Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall continue our consideration of God’s giving His law to the people in Exodus 20. As all students of the Bible realize, the law is a very important subject both in the Old Testament and in the New.
If we would have a proper understanding of God’s giving of the law in the Scriptures, we need to know how this matter is related to the main subject of the Bible as a whole. To understand any book, or even part of a book, we must first learn what is the main subject of the book. Suppose the subject of a certain book is love. But in that book suppose there also are a number of references to the subject of law. If a reader of the book takes these references out of context and gives them an improper emphasis, he will change the subject of the book from love to law. In seeking to understand the place of God’s law in the Scriptures many Christians have done this very thing. Failing to understand the law in the light of the main subject of the Bible as a whole, they do not have a proper, balanced view of the law.
We have pointed out a number of times that virtually everything in the universe has two sides, or two aspects. For example, during a regular twenty-four hour period, we have both day and night. Would it not be absurd for someone to insist that there is only day or only night? As sure as night falls, a new day dawns. We can neither prolong the day nor extend the night. This illustration of day and night may be applied to God’s giving of the law. Concerning the law, there are two aspects, two sides: the aspect of “night,” the dark side, and the aspect of “day,” the bright side. In these messages we are covering the “day” aspect, not the “night” aspect, which we shall cover later. We need to give the proper emphasis to both aspects. Now that we are covering the “day” aspect of the law, we are pointing out what is clear and bright. But when we turn to the “night” aspect, we shall point out what is dark. I do not intend to cheat the Lord’s people by failing to point out both aspects. In considering the two aspects of God’s giving of the law, I am not contradictory. To the contrary, I am simply presenting both sides of the truth.
Concerning God’s giving the law to His people, the main aspect is not the “night” aspect. God did not create the universe so that there could be night. Night is necessary, but it is not God’s goal. God’s goal is to have an eternal day. A verse which speaks of New Jerusalem in eternity, Revelation 21:25, says, “Night shall not be there.” Furthermore, Revelation 22:5 declares, “Night shall be no more.” When God’s purpose has reached its ultimate fulfillment in the New Jerusalem, there will be no night in that eternal city. By this we see that God’s goal is to have day, not night.
As Paul says, we are “of the day,” even “sons of the day” (1 Thes. 5:8, 5). However, in discussing the giving of God’s law, many Christian teachers place too great an emphasis on the aspect of “night.” I am by no means asserting that they pay no attention at all to the “day” side. I am simply pointing out the fact that their emphasis is on the aspect of “night.” Thus, there certainly is the need for us to cover the “day” side of the law as well as the “night” side.
If we would have the proper realization of what God’s law is, we need to know what God’s eternal purpose is. God’s eternal purpose is to have a people to express Him. In order for this purpose to be fulfilled, God must impart Himself into His chosen people and work Himself into them. This is the reason that, according to Genesis 1:26, God created man in a very particular way—in His own image and according to His likeness. God created man in His own image and according to His likeness so that man could take God in and contain Him. God wants man to be His container. This is the reason the Bible speaks of man as a vessel, a vessel of honor and of glory (Rom. 9:23). Man is a vessel to contain God.
The New Testament clearly and emphatically reveals that in Christ and through Christ God has come to us to dispense Himself into us. God does not simply come to visit us. He desires to make His abode with us. The Lord Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make an abode with him” (John 14:23). In Colossians 1:27 Paul speaks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Other verses also indicate definitely that Christ is in us (Rom. 8:10; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 2:20; 4:19). We know from Ephesians 4:6 that the Father is in us and from John 14:17 and Romans 8:11 that the Spirit dwells in us. First John 4:12 says, “God abides in us.” Verse 15 of the same chapter declares, “Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” This matter of dwelling in God and God dwelling in us is repeated several times in 1 John. Again and again, the New Testament points out that God dwells in us. We are even called God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19) and His dwelling place, His house (Eph. 2:22; 1 Tim. 3:15). God houses Himself in us. Ephesians 3:17 indicates that Christ is making His home in our hearts. Only when God works Himself into our being are we able to express Him.
Many Christians today neglect this crucial matter of God dispensing Himself into us and working Himself into us. When we expound this point and emphasize its importance, we are accused by some of teaching pantheism or even “evolution into God.” What blindness! Yes, we teach that God desires to work Himself into man, but we certainly do not teach that man is evolving into the Godhead or that man will ever attain to the status of deity. Those who accuse us of holding such a doctrine are in darkness. Time and time again we must emphasize the basic matter that, according to the divine revelation in the Scriptures, God desires to be one with His people and to make them one with Him. We do not have the full understanding of how intensely God longs to be one with us and to make us one with Him. Those who think this is “evolution into God” are grossly ignorant of God’s economy revealed in the New Testament. In the light of God’s Word, we see that He wants to come into us and dwell in us and cause us to dwell in Him. In this way, He and we, we and He, become one.
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