THE SECOND GREAT MISTAKE—
NOT KNOWING GOD’S INTENTION IN GIVING THE LAW
Man thinks that he can be saved by the works of the law because he has never read the Bible or seen the light or the heavenly revelation. He has never understood God’s desire and intention. He has never understood the way of salvation. If you want to know whether or not you can be saved by the works of the law, you need to first ask why God gave the law. Only after you find out God’s purpose in giving the law will you know whether or not you can be saved by the works of the law.
Before me is a podium. If I ask you what this is, some may answer that it is a high chair. A small girl may answer that it is a bed short of two legs. Another may say that this is a dresser because there are drawers in it. If I were to ask a brother, he may say that this is a bookshelf, because one can put books on it. If I were to ask ten people, I might get ten different answers. A bookseller, for instance, may tell me that it is a perfect sales counter. Every person would have an answer according to his own experience and concept. But if you want to know what it really is, you need to ask the one who made it in the first place. If he tells you that this is a dresser, then it is a dresser. If he tells you that this is a bookshelf, then it is a bookshelf. If he tells you that this is a podium, then it is a podium. In the same manner, if you ask me or anyone else what the function of the law is, you are asking the wrong person. The law was given by God, so we have to ask God about its function. Once God tells us His intention in giving the law, we will know whether man can be saved by the works of the law or not. Therefore, we must spend some time to look into the Bible concerning this matter. We must see how the law came in, step by step. We have to see historically from the record of the Bible why God gave man the law.
THE LAW NOT BEING GOD’S ORIGINAL THOUGHT
The first thing we must see is that the law was not at all in God’s original thought. The law was added in afterwards; it was brought in to meet certain urgent needs. It was produced to take care of certain things that came in along the way. The law was not in God’s original thought; grace was in God’s original thought. Second Timothy 1:9-10 says, "Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages but now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who nullified death and brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel." Here the apostle Paul tells us that God had a thought, and this thought began before the times of the ages, before the creation of the world. This was God’s original thought. And what kind of thought was it? Paul says that this grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the times of the ages. Before man ever sinned, and even before the creation of the world, God had already made the decision to give us His grace through Christ Jesus. Therefore, grace was God’s original thought. It was something that God planned from the very beginning.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)