Lesson 10 – The Subjective Experience of Christ in Galatians
GOD’S PURPOSE THAT CHRIST BE WROUGHT INTO US
The specific characteristic of Galatians is that the Christ revealed in Colossians needs to be wrought into us. We must stress again that God has no intention to do anything else. In the entire universe God has only one intention, that is, to work Christ into us. God had no intention in creating the universe other than for His purpose to work Christ into a group of human beings. God had no intention in creating the many human beings except to work Christ into them. Likewise, God had no intention in accomplishing redemption other than to work Christ into us. Similarly, He has no intention to give us teachings and doctrines outside of His purpose to work Christ into us.
THE DISTRACTIONS FROM GOD’S PURPOSE
God gives us many material things because we need them to exist. These things, however, are for the fulfillment of God’s purpose that Christ be wrought into man. We need food, clothing, housing, and many material things in order to live, so that we may exist for the purpose of Christ being wrought into us to make us the very expression, the vessel, to contain Him. However, look at the situation today. The unbelievers are distracted from God’s central purpose by the material things. The enemy of God is very subtle. All the unbelievers, the worldly people, do not care for Christ. They only care for their living—their food, drink, housing, and enjoyment. They have been and are still distracted by and drawn to all these material things from Christ.
It is pitiful that the material things have been utilized by the enemy to distract the Gentiles from Christ, the religious things have been utilized to distract the Jews from Christ, and even the spiritual things have been utilized to distract us from Christ. The material things, the Old Testament, and the New Testament were given by God for the purpose of working Christ into us, but today the enemy of God, Satan, has utilized all these things to distract not only the Gentiles and Jews but also the believers, even the seeking ones. How subtle this is!
A TURN FROM RELIGION TO CHRIST
In Galatians we have an illustration of one who was seeking God yet was distracted. Paul was zealous for the Jewish religion, and he was ready to sacrifice his life for it. However, one day God revealed Christ in him (1:15-16a). That was a one hundred eighty degree turn for him, a turn from religion to Christ. In some ways many of us may still be religious. The Galatians were frustrated from Christ. Paul even said, “You have been brought to nought, separated from Christ” (5:4). They were brought to nought concerning Christ because they were paying attention to something other than Christ Himself. The apostle Paul, as an example, was religious, but he eventually became one hundred percent for Christ and not a bit for anything else.
CHRIST BEING FORMED IN US
In addition, Christ must be formed in us (4:19). We may use a glove to illustrate the matter of being formed. When we put our hand into a glove, the hand is in the glove but it is not formed in the glove until all the fingers are fixed in place. Gradually the thumb fits in place, and then the second, third, fourth, and fifth fingers; finally the entire hand is formed in the glove. Christ must be fully, thoroughly, wholly mingled with us in all our inward parts—in our mind, emotion, and will. We may have Christ in us only in a general way. We have Christ in our spirit as our life, but we may not have Christ in our mind as our thought. We also may not have Christ in our emotions as our love. Christ must even be our hate; we need to hate certain things by Christ and with Christ. We also must have Christ in our will as our decision and choice. Christ must be everything in our inward parts. He must be mingled with us in every part of our being. Then He will be formed in us, and we will be conformed to His image. This means that we will be absolutely one with Him, not only in life and nature but also in form, expression, and image.
RECEIVING THE SPIRIT
The main items in Galatians are that Christ is revealed in us, Christ lives in us, we put on Christ, and Christ is formed in us. In principle, this means that we know Christ and live by Him in our spirit. In addition, the Spirit is mentioned several times in this book. The Christ who is revealed in us, who lives in us, whom we have put on, and who is being formed in us is the Spirit. This Spirit today is in our spirit. This is why at the close of this book Paul says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (6:18a). The grace of the Lord is nothing less than the Lord Himself, and this grace, which is Christ as the Spirit, is with our spirit. Verse 2 of chapter three tells us clearly that we have received the Spirit, and verse 14 says we have received the promise of the Spirit, that is, the Spirit promised by God. The Father is the source, the fountain of living water; the Son is the course; and the Spirit is the flow. The Father as the source is in the Son as the course, and the Son comes as the Spirit, the flow. This flow has come, has flowed, into us. When the Spirit of God comes into us, He comes with Christ and with the Father. The Father is in the Son, the Son is the Spirit, and this Spirit has come into us. Therefore, when verse 14 mentions the promised Spirit, it refers to God Himself dispensed into us.
God has dispensed Himself into us in His Son and through His Spirit. Today this wonderful Spirit is within our spirit. Therefore, what we need today is simply to walk by the Spirit and cooperate with this Spirit (5:16, 25). Galatians 6:1 tells us that even when we go to restore a fallen brother, we must do it in our spirit. We have to walk in the spirit, live in the spirit, and sow the seed in our spirit (v. 8). Whatever we are and whatever we do and work must be in the spirit, because the Triune God dwells in our spirit, and in our spirit we realize the very Christ as the Spirit. This is the way to contact Christ.
THE ALL-INCLUSIVE CHRIST BEING THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT IN OUR SPIRIT
We first must see the vision of Christ. Christ is all-inclusive. He is everything. He is God, and He is man; He is the Creator, and He is the creation; He is the first item of the old creation, and He is also the first item of the new creation. He is also life and everything to us. Moreover, this Christ today is the Spirit. This is a key point. Christ is the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b), and He is in our spirit. Regardless of how much power is in electricity, if we do not have the current of electricity, we have none of its power. All the power, function, ability, and capability of electricity is in the current. Even if we do not understand electricity, as long as we have the current and we apply it, we can enjoy it. Today the all-inclusive Christ is the Spirit, and the Spirit is the current, the fellowship. That is why we speak of three matters: the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the fellowship, the transmission, the current. Whatever Christ is, is in this current.
We must realize that Christ is the life-giving Spirit living in our spirit, and we need to learn the secret of contacting Him. We should forget everything else, never be distracted by anything, and always pay our full attention to the Spirit. We must love Him, contact Him, obey Him, follow Him, and always hold on to Him. We need to learn the way to exercise our spirit to contact Him. Galatians speaks of the Spirit and our spirit several times. We must walk by the Spirit, live by the Spirit, sow unto the Spirit to reap of the Spirit, and restore a fallen brother in the spirit (5:16, 25; 6:8, 1). Today God is in Christ, and Christ, the all-inclusive One, is the Spirit, and this Spirit is the very communication, communion, fellowship, and transmission to us. He is in our spirit, so now we must learn to exercise our spirit to contact this wonderful Spirit. Then we will enjoy Christ, and all the more we will love Him, pray to Him, turn to Him, fellowship with Him, and know not doctrine but Christ Himself.