Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have seen that the divine Spirit has been mingled with the human spirit to produce one entity. This oneness of the divine Spirit with the human spirit is the church life. Because the church is produced by the mingling of divinity with humanity, we may say that the church is a hybrid.
The book of Ephesians also deals with certain negative things that damage or hinder the church life. The reason these things are covered in this book is that Ephesians is focused on the church.
Those who have been Christians for years know that on the cross Christ died as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Furthermore, on the cross Christ crucified the old man, destroyed Satan, and dealt with the world. This means that on the cross Christ dealt with sin, with the old man including the old nature, with Satan, and with the world. However, not many Christians realize that on the cross Christ also dealt with the ordinances. Christ dealt with sins and with sin so that we might be saved. He dealt with our old nature in order to set us free from the old man. Moreover, Christ dealt with Satan so that we may be victorious and overcome the evil one. Finally, Christ dealt with the world, so that we may be holy, sanctified, separated from the world. But why did He deal with the ordinances? He dealt with them in order to create one new man. Christians do not see this point because they concentrate on personal salvation, sanctification, or victory, and pay no attention to the church. Even many Bible teachers fail to point out that in Ephesians Christ abolished the ordinances in order that the church might be produced. This is one of the most important revelations the Lord has given to the church in recent days. Christ’s death was not only for our salvation, liberation, sanctification, and victory. His death was also to abolish the ordinances in order to create the church as the one new man.
Ordinances, commandments, and the law are in the same category. Apart from the law, we would not have any commandments. These commandments give rise to ordinances. On the cross Christ abolished the law of commandments in ordinances.
Ordinances are related both to religion and to culture and also to human nature. According to our nature, we have a strong tendency toward ordinances. Our ordinances match our culture. The more cultured we are, the more ordinances we have.
Christ abolished the ordinances in order to create in Himself one new man. He did not abolish them so that we may be holy, spiritual, or victorious. In a sense, He did not abolish the ordinances even that we may be saved. He abolished them so that the church might come into being.
If we know the church, we shall reject all ordinances. The church is the mingling of the processed God with the proper humanity. Here in this mingling there are no ordinances, commandments, rules, or regulations. The more we are in the mingled spirit, in the mingling of the divine Spirit with the human spirit, the more we shall be set free from ordinances.
However, if we cling to ordinances, we shall be divisive. Christians have been divided mainly because of ordinances. Some denominations have been established because of ordinances. Do you have the confidence to say that you have no ordinances? Few of us can say this. The young people have their particular ordinances, and the older saints have theirs. Most of the problems among the leading ones in the churches are caused by ordinances.
Some Christians have an ordinance, for example, regarding speaking in tongues. After one meeting, a brother came to me very happy because he had not been bothered by a sister who had spoken in tongues in that meeting. I told this brother that even his happiness proved that he still had feelings about speaking in tongues. Hence, his reaction was not altogether positive. If he could be surrounded by those who spoke in tongues without having any feeling about it, that would prove that he had no ordinances concerning this matter.
If we would have the proper church life, we must drop all ordinances and concentrate on the mingling of the divine Spirit with the human spirit. Only in this mingling can we enjoy the genuine church life.
Ordinances are particularly related to religion. Without ordinances, it is impossible to have religion, for religion is composed of ordinances. But Christ does not want a religion. What He wants is the new man. Therefore, He abolished the ordinances on the cross. Some may prefer shouting in the meeting, whereas others prefer silence. But to be either for shouting or for silence is to have an ordinance. We should not be for either one or the other, but for the Spirit. However, according to our nature and upbringing, we are prone to have ordinances of one kind or another. But as long as there are ordinances, we do not have the reality of the church life. The church life does not consist of ordinances, but of the living Spirit.
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