Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), by Watchman Nee

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One thing more we have to know. Galatians 5:4 says, "You have been brought to nought, separated from Christ, you who are being justified by law; you have fallen from grace." In the original language the word "brought to nought" is katargeo. This is a passive verb. There is a little of the sense of separation. Kata has somewhat the sense of detachment, but the sense is not very strong. The word katargeo means to be led away from the effect and the function. Stephan’s lexicon of Greek words can be considered as one of the best. It tells us that the word here means to be led away from the function. One must see the difference between separation from Christ and being led away from the effect of Christ. These are two different things. If a man has left Christ and is separated from Him, then everything is through. But this is not what Paul was saying here. Paul said that if they keep the law, they have fallen from grace. If they want to hold on to the law, they have to let go of grace. If they follow the law, they will lose the effect of Christ.

What is the effect of Christ? If the effect of Christ is manifested in me, I can rejoice. Though I may be weak and worthless, I know that His grace is sufficient for me, and my heart is able to be at peace. This joy and peace that I have in my heart is the effect of Christ on me. This is Christ working out His effect on me. I do not try to be saved by my works. I know that I am saved already. I do not have to strive to be saved. I do not have to plead desperately. Nor do I have to struggle. I can rest in His work. This is the effect of Christ. Today many Christians have turned away from Christ. Christ does not have much effect on them.

Suppose I owe someone a great deal of money. I cannot repay it even if I were to sell all that I have. Now I have a best friend. He says that since I am so heavily in debt, he will write a check for me so that I can clear my debts. But I am a lazy man. I am too lazy to cash the check. Now do I have money at home? I do, but I also have a debt at home. I have the check, but the check has no effect on me. The debt is still there; it has not been repaid. I am still bearing the burden of the debt. Today God has given us the check already. But we have not cashed in on the effect of this check.

Hence, to be separated from Christ and to have Christ made of none effect on us are two different things. To be separated from Christ is to be not saved. But we can never be separated from Christ. Romans 8 tells us that there is no way for us to be separated from Christ. It says that no one can separate us from the love of Christ. The grace we receive from Christ and the blessing we have from God are ordained by God. No one can overturn them. They cannot be overturned, because they are based on righteousness. Through the many things that Christ has accomplished for us, the problem of eternal life and death is solved. There is no way to overturn this, for this is based on righteousness. But on the subjective side, the absence of peace in the heart and the continual presence of unhappiness is a Christian problem. A man may worry about how he can receive grace and how he can preserve his salvation. Every day his heart is held in suspense, not knowing what he should do. When a man has turned away from the effect of Christ, he will not receive the effect he should receive from Christ. Hence, Galatians 5:4 shows us that for a man to pursue after law is for him to fall from grace. When he falls from grace, he is away from the effect of Christ. Therefore, this does not refer to man’s losing his salvation after he is saved. Rather, it refers to one’s not having the joy and peace of salvation.

(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 18, by Watchman Nee)