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Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0332-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 20 of 72 Section 1 of 3

LIFE-STUDY OF MATTHEW

MESSAGE TWENTY

THE DECREE
OF THE KINGDOM’S CONSTITUTION

(8)

For centuries, Christians have not had a clear understanding of the law. On the one hand, in Romans and Galatians we are told that the law is over. For example, Romans 10:4 says, “Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one who believes.” Based upon this, many Christians think that they can forget the law. On the other hand, in Matthew 5:17 the Lord Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the law or the prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” This word has troubled a great many Christians. We praise the Lord that He has given us the clear light on this matter.

THREE ASPECTS OF THE LAW

In order to understand this matter of the law, we must know the three aspects of the law: the principle of the law, the commandments of the law, and the rituals of the law. If you do not differentiate between these three things, you will never have a proper understanding of the law. As we have seen, the principle of the law is over. Today, in the dispensation of grace, God does not deal with us according to the principle of the law; rather, He deals with us according to the principle of faith. Whether or not we shall be justified, saved, and accepted by God depends on the principle of faith, not the principle of the law. As long as we have faith in Christ, we are justified by God, accepted by Him, and saved. This is what it means for the principle of the law to be abolished in Christ under the dispensation of grace.

Although the principle of the law has been abolished, the commandments of the law have not been annulled. Instead, the standard of these commandments has been uplifted. Thus, the commandments, related to the moral standards, have not been abolished; they will remain for eternity. Even for eternity we should not worship an idol, murder, steal, or lie. In His heavenly kingdom the King has uplifted the standard of the law in two ways: by complementing the lower laws and by changing the lower laws into higher laws. In this way the morality in the commandments of the law has been uplifted to a higher standard.

The kingly Savior Himself kept all the commandments of the law when He was on earth. Then He went to the cross to die for us. Through His substitutionary death, He fulfilled the law on the negative side. Furthermore, through His substitutionary death, He released His resurrection life into us, and we now have this resurrection life in our spirit. Because we are able to live by this resurrection life, we have the strength, ability, and capacity to have the highest standard of morality. As we walk according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4), we fulfill the righteous requirements of the law, fulfilling even more than the law requires. Therefore, we do not abolish the law; rather, we fulfill it in the highest way.

The third aspect of the law is the rituals of the law. For example, offering sacrifices and keeping the Sabbath are outward rituals of the law. These rituals were also terminated because they were part of the old dispensation of shadows, figures, and types, all of which have been fulfilled by Christ as the reality. We are no longer obligated to observe the rituals of the law. Therefore, the principle of the law and the rituals of the law have been terminated, but the commandments of the law, which require a high moral standard, have not been terminated. Rather, these commandments have been uplifted. By means of Christ as the resurrection life in our spirit, we can fulfill the standard of morality required by the higher law of the kingdom of the heavens. This word should make us clear concerning the law according to its three aspects: the principle of the law, the commandments of the law, and the rituals of the law.


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