NO ORDINANCES IN THE CHURCH
I am also burdened to share with you that in the church there are no ordinances. We have seen that we all are Christ, so we all are one Body (Eph. 2:16), which is Christ (1 Cor. 12:12). But look at today’s situation in Christianity. We see divisions there, not the one Body. We Christians have been and still are divided. Ephesians 2:15-16 tells us that when Christ in His flesh was dying on the cross, He slew the enmity.
Most of us have heard that on the cross Christ took away our sins, and some of us probably also have heard that on the cross Christ crucified our old man and defeated Satan. But here in Ephesians 2:15-16 we are told that Christ on the cross slew the enmity. The enmity here is caused by the ordinances. Verse 15 speaks of the law of the commandments in ordinances, which create the enmity. Then verse 16 says that Christ has slain the enmity. That means that He has slain all the ordinances.
In Ephesians 2:15 the ordinances are the ways of living and religion. The religious people always have their way of living according to their way of religion. In ancient times the Jews had many ordinances. They had to be circumcised on the eighth day, they had to keep the Sabbath every week, and they had to observe their dietary regulations three times a day. These were the main ordinances of the Jews in ancient times. Due to these ordinances, no Jew would associate with any Gentile. On the other hand, the Gentiles also had their way of living. Therefore, all the different ordinances created enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles.
However, Christ created a Body, a new man, of many different people, not only of the Jews but also of all the Gentiles. The new man, the church, the Body of Christ, was created with all kinds of people, who have their particular ways of living. The Americans have their American way, the British have their British way, the Chinese have their Chinese way, and the Japanese have their Japanese way. Even with the Americans, the Yankees have their way and the Texans have their way. All have different ways of living, different ordinances.
I am afraid most of you have your own ordinances, ordinances not made by Moses but by yourself. You have your self-made ordinances. Furthermore, there are locally-made ordinances among the local churches, such as a Los Angeles ordinance, a Houston ordinance, a San Francisco ordinance, or a Chicago ordinance. One time in a meeting while some of the attendants were excited, some others walked out. No doubt, they did not agree with what was going on in the meeting. We have to be flexible. If we are not flexible, whatever way we have for our meeting becomes an ordinance. If those dissenting ones who walked out insist on not having a certain way of meeting, that means they have a strong ordinance. If the ones who stayed insist on having their way of meeting, they also become a people with a strong ordinance.
(The Life for the Preaching of the High Gospel, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)