LAWS UPON OUR HEARTS
The New Testament law, written upon our hearts, liberates us. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and of death” (Rom. 8:2). We are not under the law of bondage but the law of liberty.
How does this law liberate us? Suppose you loved to go to the movies. Sometimes you would even lie to your mother, telling her you were going to the library when actually you were sneaking off to the movies. Upon your return home, if she asked you what you had been studying in the library, you would invent a little story for her. Your love for the movies caused you to tell two lies, lies that one day will be judged by God. This may have happened many times. It indicates that you were under the bondage of movies.
How does this law of liberty operate to set you free? Before you were saved, you may have felt proud of yourself for getting away with such deceit. But once you are saved, your feelings are different. There will be something within bothering you; you will feel disturbed both for going to the movies and also for deceiving your mother. Even if you do not heed your new inner feelings, this law is patient. Time after time you will feel troubled when you go to the movies or lie to your mother. Eventually you will be subdued by this bothering element within you. The law within thus becomes the law of liberty, freeing you from the bondage of movies.
Sometimes we testify to others that we have had peace since we became a Christian. Actually, instead of having peace, many times we are bothered. This bothering One is persistent. He may keep after us for several years until He finally subdues us. We cannot persuade Him to look at things our way. Sooner or later, in His patient, gentle way, He will win.
I know many of you have been influenced to go to movies or to drink, under the guise of being liberated. As your testimonies have shown, you may have seemed outwardly liberated, but within there was a protest. Such a feeling shows the functioning of the law written upon your heart. No matter how much you say you are liberated from all bondage, you cannot be liberated from the inner law written upon your heart. Whenever you do something against God and this living law within, you will have the sense that you are not right. It is only by regarding this sense that you are brought into liberty.
A STRICTER LAW
Before we were saved, we were lawless. But after we are saved, God’s law is written on our hearts and we are “not without law to God, but under the law to Christ” (1 Cor. 9:21). The new law in the New Testament is called the law of liberty or the law of Christ.
This law is stricter than Moses’. It binds us even in minor points. It requires not only telling the truth but also being accurate. It will condemn us for feeling proud even when no one can see any evidence of pride.
This new law has far more commandments than ten. Let us mention just a few. Repent! Be baptized! Pray unceasingly! Rejoice! Be burning in spirit! Love one another! Be transformed by the renewing of the mind! Flee youthful lusts! If you will turn the pages of your New Testament, you will find commandment after commandment.
We are told to “be careful [anxious] for nothing” (Phil. 4:6). How hard it is not to worry! This is especially true of parents in their concern for their children. I recall how my mother worried about her second daughter, my sister, who was teaching in another province, some eight hundred miles away. One morning my mother was nearly weeping. When I asked her what was the matter, she reproached me for not caring for my sister and pointed out that we had not heard from her for four weeks. The previous night she had dreamed that my sister was very ill. Though I tried to encourage her to eat breakfast and not pay any attention to a dream, she kept reproving me that I didn’t care about my sister. The more I tried to set her mind at rest, the more annoyed she became with me. Finally she said, “What makes you so dull? Why don’t you go out and send a telegram for me?” Of course, I hurried to do her bidding. The return telegram came later that day, saying all was well.
You can see how prone we are to worry. But the Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing.”
LIBERATED BY BEING UNDER LAW
Christians are the most lawful people. In eating, drinking, wearing apparel, and lodging we are lawful. In everything we are under the commandments of the New Testament. The more we keep the new law, the law of liberty, the more we shall be truly liberated, not unto lawlessness, but from the bondage of doing sinful things.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)