Wastchman Nee I thank God through Jesus Christ "! That exclamation of Paul's is fundamentally the same as his other words in Galatians 2. 20 which we have taken as the key to our study: "I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ". We saw how prominent is the word' I' throughout his argument in Romans 7, culminating in the agonized cry: "0 wretched man that I am! " Then follows the shout of deliverance: “Thank God ... Jesus Christ" and it is clear that the discovery Paul has made is this, that the life we live is the life of Christ alone. We think of the Christian life as a 'changed life' but it is not that. God offers us an ' exchanged life', a 'substituted life', and Christ is our Substitute within. "I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me." This life is not something which we ourselves have to produce. It is Christ's own life reproduced in us.
How many Christians believe in 'reproduction' in this sense, as something more than regeneration? Regeneration means that the life of Christ is planted in us by the Holy Spirit at our new birth. 'Reproduction' goes further: it means that that new life grows and becomes manifest progressively in us, until the very likeness of Christ begins to be reproduced in our lives. That is what Paul means when he speaks of his travail for the Galatians "until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. 4. 19).
Let me illustrate with another story. I once arrived in America in the home of a saved couple who requested me to pray for them. I inquired the cause of their trouble. 'Oh, Mr. Nee, we have been in a bad way lately', they confessed. 'We are so easily irritated by the children, and during the past few weeks we have both lost our tempers several times a day. We are really dishonoring the Lord. Will you ask Him to give us patience?' 'That is the one thing I cannot do', I said. 'What do you mean?' they asked. 'I mean that one thing is certain', I answered, 'and that is that God is not going to answer your prayer.'
At that they said in amazement, 'Do you mean to tell us we have gone so far that God is not willing to hear us when we ask Him to make us patient?' 'No, I do not mean quite that, but I would like to ask you if you have ever prayed in this respect. You have. But did God answer? No! Do you know why? Because you have no need of patience.' Then the eyes of the wife blazed up. She said, 'What do you mean? We do not need patience, and yet we get irritated the whole day long! What do you mean?' 'It is not patience you have need of I answered, it is Christ'
God will not give me humility or patience or holiness or love as separate gifts of His grace. He is not a retailer dispensing grace to us in doses, measuring out some patience to the impatient, some love to the unloving, some meekness to the proud, in quantities that we take and work on as a kind of capital. He has given only one gift to meet all our need-His Son Christ Jesus, and as I look to Him to live out His life in me, He will be humble and patient and loving and everything else I need-in my stead. Remember the word in the first Epistle of John: - “God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath the life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life"