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What is the Believers' Organic Union with Christ?

The Lord Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). This simple picture of a vine and its branches mutually abiding in one another reveals the organic union between the Lord and His believers. In the term organic union, organic refers to something of life, and union refers to a kind of relationship. Our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ results not in our having only an objective and distant belief in Him but in our being brought into a subjective relationship with Him in the divine life. This is the life union with our precious Lord that He spoke of in the picture of the vine and the branches. The apostle Paul portrayed this organic union by speaking of grafting in Romans 11. There he speaks of an inferior branch being grafted into a superior tree that the two may be joined together to share the same life. The branch is not artificially attached to the tree by lifeless means. Rather, the tree is cut to make a place where the branch can be grafted into it. The two are joined together and grow together by the life of the tree flowing into the branch and becoming the life of the branch. When we believe into the Lord Jesus, we are joined to Him and become one spirit, sharing His divine life and nature in a life relationship, or organic union, with Him (1 Cor. 6:17; 2 Pet. 1:4). Just as the grafted branch partakes of all the riches of the superior tree, we believers partake of all the riches of Christ.

When we believe into the Lord Jesus, we are joined to Him and become one spirit, sharing His divine life and nature in a life relationship, or organic union, with Him.

Romans 6:3-5 speaks of our baptism into Christ and His death and our having “grown together” with Him through baptism. From the time of our believing and being baptized into Christ, His life must continue to grow in us. Paul said that he labored to present every man full-grown in Christ (Col. 1:28) and that Christ’s Body grows with the growth of God (Col. 2:19). Through this growth of His life in us, Christ can be expressed through us branches who have been grafted into Him.

Our life relationship with Christ is an intimate one. The healthiest expression of our intimate relationship with Christ is a life full of fellowship with Him through unceasing prayer (1 Thes. 5:17). This contact with Christ cultivates our organic union with Him. He dwells in us (John 14:17; 17:23; Rom. 8:9; 2 Cor. 13:5) and we dwell in Him (John 15:4; 17:21; Rom. 8:1; 1 Cor. 1:30). Prayer strengthens our mutual indwelling, and by it we express our love for Him. The Lord Jesus promised that He and the Father would come to make an abode, to dwell, with those who love Him (John 14:23). By the apostle Paul’s word in Ephesians 3, we see the development of our organic union with Christ as He makes His home in our hearts through faith (v. 17).

By being grafted into Him, we share the divine life of Christ and are brought into a life relationship with Him. Then this life grows in us and we abide in Him and He abides in us. Thus, the term organic union to describe our life relationship with the Lord Jesus is both fitting and accurate.

For further reading on this subject, please see Life-study of Galatians, messages 8, 9 and 10 and The Organic Union in God’s Relationship with Man, by Witness Lee, published by Living Stream Ministry.

From Issue No. 62, June 2003

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