THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE LAW
Now I would like to speak a word concerning the difference between Christ and the law. The difference between Christ and the law is the difference between the Old Testament economy and the New Testament economy. Under the law in the Old Testament, man was always striving to arrive at the standard of the law. Man realized that he was weak and sinful, so he asked for God’s mercy, God’s lovingkindness, and he put his trust in God. He also took refuge in God, waited on God, hoped in God, praised God, thanked God, and worshipped God. This was all man’s doing because in the Old Testament God was apart from man, and man was apart from God. Man and God were separate.
Then in the New Testament economy, God came into man to become incarnated and be born as a God-man. When Christ lived on this earth, that was God living on this earth in man. Through His redemption, He solved all the problems for man and paved the way so that He could enter into man. In His incarnation He entered into the womb of a virgin, but through His death and resurrection He entered into thousands of men. In order to enter into man, He was resurrected. In resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b) and the firstborn Son of God (Rom. 8:29) who brought men into God. In His incarnation He brought God into man; in His resurrection He brought man into God. By this He accomplished the mingling of God and man. He mingled God and man into one.
Now we believers are in Him and He is in us. He and we have become one person. He has the divine life and the divine nature, and so do we. We have the human life and the human nature, and so does He. He has become us, and we have become Him. We need to recognize that we have been crucified with Him. Now it is no more we who live, but it is Christ who lives in us (Gal. 2:20).
In the New Testament economy, we have to do something, but not the things done by the Old Testament saints. In the New Testament economy, we have to believe into Christ (John 3:16, 36). Then we have to love Him (John 14:21, 23). We also have to live Him that we may magnify Him (Phil. 1:19-21a). In the New Testament, we are not doing something out of ourselves in our natural strength. We are enjoying Him. To believe into Him is to receive Him; to love Him is to enjoy Him; and to live Him is to magnify Him. This is not our doing in ourselves. Whatever we are doing in the New Testament is an enjoyment.
God does not want us to do good. He wants us only to live Christ. To live Christ implies many things. To live Christ implies being holy and overcoming. To live Christ implies not losing our temper and being enduring and full of patience. We just need to live Christ, and this living implies everything in the Christian life. It implies our faithfulness and our honesty. To live Christ means everything. This is why the New Testament charges us to live Christ that we may magnify Christ. We need to live, move, and walk by the spirit, having our entire being according to the mingled spirit (Rom. 8:4). This is the New Testament economy.
Much of the terminology in the Old Testament psalms is good, but it is good in a natural realm. It has nothing to do with the Spirit. The New Testament is altogether in another field, in another world. It is altogether in the Spirit, who is the consummation of the Triune God. Thus, everything in the New Testament is altogether a matter in the Triune God. Our honesty, faithfulness, patience, endurance, kindness, and everything we are and do involves the Triune God. All of our virtues should be the expression of the Triune God, not of ourselves. The Christian life in the New Testament is not our doing, but is altogether a matter of our living Christ. To live Him in order to magnify Him is to enjoy Him. Thus, every day we should not do anything but enjoy Christ. Christ is our enjoyment.
This thought is in Hymns, #499, #501, and #841. These three songs were written absolutely according to the New Testament economy. Hymn #841 is concerning the building up of the church. Many Christians, however, still exalt the law, remaining in the Old Testament economy.
We need to have the proper discernment to see the difference between the Old Testament economy and the New Testament economy. On the one hand, the psalms are lovely because they are the aspiration of the sentiment of the ones who were seeking after God. On the other hand, many portions of the Psalms are not according to the New Testament economy. The New Testament economy includes first, incarnation; second, resurrection; and third, mingling. God came into us and He brought us into Him. He has accomplished a mingling of divinity and humanity. We and He are living as one person in the same one life and with the same one nature. We should not endeavor to keep the law. Instead, we live only one person—Christ. We live Christ that He may be magnified.
I hope we can see this revelation. When we come to any psalm, we have to weigh it with this scale of God’s New Testament economy. Then we can realize what belongs to Mount Sinai and what belongs to Mount Zion. We are here on Mount Zion where we have the church, the Body of Christ, and God’s economy for God’s testimony.
(Life-Study of Psalms, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)