by Watchman Nee (1903-1972)
Changed Into His Likeness
"We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another."
2 Corinthians 3.18, RSV
God cuts short our old, self-willed nature to make way for our new nature in Christ, which works in willing cooperation with Him. Thus, the Spirit moves to attain God’s ends by His Own means. This is the goal of all God’s dealings with His own.
Our salvation (justification) is entirely from God. And if this is true of the beginning of our salvation, it is also true of all that follows as we are sanctified. If the source of our life is in God, so also is everything that follows. Nothing starts from us.
All knowledge is the outcome of obedience. It is when we do His will that we are able to see more of His will. If any man determines to do His will, he shall know what that will is (John 7.17).
Those who know God have no need to protect their rights. Because they believe in Him, they learn to rely on Him for the outcome—knowing that whatever His will should be, it will be to their benefit in one way or another.
It is the death of Christ working in a man’s life that produces purity of spirit. And it is this purity of spirit that brings further light or revelation from God.
Whether we can bring Christ into the situation to be God’s vessel of recovery depends on whether we can get out of the way to make room for Him.
The difference between man’s work and God’s work is a question of source and a question of time.
The sign of the covenant was circumcision. We are to be a people who put no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3.3), for it is when we are in the flesh that we are spiritually helpless.
What is true faith? It is when we are defeated and at the end of ourselves—when we must put our complete trust in Him. This is faith.
We never worked for our salvation, gradually scaling heights until we attained it. The Lord both sought and saved us. And victory over sin is the same; it is received, not worked for.
If we submit to His work in us, the life of our old nature will progressively be reduced to zero, so that the life of Christ may be fully displayed.
The distinctive feature of true Christianity is that it compels people to receive. The Christian life is the Christ-life. Christ in me has become my life and is living my life instead of me. God gives Him to me to be my life. So, the daily life of the Christian can be summed up in one word: receive.
With an abundance of natural strength, we are useless to God. With no strength at all, we can hold on to Him. And with His strength flowing through us, “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8.37). (see Genesis 32.24-28)