That leads us on, then, to further things, and to our seeing that for the Apostles Christianity and the Church were not a system of doctrine, nor a system of orders of practice, but for them Christianity and the Church had relation to the living Christ. Christianity and the Church existed on the ground of Christ being alive, after having been crucified and buried. There is much more bound up with that than maybe would appear.
Christianity was the expression of Christ's being alive. The fact that Christ was alive was being expressed and the Church simply became the corporate vessel of that expression. Christianity and the Church had no being, no existence, only in that Christ was alive. Therefore neither Christianity nor the Church could be anything in itself, only in Christ as living.
That is what we mean when we say that the pre-eminent, predominant issue is life. It is not an abstraction, it is a Person; it is Christ living. Thus the basic and all-important reality with the Apostles and the believers of those days was the risen Lord, and living union with Him. That which was basic to everything was Christ as alive, and their being alive together in union with Him. We have to see what that union was, but we leave that for the moment.
Out of this every other thing arose. All doctrine came out of the fact of Christ being alive, and believers being in union with Him. And all order of assembly came spontaneously out of that two-fold fact; Christ alive, and believers livingly joined to Him. It came out of that. There is no other way in which to get either doctrine or order in a living way. That which spread its power and its significance over everything for them in those days was the resurrection of Christ. You find it touching everything on every hand.