Dead to Law but Living to God, by Witness Lee


Then what should we choose? Should we choose good or evil? Should we choose to break the law or to keep the law? On the surface, it seems that it is much better to keep the law than to break the law, because it appears that breaking the law alienates us from God while keeping the law might bring us closer to God. Thus, it seems that we should choose to do good. However, although doing good might appear to be a worthy goal, yet it is not the right goal, and in fact it is the wrong goal. Doing evil is an unworthy goal and the wrong goal as well. Therefore, both good and evil are wrong. Of course, God has absolutely no intention for us to do evil, but neither does He intend for us to do good. God’s intention is neither for us to be responsible to do evil nor for us to be responsible to do good.

Those who sin and do evil, such as bandits, robbers, and fornicators, put God aside and do not care about God. If they were aware of God, they would be afraid to do evil things. The reason they dare to do evil things is that they do not acknowledge the existence of God; they have put God aside. Those who conduct themselves in an upright and proper manner are moral and good in others’ eyes. They are often boastful, saying, “What are heaven and hell? Who is God and who is the devil? Such things do not exist! Everything depends on our conducting ourselves according to our conscience. We should do things according to proper reasoning. We should not do things that would hurt others, nor should we do things that would harm ourselves. We should take care of others as well as ourselves. It is good enough that we conduct ourselves in an upright way.” People like this have good behavior, their words are trustworthy, and their character is good, but they do not acknowledge the existence of God. This is to be good. People who are good in this way are commendable but mistaken because their goal is incorrect.


In the beginning God created man neither to do good nor to do evil. Rather, God created man for His purpose. He wanted man to have fellowship with Him, to be filled with Him, to live in Him, and to be mingled with Him as one entity. Man was created for God as a vessel to contain God (Rom. 9:21, 23). This is similar to a glass being made as a vessel to contain water. It is wrong to put dirty things into the glass, but even if we put gold into it, it is still wrong. This is because the glass was made as a vessel to contain water, not other things.

Human beings were created neither to contain evil nor to contain good. We were created neither to be evil persons nor to be good persons. Then what kind of people should we be? How can a living person do neither evil nor good? Can anyone escape from good and evil? None of us can. A person who is without God cannot escape from good, evil, and death in his life. Only a person who has died does neither good nor evil.


Praise the Lord that those who have God’s life have another choice—to be God-men. As those who have the life of God, we would not do evil, neither would we do good; even the more, we would reject death. We are afraid of good, evil, and death. However, there is One of whom we are not afraid, and not only are we not afraid of Him, but we even desire Him. This One is God. Why do we desire God? It is because God is man’s goal and content, and man was created for God.

In the garden of Eden there were two trees: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9). Concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Bible says that he who eats of it shall surely die (v. 17). When someone eats of this tree, it may seem to be evil, but it is actually death, or it may seem to be good, but in reality it is still death. The issue of evil is death, and the issue of good is also death. These three—good, evil, and death—are inseparable. Then what is the tree of life in the middle of the garden? This tree of life is life itself. What man sees is life, what he eats is life, and the issue of his eating is also life. Who is this life? This life is God Himself.

Please remember that in the garden of Eden the first tree— the tree of life—is God Himself, and the second tree—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—is good, evil, and death. People on earth who do not have God choose the second tree instead of the first. The result of choosing the second tree is good, evil, and death. They are good men, evil men, and eventually dead men. These three kinds of persons are all in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then, as saved ones, are we good men, evil men, or dead men? Praise the Lord, we who have been saved have the life of God in us, so we are God-men.

However, is our real situation like this? Are we God-men in our daily living? This is a big problem. It is very difficult for us to be freed from the law in our human living. We are always turning back to the law, and the law is always following us. Even today, having become Christians, we still cannot easily break away from the law, and instead of living to God, we still live before the law to be people of the law. Although we have been saved and we have God in us, we do not live to God.

As human beings we were created for God Himself. We are vessels to contain God. We should not take good or evil into us; rather, we should take God into us. How can God be put into us? It is by means of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures tell us clearly that when the Holy Spirit is in us, God is in us (1 John 3:24; 4:13; Rom. 8:9a, 11). What does God want us to do? God wants us to be dead to the law so that we may live to God. Before we were saved, we lived to good and evil; that is, we lived to death. Now that we are saved, we should start learning to live to God. This means that as vessels to contain God according to His purpose in creating man, we should live to God instead of living to the law. We should be neither good men nor evil men but God-men.

(Dead to Law but Living to God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)