Faithlife Sermons

Christ The Sum of All Spiritual Things

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Transcript

CHRIST

The Sum of All Spiritual Things

WATCHMAN NEE

Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.

New York


 

Copyright ©1973

Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.

New York

All Rights Reserved

ISBN 0-935008-14-4

Available from the Publishers at:

11515 Allecingie Parkway

Richmond, Virginia 23235

PRINTED IN U.S.A.


 

CONTENTS

1 Christ Is the Way, the Truth, and the Life

 

2 Christ Is the Resurrection and the Life

3 Christ Is the Bread of Life and the Light of Life

4 Christ Is God’s Everything 41

5 Nothing but Christ 57



 

Being a series of messages given at mid-week

meetings in Shanghai, China, during the period

of 1939-1940.

Scripture quotations are from the American

Standard Version of the Bible (1901), unless

otherwise indicated.


 

1


 

Christ Is the Way, the Truth, and

the Life

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and

the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)


“I am the way and the truth and the life,” says the Lord Jesus. This

clearly informs us that the way which God gives is Christ, the truth

which God gives is also Christ,  and the life which God gives is

likewise Christ. Christ is our way, Christ is our truth, Christ is our

life. It is through Christ that we come to the Father. In God’s heart,

that which is related to Him is Christ, who is also His Son. What He

gives to us is Christ himself; He has not given us many things outside

of Christ.

Oftentimes in spiritual matters, we see and we touch a thing which

is merely a term or a letter, void of any spiritual usefulness to us.

How we need to ask God to open our eyes that we may know His

Son. The characteristic of Christianity lies in the fact that its source,

depth, and riches are involved with the knowledge of God’s Son. It

matters not how much we know of methods or doctrines or power.

What really matters is the knowledge of the Son of God. Knowing

God’s Son is the way, knowing God’s Son is the truth, and knowing

God’s Son is the life. Our power comes from knowing His Son. All

that God gives to us is His Son, not a lot of things. Hence the whole

question lies in knowing God’s Son.

Christ Is the Way

The word of Jesus is, “I am the way.” This way may also mean

the method. What He here tries to convey to us is that He is the way

by which we come to God as well as the method by which to reach

God. Having Him, we have the way; and possessing Him, we possess

the method. Every true believer must learn this lesson at least once—

that is, that the Lord Jesus is the way, the Lord Jesus is the method. If

you have been saved, you have at least this experience of trusting the

Lord Jesus as your way to God. For He is the way, without whom no

one can come to God. All truly saved Christians know how to walk

in this way. Thank God, countless real believers have learned at least

this lesson, which is, a coming to God by Jesus of Nazareth, the Son

of God. We have traveled in this way at least once. This way is none

other than Christ himself. It is not any method outside of Him. We

need to see that the Lord Jesus, and not any other method, is the only

way by which we come to God initially at the time of salvation and

at any subsequent time.

Some Christians are seeking for some spiritual methods. Once

after a message was given concerning victory through Christ and not

through self, one brother took the hand of the brother who spoke and

said, “For many years I have been consistently defeated, but today

everything is well.” Whereupon the preaching brother asked, “How

is this so?” To which he answered, “Because I think I have now got a

way to victory. Thank the Lord I have found a method today! Victory

is through the Lord, not by myself.” But the preaching brother

frankly told him in reply that “if all you find is a way of victory, then

you will be defeated again.” Why did he say this? Because the Lord

Jesus tells us, “I am the way.” In other words, He alone is the way,

the method. The way is not outside of Him, for He himself is the

way. If all we get is merely a  method, we will soon discover its

ineffectiveness. God has not given us a method; He gives His own

Son to us.

Frequently we listen to the experience  of  others  and feel  its

preciousness, but we see only a method instead of seeing the Lord

whom the other person has touched. As a result, we suffer defeat

after defeat. The prime reason is that we have not learned the Lord as

the way.

Let us understand that to believe in the Lord himself, and to

believe a formula, are actually two different motions. By the grace of

God, one Christian has his eyes opened to see what kind of person he

is; he therefore lays himself down and believes in the Lord, trusting

the  latter  to  do  within  him what he  himself  cannot  do.  As  its

consequence, he obtains release and is fully satisfied before God.

Later on, though, another believer comes along. Upon hearing the

testimony of the first person, he too asks God to enlighten him that

he may know how useless a man he is. He too learns to believe in

God and to humbly abandon himself. Yet it strangely turns out that

he does not receive the deliverance which the first one experiences.

What is the explanation for this? It is because the first brother has

living faith which enables him to touch the Lord as well as believe in

God, while the second brother has not faith at all but only a “copied

faith formula”; and thus he does not reach God. Briefly stated, what

this second brother gets is a method, not the Lord. A method has no

power nor effectiveness; for not being Christ, it is simply a dead

thing.

Every spiritual thing outside of Christ is dead. Let us underscore

this well. Some brothers and sisters are inwardly wondering: “How

strange that an other person believes God and his prayer is answered,

while I too believe and yet am not heard. Why is God gracious to

him and not to me?” They seem to charge God with partiality, not

realizing that what they believe is but a thing, and therefore dead.

Neither formula nor method works; only Christ is living. Even if one

has learned a whole set of methods, he is not therefore educated to be

a Christian, because God’s children must be born, not taught.

“I am the way,” asserts the Lord Jesus. Christ is the way, Christ is

the method. Dear friends, is Christ your way and is Christ your

method? Or is it only a way and a method? Thank God, if Christ is

our method, everything will be successful. But if ours is just a

method—and however good, accurate and incomparable it may be—

it still is dead and has no spiritual value. The reason for many unanswered prayers and ineffective testimonies is found in our not touching the Lord. We have merely copied the method of others; we have not touched the Lord himself.

Once a servant of the Lord gave a message on Romans 6-8 in a

certain place. One brother, after hearing the message, said: “Today I

understand the way of victory. I now am clear. I believe hereafter I

will never be defeated as I was before.” Another brother came to the

preacher and nodded his head a little. When he was asked how he

felt, he replied, “I do not know how to describe it. But the Lord has

opened my eyes. Though I cannot say I have seen Him, I dare not say

I have not seen Him either.” What this second brother obtained was

not  a  method  but  the  Lord  himself.  Consequently,  he  firmly

maintained the ground, while the first one failed again; for the first

brother had only received a method and not the Lord himself; and

therefore it had no value.

Many times even the motive behind our hearing a message is

erroneous. Instead of asking the Lord for revelation that we may see

Him, we try with our brain to memorize a method to take back with

us.  And  even  if  we  follow  that method,  we will  get  nowhere.

Sometimes, though, we seem to catch a glimpse, perhaps without

having any great assurance to dare to say that we have seen the Lord.

Nevertheless, we do see Him and such insight brings in real change.

Thank the Lord, this is the way. Not that we have learned a method,

but we have come to know the Lord. It is clearly shown to us that the

Lord himself is the method.

For this reason, then, we should, upon hearing a message or a

testimony, examine ourselves as to whether we have encountered the

Lord or merely understood a method. There is no deliverance in

knowing a method as there is in knowing the Lord. Listening to how

He helps others will not save us, our trusting in the Lord alone is

effectual. Their words may sound about the same, yet their actualities

are worlds apart. The Lord is the Lord of life. Whoever touches Him

touches life. Touching the Lord alone gives life.

Christ Is the Truth

The Lord not only introduces himself as the way, He also speaks

of himself as the truth. The truth does not refer to the words spoken

about  Christ;  it  is  Christ  himself  who  is  the  truth.  How  often

Christians  take  the  teaching  and  the  interpretations  of Christ  as

truths, though in actuality truth is not the relating of a thing but is the

person of Christ. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make

you  free,”  says  the  Lord  (John 8:32).  Brothers  and  sisters,  just

consider how many truths have actually made us free? The word of

God states that the truth shall make us free, but how many times truth

is merely a doctrine to us. Our eyes have not been opened to see

Christ. We may have talked about many doctrines for some ten years,

still we have not seen. We may have listened to them for an equal

length of time, and yet again we have not seen. People may be able

to speak on the doctrine of co-death without knowing the power of

this death. Or to converse on resurrection life without experiencing

its power. If all we talk about is doctrine, we are handling something

dead.

Once a person wrote to a brother. as follows: “A brother has

sinned against me, and I am not clear whether I should forgive him. I

therefore ask you to instruct me. My heart is quite composed before

God. If you say I should forgive, I will forgive him. If you think I

should not, then I will not forgive him.” Brethren, what is your

opinion about such a Christian? Suppose the one dearest to me is

dead and so I write a letter to another person inquiring thus: “He who

is dearest to me is dead; should I therefore mourn? If you say I

should cry, I will cry; but if you say no, then I will not cry.” Most

certainly you will laugh at such an inquiry, for it is absurd. If a

person cries or does not cry according as he is told, neither his

mourning nor his lack of mourning is real. Both are false, and are

therefore dead works and not life. With your brother, you either

forgive or you do not forgive. Whenever you act on dead doctrine it

is pretension.

Friends, whatever is not Christ living in us or is not Christ as our

truth—that is, whatever is done on the basis of a doctrine—is dead

work. It has no life, it is not living. Do you see the difference here? It

is a difference too vast to go unnoticed. Work requires our memory,

but  life  acts  spontaneously.  A  word  spoken  out  of  life  is  not

propelled by our memory, rather is it motivated by a power within

us. The Lord, not doctrine nor teaching, is in control over us. There

must be a day when God opens our eyes to perceive that spiritual

reality is in Christ. We do not try to remember certain doctrines and

act accordingly; it is Christ who lives in us. He is our truth, therefore

it is living.

There was once a brother who was offended by another brother.

He could not abide the offence,  and so he heatedly scolded the

offending brother. Afterwards, his conscience was ill at ease. He felt

he should go to the offending brother and apologize. But as he

recalled how that brother had offended him, his anger was again

stirred. Meanwhile, he still felt he owed the other brother an apology.

So he decided to write a letter to him. He took up his pen and began

to write: “I feel it is wrong for me to have scolded you.” But as he

was reminded of how wrong that brother was who had so offended

him, his anger once more returned. After waiting awhile, he took up

his pen and continued to write. During the entire time of writing he

felt anger in his heart. Even when he posted the letter, he still was

annoyed. By all appearances, this letter looked like one written by a

Christian, though we know it was the result of doctrine and not of

life. Although he wrote a letter of apology, his heart remained filled

with wrath. Should he meet that brother, he might greet him and

shake hands, yet inwardly the controversy had not passed away, and

so his words could not possibly be natural. Beloved, do we now see

the difference? The Lord is the truth. If ever it be doctrine and not the

Lord it is dead. May we realize that in all spiritual matters, with the

Lord it is life, but without the Lord it is death. If a thing is done as a

result of His shining and working in us, then this thing is living.

Christ Is the Life

Following the words “I am the way and the truth”, the Lord

continues with “and the life.” We are mindful of the fact that life

issues forth spontaneously in work, but work cannot be a substitute

for life. We ought to be crystal clear here that work is not life—for

life  is  effortless,  life  is  Christ himself. How  people  toil  to  be

Christians! How we are wearied through daily exertion. Most severe

are these doctrines, for they demand of us to be humble, gentle,

forgiving,  and  long-suffering.  They  literally  wear  us  out.  Many

concede that to be a Christian is a difficult task. This is especially

true with young believers. The more they try, the more difficult it

becomes. Upon having tried for a length of time, they still bear no

resemblance to a Christian. Brothers and sisters, if Christ is not life,

we have to do the work; but if He is life, then we do not need to

struggle. Repeatedly we say that life is Christ himself, and work can

never substitute life.

There is a grave mistake pervasive among God’s children. Many

regard life as something which they must do in their own strength, or

else there is no life. What all of us should realize is, that if there is

life there will not be the slightest need for our own doing, but that

life will naturally flow. Consider for a moment how our eyes see and

our  ears  hear.  Our  eyes  see  most naturally  and  our  ears  hear

spontaneously because there is life in them. We must be clear on this

point: life flows naturally into work, but work is never a substitute

for life. Sometimes work proves instead the absence of life or the

weakness of life. Life will issue in good morals, but good morals are

no stand-in for life. For example, a brother may be very gentle,

moderate  and  reserved.  Someone  will  praise  him, saying,  “This

brother’s life is not bad.” No, he has used the wrong terminology.

For the Lord says, “I am the life.” However gentle, moderate and

reserved this brother may be, if these do not come from Christ they

are not reckoned as life. It is perfectly true to say this man has a good

temper or he rarely causes any trouble or he always treats people

kindly and never quarrels; but it cannot be said of him that he has a

rich spiritual life. If these things are natural to him they are not life,

for they do not come from Christ.

Other people cherish another thought. They conclude that life is

power. To have the Lord as our life means to be given power by Him

to do good. Nevertheless, God shows us that our power is not a thing;

it is simply Christ. Our power is not the strength to do things; rather,

it is a Person. Life to us is not only power but also a Person. It is

Christ who manifests himself in us, instead of our using Christ to

display our good works.

Once a brother attended a meeting at a certain place. He was

asked by an elderly Christian, “Why do you go there to meet?”

“Because there is life,” he answered. The elderly man said, “True, as

regards enthusiasm, our meetings are not comparable to that place.”

“You do not understand,” replied this brother. “That place does not

have a frenzied atmosphere at all.” “What do you mean?” asked the

elderly brother. “How can there be life if it is not fervid?” Answered

the younger brother, “There is nothing at all noisy about it, and yet

there is life. For life does not necessarily have to be emotionally

exciting or enthusiastic or fervid or loud.” Then the elderly man

philosophized,  “Perhaps  young  people  like  fervor,  but  I  prefer

thoughtful words. When I hear profound words, I meet life. I think

this indeed is life.” But the young brother said in return, “I have

many times heard the deep words which you refer to, but I have not

met any life.” Dear people, from the conversation of these two men,

we may see that life is neither emotional excitement nor thoughtful

words. Words of wisdom, clever sayings, logical arguments and

thoughtful dissertations are not necessarily life.

Not surprisingly, some will inquire, “How strange that life is

neither fervor nor elevating thought. Where, then, can we find life?

What is life after all?” We confess we do not have a better way to

express this matter of holding forth life. All we can say is that it is

something deeper than emotion and more profound than thought.

And once one meets it, he will instantly be quickened within. This

something is called life.

What is life? Life is more profound than thought; thought never

surpasses life. It also is deeper than emotion; emotion is superficial

in comparison with life. Whether thought or emotion, it is relatively

external. What, then, is life? The Lord Jesus declared: “I am the life.”

We should not hastily conclude that we have met life when all we

meet is a kind of hot atmosphere, such as a so-called spiritually hot

atmosphere. We should ask instead, whence does such atmosphere

arise? Plenty of experiences confirm to us that many who are skillful

in  creating  hot  atmosphere  know very  little  of  the  Lord,  many

excitable persons are quite lacking in the knowledge of the Lord.

Only Christ is life, the rest is not.

We need to learn the lesson of knowing life. For life depends not

on how enthusiastic is our emotion or on how manifold is our

thought; it rests exclusively on whether the Lord has manifested His

own self. There is therefore nothing more important than to know the

Lord. As we are knowing Him, we are touching life. We ought to see

before God the meaning of Christ our life. Those who are easily

excitable or especially clever are not necessarily people who know

the Lord. Knowing Him requires a spiritual seeing. Such seeing is

life and it transforms us. If we know the Lord as our life, we realize

the utter futility of all natural efforts in spiritual matters. Hence we

look to Him alone.

When we first believed in the Lord, we did not realize what

looking to Him truly meant. But gradually we learn increasingly to

look to Him, having recognized that everything depends upon Christ,

and not upon us. In the beginning of our Christian walk we desired to

possess  one  thing  after  another; we  could  not  trust  Him for

everything. After we learned a bit more, however, we received some

understanding as to the necessity of trusting Him: not in the sense of

believing Him to grant us item after item, but in the sense of trusting

Him to do what we are unable to do by ourselves. When we first

became a Christian, we were inclined to do everything ourselves,

fearing lest nothing would ever be done or matters would fall to

pieces if we did not do them. Hence we were working all the time.

Later, in having seen the Lord to be our life, we know that all is of

Christ and not of us. Consequently, we learn to rest and to look to

Him.

Let us keep in mind that instead of giving us one object after

another, God gives His Son to us. Because of this, we can always lift

up our hearts and look to the Lord, saying, “Lord, you are my way;

Lord, you are my truth; Lord, you are my life. It is you, Lord, who is

related to me, not your things.” May we ask God to give us grace that

we  may  see  Christ  in all  spiritual  things.  Day  by  day  we  are

convinced that aside from Christ there is no way, nor truth, nor life.

How easily we make things as way, truth, and life. Or, we call hot

atmosphere as life, we label clear thought as life. We consider strong

emotion or outward conduct as life. In reality, though, these are not

life. We ought to realize that only the Lord is life. Christ is our life.

And it is the Lord who lives out this life in us. Let us ask Him to

deliver us from the many external and fragmentary affairs that we

may touch only Him. May we see the Lord in all things—way, truth,

and life are all found in knowing Him. May we really meet the Son

of God and let Him live in us. Amen.

Christ Is the Resurrection and theLife Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and thelife. (John 11.25) /John Chapter 11 reveals how the Lord Jesus gave life to one already dead—in other words, how He raised the dead. He

was  able  to  raise  the  dead  and He  caused a  dead  man  to  be

resurrected, but instead of saying “I raise the dead” He said “I am the

resurrection.” Shortly after He said this, He did indeed raise the dead.

Both Martha and Mary were present on that day. According to their

sentiment, it seemed to them far more appropriate for the Lord Jesus

to say, “Do not worry about your brother’s death, for I can raise him

up.” We like to hear such words. What we admire and anticipate is

that  God   will   do   more   for   us.   Frequently   our   prayers  and

expectations before God are for the promise that the Lord will do

thus and so for us. Yet the Lord especially wishes us to see that it is

not what He can do but what He himself is, for His doing is based on

His being.

Consider Martha. She believed in the Lord’s power. She said to

Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

So also did Mary believe. But both failed to perceive that the Lord

himself is the resurrection and the life. May we notice that al  which

God can do is included in what He is. People do not receive the

power of God because they do not know who He is. “He that cometh

to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that

seek after him” (Heb. 11.6).

What the Lord Jesus wishes to tell us here is not that He is able to

preserve one’s life but that He himself is life; not that He can raise

the dead, but that He himself is resurrection. Let us ask God to open

our eyes to see who the Lord is. We must see that, before God, Christ

is everything to us. With such understanding we will make real

progress in spiritual matters. It is imperative for us to realize that

with God there is no thing but Christ! Our real progress in spiritual

matters depends on our grasping this spiritual reality—do we know

God himself or know only the things which God has done?

The theme of John Chapter 11 is not on how the Lord Jesus raised

up  Lazarus but  rather  on  how  He  himself  was  resurrection  to

Lazarus. Do we see the distinction here? The Lord is the resurrection.

Because He was resurrection to Lazarus, Lazarus was resurrected. He

had not given something called resurrection to Lazarus, He was

himself resurrection to Lazarus. In other words, what the Lord did

was only the external, but what He was himself was the substance.

We do not suggest that the Lord Jesus had not raised up Lazarus; we

simply  maintain He  was  resurrection  to him, and  that  therefore

Lazarus was raised from the dead.

It is well for us to understand that all God’s workings in Christ are

embodied in this principle. Because the Lord is that thing in us,

therefore we have such thing. First the being, then the having. Many

Christians tend to talk about the Giver and His gifts separately. But

one day we find out that the Giver is himself His gift. For God does

not bring out many and various items to give to us in fragments; what

He gives is Christ. It is well if one day our eyes are opened to

recognize this—that all things are in Christ.

Here the Lord declares who He is. He says, “I am the resurrection

and the life.” Since He  is the resurrection, it presents no problem

whatever for Lazarus to be raised up. We believe the Lord did raise

Lazarus from the dead, but the emphasis was on having the Lord

himself. The resurrection of Lazarus is really not a tremendous

phenomenon; but knowing the Lord Jesus as resurrection is a matter

of great significance. Lots of people can believe the Lord Jesus as the

life-giver, but to believe Him as life is quite another matter. He not

only is the life-giver, He also is life. He is the life He gives as well as

the  giver  of  life.  He  is  both  the  Lord  of  resurrection  and  the

resurrection   itself.   As   soon   as   we   touch   this,   we   instantly

comprehend that whatever is in Christ is living. What God gives to

men is Christ. We hope we may have at least a ray of light flash in

upon  us,  causing  us  to  realize  that  the  Lord  is  all.  “I  am the

resurrection and the life,” declares our Lord. Resurrection and life

include the whole Bible; knowing resurrection and life is therefore a

big matter.

Christ Is Life

In the garden of Eden God placed the man He had created. Two

possibilities were open to this man: he might have life or he might

die. If he ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,

he would die; if he ate the fruit of the tree of life, he would have life.

The man whom God created was indeed good, but there yet remained

a deciding issue—that of life and death. At that time he was capable

of thinking and of movement, but he did not have life. We do not

mean to say that he was not alive, for judging by man’s natural life

he  certainly  was  living.  Genesis 2:7 already  tells  us  that  “man

became a living soul.” Nonetheless, judging by what is represented

in the tree of life, he had no life. He possessed the power of thinking

and feeling—these constituting the main functions of man’s soul—

yet he did not possess the life as symbolized by the tree of life. Here

are we instructed that life is deeper than emotion and more profound

than thought.

Everything in Christianity has its counterfeit—false repentance,

false confession, false conversion, false zeal, false love, counterfeit

works of the Holy Spirit, counterfeit gifts of the Holy Spirit, even

counterfeit life. How many Christians regard  good feeling as life!

They esteem hot atmosphere and a loud voice as being full of life.

They cannot distinguish between life and feeling, not recognizing

that the first is much deeper than the second. Another class of

Christians will reckon noble thought, if not strong emotion, as life. If

they find in a message many provocative thoughts, interesting words

and commendable arguments, they deem it to be in life. But those

who are experienced and who have learned will inform us that life is

deeper than feeling or thought.  Moreover, life is not action. Not

because  one  is  extremely  lively,  enthusiastic  and  active  can  he

necessarily be termed to be in life. The person is indeed engaging in

action, but this cannot be labeled life. Man in this instance is working

instead of living out life.

Now we do not insinuate here that there is no thought, neither

feeling nor action, in life; we simply would affirm that life is neither

feeling nor thought nor action. You may hear the same good word,

yet in one person you sense life while in the other, only thought. You

may witness a stirred emotion in one person but meet life in another.

Many brethren deem certain sensations in them as life, but those who

have learned know better that this is just not so. Many regard certain

thoughts  within  them to  be  life,  but  experienced  believers  will

pronounce this as not life at all.

Two  brothers  may  share  the  same view  and  give  the  same

interpretation to the same passage of Scripture, yet to experienced

Christians these two are different—the one has only thought while

the other has life as well as thought. Indeed, it is possible to meet life

together with thought—this is frequently true; yet only contacting

thought is not contacting life. These are two entirely opposite things.

There are so many who think that since they say similar words they

are bound to be the same. But this is not true. It is possible for these

words to be thought in one person and life in another. “I am the life,”

says the Lord. Life is therefore not any matter outside of Christ; it is

Christ himself. If it is merely a thing it is dead. The life which many

Christians talk about is but the thing they themselves produce.

How we truly need the mercy of the Lord in this respect. We

know what thought is, what feeling is, and what activity is; yet we

lack a clear appreciation of what  life is. May we ask the Lord to

show us what life really is. And one day when we are given such a

revelation, we will naturally know what life is, and then we are able

to touch the Lord.

Christ Is the Resurrection

Let us turn again to resurrection. That which  has encountered

death and survives is called resurrection. Whatever outlives death is

resurrection. Death came to man after he ate the fruit of the tree of

the knowledge of good and evil. Ever since then, man has been

unable to endure death. All who have entered the grave never return.

Once gone, they never come back. In the whole universe, among

countless numbers of people, there has only been one who has gone

into death and come out of it—and this one is our Lord. “I am . .   the

living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore”

(Rev. 1.17,18).

The Lord is the Lord of resurrection. Resurrection speaks of what

passes through death but is not held by death. The Bible uses the

word “held” to describe the power of death. People enter into death

and are not able to come out again because death holds tightly fast all

who have entered. But death is not able to hold Christ. Hence this is

called life, and it is also called resurrection. Resurrection is the life

which was put to death and is alive forevermore. Our Lord Jesus is

life because He was dead—having entered into hell, the deepest

recess of the earth—yet is alive forevermore. Death has no power to

hold Him in its grip. He comes out of death. And such a life as this is

called resurrection. Hence a life which bears the marks of death and

yet is alive is called resurrection.

Quite a few people are asking why it is recorded in John 20 that after the Lord Jesus was raised from among the dead He left

the imprint of the nails in His hands and that of the spear in His side

for Thomas to touch and to probe? We know this is the meaning of

resurrection. What the Lord intended to show Thomas was not that

He had been wounded and had died but that He had been wounded

and yet He is now alive. He bears in His body the imprint of death;

nonetheless He is alive. This is called resurrection.

Such ought to be true in our case. We have in our lives many

things which do not carry the imprint of death and therefore they

cannot be labeled as resurrection. Only what bears the imprint of

death and is alive is called resurrection. Do not imagine that it is well

with you if you have eloquence, cleverness and ability. It is quite

possible for you to have eloquence, cleverness and ability without the

imprint  of  death.  People  may  judge  whether  or  not  there  is

resurrection by noting if the imprint of death is upon our eloquence,

cleverness and ability. A brother may have great talent and may be

most capable; he seems to be very much alive. Yet there is no mark

of death in his talent because he has such confidence in himself. He

trusts that he never does wrong and is sure of success in whatever he

undertakes. This person possesses  immense self-confidence, self-

reliance, -assurance and -strength, but he does not have the mark of

death. We do not mean to say a resurrected person does not have

power; what we are trying to affirm here is that in the power of a

risen one there is the sign of death. He is able to work, but he dare

not rely on himself. He can do many deeds yet he has lost that touch

of self-assurance, and his own strength has turned  into weakness.

This we call resurrection.

In his letter to the church at Corinth Paul confesses the following:

“I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Cor 2:3). These are words spoken by one who truly knows God.

How tragic that there are so many strong and self-confident people

among believers. But here is a man who acknowledges himself as

being in weakness, in fear, and in trembling. There is the mark of

death in his body.

Consequently resurrection and the cross are inseparable. The cross

eliminates. Things which issue out  of ourselves are unable to rise

again once they have gone through the cross, for they are lost in

death. Only what passes through death and survives, what has the

sign  of  death  upon  it  and  lives,  is  resurrection.  Resurrection

presupposes a passing through death, and passing through death

always eliminates something.

Brothers and sisters, if we really know what resurrection is we

will know the cross as an eliminating power. When we pass through

the cross we will be rid of many things. We will become a totally

different person, because many things will have been stripped away

from us. What has life about it may alone experience resurrection;

without life in it there is no possibility of resurrection. For example,

we may cut a block of wood into pieces and bury them in the earth.

After many days these will be  completely decayed and become

wholly useless. But if we cut a branch out of a tree and plant it in the

earth we will find it budding after awhile. One will decay while the

other will bud. All that is dead will eventually be corrupted; only

what is living will be resurrected upon passing through death.

Hence the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is based on His life. Due

to a deathless life in Him, He cannot be held by death. With such

undying life in Him, He shrugs off death as He is put into it. Let us

well recognize that when we pass through the cross experientially we

will take many things into death without there being any chance of

bringing them out. Only what is of God can be resurrected. In our

encounter with the cross we are truly being subtracted. The cross is

indeed a huge subtraction; it takes away many things.

Countless brothers and sisters frequently ask this question: How

do I know I have died? How can I know that the cross has done its

work in me? The answer is a simple one. If the Lord has worked in

your life, you will lose many things. If you have remained intact

since you were once saved you—being as rich and as full as before—

then this plainly indicates that the cross has not worked in you. As

the cross operates in life, you will notice what a big subtracting or

cleansing  work  the  Lord  has  accomplished  in  you.  And  as  a

consequence, what you were able to do before you are now no longer

able; what you once were confident of, you presently are not so

confident of, and what you originally had great courage in, you lately

are hesitant about. Thus are the workings of the Lord proven. In case

there is resurrection in your life, then many items must have been left

behind in the grave, since things there cannot possibly survive death.

Whatever is of Adam cannot live upon its going into death. But the

life of the Lord is quite able to pass through death and come out

again. This is resurrection.

Sometimes things lost in death are regained in Christ. It is like a

branch which, when cut off from a tree, appears dead, but which,

when planted in the earth, will once again grow. So by our saying

that we have the imprint of death upon us, we do not wish to imply

that henceforth we can neither speak nor work; it is only that we will

not be so careless and self-reliant in both our speech and action.

When a person is touched by God—being dealt with by the cross—

he becomes weak and fearful and trembling, with the result that he

dare not say “I can” or “I will do”. He will still do his work, yet now

with the fear of God in him. He will continue to walk, only now he

walks after God, just as Abraham walked step by step after God. In

his life today the mark of the cross is plainly noticeable. He has been

pierced by God; he is no longer intact; he bears the impress of death.

This is called resurrection.

Today God communes with man in the realm of resurrection, and

this resurrection includes the cross. Nothing can therefore be related

to God without passing through death. All that is of the natural must

go to death. God cannot and will not contact or communicate on

resurrection  ground  with  anyone  who  has  yet  to  die  and  be

resurrected. We must die and then be resurrected. The life we receive

is resurrection life. Everything we learn which has any relation to

God must be raised from the dead.

In spiritual matters, we are faced with one hard problem, which is,

that   people   often   serve   God   with   natural   things   instead   of

resurrection things. Many have zeal, but few have resurrection zeal—

a zeal which has gone through death and is resurrected. Lots of zeal

characterizes the first kind but not the second. We observe a number

of brethren working diligently and ably, nonetheless their diligence

and ability are of the first kind—the natural—and not of the second,

for  they  have  not  passed  through  death.  We cannot  account  it

resurrection if we live before God in the power of these natural

elements.

Some will ask, What is the body of Christ? The body of Christ is

where the resurrection of Christ is attested. In other words, whatever

is not of resurrection has no part, not even the slightest part, in the

body of Christ. The church is  not the place where you bring in

something  of  your  cleverness  and  I  bring  in  something  of  my

tactfulness. The church is not built by your contributing a little bit of

some natural thing and my contributing a little bit of some other

natural thing. The church shuts all the natural out and accepts only

the resurrected. Whenever the natural enters, the church loses its

character. There can be no unresurrected element in the church.

Many brethren ask how the church can be one. We ought to

realize how futile it is to achieve unity through the human way.

God’s children need to know the cross and to deal with the flesh and

the natural in order to arrive at oneness. No method is effective

unless  people  experience  Calvary. No  problem in  the  church  is

solved by human maneuver and ingenuity. The church allows neither

the flesh nor the natural, for both will damage her. It is quite true that

the  church requires   the  contributions   and  ministries   of  men;

nonetheless,  there  must  be  the   imprint  of  death  upon   them.

Usefulness accompanied by the mark of death is called resurrection.

The  Lord  is  himself  resurrection,   and  He  desires  to  have  a

resurrection church.

Should we wish to have such an experience, then we must look to

God for His working in our lives. Perhaps we are quite familiar with

many teachings, yet without our receiving a basic blow from the

Lord we shall remain the same. Sometimes we slip and fall. We feel

the pain, yes; yet it only lasts a few days or a few months. But had

we been given God’s basic blow and been sufficiently broken, we

would not be pained for merely a few days or a few months, we

would sustain that wound throughout our life. We would forever be

crippled before God, and the mark of the cross would always be upon

us.

Many years after Paul had seen the vision on the Damascus road,

he testified, “Wherefore . . . I was not disobedient unto the heavenly

vision” (Acts 26.19). If the Lord has mercy upon us and severely

strikes us one day, our old selves shall never be able to rise up again:

the wound will remain in us forever. Since it is still possible to touch,

in the resurrected Christ, the wound of the nailprints in His hands and

of the spear in His side, such wounding should never disappear in the

lives of all who today know the Lord as resurrection. Experiencing

this wound, we will never more dare to boast of ourselves and of our

power. Once beaten by the Lord,  we shall rise no more. May the

marks of the cross be increasingly evident in our lives.

Pretension is useless here. For what is put on by oneself will soon

be forgotten. But once the sacrifice is placed on the altar and slain, it

never rises again. If we have ever suffered this basic stroke, we will

realize how unable, finished, and nothing we are. This death mark in

us testifies to our knowledge of resurrection. Knowing the cross is

knowing resurrection. What is left after the cross is resurrection. Oh!

How many are the things which shall never rise again but are forever

gone once they have passed through the cross. Only what can endure

the cross possesses spiritual value. Whatever enters the grave and

remains is a dead thing; but whatever comes out on the other side of

the grave, yet bears the mark of the cross, is resurrection.

Let us pray that we may truly know Christ to be our resurrection

as well as our life. May the Lord eliminate many of our things from

us. May He not only cause us to have more of His life but also less of

ourselves.  How  often  we  live  according  to the  natural,  neither

knowing God’s discipline nor the cross. We need to ask the Lord to

be merciful to us that the natural may gradually be decreased in us

while the resurrected may be increasingly manifested. May life and

resurrection be realities—not theories—to us. Whenever we put forth

our hand, may He show us that there is no resurrection in it since all

that it performs is only natural and fleshly. May He expose our flesh

by the light of resurrection. If we still cannot see, the Lord be

merciful. Amen!




 

| 3 | Christ Is the Bread of Life and theLight of LifeJesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he thatcometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6.35) Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8.12)

We have briefly mentioned how all spiritual things are in Christ.

God has given Him to us to be all these things. This is a most

essential point of understanding in spiritual life. Is our experience

mere  experience  or  is  it  Christ?  Is  our  righteousness  simply

righteousness or is it Christ? Is our sanctification only sanctification

or is it Christ? Is our redemption merely redemption or is it Christ?

Frequently we talk about the way, but that way may not be Christ

himself. In like manner, we can speak of truth and of life without

necessarily speaking of Christ. In brief, we have many things outside

of Christ. This constitutes a formidable spiritual problem to God’s

children. We may confess with our mouth that Christ is the center of

all things, nevertheless in our lives we have many matters other than

Christ, as if these can help us to be Christians. How we need to have

our mind renewed so as to understand that aside from Christ God has

no intention for us to have many so-called spiritual things. According

to God’s arrangement, there are things; only, these things are Christ.

For  Christ   is  the   sum of all  spiritual  things.   Christ   is  our

righteousness—He has not given us a righteousness. Christ is our

sanctification—He has not granted us a thing called power to make

us  holy.  Christ  is  our  redemption—He  has  not  offered  us  a

redemption. Christ is the way—He has not opened to us another way

in which to walk. Christ is the truth—He has not presented some

truth before us for us to understand. Christ is the life—He has not

conferred on us a thing called life.

Brothers and sisters, as we travel along God’s course, we will

discover more and more that of all God’s grace there is only one

grace, of all God’s gifts there is only one gift. That grace is Christ,

that gift is also Christ. Thank God, day after day He is showing us

how Christ is all-inclusive. Formerly we thought of the Lord as our

Savior; now we can say He is not only our Savior but also our

salvation. Is this strange? No, this is fact. For we increasingly find

out about Christ being the thing of God.

If we erroneously dif erentiate between what the Lord Jesus gives

and what He is, between the gift and the giver, we shall suffer greatly

in spiritual life. For such error will keep us from touching the source

of life. In view of this, we wish to see more of Christ as our things. In

John 6:35 and John 8:12, the Lord tells us that He is the bread of life and

also the light of life. Let us consider each of these in turn.

Christ Is the Bread of Life

“I am the bread of life,” the Lord declares. He spoke this word to

the people who sought Him in Capernaum. These expected Him to

feed them with bread, so the Lord told them: “I am the bread of life.”

He it is who gives the bread of life, and He himself is that bread. The

gift and the giver are one, not separate. Thank God, Christ is God’s

gift as well as He is the Lord who gives the gift.

What is the meaning of bread in the Bible? It means satisfaction,

since the Scripture uses hunger to  represent the dissatisfaction of

man. For human dissatisfaction to be solved there needs to be bread.

Whether God’s children are able to finish the course before them or

whether they have the strength  to go on depends  largely on their

inward satisfaction. If we feel satisfied today, we will have the

strength for the day. But if we sense emptiness within, as though like

a tire that has blown out, we will not be able to drag ourselves on

through the day. We cannot conclude that there is no life, though we

certainly do not have strength. It is satisfaction—that inexplicable

feeling of satisfaction—which enables us to proceed and finish our

course.

Let us now see what bread is for the children of God. “I am the

bread of life.” The Lord Jesus maintains life as well as gives life.

Many Christians think of food only in terms of an hour of prayer or

an hour of Bible reading; they do not know that their food is the Lord

Jesus himself. We are not saying that prayer or Bible reading is

useless. But let us remember that the Lord Jesus says here that He is

“the bread of life”—which means that the bread of life is none other

than the Lord himself.

Often God’s children are not satisfied because they do not know

Christ as the bread of life. We always meet hungry people who are

discontented in spiritual matters. They are unhappy with everything,

and from dawn till dark they are obsessed with dissatisfaction. We

have no desire to persuade people to be arrogant or self-content. Yet

we would maintain that pride with self-contentment is one thing

while being fed and feeling satisfied is quite another thing. Some

people, having been dealt with by God, live before Him in weakness

and in trembling. They have not the slightest tinge of pride, yet they

have touched the Lord, and thus they are fully fed. They are in

possession  of  a  satisfaction  in  the  presence  of  God,  and  this

satisfaction is their strength.

How, then, can we be fully fed and satisfied? We ought to know

that all satisfactions are related to Christ. All satisfactions are to be

found in life. Christ is the bread of life. Whenever we really touch

life, we immediately obtain satisfaction. On the other hand, when we

sin against life we instantly sense a blow-out. Let us illustrate this

matter of obtaining satisfaction with some concrete instances.

Someone may say, “I have worked for over a year now. During

this period I have kept myself most busy. I have run here and there. I

have been so busy that I now feel quite empty within. I am very

hungry and do long to find a place for spiritual revival.” In reading

John Chapter 4, though, we find a discrepancy with what this person

has said. The Lord Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was

sitting by Jacob’s well. His disciples had gone to the city to buy food,

indicating that the Lord must indeed be hungry. There He meets a

Samaritan woman. It was the will of God that He should speak to her

and save her. He does what God has willed Him to do. His disciples

subsequently return with the food and request Him to eat. But He

says to them, “I have food to eat which you do not know about.”

They then think that someone else must have brought Him food.

Consequently, He plainly tells them, “The food which I have is to do

the will of Him who sent me, and to accomplish His work.”

From this incident in the life of our Lord we may conclude that

work should make us full instead of empty and hungry. In spiritual

work, each time we labor we feel full. If hunger follows each work,

something must be wrong. Each time after laboring, if we sense

weakness similar to a flat tire, we know something is wrong with that

labor. For if we walk according to God’s will and not by ourselves,

we should not feel flattened out but should feel strengthened instead.

How frequently we undertake a work not because we are ready

before the Lord but because the external need is very great and

outside persuasion is so strong. In so working, we experience an

inward shattering which will leave us strengthles  after work. This is

because something is wrong between us and the Lord. All labors

outside God’s will cause us to become more hungry. We must

therefore do God’s will in order to be satisfied.

We ought to realize that neither a spiritual retreat nor a Biblical

teaching is our food; Christ alone is. Since Christ is our food, how

can work to the point of emptiness followed by rest at some retreat to

receive  nourishment  be  the  answer?  How  can  we  speak  until

exhausted, then try to obtain some new teaching to replenish the

supply? Whether we are busy or not, it should be that each time we

stand up to speak for Christ we are so full of words and strength

within that not only those who hear are fed but we who speak are

sustained too. For it is the Lord who works in us. Having touched the

Lord, we will not feel empty but instead feel full upon finishing our

work. How mistaken we are if we regard rest or the hearing of a

sermon or participation in a spiritual retreat as the means of being

filled. To obtain food and spiritual nourishment is to allow the Lord

to work out in us whatever He wishes to do. The Lord who dwells in

us allows us to touch His life, and this alone causes us to feel full

within.

In spiritual experience, it is not the leisurely who can eat; on the

contrary, we eat more when we are busily occupied. We eat as we are

busily engaged. If we are walking in the will of God, the more we are

busy the more we eat. And hence, we will not be exhausted or feel

empty through much toil.

We believe many brothers and sisters can bear witness to this

truth. Suppose, for example, that you go out today to talk to another

person. You may speak with great passion but the Lord makes no

move in you. After you have spoken for five or ten minutes, to your

great surprise you begin to sense that something is wrong. You soon

wish to change the direction of your conversation for you realize you

are not able to go on as before. With the result that you feel empty

when you eventually must walk away. Nothing was wrong with your

word or your attitude. You tried your best to help that person. Yet

strangely you became emptier as you rambled on. When you finally

had  to walk  away,  you  felt  as  though  you  had  committed  an

enormous sin. At times you may perhaps have seen a little outward

success, you may even have had the feeling that you had done all

right; nevertheless, when these external feelings pass away, you

sense great emptiness and hunger inside. How true, that whenever

you move on your own, and in spite of some degree of outward

success, you eventually feel like a punctured balloon.

Brothers and sisters, have you ever felt as though you had run out

of  air? If  you  walk  according  to your  own  thought  instead  of

following the Lord with fear and trembling, however good your

intention may be you will always end up as one out of air—having

no spiritual punch. The more you work the less meaningful it is to

you. The more you continue the emptier you feel. In such a situation

you will feel the worse if you are at all praised. You just hate

yourself. This demonstrates that such work is not food, since it does

not satisfy you.

Those who know food find satisfaction in the Lord. For Christ is

the bread of life; He alone can satisfy. If your work cannot touch

Christ, you will feel hungry. But if you touch Him, you touch life

and spiritual reality. Busy or not, you are able to say, “Thank and

praise God, I have food to eat, for the Lord is my bread!” Beloved,

do you see that the answer to the whole problem lies not in outward

things such as where you go or what you do or which message you

deliver or even how much time you spend in spiritual retreats; but

that the solution lies in your touching the Lord inwardly. Whoever

touches Him obtains satisfaction.

Some believers may say, “Since the Lord has not called me to

preach or to work somewhere, how can I be satisfied? The preachers

and the workers have the opportunities of being fed, but most people

like me go hungry.” Praise God, such as these will not go hungry

either. For should such believers perform even a little labor such as

talk with others for ten or twenty minutes or converse with them in

ten or twenty sentences, they will have unloaded a burden and have

felt satisfied within if what they undertake is of the Lord and by His

power within them. It is the Lord who gives burden, and now the

burden is discharged. So believers will sense satisfaction and fullness

afterwards. Whenever we touch God we get satisfaction, and thus we

obtain food. For this reason, not  only the workers have special

opportunity to eat but everyone else as well has a chance to eat.

Daily  do  we  have  occasion  to  eat,  and  so daily  do  we  have

opportunity to be filled full. Christ is our food. If we touch Him, we

have food.

Let us mention another, though deeper, instance. Oftentimes we

do what we think is good and spiritual without knowing the Lord’s

mind, consequently we feel empty afterwards. It is only when we

follow the Lord that we achieve satisfaction. Once a brother noticed

another brother going astray. Time and again he felt he should point

out to him in all plainness that this was not a way of edification but

one of corruption. However, wishing to be a gentle Christian, he

decided merely to exhort the wayward brother with smiling face and

a few nice words. Surprisingly, when he discharged his burden in this

manner he felt as if the bottom had dropped out of a barrel. From the

human   standpoint   he   seemed   to have   done   well   and   quite

successfully. His attitude had been gentle and harmless. But instead

of being fed, he felt hungry.

Such a condition continued for  two or three months. He knew

something was wrong, therefore he asked the Lord to enlighten him

and show him the cause. One day he prayed, “Lord, whatever You

want me to do, I will do it accordingly.” The Lord heard his prayer

and showed him what he should do. For shortly thereafter that

wayward  brother  came  to  see  him,  and  this  time  he  strongly

reprimanded him. So far as his natural temperament was concerned,

he always suffered for days whenever he uttered any strong words.

On  this  occasion,  however,  the  stronger  he  spoke  the  more  he

touched the Lord. So that after he had uttered this strong reproof, he

had no need, as was the case before, to confess his sin; instead he

could praise the Lord. He felt as though he had had a full meal. Now

we do not mean to imply here that we may reprove people casually

or carelessly; such would undoubtedly be wrong to do. The instance

at hand only goes to show that if we do a thing according to the mind

of the Lord, we will inwardly be fed and thus be strengthened.

From the above incident, we discover an important fact: that the

good which one can do is not food. You may think it will be well if

you are more gentle, yet experience tells us that even if you act

gently, it is but the action of your outward man—and this cannot be

your food. Only when the Lord moves within you, and you move in

accordance with His will, will you have food. As you touch life, you

get food; as you touch the Lord, you are satisfied.

Christ Is the Light of Life

The Lord not only says that He is “the bread of life”; He also

declares: “I am the light of life.” Bread is for satisfaction, light is for

seeing. Satisfaction gives strength while seeing affects walking. We

have already seen how Christ is the bread of life. We shall now see

how He is also the light of life.

First of all, let us point out that the light of life is not a knowledge

of the Bible. Everybody knows Christians should read their Bible

diligently. But if we read it as a book of knowledge or as a textbook

of theology, we will get nothing but knowledge. We may be able to

acquaint ourselves with some Bible doctrines which are accurate, yet

these  are  only  letters. At  the  time  that  our  Lord  was born  in

Bethlehem, many priests and scribes were extremely familiar with

the books of the prophets; nonetheless, they did not recognize the

Christ. Today the New Testament is added to the Old Testament. It is

still possible for people to remember the letters of the Bible and yet

not know Christ. Not for a moment do we suggest that we need not

read the Scriptures; we simply stres  that in reading the Word we

may obtain knowledge without ever knowing Christ.

Many priests and scribes in the day of Christ had only a kind of

dead knowledge; they did not know the living Lord. Many people

mistake knowledge, doctrine, theology and teaching as the light of

life.  Some will  even say  they  get  light,  though  theirs  is  not

necessarily the light of life. What they consider light is only some

interpretation regarding a certain passage of Scripture or a kind of

teaching about the Bible. The real light is not mere knowledge. It is

none other than the Lord himself. The Lord emphatically declares

that He is the light of life.

Brothers and sisters, the experience of many confirms that what

we see in the light of life is often something we are unable to utter. It

sounds strange that we are able to see and yet are not able to explain.

Once a person questioned a sister to ascertain whether or not she was

saved. She replied: “Yes I am newly saved, yet I do not know how to

explain it. But I do know I am saved. If you believe I am saved, I am

saved; even if you do not believe I am saved, still I am saved.” Her

words rang true. She was saved, yet she could not explain. She knew

but she could not tell how. Hence, when one first sees the light he

may not have many doctrines to tell; he may perhaps have to wait

two or three years before he has some doctrines and teachings. This

light is the Lord himself. Whoever sees Him sees light.

What, then, is the difference between seeing the light and not

seeing the light? What kind of transformation will come over us if

we see? The difference here is tremendous. If we have really seen

light, we will fall to the ground. For light not only enlightens but also

slays.  Before  Paul  was  enlightened,  it  would  have  been  fairly

difficult to cause him to fall down; as soon as he was stricken by the

light, though, he was immediately flung to the ground. Some people

force  themselves  to  be  humble:  their  words are  humble,  their

manners are humble. Except that their kind of humility is very

exhausting—both to themselves and  to the onlookers. It is like a

small child holding a big dictionary: though the book is not very

heavy, it nonetheless drains the child’s strength. How hard it is for

the proud to be humble! How difficult for us to fall down from the

throne of pride! But when the light of the Lord shines, we instantly

fall flat. We do not understand how; we only know light levels us.

Doctrine does not cause any to fall. One may listen to eight or ten

messages and even memorize them; still, he remains the same. He

can treat a message which ought to induce weeping or treat a word

which ought to shatter man’s natural life as a subject for painstaking

research. Alas, in this case doctrine has become a thing, teaching has

become a thing, word also has become a thing. These are all dead;

there is no light.

Once a brother exulted over a message on Romans 6. He thinks he

has now seen Romans 6. A few days later, though, he has a big

quarrel with his wife. Such is the sorry story of man. His Romans 6

was only a thing—letters in a book. Therefore it was not light. Had

he seen light, he would not have been able to act like his old self, for

he would have been prostrated by that light.

Light is rigorous. It can do what man cannot himself do. What

doctrine cannot do, what the help of brothers and sisters cannot do,

and   what   our   own   effort   cannot   do,   light   can   immediately

accomplish. We may consider ourselves rather hard—but when light

shines, we are softened. When John saw the light he became as one

dead; so too with Daniel. No one is able to see the face of the Lord

and not fall down. None can behold the Lord without becoming as

one dead. It is difficult for us to die, it is hard for us to be humble,

but as soon as light shines, these are done. The light which comes

from the Lord has slaying power. It fells people as it shines.

The   Lord   Jesus   himself   is   light.   Consequently,   whoever

encounters Him sees and is fallen and weakened as though dead.

Many possess a rough and tough character. They have never been

broken by the Lord; neither themselves nor anybody else can deal

with them. Then the light of the Lord shines on them. As soon as

they see the light, they become broken vessels. A person who sees

the Lord is definitely weakened and broken. No one is able to live

after beholding the Lord. This is light.

Dear friends, never confuse light with many other things. What

we usually call light is not necessarily light. Many are but doctrines

or so-called “truths”. These have  no spiritual effectiveness in us.

There once was a brother who loved the Lord very much. One day a

certain person met him and said to him: “I am so glad I have found

the doctrine of sin in the book of Romans.” In reply he said, “My

friend, how is it that only today have you discovered the doctrine of

sin in Romans? I would think you should have found the fact of sin

long  ago  in  your  own  self.”  Many  are  attempting  to  discover

doctrine, but they have not found fact. It therefore remains as words

and a dead matter. It is neither light nor life nor Christ.

The first effect of light is to slay. Do not think light comes only to

cause us to see. Not so. When light dawns, it blinds our. eyes. It does

indeed cause us to see, but this is the latter effect. Light first blinds

us and prostrates us before it ever enables us to perceive. That which

cannot flatten us is not light; neither is that light which does not

humble us. When Paul saw the light, he was smitten to the ground

and for three days could see nothing with his eyes. Hence during the

initial encounter with light, we shall instead be dazed. The moment

one who dwells in darkness beholds the light, he will not be able to

see at all.

May God have mercy upon those who are so self-righteous and

self-conceited. For such people have never known light; all they

possess are but doctrines and knowledge. Had they  seen the true

light, they would have confessed, “Oh Lord, what do I know! I know

absolutely  nothing!”  The  greater  the  revelation,  the  deeper  the

blindness; the stronger the light, the severer the stroke. Light will

humble and fell us before it ever enables us to see. If we have not

been smitten, humbled, dazed and reduced to nothing, we are by this

fact proven to still be in darkness, possessing no light. May the Lord

be merciful to us that by His light He may take away our self-

reliance, so that we no longer dare to trust in our own knowledge and

judgment. Oh that we may come to Him saying, “Lord, You are the

light. In seeing You, I now realize that what I have seen in the past

have been but things.”

Light is not something abstract, it is something very substantial.

The Lord Jesus is that light. With Him in our midst, we have light

among us. How pitiful that many matters in the life of believers are

too theoretical. They have heard countless abstractions which offer

little practical help.

Once there was a brother who studied in a mission school while

he was young. He often attended Christian services and heard about

the doctrine of salvation, but he never met any saved person, nor was

he  saved.  One  day  he  met  someone  preaching  the  gospel.  The

preacher was a true Christian, and through his preaching that brother

was saved. Formerly, all that he had heard had only been a few

abstract teachings, and he therefore was not able to get saved. On this

day, though, he met a truly born-again believer, and in that person he

encountered something concrete. Hence he was saved.

One brother related the story of his studying the Bible. Said he:

“After I had heard a good number of brothers and sisters talking

about holiness, I decided to study the doctrine of holiness. I found in

the  New  Testament  over  two  hundred  verses  on  the  subject.  I

memorized them and arranged them in order. But I still did not know

what holiness is; I felt so empty. This situation continued until one

day I met an elderly sister who was truly a holy woman. That day my

eyes were opened to see what holiness is: for I had met a person who

was holy. How terrible was that light. It caused me much pain. It did

not afford me any way of escape. It showed me what holiness is.”

From these experiences we may come to understand that light is

concrete, living, and effective. If doctrine is what we preach, doctrine

will be received by people; but this is a dead object, not the light of

life. If the light of life is what we dispense, it will not only enlighten

people’s life, it will also be shone through them. We must realize that

since light was concrete and practical in the life of our Lord Jesus, it

ought to be the same in our lives. Being a living Person the light of

life quickens us when it is revealed.

Friends, why is it that after many days the truth of God seems to

lose its power, becoming so weak that it cannot touch us? For no

other reason than that it has become too much doctrine, too much

theological knowledge! We need to  recognize that only the living

Lord can beget living people. We look to God to be truly merciful to

us, enabling us more and more to see that things are all dead but that

the Lord alone is living. The most attractive and spiritual things in

Christianity—if they are outside of Christ—are but dead. We should

let the Lord himself be this thing or that thing to us. Then it is living.

It is living both in us and in those who receive from us. May the Lord

be gracious to us that we may be cast to the ground before the Lord

and know Him far differently.

Christ Is God’s Everything

On the morrow he seeth Jesus coming unto him, and

saith, Behold, the lamb of God, that taketh away the sin

of the world! (John 1.29)

Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that

cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6.35)

Jesus therefore said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, ye have not life in yourselves. (John 6.53)

Again therefore Jesus spake unto them, saying, I am the light

of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness,

but shall have the light of life. (John 8.12)

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for

except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8.24)

Jesus therefore said, When ye have lifted up the Son of man,

then shall ye know that I am he. (John 8.28)

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life. (John 11.25)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life:

no one cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14.6)

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us

wisdom  from  God,  and righteousness  and  sanctification,  and

redemption. (1 Cor. 1.30)

Christ, who is our life. (Col. 3.4)

Christ Jesus our hope. (1 Tim. 1.1)

Jehovah is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?

Jehovah is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Ps.27.1)

Christ Is Both God’s End and God’s Means

God’s end is Christ, so also God’s means is Christ. It is through


Christ to Christ. What we may  learn before God concerning His

purpose is especially opened up to us in Ephesians and Colossians.

Let us now view God’s purpose by looking into these two books.

However, let us note that there is one distinction between them. In

Ephesians,  we  are  shown  how,  according to God’s  predestined

purpose, He has so arranged that at the fullness of the times He is to

sum up all things in Christ—both things in the heavens and things

upon the earth. Colossians, on the other hand, reveals further that

God has not only caused Christ to have first place in everything but

even more, Christ is to be all and in all. Hence Colossians discloses

to us Christ as the means as well as the end of God. God’s end is to

let Christ have the first place in all things. In order to realize that

goal, God must have Christ as all things. Only by His being all things

and dwelling in all things can Christ sum up all things both in the

heavens and upon the earth. If Christ is all, naturally all things are

summed up in Him. If He dwells in all, what else can all things be?

Remember that in God’s eye there is only Christ, not things. He

sees neither affairs nor things, He only beholds Christ. The affairs

and things which we usually think of are non-existent in the view of

God. Today we probably reckon that there are lots of things and

affairs in the world. According to our worldly viewpoint, there are

affairs here and matters there; but according to God’s estimate Christ

is all. Consequently there is neither affair nor thing. Christ is all and

He is in all. And that will be the day when the eternal purpose of God

shall be fulfilled.

I hope you might realize one thing, which is, that Christ will sum

up all things in himself. This has already begun to occur today in the

church; it need not be something that begins only in the future, nor

only becomes true when God’s eternal purpose is finally reached.

God is presently opening our eyes to see that in the church Christ

is both affairs and things. The church begins to understand this, and

the church commences to live in this spiritual world. If the church

still sees things and affairs, it merely proves she has yet to behold

Christ. But of course, the things and affairs which we mention here

do not refer simply to matters and affairs of this world; they point

especially to spiritual matters and spiritual affairs.

John’s Gospel Reveals Christ as God’s Everything

It is rather surprising to find that John sets down many words not

found in the other Gospels. The Gospel of John is the most profound

of all the Gospels as well as it is the last written. It was written after

all the rest of the New Testament had been composed. Other Gospels

and many Epistles had already appeared, but at the very last, John

came forth to present his Gospel. In it there is finally shown to us

what God’s estimate of Christ is and in it we are told how we ought

to know Christ as God knows Him.

Here do we understand that what God requires is not a lamb, nor

is what He gives the bread of life. We also come to understand that

God does not provide the way, the truth, and the life, neither does

Christ merely use His power to restore man’s life or man’s sight. In

the whole of John’s Gospel we see only one monumental fact, which

is, that Christ is  all these things. He says He is the light of the

world—He does not say He is able to give people light. He says He

is the bread of life—He does not say He will give us the bread of life.

He says He is the way—He does not say He will guide us to walk in

the way. He says He is the truth—He does not say He will teach us a

truth. He says He is true life—He does not say He will give us a life.

When Lazarus died Christ did not tell Mary and Martha He had the

power to raise up their brother; instead He declared that He is the

resurrection.

Please note that the bread of life is a thing, so too is the light, the

way,  the  truth,  the  life,  the  resurrection, or the  lamb.  But  in

Christianity there are no things—only Christ! This is the whole of the

matter. What we need to comprehend before God is that in our

experience there is neither thing nor affair but only Christ: not that

He gives us light, but that He is our light; not that He leads the way,

but He is the way; not that He gives us a life, but He is our life; not

that He teaches a truth, but He is the truth. Brethren, do you grasp the

difference here? Whatever Christ gives is His very own self.

One day I was talking to a group of people about this spiritual

fact. As I spoke, many eyes stared at me. I told them I would present

a most significant fact to them; namely, that God’s Christ is God’s

everything, for God has nothing else but Christ! God has not given us

light, He gives Christ to us; God has not given us food, He gives

Christ to us; God has not given us the way, the truth, and the life,

instead He gives us Christ. God’s Christ is all things; aside from Him

God has nothing.

What Paul Understands—That Christ Is Our Hope

I wish you to see that Paul later on says the same thing as did our

Lord Jesus. He knows the Lord well and he unveils some marvelous

facts. First of all, he says to Timothy, “Christ Jesus (who is) our

hope.” I love to read this particular word. How about you? He does

not say our hope is in Christ Jesus; he instead asserts that Christ

Jesus is our hope. It is not a pinning our hope on Christ, expecting to

be given hope by Him; rather is it Christ himself our hope.

—That Christ Is Our Life

Then too, Paul writes to the Colossians in the following manner:

“When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested.” Says Paul,

“Christ is our life.” Instead of saying, When Christ is revealed, he

says, When Christ  our life is revealed. Do you now see that a

Christian has nothing but Christ?

—That Christ Is Our Wisdom and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption

One of the most popular Scripture verses used in our preaching is

1 Corinthians 1.30 which states that “of (God) are ye in Christ Jesus,

who  became  wisdom  to  us  from  God,  both  righteousness  and

sanctification  and  redemption”   literal).  God  has  not  given  us

righteousness, He gives Christ to us since Christ is our righteousness.

God has not given us sanctification, He gives us Christ because

Christ is our sanctification. God has not given us redemption, He

gives us Christ because Christ is our redemption. God has not given

us wisdom, He gives us Christ inasmuch as Christ is our wisdom. It

is for this reason that we say God’s Christ is God’s everything. God’s

Christ is God’s thing and affair; aside from Him God has neither

thing nor affair.

Suppose God tells us today that He will make the Lord Jesus our

justifier. How would we think? We would say, He indeed is our

justifier. But according to Paul’s writing here God has not made the

Lord Jesus our justifier. God causes Him to be our justification. Is

not this exceedingly good? Christ is our righteousness.

Neither does God say here through Paul that the Lord Jesus is to

be our sanctifier. Instead He says that the Lord Jesus is sanctification.

Christ does not come to sanctify us, He comes to be himself our

sanctification.  Our  sanctification  is  not  a  thing,  an  action,  or  a

behavior. Our sanctification is a person, even Christ.

Nor does God assert that the Lord is our redeemer, but He says

that the Lord is our redemption. Does this sound foreign to our ears?

For Paul does not say that God has set the Lord Jesus to be the

redeemer, he declares instead that the Lord Jesus is redemption.

Thank God, Christ is our redemption as well as our redeemer. He

is our sanctification as well as our sanctifier. He is our righteousness

as well as our justifier. He is our wisdom as well as the one who

makes us wise.

What David Comprehends—That Christ Is Our Salvation

If I were to tell you the Lord Jesus is our savior, I believe you

would all respond with “Truly, the Lord Jesus is our savior.” Is it not

rather unusual that Psalm 27.1 declares that “Jehovah . .    is my

salvation”? We know the Lord is our savior, for this is factual to us.

But God shows David that the Lord is our salvation. The Lord Jesus

is both our savior and our salvation. That which God gives to us is

the Lord Jesus himself.

Living Christianity Has Only One Person

Probably you will ask me, Why do you lay such stress on this

point? Because here lies the dif erence between living Christianity

and  dead  Christianity. The  distance  between these  two ways  is

incalculable. One is spiritual, while the other is not spiritual. One is

of God, but the other is of man’s invention. Let me say this: that

when you have studied God’s word carefully, you will discover that

in the Bible there is only a Person, not a thing. And that Person is the

Lord Jesus. You cannot find anything except that Person.

A  colossal  problem exists  among God’s  children  today.  The

Christianity which they know is quite fragmentary. You obtain a

little grace, I receive a little gift, and he speaks a little tongue. This

man experiences some change in his conduct, that man possesses

some measure of love; this one has patience, that one has humility.

This  is  what  is  commonly  known  as  Christianity.  But  is  this

Christianity? It is not, for Christianity is Christ. Christianity is not

reward, neither is it what Christ gives to me. Christianity is none

other than Christ himself.

Do you perceive the difference? These are two totally divergent

ways. Christianity is not any one thing which Christ gives to me;

Christianity is Christ giving himself to me. Here is the problem, that

people consider today’s Christianity to be the endowment of Christ.

When I was a sinner, Christ endowed me with grace and mercy. Now

that I have become a Christian, He endows me with patience and

humility and gentleness and whatever. But this is just not so.

Nothing Impersonal in Christianity

Before God it is not a matter of the endowment of Christ; rather, it

is God giving Christ himself to us. God has not granted us humility

and patience and gentleness, He grants the entire Christ to us. It is

Christ who becomes our humility, patience, gentleness. It is Christ,

the living Lord. And this is what is truly called Christianity.

Please  take  note  that  there  is nothing  at  all  impersonal  in

Christianity. You cannot find any impersonal element in it. Every

matter in Christianity has to do with personality, and the person

involved is Christ. To put it another way, our patience is not a thing,

ours is a Person—our sanctification is not an experience, ours is a

Man—our justification is not a  thing, ours is a Personality—our

righteousness is not a behavior,  ours is a Being. When we are

redeemed and delivered, we do not obtain items as such, for our

redemption and deliverance are alive. Our patience, our humility, our

gentleness, our love, and so on are the Lord himself, not things. And

this is what Christianity really is. In a believer’s life today Christ is

already all, and needs no waiting until a future day.

Many will ask how we can say Christ is all? Let me tell you that if

you truly know a living Christianity you would have no trouble

acknowledging Christ as all. Not that He gives all, but that He is all.

Perhaps a problem arises—that so many of God’s children suffer

considerable defeat. This is due to the fact that what they get before

God  is  gift  instead  of  Christ.  They  receive from God  many

fragmentary items but they have  not obtained the Christ of God.

They possess objects and things but not a “Person”. I wonder how

much we really see. I can categorically state that the solution to this

problem answers all other problems.

At the time we were saved we  heard God’s word declare that

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that

whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life”

(John 3.16). We felt the need of being saved. We therefore went to

God and prayed, “Lord, You have loved me and given Yourself to

me. Will You not also give me salvation? You have become my

Savior, will You not now give me salvation too?” How foolish we

are to ask for salvation as though the Savior is not sufficient enough.

This is nonetheless exactly what many are doing.

What is the gospel we preach? We announce that God has given

us the Savior. But when we repent and pray we say, “God, give me

salvation.” Let me tell you, God has but one Son, and this Son is

your salvation. In having the Savior you have the salvation. Why do

you still beg for the latter? Only the fool will plead, “Since You have

become my Savior, now give me salvation also.”

“I AM. .  .  .”

Today we are Christians. We are saved, and God has given Christ

to us to be our life. Nevertheless, we are continually asking God for

one thing, two things, three things, ten things, fifty things, a hundred

things, ten thousand things, a million things, a billion things. We

think these actually count. But God shows us that Christ is our all.

It is for this reason that God reveals in His word that Christ’s

name is “I AM”. We need to understand and experience more of this

blessed name.

Getting Food

In the Gospel according to John the Lord says, “I am the bread of

life.” We ask for bread, taking it as a thing. We are so hungry that we

plead with God to give us bread if He wills. Most surprisingly, all

who ask for bread never get it; and hence they remain hungry. Now I

have not served the Lord too long a time, but I have served Him

enough years to be able to say that I have never met anyone asking

for bread who got it. You may perhaps retort: Can God’s word be

wrong? Has not God said that “he satisfieth the longing soul, and the

hungry soul he filleth with good” (Ps. 107.9)? My answer is, indeed,

“the hungry he hath filled with good things” (Luke 1.53); but what

are these good things which are food to the hungry? We should know

that what satisfies us before God is not bread but Christ. How often

we feel hungry and empty within; believing there is supply with God,

we pray and expect food. We do not know how we can get the food.

All we know to do is to draw nigh to the Lord more, to believe and

receive more of Him and to enjoy Him more. What surprises us is,

that though we do not get the food we expect, we are nonetheless

satisfied. We do not obtain the food we imagine, but due to our

nearness to the Lord we are satisfied by believing and accepting

Him. For God’s food is Christ. It is not a thing called food, but Christ

as food. The Chinese have a proverb: one for all. This can surely be

applied to the things of God. Whatever thing we may ask of Him,

God always gives us Christ—the one for all.

My Righteousness and Holiness

I always rejoice and feel like praising God for the simple reason

that my righteousness is not my own conduct but is a person, even

the Lord Jesus. Since my righteousness is the Lord Jesus, therefore

not only can I say I have this or that righteousness but also I can talk

to my righteousness and praise and give glory to my righteousness.

How does this sound to you? You may perhaps wonder how I can

give  glory  to  my  righteousness.  Yet  I  often  give  glory  to  my

righteousness, for my righteousness is the Lord Jesus. Neither is my

holiness my own behavior. I frequently praise my holiness. I am not

asserting that I praise my own behavior. On the contrary, I hate my

own conduct. Nevertheless I can praise my holiness, because my

holiness is my Lord. How utterly contrary are these two: the one is a

thing while the other is the Lord.

God’s Destroying and Building

In our spiritual experience we  discover one fact. After being

Christians for several years or for several decades we find ourselves

more irritated than when we first believed. I recall a number of

people telling me how in the beginning they were quite able to be

patient, forgiving, and prayerful, but that now they no longer can.

Formerly they could put up with any treatment they might possibly

receive in schools, homes, or offices, but that in the present hour they

are unable to do so any more. Even though their ill-temper does not

explode on every occasion, their inward thought is nonetheless to

have revenge. Such cases are too numerous to count. Many have told

me how they are no longer humble, patient, gentle, loving, or zealous

as they once were.

Brethren, just keep in mind that God must take every thing away.

For when we first believed in the Lord we asked God for love when

we sensed the need of it. May I say it—and here I will apply “baby

talk” to the situation—that God in that instance gave us a dose or a

bag of love that we then might love. Love here was an object, though

we might have received quite a lot of it. But let me say that God will

never  allow love  to  be  a  thing  in  our  lives  forever.  He must

eventually make Christ our love. And in order to do that He has to

take that object or thing called love away from us. Many, being of

bad or quick temper before they trusted the Lord, consider patience a

gift,  a  salvation, a  thing  in  itself.  If  only  they  have  this,  then

everything will be all right It may go well with them for one or two

years, but by the third or fifth year it has fizzled out.

God performs a similar type of work to this in the lives of many of

His children. He will remove everything away, not only the things of

the world but spiritual things as well. Before we were saved, worldly

objects and affairs usurped the place of Christ; but after being saved,

spiritual  objects  and  affairs  now  tend  to  occupy  Christ’s  place.

Hence God must show us one day that “Christ is my world.” Earlier

He took from us the things of this world; presently He is taking away

our spiritual thing or things. He removes our personal patience, love,

power, gentleness, humility. Indeed, He removes all, that we may not

live by these good things but live by a Person instead. We are patient

not because we have received a power to be so, but because we have

got a Person. So is it with humility and the rest: not a power but a

Person.

It is for this very reason that God engages in a destroying work

daily in the lives of His children that He may also do the work of a

daily building up. Daily destroy things and daily build up Christ.

This is God’s way with His children. Let me tell you that in bygone

days God seemed to give you a gift, a power by which to be patient;

so that you almost thought your problem of being patient was solved.

You then turned to deal with humility, and again God appeared to

give you a gift, a power by which to be humble, so that you began to

feel your problem of humility was settled. Next you realized yet

another problem in your life, for which you asked of God a solution.

Each day you tried to solve one or two problems—yet what you were

doing was solving fractional problems.

Brethren, God will take away all things in order to give you one

Person who is to be simultaneously your humility, your patience,

your gentleness, and your love. For Christ is all. And this is what

Christianity actually is. God builds incessantly until finally even this

universe must confess that Christ is indeed all. Today God desires to

work out in us this confession that Christ is all.

Excuse me for referring to myself for a moment. I am concerned

and also entrusted with the spiritual life of a number of people. Often

I see someone whom I feel needs help, and I will exhort him by

saying, “Brother, you lack love. Next time you should show love to

your brother.” So I encourage him to love. Suppose he listens to my

word and succeeds in loving his brethren. We will consider him a

good brother and be comforted by the effectiveness of our labor.

However, what this brother attains to is love, not Christ. Love to him

is not a Person, it is merely a thing—a facet of human behavior. This

I call a behaving Christianity because it consists of exhibiting certain

aspects  of  human  behavior.  It  is  man  who  is  working,  asking,

expecting, praying, believing, receiving, waiting and succeeding with

respect to this matter of love. Because of this, I say that love in his

life is but a thing, a mark of behavior. This is totally different from

love being Christ. Love is Christ, not I. It is Christ, not I, who loves.

For then it becomes a law of life instead of a behavior of will. What a

distinct Christianity this is!

I wonder if you have grasped hold of this? How do you feel when

you help a brother to go on with God and learn later that he is still

occupied with the things in Christianity? He has yet to know Christ

and how Christ is God’s everything.

Further Knowing

Let me explain further what is meant by knowing Christ. It means

knowing  Christ  in  things  and  affairs.  What  can  this  denote? It

denotes knowing Christ as your things and affairs. Some are able to

say they know Christ as their patience. This is reckoned as knowing

Christ. Others may know Christ as their love; still others know Christ

as their humility. Such knowledge will effect a drastic change in life.

Henceforth you are able to say that there is no thing in your life. I

trust some of you can make this statement, for you recognize what it

really means. In your world, even your spiritual world, there is

nothing but Christ. For instance, you have no holiness except Christ.

This does not imply, of course, that you are not holy, only that Christ

is now your holiness. Immediately you comprehend that Christ is all.

Hereafter  you  may  be  completely delivered  from these  outward

matters. The whole approach is a matter of knowing Christ, not a

matter of prayer or exhortation or encouragement.

I wish all servants of the Lord would take note of this fact: that it

is neither exhortation nor encouragement but a living knowledge of

Christ. In encouraging people, you can only stir them to self-action.

But when God opens their eyes, they will know Christ; this alone is

effective. Words such as these may be repeated for a hundred times

without any result, until God opens our eyes to see that Christ is what

we really seek. Many people know Him as the Lord who justifies

them, nevertheless they are afraid of God because they do not know

Christ as their righteousness. Many know the Lord Jesus as their

sanctifier,  yet  they  are  wanting  in  holiness  before  God.  Why?

Because they only seek for holiness. Since the Lord is sanctifier, they

will ask Him to give them strength to be holy. As they proceed on

this course, though, they soon discover their inability to be holy.

Only after God opens their eyes and gives them light to see that

Christ is their holiness—and not their desire for holiness nor God’s

granting them power to be holy—is their difficulty surmounted, for

Christ has then become holiness in them. Let me tell you that we

may lose power but we can never lose Christ. Our holiness rests not

on what we do but on what He is to us. When we know Him as all,

all our problems are solved. I therefore have no other message than

this: Christ is all.

Here is the trouble: I know many people who know Christ as their

Lord but do not know Him as their things and affairs. If we only

perceive Christ as “er” and not as “tion” we only know His acts but

not His own self. We may know Him as redeemer, sanctifier, and

justifier,   yet   God   wants   us   to   know   Him   as   redemption,

sanctification, and justification.

Do you know the Lord Jesus as your savior, or as your salvation?

your redeemer or your redemption? your liberator or your liberation?

your   sanctifier  or   your   sanctification? your   justifier   or   your

justification? To know Him as “er” is primary knowledge; to know

Him as “tion” is further and deeper knowledge.

Today there are too many things in the lives of God’s children. All

shall be well if one day we know that “He is”, and that thus all things

have turned out to be one Person. God’s eternal purpose is hereby

realized.

As long as our sanctification,  redemption, regeneration, power,

grace  and  gift  remain  as  objects,  we  are  still  standing  on  the

borderline of Christianity. But when we see these not as things but

the Lord himself, we begin to know God and enter into God’s eternal

purpose. Hereafter it is always He, never things.

It is because of this that I mentioned at the outset that the things

which many people have are dead. Once they realize this, their things

will  take  up  personality  and turn out  to be  Christ.  For  my

regeneration is not a thing; it has a Personality. Christ whom I have

is a person, not a thing. All that I have has personality because the

Lord is all. One day He led me to know Him, now He further leads

me into knowing Him as everything to me. Thus am I delivered out

of my own life as well as out of the things of the spiritual world.

Hereafter I can truly say that the Lord is all and in all. I can testify

that in my daily living He is all. If today I am patient, it is not I but

He who lives in me who is patient. If today I love, it is not because I

try my best to love, for the power  of love is not in me; but it is

because there is One who loves in me. If today I forgive, it is not due

to my generosity or effort or ability, it instead is purely due to the

One  who  lives  in  me and  always  forgives.  Indeed,  He  is  my

forgiveness. If today I am humble, this does not happen because I

remind myself how proud I am and  that therefore I need to be

humble. My humility does not come through suppressing my pride or

through determining to be humble; it is the Person in me who so

humbles. Since He is my humility, I therefore am humble. This is

called the law of life. What is the law of life? It is none other than

Christ becoming our life as well as things.

Consequently, brothers and sisters, I wish us all to ask God to

open our eyes that we may actually see that sooner or later all things

will pass away but that what remains will be Christ. Therefore, let

Christ be all today.


 

Nothing but Christ

Jesus therefore said, When ye have lifted up the Son

of man, then shall ye know that I am he. (John 8.28)

For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then

shall ye also with him be manifested in glory. (Col. 3.3-


For in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon

the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or

dominions  or principalities  or  powers;  all things  have  been

created through him and unto him; and he is before al  things,

and in him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the

church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in

all things he might have the preeminence. For it was the good

pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell;

and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made

peace through the blood of his cross: through him, I say, whether

things upon the earth, or things in the heavens. (Col. 1.16-20)

Man’s Concept and Request

The gift which we receive from God’s hand is His Son, Jesus

Christ. Yet quite varied is the understanding of many concerning the

Lord Jesus. If you would allow me to say it, among God’s children

some consider the Lord Jesus as one of God’s many gifts while

others appreciate Him as God’s  only gift. Some receive the Lord

Jesus as their first gift, for they believe there are many gifts besides

Him—gifts which may run into the thousands or ten thousands in

number; whereas others confess the Lord Jesus to be the gift of God,

that is, He is God’s sole gift.

Many are saved when they first receive the Lord Jesus. Later, they

learn  they  still  have  many  deficiencies  and needs.  Some may

discover that their quick temper persists even after they are saved;

others notice that their pride follows them; while still others may find

that their cowardice remains with them.

In the experience of God’s children it is often observed that after

being  saved  many  are  asking,  expecting,  believing,  and  praying

before God concerning many, many gifts which they duly receive.

And  they  number  Christ  among  the  ranks  of  these  many  gifts,

viewing Him as but one, though admittedly the first and foremost, of

God’s gifts.

It is quite surprising that we notice our needs when we commence

to follow the Lord. Yet are we not already Christians? Why then

should we be in need? Yet this is how we in fact feel. We are new

Christians  but  with  deficiencies.  Whatever  our  deficiencies  may

really be, they are not proper; we therefore strive to deal with them.

We pray and hope, believe and desire, and furthermore, we get

what we need. And it certainly feels good when we have overcome

our special deficiency. Our heart rejoices over the fact that we have

obtained a gift.

Now in this kind of situation many of God’s children view God’s

gift and grace as that which replenishes our want. Indeed, a number

of people will probably say, what else is God’s grace for if it is not to

fill up our lack? I have here a Bible with one thousand pages. I am

missing the page which asks God to replenish me with His grace (if

there in fact be such a page). In other words, what I lack is only bits

and pieces, but I will be complete when that piece is filled in. Some

people need five pieces for they lack five pieces; others need ten

pieces because that is what they lack. My personal love is probably

almost perfect, though it will be even better if a little humility and a

little patience are added. I may still need these bits but I shall be

perfected after these are supplemented. Man’s concept is always a

matter of lack or want; consequently, he usually asks God for that

particular supply.

Hence the situation is as follows. What we lack and ask for are all

things, objects which can be counted in number. We declare we are

wanting in this or that, and if only God will replenish it, we then will

be all right.

Suppose we lack patience. just exactly what kind of patience are

we expecting to have? Our eyes rarely look up to heaven for our

standard; on the contrary, we usually look around us: “What a pity I

am not as good as Mr. So-and-So! He is so patient, while I am so ill-

tempered. He is so gentle, whereas I am so proud. Would that I could

be as patient and as gentle as he.” Some time ago, it being the first

instance that I prayed after my salvation, I asked God to give me a

Bible like the one a certain brother had. We so often can only pray

for what we have seen concerning others. We are unable to ask for

something from heaven which we have never seen. We therefore

pray for patience or humility such as a certain someone else has. We

have already pictured in our mind what humility or patience is.

May I ask you a hypothetical question? Would you be happy if

soon after believing on the Lord God would take the patience of a

certain person and deposit it within you? You would most likely

consider yourself perfect and fully satisfied by such an addition.

You view patience as a thing, that which another possesses. Since

there is such a trait called patience among brothers and sisters, you

too desire to have that trait.  Frequently you descend into hating

yourself because you were ill-conceived with such a bad temper.

How nice it would be were you only to have that thing which the

other person has. For this reason, many of God’s  children admire

patience as a thing; that is to say, they long for something such as a

controlled temper. To them patience is a thing which God has, which

some people on earth have, but which they do not possess. Their

pressing need is to have patience added to them, thus making them

patient people too.

Quite candidly speaking, here lies the basic difference between

real  and  faulty  Christianity.  Many  of  God’s  people  are  seeking

something which seems to be everywhere else except in their own

lives. They notice that so-and-so here, and so-and-so there, and so-

and-so somewhere else have it, but they do not. Hence they look for

a thing, for something existing on the earth. Such is the common

notion in Christianity. People pursue and then possess some item.

They rejoice and are thankful for the thing they get.

Christ Alone

What most people fail to recognize is that in the spiritual realm

there is nothing but Christ. There is no patience nor humility nor

light in the spiritual world; these things do not exist. It is Christ and

Him alone.

In view of this we need to have a further work of God done in our

lives. When we were first saved we were shown that what we needed

was Christ, not works. We were saved through Christ and not by our

efforts. Just as similar a drastic and thorough revelation should we

have in our present concern; namely, that what we need is Christ, not

things. Just as there were many matters eliminated when we first

believed, so many more matters must be totally wrecked today. The

only difference being, that what was first destroyed were sins, while

what is later to be demolished are spiritual things. It was at the first

that our pride, jealousy, vainglory, ill-temper, or some other sin(s)

were destroyed; today our patience, humility, and self-styled holiness

must also be destroyed in order that we may understand that Christ is

our life and our all. How vastly opposite is this Christianity from the

Christianity which people usually conceive of.

A number of brothers and sisters often come to talk with me and

to ask me many questions. You may be among that number who may

consider yourself to be better  than many other people, but I am

fearful lest you remain the same throughout your life, because what

you have in yourself are but things. As regards patience, you are

truly very patient; as regards humility, you are surely quite humble;

you are very bright in performing tasks and quite good in your

conduct.  You  have  love  and  are  always  willing  to  help  and  to

forgive. According to the standard of man, where else can one ever

find  such  a  good  Christian? Even  so,  I  must tell  you  straight-

forwardly that what you have in yourself are mere things. You ought

to realize before God that that which is spiritual is not a thing but is

the Lord Jesus Christ: not what you have, nor what you can do, nor

yet what you can get, but only what Christ is. Except He becomes

that thing in your life, nothing else is of any spiritual worth. In the

spiritual  world,  there  is  nothing  but  Christ  since  He  is  God’s

everything.

Whoever Touches Christ Touches Life

It may be of help here if we touch upon some practical experience.

Permit me to relate a little out of my personal experience. Several

days ago something happened in  a brother’s home. According to

duty, I naturally should visit him; for unless one decides against

being a Christian, he naturally should desire to be a compassionate

person. If I were to go see him, I might be able to help on the one

hand by sharing with him something of my personal feeling, and on

the other hand by saving him countless troubles in the future. So I

started on my way to visit that brother. However, the farther I walked

the chillier I became within until there was no more spirit left in me.

Immediately I realized it was again I who wished to do something

compassionate. I was trying to perform an act of loving the brethren,

yet I had already touched death. The act was both commendable and

right, but it was not Christ because I was doing it. What would be the

consequence if  I undertook the task? The answer: inward death,

inward freeze. I may have initiated a commendable act, but I did not

meet life. It was no doubt an act of compassion, yet I could not find

the  Lord  in  it.  All  that  could  be  said  was  that  I  had  been

compassionate.  Allow  me  to  reiterate  that  each  time  you  touch

Christ, and not conduct, you touch life. Were you only to touch

conduct you would surely die, since it is you who are doing it.

We should understand that Christianity is Christ, and the life of a

Christian is also Christ. Do not pile up a thousand good items and

view that heap as Christian life. Were you able to gather up all the

humilities on earth as well as assemble tens of thousands of other

good traits, you still could not create a Christian. All that can be seen

is a chain of things; one cannot see Christ.

Some years ago my fellow-workers frequently teased me about

my attempt to save face. I wished to save the face of others as well as

my own. I did not like to expose another’s affairs; I would not have

individuals leave my home feeling hurt; and I was most reluctant to

embarrass anyone. If anybody should feel uneasy, I was that way

long before. I wanted to be a gentle person. Nevertheless, oftentimes

in my contact with this or that brother I sensed death—instant death,

without any touch of life—when I tried to be a good and tender

person towards him. There could be only one explanation for it: this

tenderness was a thing, the product of my own effort. It was not

Christ, hence I died instantly. I had touched a dead body; I was

weakened within. There was left  no strength in me, and so I was

finished inwardly.

This, then, is the gist of the whole matter. As we live before God,

we experience death when we only see a thing. If what we have is

merely a thing we immediately touch death, because Christ is not in

it. Had we touched Christ, we would at once have touched life, since

He himself is life.

The Tree of Life Is Living

We are frequently reproved in our work. I suppose we all know

that those of us who serve God always wish to do more for Him.

Now to serve God is basically an excellent and correct undertaking.

Very often it requires us to suffer, to sacrifice, to spend and be spent.

Nonetheless, many a time in our service we cannot touch life, we

instead  feel  we  have  touched  death.  Our  inside  begins  to  be

weakened, and we are inwardly censured as being wrong. At what

point in time did we go wrong? It is at the moment when we

conceive the idea that we will so work for God that we are weakened

and inwardly reprimanded. Oh, it is altogether possible to receive

severer reproof in our “doing good” than in our “doing evil”!

How many people believe the Lord will rebuke us only when we

sin! May I suggest that He who dwells in us will often chide us when

we do good. For the principle before God is not the tree of the

knowledge of good and evil, it is the tree of life. The knowledge of

good and evil is inadequate, since the issue is a matter of life. On the

day that one eats the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and

evil, he must die. The tree of life alone is living.

Two Kinds of Christian Life

There exist two kinds of life among the children of God: one kind

is full of things while the other kind is Christ. In appearance they

look almost alike. Hence it is  extremely difficult to locate their

differences. Both  may  speak  of humility,  gentleness,  love,  or

forgiveness. They are hardly distinguishable outwardly. Even so, the

one is but a chain of things, whereas the other is Christ himself. How

completely distinct they are inwardly.

The Cross for Christ

Let me state it quite bluntly: if yours be things, you do not need

the cross; but if yours be Christ, you learn to have the cross. The

cross not only interdicts our sin, it also inhibits our activity. It curbs

our action as well as checks our sin. Many difficulties arise just at

this point—that God’s children consider it well if they do good, yet

they fail to realize that their good is merely a thing. In the presence

of God the whole issue is Christ. Christ is that good thing, Christ is

the life. If He  remains quiet, how can we move? We can easily utter

many comforting words, but if He does not speak we ourselves dare

not speak. For if we do we will touch death, and thus are we

inwardly  weakened  and  shattered. We may  without  effort  help

people in many concerns and earn the praise of men as being tender-

hearted;  yet  when   we  set   about to   perform these   helps  we

immediately feel deflated within.

Herein  do we  see  the  cross: that  whatever  matters  we  may

accomplish by our doing good does not require the cross; it is only

when we allow the Lord to live in our lives so that He may be our

things and our all do we need the cross. If He makes no move, how

can we move? Oh how we need to ask God to deliver us from our

good works just as we ask Him for deliverance from our sins. How

often it is relatively easier to be delivered from sin (since sin is

condemned) than to be delivered from the natural life (since to many

the latter is neither condemned nor rejected).

Christ Is Healing

What does it really mean to us when we say that Christ is our

things? What does such a statement really convey to us? I think we

may learn a good lesson from our physical body. Many people,

physically feeble, pray concerning healing. Here we may distinguish

three different concepts of faith. Some believe God is their physician;

others believe God can give them healing and health; while still

others believe God is their healing.

When people contract some physical ailment or trouble, what do

they seek after? They expect God to be their physician. Since God is

the living God, He can touch the body with His power and heal it. If

such be the case, let me tell you that their God is as distant from

them as is their own physician. I wonder whether you have really

taken in what I have just said? Many anticipate God to be their

physician, yet they seem to forget that just as far as an earthly

physician is distant from his patients, so far is God distant from them

too.

Others may perhaps show better understanding, for they look to

God for healing and health. One day God gives healing, and so they

get well. Many are praying and looking for healing. Nevertheless,

there are still many feeble bodies lying around. Why is this? Because

in expecting God to be a physician  or to heal, believers are still

seeking for something external.

Sometimes God in fact does heal, for this is His way in treating

little children. To a person who newly believes, God may be willing

to be his physician or to grant healing. But after he has trusted the

Lord for a time this believer will be in God’s hand for education and

training. God will neither be his physician nor give him healing,

because He reserves the very best for His excellent ones. God wants

to be his healing: not to bestow healing, but to be the healing: not

merely as the God who heals, but more so as God the healing. God is

my  healing.  For  the  lack  of  adequate  expression,  I  can  only

reverently say, before God, that Christ is our healing.

Countless people take healing as an object, as something outside

of Christ. As long as He heals, all is fine. Recall the woman who had

a hemorrhage (see Luke 8.43ff). She indeed touched Christ, but what

then does the Bible say? Christ was aware that power had gone out of

Him. It was Christ himself who had gone out. Not that He was doing

the work of healing, but that He went out as the healing. When He

goes forth as healing, people get healed.

How often are we able to look up, in spite of continued weakness

and physical pains, and say: “Lord, I do not expect You  to  be  my

physician and walk off after the sickness is healed; neither do I look

to You for healing as a thing granted me for my temporal enjoyment

but with Yourself walking away. Lord, I want You to be my healing.

If physician, the Physician who dwells in me; if healing the healing

with a Personality.” My healing does have a Personality; it is one

Person who becomes my health. God is my health, Christ is my

health. Do you see the difference? How very distinct they are. One

day as we learn this lesson we shall get more than healing as a thing,

because  we  have  a  Person  who  becomes  the  life  of  our  body.

Instantly all the other problems are solved. For it is now a relation

between our body and the Lord. If anything happens between us and

the Lord, our body will suffer the consequence of it. Our everything

is up to the Lord. We can do nothing but wait on Him. This is quite

opposite from healing as a thing.

Thank God, I have received healing numerous times. I am able to

tell you how on a certain date I was sick and how on another definite

date I was healed by God. I can relate many incidents about healing.

The more I reckon up these incidents, the greater their number

grows. Yet all these instances are  only small healings, being case

histories which can be enumerated. However, I can present you with

another incident, that on a particular day in a particular month of a

particular year God opened my eyes to see that Christ is my healing.

This cannot be repeated, nor can it be numbered. It is once and for

all. It is not a case but a Person or a personified healing. My healing

now has Personality. Christ is my healing forever. Praise the Lord,

this is a fact. To have the Lord heal me and to have Him as my

healing are two totally diverse roads. The one is a thing while the

other is a Person.

May I remind you that though Paul did not obtain the healing he

nonetheless was healed. Can you notice the difference here? In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us that he did not obtain healing as a thing,

yet in his life he has One who continues to be his healing. Though his

weakness persists, his healing likewise persists. His weakness is

prolonged, but his healing is prolonged too. What is our concept of

healing after all? Healing to most of us is a matter of elimination.

This is not so. Healing is not elimination at all, healing is having

Someone there. It is not the absence of weakness but the presence of

Power.

I recall when I first saw this how slowly the light dawned on me.

It was because what my mind could grasp were only things and that

what I saw around me were also things. I did not know that the Lord

would be all things to me, nor did I understand that healing was not a

thing. I only knew the Lord had given me a promise. I knew not how

He  was  my  healing.  One  day  I  was  reading  Paul’s  story  in  2

Corinthians. I mused how easy it was for the Lord to give healing.

For Him to take away that thorn  from Paul was the simplest of

matters. How strange that God did not do it. I therefore turned to

prayer.

As I was praying I visualized a scene from some years back. In

1923 I was invited to preach in a certain city. I took a small boat that

was sailing up the Ming River. I noticed that the boat was frequently

dragging itself against the river bed, for the water was shallow and

the bottom of the river was rugged. Sometimes the boatmen had to

pull the boat by ropes up the river. In my prayer I suddenly recalled

this incident. I said, “God, it is easy for You to remove these rocks.

How nice it would be for the boat to sail with adequate water

underneath it if You simply remove these rocks.”

I read again 2 Corinthians 12, where I found this to be precisely

Paul’s  prayer.  The  water  was  shallow  and  the  rocks  protruded

sharply up from the river bed. Hence Paul was praying, “O God,

would that You might remove these rocks that my boat may sail in

the water.” To which God answered, “I will not remove these rocks,

but I will cause the water to rise. As the water rises, the boat can

easily sail through.” This is God’s doing. What we ask for is healing

as an object to obtain, but God wishes to be himself our healing. He

will carry us through. That particular weakness of Paul still remained

with him; yet he was not trying to break through his weakness by his

own strength. If he were to do  so, he would be overshadowing

himself with his own power. But it  was the power of Christ that

overshadowed him; it was God himself who was working. Here

again is the basic distinction, that on the one side is God giving a

thing, on the other side is God himself being that thing.

Countable Things Do Not Last

What do many people earnestly seek after? They are in pursuit of

a thing. A large number of sisters came to talk with me. How they

longed for patience! Yet I often mused how very thin must their

patience actually run! Their thought is: If I could only be patient, if

God would only give me a dose of patience to swallow, then I should

be well. They seek for patience as though it were a dose of medicine.

They may be able to be patient  for three or five days, but this

patience  has  a  time  limit.  After  being  patient  for  a  while,  this

“patience” shrivels up until one day it completely disappears. If it is

but a thing it will be used up. And though it be obtained through

prayer,  it  nevertheless  will  be  exhausted.  For  the  sake  of  the

temporary need of His children and in order to accommodate their

foolishness, God sometimes does hear their prayers and grant them

their  requests.  He  nonetheless  will  not  hearken  to  them  on  all

occasions, for such a condition ought never to be over-extended.

Due to the fact that in His word there is no thing but Christ—

Christ being all and in all—God will not permit patience or humility

or even love as a thing to be prolonged indefinitely on the earth.

Eventually God will show us that Christ is patience, that Christ is

humility, or that Christ is love. It is Christ, not an item, that He

bestows. On the day when our relationship with the Lord is truly

normalized, we will naturally see how all our problems are solved. It

is really not a question of patience or whatever; it is a matter of

Christ. As soon as our relationship with Christ is fully restored to that

which God has designed, our thousand and one problems will all be

duly resolved. For the entire question is Christ, not a thing or things.

Must Know Christ

Before  God  all  issues  revolve around  the  one  proposition  of

knowing Christ. What is meant by knowing Christ? Some people

know Him as their love; other people know Him as their humility.

Some know more of Christ while others know less of Him. In the

measure of our knowing Christ as our many things is the measure of

our  knowing  Him,   for  this  alone  is  reckoned  as  our  proper

knowledge. Knowing Christ is not an abstract term applied only to

objective truth; knowing Christ is both active and substantial. It is

perceiving Him as our things: He is our this thing and He is our that

thing.

Someone may be able to rise  and testify how he knew nothing

about  cleanness—for  his  heart,  head,  thought  and  all  else  were

unclean;  but  now,  thank  God,  Christ  has  become his  cleanness

because God has made Him so. Immediately you realize that that is

not a thing you possess, rather is it Christ. Since Christ dwells in you,

He brings that thing to you. Not what belongs to you yourself but

what He brings in with Him—this is Christianity.

In view of all that we have said, allow me to frankly state that

unless the eyes of a child of God are opened by Him to see that

Christ is his things, that person is of very little use to God. Because

what he has are simply his works, that which he himself does. Even

though he prays and receives from God, what is his is temporary,

having little if any spiritual value before God.

Alas, how much grace which many people receive from God is

but things. Some, though, receive grace with a Personality: their

grace is the Son of God. Wait till one day you are able to say to God:

“I thank and praise You, because the grace I have received is Christ.

My grace is a Person, having a Personality.” Oh, let me tell you that

as soon as you see such difference you can immediately distinguish

life from death. Many of the brethren can only distinguish between

good and evil; they cannot differentiate life and death. The reason for

this is simply that they fail to see that everything is in Christ. He is

both the thing and the affair. In the spiritual realm there is neither

thing nor affair but only Christ.

If  God  has  truly  opened  your  eyes,  you  instantly  begin  to

recognize things when you meet them. This way sounds strange, yet

it is factual. A person may seem to be patient, gentle, humble,

faithful, loving, warm, forgiving and merciful, but to you whose eyes

have been opened he is merely full of things. Just as everybody can

distinguish a ring from a finger, a hat from a head, spectacles from

eyes, and a dress from a body, so a person can differentiate things

from Christ. To the uninitiated this may appear spectacular, but to

those who perceive, it is quite simple. Whatever belongs to things is

dead within and produces death  without. If anyone has spiritual

sensitivity he will sense death while doing it. The result of such

external work can only be death and not life.

Someone may be very nice, yet his influence is limited to the

realm of good and evil, having no spiritual effect. A brother who is

good-natured, patient, enduring, sacrificial and loving may perhaps

please you, but if these characteristics are only traits they will arouse

in you a sense of death. You will not be able to embrace them; on the

contrary, a resistance will well up within you. No one can calculate

the power of this resistance of life. Sometimes people may say a

word which sounds quite well but is nonetheless inappropriate, and it

draws out from you a tremendous resistance. Say for instance in a

prayer  meeting.  Why  do  you  at  times  respond  with  an  amen?

Because you are touched by life. A  brother as he is praying has

touched your life, you therefore spontaneously say amen. But some

other person’s prayer, though it may sound earnest and appealing,

produces a chilling effect within you. You long that he will cease

praying, for his prayer is no different from his personality. He has

something, only that something has the touch of death. A thing

produces death not only in the person himself but in others as well.

There is absolutely no spiritual worth in it, for it is done by man.

Since this is the situation, we can do nothing before God but to

wait on Him. More and more we shall see the evil of our own works.

For if we are really led forward by God, we will surely discover that

He hates our works as much as our sins. To those who sin, they must

perish; to those who depend on their own works, they cannot be

saved. God rejects our works just  as He repudiates our sins. He

accepts one thing only, and that is His Son Jesus Christ. It is Christ

who becomes all things to us. Thank God, it is the Lord and not I.

Not I trying to be humble, but He humbles himself. Not I struggling

to love, but He loves instead. He does not give me power because He

himself is my power.

Oh brothers and sisters, I do not know how best I should say this;

I  especially  wish  the  newly  saved  to  notice  it.  When  you  are

delivered from spiritual things, you will touch the Lord. It is far

better for you to perceive this as early as possible, otherwise it will

become increasingly more difficult as time goes on. The larger the

heap of things the harder you are able to see through. How must God

beat you and toss you about before He is able to take away these

items from you so that you may receive Christ. This I say God will

surely do.

I am waiting for the day when al  things—both things in the

heavens and those upon the earth—shall be summed up in Christ. On

that day the word of God will be fulfilled in that Christ is all. Let me

challenge you. How can you expect Christ to be all if today you do

not know Him as your all? Even now Christ will become all our

things. God has given His own Son to us; God has given himself to

us. So that Christ must be all to us today. There should not be any

division between Christ and things. Nothing is spiritual, only Christ

is. He is all and in all. The reality of this must begin to evidence itself

now in the church and with us. May we declare today that Christ is

all and that He is in all. He is in my patience, He is in my gentleness,

He is in my love. For He is all. How we look forward to that day

when the Son of God is manifested to be all and in all. He indeed has

the preeminence over all things, and then shall we know that the

lessons we learn today are for use in that day. May God bless us.

A Prayer

Our Lord, we are before You asking for grace. Lord, we confess

that our eyes are so blind that  we cannot see clearly. Things we

know, Christ we do not know. You, Lord, seem to be rather distant

from us. Things look so real to us, while Christ himself is not that

real. Lord, we truly ask You to cause us to see. May Christ become

real to us. Let things pas  away, let life fill us. Lord, we sincerely ask

You to deliver us from the objects which can be counted that we may

know the Lord who is a person. May the personal Lord be all our

countable things. May everything in us be living and full of life so

that people may see Christ when they see these things. Lord, cause us

to understand how totally diverse are these two ways. How different

is the way of the righteous from the way of the sinner; in like

manner, how very much different is the way of a true Christian from

that of a false one. There is need for much crushing. Crush us, Lord.

Do  not  allow  us  to  deceive  ourselves:  considering  ourselves  as

having seen though we see nothing, as having touched the way when

we are far from it, as being full of life whereas we are full of things.

Lord, touch us. Establish Yourself firmly in us that from our inside to

our outside it may be Christ and Christ himself.

Lord, bless these words that they may bear fruit in bringing people

back to You abundantly. What man fails to speak, may You speak.

May You cover human weakness and forgive man’s folly. May You

get something for Yourself in our midst. We need to be laid bare.

May this be the day of exposure to many people, that we may see

ourselves as You see us. May a ray of light strike us which will

uncover all falsehood and distinguish Yourself from all substitutes.

Bless Your own word and glorify Your name. In the name of the

Lord Jesus. Amen.

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