Every kind of life is not only governed by a law; every life is a law. The apple life is a law; the peach life is also a law. There is no need to command the peach tree to produce peaches. There is no need to explain to it how the peaches should look. If you do, the peach tree will reply, “Who are you? How can you be so foolish? I don’t need to be told to produce peaches. I have a peach law within me. I don’t need commandments. All I need is for you to allow me to live and grow. Water me. Give me the proper fertilizer. Then I’ll produce the peaches you want. I cannot bring forth peaches by making up my mind to do what my master has commanded me! I do not produce by activities; I bring forth peaches according to the law within me.”
When I was young, I saw an interesting scene of a cat catching a mouse. The mouse was running around very actively. When it suddenly saw the cat, it did not know what to do. The cat of course was happy to catch the mouse. Before finishing it off, he played with it for quite a while. He jumped around it and looked at it from different angles. Then he threw it into the air. He really enjoyed his “toy.” This scene illustrates the law which governs the cat and the law which governs the mouse. All life, whether animal, plant, or human, has a corresponding law. In fact, as we have said, every life is a law.
More than this, every living thing or person has a law because it or he is living. Actually, every living thing or person is a law. We are regulated by ourselves as a law. Why do we breathe? Who commanded us to breathe? Suppose we command a table to start breathing. It could not because it does not have the ability of life to breathe. We, on the other hand, right from the day of our birth, have been breathing without anyone’s commanding us to do so. This, and many other things, we do by law, not by activities, because of the life we have. As living persons, our life is a law.
Christians are complicated persons. A Christian has three lives! When Adam was in the garden of Eden before the fall, he had only one life, the human created life. After the fall another life entered into him, the satanic life. From then on, man began to behave in two ways. Sometimes he acted as a man, but other times as a devil. You may leave for work in the morning as a man and come back home at the end of the day a devil. Even within a minute you may change from one to the other. This is the result of having two lives within you.
Since every life has and even is a law, with these two lives there are two laws. In Romans 7 Paul describes these two laws. He tells us that in his mind he wanted to do the good (vv. 15-24). The man created by God was good, moral, ethical. Love, humility, kindness, and all the other virtues were created by God. That is why man is ethical. However, when he fell, another life entered into him. This satanic life brought with it another law, the law which is called “the evil.” It is the law of sin, bringing in death; thus, in Romans 8:2 it is called the law of sin and of death. These two laws, the law of good and the law of sin and of death, are present in fallen man.
At the time of our salvation, we received a third life, the divine life. Now, though we are only one person, we have three lives. We have the good human life, the evil satanic life, and the spiritual divine life. With them we have the corresponding laws. How complicated we are!
Even when we are young, we often have the intention to do good. We want to love our parents and be kind to our brothers and sisters. This is the human law. However, it is not up to us. “To will is present with me, but to do the good is not” (7:18). How things turn out is up to another law. “For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil I do not will, this I practice” (7:19). Paul concludes that if he does what he does not will, it is no longer he that does it but sin that dwells in him (v. 20). This indwelling sin acts contrary to our will. This is a law.
The third life, the divine life, is the strongest. Thus its law is also the strongest. It is the law of the Spirit of life. Spirit here refers to God’s Spirit and life to His divine life. We have a law operating in us which is the strongest in the whole universe! This law of the Spirit of life has freed us from the law of sin and of death (Rom. 8:2).
These two laws, the law of sin and of death and the law of the Spirit of life, are operating within us. Their work is according to law, not activity. The digestive processes work by law, not by activity, whenever we eat. Similarly, for a fallen person to sin is not merely by activities, but by law. To sin is a matter of law. To be freed from sin is also by law, by a stronger law.
(God's Eternal Intention and Satan's Counterplot, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)