Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Colossians and Galatians are two books in the New Testament which reveal that Christ is life and everything to us. Colossians deals with culture, and Galatians, with the law given through Moses and the religion formed according to this law. Both the culture devised by man and the law given by God have been used by Satan to frustrate God’s chosen people from experiencing Christ and enjoying Him. God’s intention is to dispense Himself as the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, into our being so that He and we may be organically one. If we are organically one with the Triune God, He will be our life, and we shall be His living. Thus, God’s ultimate intention in the universe is to dispense Himself into His people that they may have one life and one living with Him. Because Satan utilizes culture and the law to frustrate us from experiencing the Spirit as the ultimate realization of the Triune God, the books of Colossians and Galatians are very important.
The book of Galatians is composed in a very particular way. In chapter one we see that the Son of God is versus the very religion formed and established according to the law given by God. In 1:16 Paul indicates that the Son of God has been revealed in us. The Son of God is not merely an object of our belief apart from us; He is the One who has been revealed to us subjectively and has become one with us. The dear Son of God who has been revealed in us and who is now one with us is versus religion with all its traditions. God’s intention is that religion and tradition must go and that only the Son of God remain.
However, today’s Judaism and Christianity are filled with religion and tradition. Not much of the Son of God can be seen either in Catholicism or in the denominations. We are still surrounded by religion and tradition. I do not have the confidence that religion with all its traditions has been fully removed from us in the Lord’s recovery. Do not think that because you have been in the church life for a period of time you have no religion or tradition, but only Christ, the Son of God. I do not have the assurance that only Christ is in us and that we are free from all religion and tradition.
When Peter, James, and John witnessed the transfiguration of the Lord Jesus on the mountain, Peter made the foolish suggestion that they build three tabernacles, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. Suddenly a voice from heaven declared, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I delight; hear Him!” (Matt. 17:5). When the disciples lifted up their eyes, “They saw no one except Jesus Himself alone” (v. 8). Their experience on the mount of transfiguration illustrates what Paul is saying in the first chapter of Galatians. Just as Moses and Elijah had to give way to Christ, the beloved Son of God, so religion and tradition must be set aside, and only the Son of God should remain.
Because religion is in our very marrow, it is extremely difficult to get rid of it. We may be under the influence of tradition when we pray. For example, we may feel that the best way to pray is to kneel down, not to sit in a chair. But how can we say what is the best position to take in prayer? The feeling that kneeling to pray is better than sitting may come from tradition. It is common among Moslems to prostrate themselves during set times of prayer. In a visit to Jerusalem I observed Moslems in a mosque praying in this way. Within me I had the sense that they were not truly worshipping God. Instead of worshipping Him in reality, they performed their ritual in a religious, traditional manner. Although the Lord Jesus and Paul the apostle knelt to pray, the Lord did not command us to kneel down to pray or to prostrate ourselves before God the Father when we worship Him. The Lord gave no such commandment. But in John 4:24 He said that God is Spirit and that those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit. This word was spoken to a Samaritan woman beside a well. The Lord Jesus ministered living water to this woman, and she drank of this living water. According to the context of John 4, to drink the living water is to worship God the Father.
While the Lord Jesus was talking with the Samaritan woman, the priests in Jerusalem were worshipping God in the temple. Where was the true worship taking place—in the temple or beside the well? To answer this question properly we need to realize that the One who spoke to the Samaritan woman beside the well was actually God Himself. God was there with the Samaritan woman, not in the temple in Jerusalem. The worship carried on by the priests in the prescribed, orderly way was vain. If you had been there, would you have been worshipping God with the priests in the temple or with the Samaritan woman by the well? If we are honest, we must admit that we probably would have been with the priests worshipping according to tradition.
Although for years we have been saying that we must do away with tradition, I do not have the assurance that we are free from it. In a very subtle way tradition continues to undermine our experience of Christ and enjoyment of Him. We need to see from Galatians 1 that tradition must be set aside and that only the Son of God should be revealed in us. This revealed Son of God is versus religion with all its tradition.
In Galatians 1 we see that the Son of God replaces religion with its tradition. Now in Galatians 2 we see that Christ, God’s anointed One, replaces the law. In verse 19 Paul says that through the law he died to the law that he might live to God. Then in verse 20 he goes on to say, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” Therefore, according to chapter one, the Son is revealed in us, and according to chapter two, Christ lives in us.
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