A HIGH STANDARD OF MORALITY
Now we go on to chapter nineteen to consider another point. Here, the first point that is raised does not concern legality, but a high standard of morality. In the kingdom we should not insist on any legality, but we must maintain high moral standards. We must have the highest morality, as high as God Himself. Thus, we must go back to the beginning. Matters such as paying tribute and length of hair are not matters of morality, and we may be flexible concerning them. In the kingdom there is absolutely no legality. However, we are still human and must maintain God’s standard for humanity. As far as humanity is concerned, nothing is more important than morality. In its seriousness, immorality is next to idolatry. Nothing is more insulting to God than idolatry, and nothing is more damaging to humanity than immorality. In both the Old and New Testaments, God never allowed anyone to be involved in the worship of idols. Also, in both the Old and the New Testaments, God never allowed any of His children to be involved in immorality. The standard of morality must be high and absolute. At the end of chapter seventeen, the Lord Jesus was very flexible regarding the matter of paying tribute. Whether He paid the tribute or not made no difference—He could be flexible. But do not say that it makes no difference whether we are moral or immoral. We can never say this.
The Pharisees tempted the Lord Jesus concerning divorce. Immediately, He referred them back to the very beginning of the Scriptures, taking them to the first two chapters in Genesis, and telling them that according to God’s economy there was one husband with one wife and one wife for one husband. When a man and a woman are married, they become one flesh, a oneness which should never be broken. "What therefore God has yoked together, let not man separate" (19:6). However, the Pharisees used Scriptures to argue with the Lord. They said that Moses allowed them to give a writing of divorce. The Lord Jesus responded by saying, "Moses, because of your hardness of heart, allowed you to put away your wives; but from the beginning it has not been so" (19:8). What Moses tolerated was not up to God’s standard. In the beginning we see what was right according to God’s standard.
In the kingdom we should have no legality, but we must maintain the highest morality. I hope that this will be proclaimed loudly in all the local churches because this is an age of immorality. Look at the situation in America and in every country today. What a shame! Nevertheless, we are the kingdom, and the kingdom must be filled with the highest morality. May we all learn to have no legality, but to maintain the highest morality.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 27, by Witness Lee)