NO PLACE FOR OUR CONCEPTS
In God’s economy there is no place for religion, or ethical behavior, or human virtues. God’s concern is only for Christ. He wants Christ expressed in us, not human virtues. But the thought of living by Christ does not have much meaning for us. We have no idea, or very little idea, of what it means.
Consider these verses in John 16 about the Holy Spirit: “And having come, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment; Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me” (vv. 8-9). The Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning sin. How sinful the world is! There is robbery, murder, and fornication. Surely the world will be convicted for this. But, no! The Lord said the conviction for sin is “because they do not believe in Me.” In the New Testament economy the first commandment given by God is that we believe in the Lord Jesus. To break this commandment is sin. Those who perish do so, not because of committing robbery or fornication, but because of unbelief.
The universe is God’s, not ours. He is the Administrator. To disobey His commandment that we believe in His Son is rebellion. Whether we are a gentleman or a bank robber, God’s commandment is that we believe in His Son. In Moses’ time there were Ten Commandments, but now there is only one. To refuse to believe in the Son is the sin for which mankind will perish.
Many Jewish people think they are worshipping God. They do their best to live by the Ten Commandments. But they do not know that in the New Testament economy, God has given a new, different commandment. Because they will not believe in Christ, they are guilty of rebellion.
After we are saved, God gives us another commandment: walk according to the spirit. But instead of heeding this basic commandment, we pay attention to the exhortations that suit our natural mentality. We try to love our wives or submit to our husbands, but exhortations like these are not basic.
If we are not saved, God’s commandment is that we believe in His Son. Once we are saved, He commands that we walk according to the spirit. We can all experience that by our believing in the Lord Jesus we inherit all things. Holiness, victory, spirituality, and every spiritual blessing become ours.
Seek Christ. Do not seek spirituality. To seek anything other than Him is to miss God’s economy. Paul wrote to the Galatians because they had been distracted from Christ by the Jewish religion. He wrote to the Colossians because they had been distracted from Christ by Gnosticism, including Jewish and heathen philosophies.
CHRIST A MYSTERY
Christ is presented to the Colossians as a mystery. In Colossians 1:27 it refers to “this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” A mystery is a secret. Christ is the secret of the gospel. Strange as it may sound, the gospel is not merely for salvation. The gospel is for Christ. He is its center and reality. When we receive the gospel, we of course participate in God’s salvation, but that is only an issue; it is not basic. Christ Himself is what is basic to the gospel.
In Colossians 2:2 Christ is called the mystery of God. God Himself is a mystery. Christ is the mystery of this mystery! He is the secret of this mystery. Then in verses 16 and 17 Paul goes on to point out how the Colossians have been influenced by the Judaizers in their eating, drinking, feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths. All these things—whether daily, yearly, monthly, or weekly—“are a shadow of things to come.” The light may cause a table, for example, to cast a shadow, but that shadow is not the body of the table. Paul says that their practices under the Levitical law are all shadows, “but the body is of Christ.” How sad for the Colossians to miss the body and care for shadows!
Christ is the body. In other words, Christ is the real food, the real drink, the real Sabbath, the real new moon, and the real feast. He is the reality of everything positive.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)