REPLACEMENTS FOR CHRIST
Many Christians use the Bible as a substitute for Christ. The Lord Jesus told the Jewish religionists that they searched the Scriptures but would not come to Him for life (John 5:39-40). The Bible is a testimony to Him, but apart from Him there is no life in the letter of the Word. Because they would not go to Him for life, their search of the Scriptures was only in the dead letter.
In our day many are like those Jews of old. Students of theology read and study the Scriptures, yet many fail to touch the Christ who is in the Spirit and in the Word. Many ordinary Christians, too, faithfully read the Bible, yet they will not come to the One of whom it speaks. They are using the Bible as a replacement for Christ.
The law of Moses was given by God. When Christ came, the Jews quoted from the law and would not receive Him; it was their substitute for Him. The believers in Galatia received Christ but then went back to embrace the law. Paul wrote the book of Galatians to rescue them from its snare. He reminded them that they were in Christ and had all His riches and grace as their portion. With such abundant blessing, how could they go back to Judaism? To do that was to cut themselves off from Christ. They were like a branch grafted into Christ, receiving the riches of the life of the tree. To turn back to the law was to disqualify themselves from their position in Christ and to be brought to nothing. It meant that they had fallen from grace (Gal. 5:4). Yes, the law was God-given; but its use was only temporary. Once Christ came, the law was to be put aside. They must remain in Christ and not turn back to the law.
You may feel that you are not trying to keep the law, so that what I am saying does not apply to you. Do you not, however, have your own laws? Especially those with a strong will have a set of laws they determine to keep. You have certain things you do and will not do. You behave properly. You consider yourself normal with a strong will, a clear mind, and proper emotions. Your life consists of your self-made regulations. These laws, as well as the law in the Bible, become a substitute for Christ.
Rather than living by Christ, some people cherish tongues-speaking, or the gift of healing, or some other gift. These gifts become a replacement of Christ.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)