Not the law of letters

2
Thanh Le

San Francisco, California, United States

As God's loving seekers, we don't need to care for keeping the law or the letter-word but we must love the Lord with our whole heart and take in His word and His commandments which are our spiritual foods. Therefore, we spontaneously live acording to His word and His commandments.


Chris Ray

Mesquite, Texas, United States

Who can live out the law? Christ! He's the reality of God's word (John 1:1, 1:14). Enjoy Him in Word and He lives Himself out from within us! "The reality of keeping the law is to live God and express God" Crystallization-study outlines, Exodus (2), message 1, p. 3. Oh, we love Him, we love His word!

What we need today is not more and better teachings. Our need is to experience the living Christ. Stanza 1 of Hymns, #541 says,

Not the law of letters,

But the Christ of life

God desires to give us,

Saving us from strife;

It is not some doctrine,

But 'tis Christ Himself

Who alone releases

From our sinful self.

I say again, we should not try to overcome any problem. It is Satan, the subtle one, who tempts us to try to overcome. We simply need to turn to our spirit. When we encounter trials, sickness, and other difficulties, we should not set our mind on these things. Rather, we should turn our mind to our spirit, calling, "O Lord, O Lord, O Lord." If we will practice this, we will enjoy the Lord and be filled with Him.

No philosophy, element, or religion can conform us to Christ. The law of Moses cannot conform us to Christ. Only Christ can conform us to Himself, and nothing else. Some may be bothered that we are belittling religion. They may say, "We are Christians; shouldn't we love Christianity?" But we need to be those who love Christ, not any "anity." Nothing can or should replace Christ.

Stanza 3 of Hymns, #541 says, "Not philosophy nor/Any element/Can to Christ conform us/As His complement;/But 'tis Christ Himself who/All our nature takes/And in resurrection/Us His members makes." No philosophy, regardless of how good or high it is, can produce the Body of Christ as the complement to Christ. Ethical teaching, such as James's mixed teaching, can never make members of Christ. The members of Christ can be produced only by the teaching according to God's New Testament economy. Stanza 4 says, "Not religion, even/Christianity,/Can fulfill God's purpose/Or economy;/But 'tis Christ within us/As our all in all/Satisfies God's wishes,/And His plan withal."

What is the significance of our blending? It is not an organization of any nature. The first stanza of Hymns, #541 says, "Not the law of letters,/But the Christ of life." Then stanza 4 says, "Not religion, even/Christianity,/Can fulfill God's purpose/Or economy." Our blending has nothing to do with the dead letter, any religion, or anything of Christianity. The significance of our blending is the reality of the Body of Christ. This reality is nothing but the group of God's redeemed who have all been made God, the God-men, by God. They live a life not by themselves but by another life which is within them. This other life is the Triune God processed and consummated to enter into them and to take them as His abode, His dwelling place.

Every nation has its own traditions. The Chinese have their traditions that were handed down from their ancestors through the generations. These traditions are in the blood of the Chinese people. In the same way, the Japanese, the Arabs, the Indians, and the Jews all have their own traditions.

We all know that when someone is born, he is right away under the four great, permeating influences of culture, religion, ethics, and tradition. Today the entire human society is influenced by these four items, even to the extent that man has become a composition of these four items. Simply put, man is an entity of culture, religion, ethics, and tradition combined. I have spoken about these four matters, but these are not my burden; my burden is Christ. These four items are not Christ; they are all replacements of Christ.

Stanza 3 of Hymns, #541 says,

...

No philosophy or ethical element can produce the members of Christ, nor can they produce the Body of Christ—an organic church. Stanza 4 says,

...

All our problems are due to our lack of Christ. If we lack Christ, we are like a human body lacking nutrition, and this allows all kinds of sickness to come in. Once the nutrients are balanced and complete, then the sickness goes away. This is similar to what stanza 5 says,

...

The purpose of God's New Testament economy is first to make sinners the members of Christ so that they can be constituted the Body of Christ (Rom. 12:5). The third stanza of Hymns, #541 speaks of this truth:

Not philosophy nor

Any element

Can to Christ conform us

As His complement;

But 'tis Christ Himself who

All our nature takes

And in resurrection

Us His members makes.

This is a miniature of Romans 12. This hymn was written thirty years ago and shows that the light was very clear among us concerning this matter even in 1960. We can see that to constitute sinners as the Body of Christ is fully a matter of life. The purpose of God's New Testament economy is to make this Body the fullness, the corporate expression, of the processed Triune God.

Hymn #541 in Hymns is concerning the experience of Christ versus all things. It speaks of the things that replace Christ, such as the law of letters, philosophy, and religion. All these things are really "Shebnas" which replace Christ. According to Isaiah 22, Shebna was "fired" and replaced by Eliakim as the steward over the king's house. Darby said that Shebna typifies a false Christ. He should be removed and replaced by Christ. Christ should not be replaced by us. Instead, we should be replaced by Christ. All of us are "Shebnas" who should be removed and replaced by the real Eliakim. Christ, our Eliakim, should replace everything and everyone in God's economy. We should sing Hymn #541 with such a realization.