GOD REGULATING MAN THROUGH DELEGATED AUTHORITY AND THE INWARD CONSCIENCE
We have to know that the old creation and the natural life within us can do many things. If there were no laws in the country, we could even rob banks. Today, God sovereignly puts nations and rulers on earth. Romans 13 says, “Let every person be subject to the authorities over them. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are appointed by God” (v. 1). All rulers govern for God to maintain the world situation. If there were no law courts, governments, or police stations on earth, we would not be able to live and work peacefully.
In addition, God has created a conscience within man. The conscience controls our walk and conduct. Moreover, we the saved ones have God added to our conscience. The conscience forms a part of man’s spirit. Since God lives in our spirit, He lives in our conscience. However, God does not use brute force to rule over this part of us. Rather, He draws us with His love. We see this in the Lord’s question to Peter, “Do you love Me?” Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” The Lord said to him, “Shepherd My sheep” (John 21:16). This is His drawing us with His love. If we do not love the Lord, we lose the restraint that comes from this kind of attraction and are liable to do anything and everything.
HUMANITY BEING SAFEGUARDED THROUGH LOVING THE LORD
For a Christian to serve the Lord, he must have the humanity of a servant of the Lord. We do not have to wait for the government, the law court, or the policeman to regulate us. Neither should we merely be regulated by our conscience. Our humanity comes from our loving of our God. We have been planted in Him. Now we are willing to live in Him and are willing to be found by others to be a person in Him. Furthermore, what we live out is just Christ. We always allow Christ to be magnified in our body. No matter what kind of circumstance, whether it be poverty, riches, suffering, enjoyment, peace, danger, or even death, I magnify Him. In this way, He becomes my humanity.
However, such a high humanity can be lost. One can degenerate from a noble humanity to a base one, giving up one’s position and rights as a man. It is possible for Christians to degrade to such an extent. This is like Alexander; he did not have a proper humanity. He would even do many evil things to a servant of the Lord who loved and served Him. Likewise, Demas loved the present age and forsook Paul.
Today, we should be those who are willing to remain in Christ and be found in Him. In this way, we can do all things in Him who empowers us (Phil. 4:13). Every one of the six virtues—that which is true, honorable, righteous, pure, lovely, and well-spoken of (v. 8)—is hard to achieve from man’s point of view. But we can do all these in Him who empowers us. In this way, we live out godliness and the proper humanity, which is just Christ manifested in our bodies and lived out through us.
Hence, we should not think that as Christians our humanity is safeguarded. Whether our humanity will be safeguarded or not depends on whether or not we continue to love the Lord and consecrate ourselves. This is why the new way is helping us to be revived every morning and to overcome every day. Such a living will keep us in the proper condition. Otherwise, it will be impossible for us to live out the normal, proper humanity.
In February of this year I visited the churches near San Francisco. A brother there asked me if I, as one having been in the Lord for so many years and with such a vast area and heavy burden in the work, had ever had any trouble. I replied that certainly there are many troubles. The brother then asked me if I have peace within. I replied that though troubles are many, the peace is even more. This is because the work is not my business but the Lord’s business. It is the same with the preaching of the gospel. It is the Lord’s business whether a person will be saved or not. It is our duty to preach the gospel. If others accept it, they will receive grace. If they reject it, they will miss the grace. For me, I am not troubled at all. This is something that we need to know.
STANDING FIRM IN CHRIST AND NOT FEARING THE WAVES
We have to see today that first we have to be equipped with such a humanity. Only then are we qualified to serve the Lord. Once we lose this humanity, we do not have the position and the right to serve the Lord. Second, I know that you are still young. I am at least sixty years ahead of you. I am very familiar with this way, but you have a long way yet to go. There are many difficulties along the way. “God hath not promised skies always blue, Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through” (Hymns, #720). For this reason, by grace you have to stand firm in Christ, maintaining this life through holding Christ as the humanity. When you see a storm, do not listen to rumors and do not be affected by those who have changed. Do not ask why. When a man is changed, he is changed, and that is all. We have to look to the Lord’s mercy today to keep us unchanged and to preserve us all the way to the end.
Mark 4 describes the Lord Jesus sitting in the boat with His disciples as they crossed over to the other side. Suddenly a great windstorm came, and the waves beat into the boat so that the boat was filling up. The disciples were very afraid, but Jesus was sleeping on the cushion in the stern (vv. 37, 38). The stern of a small boat is the part that is most easily swayed. Although the swaying was severe, the Lord still had a peaceful sleep.
May the Lord’s blood cover me. I have the same sensation today. There may be windstorms. But I can still sleep in the stern. I hope that you also can be like this. You should know that even with such a short trip as the journey across the Sea of Galilee, there were still frequent windstorms and high waves.
Paul said in 2 Timothy 1 that all those in Asia had turned away from him (v. 15). Chapter four also shows us that Demas had forsaken Paul (v. 10). Moreover, Alexander did many evil things to Paul (v. 14). It seems that there was no one there who was one with Paul. But thank the Lord, there was still Timothy who was one with him. That is why in 2 Timothy Paul did not show any discouragement. Rather, he was singing the victory song. He said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me in that day; and not only to me, but also to all those who have loved His appearing” (vv. 7-8). If we love His appearing, we will be kept in the realm of having Christ as our humanity. When He returns, we shall surely be rewarded.
(A message given by Brother Witness Lee in Taipei on March 16, 1989)
(The Glorious Vision and the Way of the Cross, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)