God today is doing one thing: He’s building up the church as the Body of Christ so that the bride of Christ may be prepared for Christ to return and end this age; if we see this, we will be those who strive to live in the reality of the Body of Christ today.
It is one thing to know the Body and see the Body, and it is another to live in the reality of the Body of Christ.
What is the reality of the Body? The reality of the Body of Christ is a group of God’s redeemed who have been made the God-men by God, and who live not by themselves of their natural life but by another life, which is the processed and consummated Triune God.
When the Lord gains a sufficient number of saints living in the reality of the Body of Christ to be His overcomers, He can return and end this age. This is what He’s after today.
Therefore, we need to realize first of all that the church as the Body of Christ is an organism absolutely in the resurrection life of Christ. This means that when we live in our natural life in the old creation, we are not the Body; we are the Body in the new creation germinated by Christ’s resurrection.
When we live in resurrection, our natural life is crucified and the God-created and redeemed part of our being is uplifted to be one with Christ in resurrection. Everything that we say, do, and are in the church life as an expression of the Body of Christ must be in resurrection.
We must realize that Christ is the unique Head of the Body, the church, corporately and of all the believers individually – He’s the Head both of the church and of every one of us.
The only authority in the Body of Christ is Christ Himself; He is the Head, He has all authority, and He is the only One who can give direction to the members of the Body. We need to be under the authority of the Head so that we may know the life of the Body.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are being fitted together and we are able to live the Body life through holding the Head, for our relationship with the Head determines our relationship to the other members.
Living in the Reality of the Body of Christ as a Corporate Living of the God-men who Live by the Divine Life
The ministry gives us a few very solid and wonderful definitions of what the reality of the Body of Christ is. The Lord has revealed to us that what He desires to gain is not only the Body of Christ and the life of the Body of Christ, but also the reality of the Body of Christ in all the local churches.
The local churches are the procedure for the Body of Christ to come into existence, and what the Lord desires to gain in the local churches is the reality of the Body.
The reality of the Body of Christ is a group of God’s redeemed who have been made the God-men by God; these ones live not by themselves but another life – the divine life, which is the processed and consummated Triune God (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 1:19-21; 3:10).
This is how the Lord Jesus lived, and this is how the Apostle Paul also lived. The Lord Jesus lived by denying Himself, putting aside His will and thought, and not living out His perfect humanity; He lived by the divine life and always expressed the divine life.
Even though He had a perfect humanity, untainted by sin, He still denied Himself and lived by the life of the Father, always doing the Father’s will, speaking the Father’s words, doing the Father’s works, and seeking the Father’s glory.
Jesus Christ, a genuine man and a perfect God mingled together, lived by the Father’s life; now we are His continuation, His duplication, and His reproduction, and we need to live by the divine life to be in the reality of the Body of Christ.
The reality of the Body of Christ is a corporate living, a living of many believers; it is the aggregate of many saints who have been redeemed, regenerated, sanctified, and transformed by the processed and consummated God in them.
Thus, the believers have been made God-men, actual God-men; they now live by the divine life in their spirit, they deny their natural life and the self, and they express Christ.
The reality of the Body of Christ is a corporate living by the perfected God-men, who are genuine men but who do not live by their own life but by the life of the processed and consummated Triune God, whose attributes are expressed through their virtues (Phil. 1:19-21a).
We are human beings, but we learn to not live by our own life, and we don’t do our own work according to our own ability; rather, we live by the divine life, and we are being perfected by the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers to be able to do what they do for the building up of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:16).
The reality of the Body of Christ is a living by all the God-men who have been united, mingled, and constituted together with God by mingling humanity with divinity and mingling divinity with humanity (John 14:20).
Our daily life should be in the mingling of the divinity with humanity for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ, so that the reality of the Body of Christ may be lived out.
Lord Jesus, gain the reality of the Body of Christ in all the local churches so that You may obtain what You are after today. Gain a group of God-men who live not by themselves but by the divine life in their spirit. Make us those who are genuine men living not by our own natural life but by the divine life, so that God’s divine attributes may be expressed through our human virtues. Amen, Lord, mingle Yourself more with us for the Body! Grow in us and express Your attributes through our virtues so that we may be part of the corporate living that is the reality of the Body of Christ!
The Reality of the Body of Christ is a Corporate Living of Conformity to the Death of Christ through the Power of His Resurrection
God made Paul a pattern to all those who believe, and if we want to see a pattern of the God-man living in and for the Body, we need to read what Paul wrote and lived.
Paul aspired to know Christ and the power of His resurrection, so that by this power he would be conformed to the mould of Christ’s death. The death of Christ is a mold, and Paul put himself into that death-mold to be conformed there; on him all men could see the mark and the image of the cross (Gal. 6:14, 17).
The power of resurrection strengthened him to live the life of a God-man.
The reality of the Body of Christ is the corporate living of the conformity to the death of Christ through the power of His resurrection.
The Lord Jesus didn’t experience the cross only when, at the end of His human life on earth, He was crucified; He lived daily under the cross, denying Himself and taking the Father as His source, life, and person.
Jesus was crucified every day, living a crucified life by the power of resurrection, and when He was physically put to death, resurrection life continued to operate in Him to resurrect Him even physically.
Today such a life is in us, the Body of Christ, the ones who have been redeemed and regenerated and who now possess the divine life. We all have been nourished, we are sanctified, we’re in the process of being transformed, and we are being perfected to be not just mature Christians but God-men.
When we live a crucified life, a life being conformed to the death of Christ by the power of His resurrection, we live in the reality of the Body of Christ.
The reality of the Body of Christ is the corporate living by the perfected God-men who are daily conformed to the death of Christ by the power of His resurrection so that Christ would live in them (Gal. 2:20).
In a practical way, in our daily life we have many little opportunities to deny our self and live a crucified life by the power of Christ’s resurrection. When we are about to talk to our spouse, something within may bother us and cause us to stop, giving us the inward feeling that our speaking is not from our spirit but from our old man.
When we obey the inner feeling, even though we would like to argue and speak our mind, we experience the death of Christ. We may want to go somewhere, buy something, or do something, but the Lord within us has a different feeling; if we obey His feeling within, we die to ourselves and live to God, and Christ has a way to live in us.
Our daily living should not be by ourselves or to ourselves; according to God’s design in His economy, we were already put on the cross, and we should remain there, living a crucified life by the power of His resurrection.
We need to have a clear realization that we are on the cross, we have been crucified, and we are finished; but there’s a new man in us, the resurrected God-created man uplifted with God’s divinity in him – this man is actually God Himself, and He should be the One living in us.
The corporate living of a crucified life by the power of Christ’s resurrection is the reality of the Body of Christ, which the Lord is after today.
Lord, we choose to be a part of the reality of the Body of Christ, because You desire to gain such a reality. We give ourselves to You, Lord: give us the experiences we need that we may live a crucified life through the power of Your resurrection. Gain the reality of the Body of Christ. Gain the corporate living of the conformity to the death of Christ through the power of His resurrection. Amen, Lord, may our daily living be in the reality of no longer I but Christ who lives in me! May Christ be the One living in us daily for the reality of the Body of Christ!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, The Practical Points concerning Blending, chs. 3-5 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Knowing Life and the Church, msg. 6 (week 6), Living in the Resurrection Life of Christ under the Unique Headship of Christ and Growing Up into the Head, Christ, in All Things for the Reality and Building Up of the Body of Christ.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Hallelujah! In the body we / Bear the death of Christ continually: / Thus His life comes forth for all to see as / The outer man is broken down, / The inner man is shining so that— / In these earthen vessels men can see / There’s the treasure of reality! (Hymns #1178)
# Make this poor self grow less and less, / Be Thou my life and aim; / Oh, make me daily through Thy grace / More meet to bear Thy name. (Hymns #395)
# Little by little, / The Lord is cutting off all our natural life; / As we grow in Him, / He replaces us with more of His life divine. / It is our destiny, / To live a normal life in the divine dispensing, / It is a blessing, / To be satisfied with ordinary days / in the divine dispensing. (Song on living ordinary days)
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