Having This Ministry
A Digital Newsletter from Living Stream Ministry

So Great a Foundation–The All-inclusive Spirit of Christ

At the end of 1963, early in his ministry in the United States, Witness Lee released messages on the all-inclusive Spirit of Christ. Later these messages became one of the early ministry publications, released as a booklet in 1969. Brother Lee continued to develop this truth, which is a hallmark of his ministry, for the rest of his life. In this article we will learn more about this foundational truth.

So Great a Foundation–The All-inclusive Spirit of Christ

That Christ is all-inclusive is a great truth in the Word of God, and this truth has been developed throughout Brother Lee’s ministry. First, our Christ is the embodiment of the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. As astoundingly rich as this point is in itself, this is not the only aspect of Christ’s riches. Brother Lee elaborates,

We cannot exhaust all that Christ is! In Him we have the Creator, the creature, the creation, the divine nature, the human nature with the human living, the effective death, the resurrection, the glorification, the ascension, the enthronement, the headship, the lordship, the authority, and the kingdom. All these are in Christ! They are all included in this one great dose, which is Christ Himself. (The Collected Works of Witness Lee (CWWL), 1965, vol. 1, pp. 559-560)

Here we see that the all-inclusive Christ is rich not only because He is God, but also because He is a man with the experiences of human living. Once we realize that all of these riches are in Christ, we may ask, “How can I experience the riches of the all-inclusive Christ practically?” The answer to this question is found in a short booklet published by Living Stream Ministry—The All-inclusive Spirit of Christ.

In this booklet, Brother Lee explains that the secret to experiencing the all-inclusive Christ is in realizing what the Spirit is. The Spirit today is different from the Spirit in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, the Spirit came down from God and was God. The Spirit was therefore God and nothing more. In the New Testament, however, we find a development related to the Spirit. We see this development in a remarkable verse in the Gospel of John, which says, “The Spirit was not yet, because Jesus had not yet been glorified” (John 7:39b). The Spirit mentioned here was not yet in a sense because the Lord had not yet been glorified through resurrection, for in resurrection, the Lord became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b). Thus in the evening of the day of resurrection, the Lord was able to breathe into the disciples and say to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). In order to explain what this Holy Spirit is, Brother Lee quotes from Andrew Murray’s The Spirit of Christ. Referring to the Spirit spoken of in John 7:39, Murray states,

When poured out at Pentecost, He [the Spirit] came as the Spirit of the glorified Jesus, the Spirit of the Incarnate, crucified, and exalted Christ, the bearer and communicator to us, not of the life of God as such, but of that life as it had been interwoven into human nature in the person of Christ Jesus. It is in this capacity specially that He bears the name of Holy Spirit…From His [Christ’s] nature, as it was glorified in the resurrection and ascension, His Spirit came forth as the Spirit of His human life, glorified into the union with the Divine, to make us partakers of all that He had personally wrought out and acquired, of Himself and His glorified life...In virtue of His having perfected in Himself a new holy human nature on our behalf, He could now communicate what previously had no existence—a life at once human and Divine. (Chapter 5, “The Spirit of the Glorified Jesus”)

Now that the Spirit includes the resurrected humanity of Christ, we find the Spirit referred to in new ways in the New Testament. For example, He is called “the Spirit of Jesus” (Acts 16:7), “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), and “the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:19). All of these titles reveal that the all-inclusive Christ, with all of His riches, is now readily available to be experienced because He is the Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17). Furthermore, we believers are one spirit with the Lord who is the all-inclusive Spirit (1 Cor. 6:17), and the Lord as this Spirit is with our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). Hence, all we have to do is turn to our spirit to contact and apply the all-inclusive Christ.

We may be surprised, however, to find that the experience of this all-inclusive Spirit is different from what we expect. Due to our concepts, we may expect the experience of the Spirit to involve manifestations of power and miracles. On the contrary, our experience of the all-inclusive Spirit of Christ is most likely to be normal and human—even silent. Brother Lee says,

Although this all-inclusive Spirit is so bountiful, so rich and powerful, so all-inclusive, He works within us in a very silent, normal, and ordinary way. He is also called the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2). With any kind of life there is a natural element which is so ordinary and silent. Look at the trees and the flowers. How silent they are! How natural they are! They grow a little today and a little tomorrow, and many wonderful and beautiful things come out of this gradual growth of life. The riches and beauty of life spring forth in such a silent, natural, and ordinary way. This is the way the all-inclusive Spirit of Jesus Christ works within us. Our only need is to cooperate, to go along, with Him. We must learn to take care of the deep, inner registration. We need not expect the extraordinary. The more gentle and ordinary, the better! We must be faithful to Him and attend to the small, inner sense of Himself. We must be obedient and submissive to His inner working. Then day by day and moment by moment we will experience the riches of Christ. (CWWL, 1965, vol. 1, pp. 569-570)

This explanation of the experience of the Spirit should be a great encouragement to us. Rather than expecting the Spirit to fall on us and cause us to do miraculous or amazing things, we should expect to experience the all-inclusive Spirit of Christ in our daily living in a quiet and ordinary way. He operates in us in this way because our Lord lived an ordinary, human life.

But how do we recognize the deep and inner working of the Spirit? And what are some specific ways in which we can experience the detailed riches of the all-inclusive Christ that we have enumerated? To answer these questions, we encourage you to read The All-inclusive Spirit of Christ (CWWL, 1965, vol. 1, pp. 552-570). This is also available for purchase in booklet form. This short publication will help you discover the way to apply the riches of Christ in your daily life and to learn to recognize the inward working of the Spirit. May this great foundational truth of the all-inclusive Spirit become our daily experience.