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CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

THE FLOWING OUT OF LIFE

Scripture Reading: Col. 3:4; Gal. 4:19; 2 Cor. 4:7-11; Gal. 2:20

THREE LAWS IN MAN

In the previous chapter we saw the law of the Spirit of life as a principle. In this chapter we will
fellowship about the practical application of this principle. Every person is of three parts—spirit,
soul, and body. When man was created, the element of his human life was good. Thus, the law of
good is in man’s soul. When man was tempted and fell, the element of the life of Satan, the
devil, entered his body. Consequently, the law of sin and of death, which opposes God, is in
man’s body. However, when a man is saved, God’s life enters into him; hence, the law of the
Spirit of life is in a believer’s spirit. This law is higher than the law of good and the law of sin
and of death.

THREE KINDS OF LIFE IN MAN

In man’s soul there is the human life, in man’s body there is the devil’s life, and in man’s spirit
there is God’s life. When Adam was created, he had only the human life. He was very simple. In
the fall man’s situation became complicated because the life of the devil came into his body,
which is opposed to the law of good in man’s soul. Chinese philosophers speak of this opposition
as a war between reasoning and lust. Humans with a weak will commit the most sins. In contrast,
those with a strong will are more successful in temporarily denying the lusts in the flesh, but they
can never fully overcome the lusts of the flesh. This is the reason that ancient Chinese sages
spoke of the need to cultivate an overcoming ability. A person who is not saved is quite
complicated because he has two lives—the life of man and the life of the devil. After he is saved,
he receives yet another life—the life of God.

When man was created, he obtained the human life. After the fall the life of the devil was added,
but with salvation man received the life of God. Every believer is like a miniature of the garden
of Eden, having the created human life, the life represented by the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil, and the life represented by the tree of life.

A saved person has three kinds of life, and every life has a law. A law is a natural power that
cannot be changed merely because one has a will to change it. The law of good is in our soul, the
law of sin and of death is in our flesh, and the law of the Spirit of life is in our spirit. None of
these laws can be changed by an act of the will. The nature of the law of good is to do good, and
the nature of the law of sin and of death is to do evil (Rom. 7:21-23). A person strives to do good
in his soul, but he cannot refrain from doing evil in his flesh. As a person grows, his flesh grows
and the expression of evil grows. This is altogether beyond the control of his will. Even though
an unsaved person may be able to do good temporarily, he will do evil in the end.
In addition to the law of good and the law of sin and of death, however, believers have the law of
the Spirit of life (8:2). This law of life goes beyond good and evil and is above the law of good
and evil. Only this law is able to deliver us out of sin and death. Confucius’s teaching related to
the bright virtue is an attempt to cultivate the law of good in man’s soul. However, Christ’s
salvation involves much more than this.

CHRIST’S SALVATION BEING TO EXPRESS GOD


BY THE LAW OF LIFE

The center of Christ’s salvation is God Himself, and the purpose of salvation is to express God,
not to express good. Christ’s salvation is not related to living by the law of good to express
morality; Christ’s salvation is related to living by the law of the Spirit of life to express God
Himself. Therefore, the cross of Christ deals with both our fallen soul and our lustful body. In the
salvation of God the passions and lusts of the body must be crucified, and our soul, our self, must
be denied (Gal. 5:24; Matt. 16:24). If the lusts of our body are not crucified and our soul is not
denied, the life within our spirit cannot be expressed.

THE SOUL AND THE BODY


NEEDING TO BE DEALT WITH IN ORDER FOR
THE LIFE OF GOD TO FLOW OUT

In order for God’s life to flow out, the soul and the body must be dealt with. The soul must be
denied because the human life is incapable of accomplishing the good that it desires to do.
Without the life of God there is no way for man to do good. Moreover, the good that comes out
of the life of God is far above the good that is related to the life of the soul.

According to the Bible, there are three different kinds of good or goodness. The first kind of
good is related to the good that is reflected in the creation of man. God regarded His work of
creating man as being very good, and this good was expressed through the goodness of man’s
soul. The second kind of good is related to the good that is a part of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil, that is, the good that can be distinguished from evil. The third kind of good is
related to the good that is God Himself (Mark 10:18). This is the good that God wants us to
express. Of these three kinds of good, only the good of God is the true good. It is not even
possible to work out the other two kinds of good without God’s life. The good of God can be
worked out only by the law of the Spirit of life. Whenever life flows out, the good of God is
lived out. Hence, the good in God can flow out only when Christians are subject to the law of the
Spirit of life.

Before a man is saved, he may not treat his wife well. But after he is saved, he will make up his
mind to treat his wife well. His determination is related to his will to do good. If he could
succeed in this determination, he would fulfill the law of good through his soul. But if salvation
could be obtained through the fulfillment of good by the soul, there would be no need for the law
of the Spirit of life. Our need for the law of the Spirit of life proves that our will to do good
cannot succeed. The good desires of the soul can never be accomplished by the soul.
Consequently, God has no desire for us to focus on cultivating our soul; instead, He wants us to
deny the soul because it hinders the law of the Spirit of life in our spirit. If a man makes up his
mind to treat his wife well, his efforts will end only in failure. In contrast, the law of the Spirit of
life is perfect. It goes far beyond the good things related to our human life. The purpose of the
law of the Spirit of life is not for us to do good or even for us to avoid evil; it is for us to express
God by letting His life flow out. Only in this expression is there a true overcoming.

GOD DEALING WITH EVERYTHING


THAT HINDERS LIFE

Christians should let God’s life flow out. The first step of salvation involves the cross dealing
with all our sins. The second step involves the cross dealing with our soul. Salvation is related to
Christ living out of us by flowing out of us as life.

If a person is governed by his emotions, God will deal with his emotions. If a person is
controlled by his strong will, God will deal with his will. If a person lives by his complicated
mind, God will deal with his mind. God will deal with everything that hinders the flowing of the
divine life so that His life can be expressed.

The real hindrance to the flowing out of God’s life is not sin or evil but the goodness in man’s
soul. The real hindrance to the flowing out of God’s life is not a hot temper or pride but the
meekness and humility of the self. God must deal with the goodness that comes out of the self. If
a person’s self hinders God’s life from flowing out, God’s hand will surely come upon him.

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