NO RELIGION IN THE CHURCH
We also need to be aware of religion invading the church. In Galatians 6:15 Paul said, "For neither is circumcision anything nor uncircumcision, but a new creation." According to the context of this verse, circumcision refers to religious ordinances and uncircumcision refers to being without religious ordinances. Neither of these mean anything. What matters is the new creation. The new creation is Christ with the church. Circumcision is an ordinance of law; the new creation is the masterpiece of life with the divine nature. We should be those who live in the reality of the new creation apart from any religious ordinances. In the past some cared for religious ordinances. We should not repeat the mistakes of the past. The failures of the past should be warnings and lessons to us. We should only care for the new creation, which is Christ with the church and the church with Christ.
CHRIST ABOLISHING ALL THE ORDINANCES
FOR THE CREATION OF THE ONE NEW MAN
Ephesians 2:15 tells us that on the cross Christ abolished in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances to create the one new man. The new man is the new creation. Christ has abolished all the ordinances, including circumcision, the keeping of Sabbaths, and the dietary regulations of the Old Testament. All the ordinances have been abolished by Christ on the cross for the creation of this new man.
CARING FOR THE ONENESS OF THE SPIRIT
AND PUTTING ON THE NEW MAN
We also have to remember Ephesians 4:14, which tells us that we should no longer be babes tossed by waves and carried about by every wind of teaching, or doctrine. Any teaching, even scriptural, that distracts us from Christ and the church is a wind that carries us away from God’s central purpose. We should not care for distracting doctrines but care for the oneness of the Spirit (v. 3). We should also be those who are always putting on the new man (v. 24).
RELIGION PERSECUTING THE CHURCH
Galatians 1:13 reveals that when Paul was in religion he persecuted the church of God excessively and ravaged it. This shows us that as long as we hold on to something religious, we will be a persecutor of the church. Our religion is a persecution to the church. To some, religion is a positive word, but to those of us practicing the church life, it is a negative word. Religion is a damage to the genuine church life. If you are in the church, you are outside of religion. If you are in religion, you cannot be in the genuine church life. As we have pointed out, the church is an organism. The Body of Christ, the new man, is not a religion, even the most scriptural religion. The church is an organism as the Body, the new man, the kingdom of God, the family of God, the dwelling place of God, the wife of Christ, and the warrior fighting the battle. Religion persecutes the church, and religion is versus Christ. Paul was so zealous in religion, but it pleased God to reveal Christ in this one who was so advanced in religion. God rescued him out of the religious world by revealing His Son in him (vv. 4, 15-16a).
(The History of the Church and the Local Churches, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)