Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Paul ends the book of Galatians in this way: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” At the beginning of this Epistle, Paul said, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:3). But at the end Paul speaks first of peace (6:16) and then of grace.
In 6:16 Paul says, “And as many as shall walk by this rule, peace be upon them and mercy, even upon the Israel of God.” According to this verse, peace is upon those who “walk by this rule.” The rule here is that of sowing unto the Spirit to live the new creation. If we walk by this rule, peace will be upon us. The Israel of God consists of those who walk by this rule. In other words, all who live the new creation by sowing unto the Spirit are the true Israel of God, and peace is upon them. Paul’s use of the preposition “upon” implies that peace rains upon us. Peace rains upon the real Israel of God, upon those who walk by the rule of living a new creation by sowing unto the Spirit. God is bestowing peace upon His real Israel.
In 6:17 Paul goes on to say, “For the rest let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the brands of Jesus.” Here Paul seems to be saying, “I am enjoying peace. As far as anything else is concerned, do not trouble me. I have just one goal, and that is to walk by this rule. Because I’m a part of the true Israel of God, peace is bestowed upon me. I am under the rain of peace. Do not speak to me about the law, circumcision, or the priesthood. For the rest, do not trouble me.”
Why at the beginning of Galatians does Paul mention grace before peace and at the ending speak of peace before grace? Grace is God as our enjoyment, and peace is a condition which results from grace. Therefore, at the beginning we first have grace, then peace. But once we enter by grace into a condition of peace both with God vertically and with others horizontally, we need grace to keep us in such a peaceful situation.
According to 6:18, the grace we enjoy is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Furthermore, Paul points out that this grace is with our spirit. In the book of Galatians Paul refers to the human spirit only in chapter six. In 6:1 he says, “Brothers, if ever a man is overtaken in some offense, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of meekness.” The spirit here is the regenerated human spirit indwelt by and mingled with the Holy Spirit. The fact that Paul mentions the human spirit both at the beginning and at the ending of chapter six indicates that this chapter deals mainly with our spirit.
If we do not know our human spirit, which has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, we have no way to enjoy Christ as the all-inclusive Spirit. We may use the practical application of electricity as an illustration of this. Although electricity has been installed in your home, you still need to use the switch to turn it on. If you do not know where the switch is, you will have no way to experience the benefit of electricity. The heavenly “electricity” has been installed in us, and our human spirit is the “switch” by which we may apply it. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ—the heavenly “electricity”—is with our spirit, the “switch.”
In 6:18 Paul does not say that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is with our mind, emotion, or will. He clearly and definitely tells us that this grace is with our spirit. Do you know the location of your spirit, mind, emotion, and will and the difference between them? We know that we have all these faculties, but it is difficult to define them or to locate them. From our experience we have discovered these different aspects of our being. When we are happy or angry, we are exercising the emotion. When we make a decision, we use our will. When we think, we obviously use our mind. When a husband and wife are arguing, they may express their heated emotion, use their mind to present their case, and exercise their will to make decisions concerning the situation. But as they are arguing, something deep within may tell them to settle down and be quiet. This is not the mind, the emotion, or the will. It is the spirit, the leading part of which is the conscience. Whenever the conscience works, the spirit is functioning. In other words, your spirit works primarily through your conscience. The point here is that we have a faculty within us in addition to the mind, emotion, and will, and this faculty is the spirit.
According to the Bible, the function of the spirit is to contact God. When we heard the gospel, we repented of our sins. Repentance involves the exercise of our conscience. When the light of the truth was allowed to shine through our mind into our conscience, our conscience caused us to repent. Therefore, repentance involves the exercise of the leading part of our spirit. Although we probably did not realize it at the time, when we were saved, we exercised our spirit. In addition to repenting, we prayed to the Lord and called on Him. We may have said, “O Lord Jesus, You are my Redeemer. I thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Lord, I love You, and I take You as my Savior.” When we prayed in this way, exercising faith in the Lord, the Spirit of God came into our spirit and regenerated it. At the time we were saved, our spirit was exercised to repent and to receive the Lord. From that time onward, the Spirit has been dwelling in our spirit. Hence, the spirit is the place within us where we contact God, for it is here that the processed Triune God dwells as the all-inclusive life-giving Spirit.
Often when we begin to pray, we are in our mind or emotion. But gradually we pray ourselves into the spirit. Then we have the sense that we are meeting the Lord and that we and He are one. No words can describe how good it is to be one spirit with the Lord. How enjoyable this is! This enjoyment brings in the assurance that the Triune God is real.
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