In Ephesians 2:15 Paul speaks of the one new man: “Abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace.” According to this verse, Christ abolished all the ordinances that separated men for the purpose of creating one new man. Notice that Paul says “one new man,” not “new men.” There is only one new man. What is distinctive about a man? The distinctiveness, the defining characteristic, of a man is his person, which includes his disposition, personality, and mentality. Hence, the one new man that Christ created on the cross can have only one person. In Colossians 3:10 Paul exhorts us to put on the new man, implying that we must take Christ as our person. There is no place for anyone or anything else in the new man (v. 11).
How do we experientially take Christ as our person? Paul is our pattern in this matter. In Galatians 2:20 he says, “I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Here, the first “I” (Paul) no longer lives, yet the second “I” (Christ living in Paul) lives; this is how Paul takes Christ as his person. However, we must realize that taking Christ as our person is not an emotionless and robotic affair. Paul reveals the depths of taking Christ as our person in the last clause of this verse: “who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” If this was an emotionless affair, Paul would not include this clause at the end. In it we can see the love and appreciation Paul had for his Lord and Husband (2 Cor. 11:2). It is in this love that we actually desire to take Christ’s thoughts as our thoughts and Christ’s view as our view.
Without a fresh romance with the Lord, the thought of taking Christ as our person becomes a thankless task that we must work at, and bitterness will inevitably arise in our experience. For instance, if we ask the Lord whether or not we can purchase a certain item, already with a desire for it in our heart, and the Lord says, “No,” we begrudgingly obey. There is no sweetness in this type of interaction with the Lord. But if our romance with the Lord is fresh, out of love for Him we will spontaneously desire to take Him as our person in all we do. It is not a matter of doing something or not doing something; rather, in love we desire to do whatever our Beloved is doing. We will say to our Lord as the lover in Song of Songs 1:4 expressed, “Draw me, we will run after you” and as Paul proclaimed in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ constrains us…that those who live may no longer live to themselves but to Him who died for them and has been raised.” In this way of the divine romance, our taking Christ as our person for the one new man becomes sweet and enjoyable.
Witness Lee, Taking Christ as Our Person for the Church Life, Chapters 4 and 7 (Print).
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)