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What does this verse really mean. Watchman Nee had a great word picture to explain it in the“Normal Christian Life”
Now with resurrection the figure is different because something new is introduced. I am "baptized into his death", but I do not enter in quite the same way into His resurrection, for, Praise the Lord! His resurrection enters into me, imparting to me a new life. In the death of the Lord the emphasis is solely upon `I in Christ'. With the resurrection, while the same thing is true, there is now a new emphasis upon `Christ in me'. How is it possible for Christ to communicate His resurrection life to me? How do I receive this new life? Paul suggests, I think, a very good illustration with these very same words: "united with him". For the word `united' (A.V. `planted together') may carry in the Greek the sense of ‘grafted’ and it gives us a very beautiful picture of the life of Christ which is imparted to us through resurrection.
In Fukien I once visited a man who owned an orchard of long-ien trees. He had three or four acres of land and about three hundred fruit trees. I inquired if his trees had been grafted or if they were of the original native stock. `Do you think', he replied, `that I would waste my land growing ungrafted trees? What value could I ever expect from the old stock?
So I asked him to explain the process of grafting, which he gladly did. `When a tree has grown to a certain height', he said, `I lop off the top and graft on to it.' Pointing to a special tree he asked, `Do you see that tree? I call it the father tree, because all the grafts for the other trees are taken from that one. If the other trees were just left to follow the course of nature, their fruit would be only about the size of a raspberry, and would consist mainly of thick skin and seeds. This tree, from which the grafts for all the others are taken, bears a luscious fruit the size of a plum, with very thin skin and a tiny seed; and of course all the grafted trees bear fruit like it.' `How does it happen?' I asked. `I simply take a little of the nature of the one tree and transfer it to the other', he explained. `I make a cleavage in the poor tree and insert a slip from the good one. Then I bind it up and leave it to grow.' `But how can it grow?' I asked. `I don't know', he said, `but it does grow.'
Then he showed me a tree bearing miserably poor fruit from the old stock below the graft, and rich juicy fruit from the new stock above the graft. `I have left the old shoots with their useless fruit on them to show the difference', he said. `From it you can understand the value of grafting. You can appreciate, can you not, why I grow only grafted trees?'
How can one tree bear the fruit of another? How can a poor tree bear good fruit? Only by grafting. Only by our implanting into it the life of a good tree. But if a man can graft a branch of one tree into another, cannot God take of the life of His Son and, so to speak, graft it into us?