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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 18 of 72 Section 1 of 4

LIFE-STUDY OF MATTHEW

MESSAGE EIGHTEEN

THE DECREE
OF THE KINGDOM’S CONSTITUTION

(6)

In this message I am burdened to give a further word on the law. There has been much debate among Christian teachers over this matter of the law. These debates have been mainly due to the shortage of light from the Bible regarding the law. According to the Old Testament economy, God’s dealings with His people were based upon the law. This was the principle of the law. But in the New Testament economy, God deals with His people today, not according to the law, but according to faith. Thus, the law was the principle of God’s dealing with His people in the Old Testament, but faith is the principle of His dealing with us in the New Testament. According to the Old Testament economy, it was necessary to keep the law in order to be acceptable to God. But today being acceptable to God is a matter of faith.

The principle of the law has been abolished, but the commandments of the law have not been abolished. Just because the principle of the law has been abolished, never think that the commandments of the law have also been abolished and that there is no need to honor our parents or to refrain from stealing. No, instead of being abolished, the commandments of the law have been uplifted. Although our contact with God is not based upon the principle of the law, we must still observe the uplifted commandments of the law.

NO NEED TO KEEP THE SABBATH

At this point the Seventh Day Adventists might say, “Yes, we must keep all the commandments of the law. One of these commandments is to keep the Sabbath. Based upon what you have said about not abolishing the commandments of the law, we tell you that you must keep the Sabbath.” Although the commandments of God have not been abolished, one of these commandments, the law about keeping the Sabbath, is not related to morality. Rather, it is a ritual law. A ritual is a form, a shadow, that we need no longer observe today. For example, we do not need to offer animal sacrifices, do we? Likewise, we no longer need to keep the Sabbath. In the Old Testament, the age of shadows, there was the need for the sacrifices, the feasts, and the keeping of the Sabbath. But today is an age of reality. Our sacrifice is not a lamb or a goat; it is Christ, the reality of all the Old Testament sacrifices. In like manner, our rest is not a particular day; it also is Christ. Because Christ, the reality, is here, all the shadows are over. Because the commandment to keep the Sabbath is a ritual commandment, not a moral commandment, we are not obligated to keep it today. This commandment is not related to morality, but to the shadow, the form, which is now over.

THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW

We need to be impressed concerning the principle of the law. God’s dealing with His people always depends upon a principle. For example, God’s dealings with Abraham were based upon God’s promise. God did not give Abraham the commandments of the law; He gave him only the promise. Thus, God dealt with him according to His promise. The promise given by God to Abraham became the principle according to which God dealt with him. Later, God gave the law to the children of Israel through Moses. The law given on Mount Sinai thus became the principle according to which God dealt with the children of Israel. In this way the law became the principle for God’s dealings with His people in the Old Testament. Now in the New Testament God deals with the believers according to faith, no longer according to the law. This is fully developed in the books of Romans and Galatians. If you read these books, you will see that God deals with the believers in Christ not according to the law, but according to faith. In Old Testament times God accepted people according to the law. If anyone wanted to be accepted by God, he had to meet the standard of the law. But today God accepts us, not according to the law, but according to whether or not we believe in Christ. Thus, God’s acceptance of us today is based on faith.


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