Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the book of Galatians God’s two economies, His Old Testament economy and His New Testament economy, are dealt with in a full way. Concerning each of these economies, the Bible uses a particular word. The word for God’s economy in the Old Testament is law, and the word for His economy in the New Testament is Christ. Which do you prefer, law or Christ? In contrast to the Jews, who love the law, we who believe in Christ would all say that we prefer Christ to the law. Yes, on the one hand, we do love Christ, but, on the other hand, we may still embrace the law. In actual experience, we may embrace the law more than we embrace Christ.
Most Christians who love the Lord and have a heart to seek Him have a hidden love for the law. When some hear such a word, they may argue and say, “We don’t want the law. We love Christ and want only Him.” This may be the situation on the surface, but deep within, subconsciously, most Christians still love the law. Although they may not realize it, there is some kind of law hidden within them, like a cancer growing on a person’s vital inward organs. Such a person may appear healthy on the surface, but he has a serious disease within him. Only when surgery is performed does the extent of this disease become known. We may be good Christians who love the Lord and seek Him; however, we may not be conscious of the fact that we still keep the law hidden within us.
Not many Christians have their daily walk according to Christ. Can you say that you have been walking according to Christ today? During times of prayer we may have our living and our being according to Christ. But after we pray we may have our living and our being according to something other than Christ. Whenever we do not live according to Christ, we live according to law. This is my reason for saying that although we love Christ, we still hold to the law.
Our situation can be compared to that of Abraham, who loved Sarah, his wife, but who also became involved with Hagar, a concubine, who signifies the law. In 4:24 and 25 Paul identifies Hagar with Mount Sinai, the place where the law was given. In typology Hagar, the maidservant, signifies the law. In a very real sense, Hagar, the law, is within us, and we love her. This law may not be the law of Moses. Instead, it may be some type of self-made law.
As seeking Christians, we may walk day by day according to the law hidden within us, not according to Christ. Suppose, for example, that a sister is subject to many irritations, but she does not become angry and lose her temper. Her behavior is very good. However, we need to ask why she does not lose her temper. Is it because she is living according to Christ, or because she is walking according to certain rules and regulations? Let us suppose, as another example, that whenever a certain brother is tempted to tell a lie, he exercises himself to speak the truth. But why does he tell the truth instead of a lie? Does he speak the truth according to Christ or according to some kind of rule or regulation? In other words, in the matter of telling the truth, does he live according to Christ or according to the law? It is very possible in matters such as this to live not according to Christ, but according to the law.
From my experience I have learned that it is easy for Christians to live according to various kinds of laws instead of according to Christ. We may live by ethical teachings we have assimilated from our culture, or according to biblical principles learned from studying the Scriptures. Moreover, we may live according to the laws we ourselves have made. How easy it is for us to make laws for ourselves! Although we make laws easily, it is difficult for us to change them. In addition to living by ethical teachings, principles, and our self-made laws, we may also live according to what may be called “the law of the inner life.” When we live by this law, we may try without Christ to deal with the flesh or deny the self. Instead of living according to Christ, we may live according to these four different kinds of law—the laws of social ethics, biblical ethical principles, self-made laws, and the inner life law.
Recently, I have been enlightened of the Lord and also rebuked by Him concerning how little I actually live Christ day by day. I have had to confess to the Lord that only a small part of my time each day has been spent in living Christ. Most of the time I unconsciously and automatically live according to ethics, some kind of law, or certain habits I have built up. Instead of having Christ as the unique constituent of my daily walk, I have ethics, principles, self-made laws, and even the law of the inner life as my constituent. As a result, much of the time I live by natural ethics, biblical ethics, self-made laws, or the inner life law instead of according to Christ.
Living by these four kinds of laws does not require that we pray, trust in the Lord, or depend on Him. Our attitude may be that the Lord may sit on the throne in heaven, but we do not need Him to help us live on earth. We may think that we ourselves are quite capable of living in a proper way. We can be ethical and even “spiritual” without Christ and without the spirit. We may even succeed to “bear the cross” and “crucify” ourselves, also without Christ. Nevertheless, in doing all these things, we are not living according to Christ, but according to certain of the laws I have mentioned.
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