III. THE BASIS OF THE CLEARANCE OF THE PAST
[The clearance of the past is not based on the demand of outward regulations, but on the sense of life within. Although we have previously pointed out four matters which must necessarily be ended, yet these only enable us to recognize principles. They are not rules which demand that we put an end to such matters. When we are practicing the clearing of the past, what needs to be ended really depends on the sense of life within. Therefore, the sense of life within is the basis for our clearance of the past.
We know that all the religions of the world are built on their various religious codes. Their followers live and behave according to these rules. But the Lord’s salvation is not like that. The salvation of the Lord, through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, gives us a new life. Since we have such a new life, we can now live and behave in the presence of God through the sense of this new life. This is the principle of all our living as Christians. Our clearance of the past is also based on this principle. When a person is regenerated and obtains God’s life, this life moves within him, causing him to sense that in his past there have been many unrighteous, improper, and perverted matters, and that all these matters and even his entire old way of living are altogether incompatible with his present Christian state. Thus, he proceeds with his clearance of the past in accordance with these inner feelings.
The examples both of Zacchaeus and the Ephesian Christians clearing their past have also shown us that neither the Lord Jesus nor the apostle Paul clearly taught anything in regard to the clearance of the past; they did not give any rules demanding what one must do to end his past. The “ending’’ of Zacchaeus and the Ephesian Christians was such that, when the salvation of the Lord came upon them and the life of the Lord entered into them, they had a feeling toward the unrighteous and unclean things of the past and toward their old way of living; therefore, they put it all to an end. Their “ending’’ proves that this matter is not based on external regulations and teachings, but on the sense of life within.
Since the ending of the past is based on the sense of life within, we must continue to lay hold of this principle when we are leading others to end the past. Never establish for them any outward rules, teaching them that they ought to end this or that, but seek to stir the sense of life within and point them to that. We need first to cause others to know that the life of God is within them and lead them to know the sense of this life. Then, secondly, with the help of the ministry of the Word, spiritual literature, and the testimonies of other saints regarding their clearance of the past, cause them also to have some feeling or deeper feeling regarding what needs to be terminated in their own past. Once this feeling has begun and has been deepened within them, we can lead them to clear up their past according to their own feeling. This manner of clearance is in accord with the principle of the Lord’s salvation and can help others to truly grow in life.]
IV. THE DEGREE OF ENDING THE PAST
[How far should we go in putting an end to the things of the past? To what degree should we proceed? The degree is expressed in Romans 8:6 as “life and peace.’’
We have already seen that the ending of the past is based on the sense of life within. This sense of life within is a feeling given to us through the inner anointing of the Holy Spirit. Since the ending of our past is based on the sense of life within us, the procedure is the same as that mentioned in Romans 8:5-6, namely, following the Spirit, or minding the Spirit. The result, therefore, will naturally be the same—“life and peace.’’ Thus, life and peace are the degree to which we are required to clear up the past.]
- What are the four categories of the clearance of the past?
- What is the basis of the clearance of the past? How should we lead others to end their past?
- To what degree should we proceed in ending our past?
- Give an example from the Bible of the clearance of the past.
- Share one experience you had on clearance of the past.
Quoted Portions from (Lee/LSM) Publications
- The Experience of Life, pp. 16-24.
- Life-study of Acts, p. 440.
(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)