much beauty, excellency, and virtue. Millions of members have been composed together and constituted together to become members one of another. In this corporate constitution are many beauties, excellencies, virtues, and attributes. Eventually, all of these millions of members will be the constituents of the New Jerusalem, which will be the ultimate, corporate expression of the Triune God, full of beauty. Witness Lee, Living in and with the Divine Trinity, p. 51
When we as believers in Christ are built up together in harmony in the Body of Christ, much beauty is expressed, excellency is manifested, and virtues are clearly seen.
On the one hand Christ expressed the bountiful God in His rich attributes through His aromatic virtues, and on the other hand today the Body of Christ is the enlargement of Christ for all believers to be one in Christ and express God’s beauty, excellency, and virtue in their harmony.
When people come into the church meetings and see the harmony among the saints, when they see how humble and selfless the saints are in oneness for God’s purpose, they will realize how beautiful and excellent the bride of Christ is. The harmony in the church life is beautiful!
Lord Jesus, gain a beautiful bride by perfecting us into one to be the enlarged Christ, the Body-Christ, expressing God in harmony. Even as we come together from every race and background, Lord, build us up in oneness for Your corporate expression. Gain your beautiful bride, Lord! Gain a bride that has much beauty, excellency, and virtues, a bride that matches You and attracts You! Make us part of Your bride. Build us up together with the fellow believers so that we may live and coordinate in harmony in the church life!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Mark R. for this week, and portions from, Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1963, vol. 3, “The Building of God,” pp. 163-164, 197-198, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Direction of the Lord’s Move (2016 Thanksgiving Conference), msg. 3 (week 3), To Prepare the Bride as the Counterpart of the Bridegroom (1) – The Readiness of the Bride.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Oh, what a sweet church life have we! / Built up in Him, His bride to be! / In Him steadfast, you help me be; / Encouraged by Christ whom I see. (Song on the church life)
# Building, building, we will see the building / Of the church this way: / Christ experienced will produce the building— / He’s the only way. / Oh, build us, Lord, we pray, / By growth of life each day. / Oh, make us now such men / For the new Jerusalem. (Hymns #1240)
# Built up in love together, / Not one would criticize; / To perfect one another, / We all would exercise. / Each one from self delivered, / The natural life forsakes; / In grace each trained in spirit / The Body-life partakes. (Hymns #867)
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