Three Persons And Three Lives

For the law of the Spirit of life has freed me in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and of death.

Rom. 8:2

The Law Of Good, The Law Of Sin And The Law Of Life

We Are A Miniature Garden Of Eden

In the garden of Eden there were two trees—the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. In these two trees we see good, evil, and life. With each of these there is a law: the law of good, the law of evil, and the law of life.

We are a miniature garden of Eden because the triangular situation involving God, man, and Satan is now within us. Furthermore, the law of good, the law of evil, and the law of life are all in us.

Three Beings In The Universe

As far as persons are concerned, there are just three beings in the universe: the divine person, God; the evil person, Satan; and the human person, man.

Each of these persons has a life. The divine person has the divine life, the human person has the human life, and the evil person has the evil life.

Our human life does not come merely from our parents; it comes from God’s creation. Our human life was created when Adam was created, not when we were born of our parents.

Evil Life Was Injected Into Man’s Body

After his creation, man fell. At the time of the fall, an evil life was injected into man’s body. As we have pointed out, in the fall not only did man do something wrong, but something evil entered into him. For example, if a child drinks poison, not only does he do something wrong, but something gets into him.

By the fall the evil life of Satan came into man’s body, and now this evil life is in our flesh. Therefore, everyone, no matter whether he is a gentleman or a robber, has the human life, which is good, and the satanic life, which is evil.

Within Us There Is A Person With A Life That Likes To Do Evil

This is the reason that people can be both good and evil, both kind and devilish. No one likes to do evil things. But within us there is a person with a life that likes to do evil.

Therefore, Paul said, “For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil I do not will, this I practice” (7:19). This means that it is no longer we who do certain things; rather, it is an evil person with an evil life within us who does those things.

Everyone Has Two Fathers

Every human being is not only a son of Adam, but also a child of the Devil. In John 8:44 the Lord Jesus told the Jews, “You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to do the desires of your father.” Everyone has two fathers, a human father and Satan as a father.

One day after I had given a message on this matter in Shanghai, a brother asked me to stop saying that we are children of Satan. Telling him that this did not originate with me, I referred him to 1 John 3:10, which speaks of “the children of the devil.”

Since we are children of the Devil, then certainly the Devil must be our father. This was the reason the Lord Jesus said that the Jews were of their father the Devil.

Therefore, all fallen human beings have two fathers, each with a different life, the human father with the human life and Satan as their father with the satanic life.

We Were Born Again

Praise the Lord that our history does not stop with the creation and the fall! We have been saved and regenerated, born again.

When Nicodemus thought that being born again was to enter into his mother’s womb and to be born, the Lord Jesus answered that to be born again is to be born of the Spirit: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).

Thus, to be born again means to be born of God (John 1:13). Hallelujah, a third person, even God Himself, has been born in us! With this divine person we have the divine life.

The Human, The Satanic And The Divine Persons

  • The first person, the human person, is our being, our self. This person is in our soul, which is represented by our mind. The life of this person is primarily in the mind.
  • The second person, the satanic person, is in our body, that is, in our flesh.
  • But praise the Lord that the third person, the divine person, is in our spirit!

As we all know, man has three parts: a spirit, a soul, and a body. In our soul we have the human person, in our body we have the satanic person, and in our spirit we have the divine person. How wonderful!

Sometimes These Three Persons Fight With One Another

Christians are complicated. When I was young, I was taught that believers have two natures, an old nature and a new nature. Later I learned that this understanding is not adequate. Every genuine Christian has three persons with three lives.

God, Satan, and the self are all in us. Sometimes these three persons fight with one another. It is impossible for them to be in harmony or have any fellowship.

Every Life Having A Law

A Law Denotes A Natural Power With A Certain Tendency And Activity

Every kind of life has a law. A law denotes a natural power with a certain tendency and activity. For example, we breathe because we are alive. As long as we have life, the law of this life causes us to breathe.

We may use digestion as another example. After we eat a meal, there is no need for us to try to digest our food. Digestion is a matter of law. Whenever we eat, the law of our physical life functions to digest the food.

Animal Life

The same is true of animal life. Birds fly because it is the law of the life of a bird to fly. A bird is not taught to fly; it is born with the life to fly. Hence, it is natural for a bird to fly.

You may frustrate the function of this law by putting a bird in a cage. But once the door of the cage is open, the bird will fly away.

On the contrary, a cat can never fly. No matter how much you command a cat to fly, even threatening to punish it, it will still not be able to fly because it does not have a life with a law of flying. However, because a cat has a mouse-catching life, it naturally chases mice.

Dogs bark because they have a barking life with a barking law. There is no need to teach a dog to bark; a dog barks naturally and spontaneously because its life is filled with the tendency and activity of barking.

Plant Life

Turning from animal life to plant life, we may take fruit trees as another illustration of the fact that every life has a law.

I am not very good at distinguishing one kind of fruit tree from another. However, it is easy to discern a tree by its fruit.

An apple tree will, of course, bear apples, and an orange tree will bear oranges. What nonsense it would be to command the apple tree to bear oranges and the orange tree to bear apples!

No one would ever be foolish enough to do this. An orange tree bears oranges, and an apple tree bears apples. An orange tree has the life of an orange tree, in which there is the law that functions in the bearing of oranges.

In like manner, there is no need to teach a carnation to bear carnation blossoms instead of cherry blossoms.

In fact, there is no need even to teach it to blossom. If someone tried to teach a carnation to blossom and a carnation could speak, it would say, “Don’t waste your time teaching me to blossom. Simply leave me alone and let me grow. Eventually, I will blossom.”

Blossoming comes from the law of the carnation life. All these examples show that every life has a law.

Three Lives And Three Laws

The Human, The Satanic And The Divine Lives

Because we Christians have three lives, we also have three laws. We have the human life, which is good. With this good life we have the law of good.

Because of this law, everyone naturally desires to do good; there is no need for anyone to be taught. We were born with the desire to do good, and every child has a human life with its law of good.

However, as we have seen, man has not only the human life, but also the satanic life with its law of evil.

Children Lie Spontaneously

Because of this satanic life in man, a child tells lies spontaneously, without being taught. In fact, Christian parents always teach their children not to lie. I taught my children not to lie, but they lied anyway.

For example, I instructed my children not to play with the water that was used for washing. One day I came in and found one of the children playing with the water. Immediately he put his hands behind his back.

Instead of rebuking him or punishing him, I said to myself, “This is fallen man. What good does it do to rebuke him?” You may command a bush not to produce thorns, but it will bear thorns nonetheless. This is the law of the life of a thorn bush.

In like manner, children lie without being taught to lie because the life of Satan with its law of lying is in them. When they tell lies, children are simply living according to this law of lying.

We may need to be taught how to read but not how to lie. In principle, for fallen people to lie is the same as for cats to chase mice. Both are the activity of the law of the life that is in them.

The Satanic Life Is Stronger Than The Law Of The Human Life

Now we can understand why we do the opposite when we will to do good. We have two lives in us, the human life and the satanic life, and each life has its law. But the law of the satanic life is stronger than the law of the human life.

Praise the Lord that we also have the divine life! Of the three lives in us, the divine life is the strongest, and the human life is the weakest.

Living By The Law Of Life

Whatever We Do Or Say Is A Function Of One Of The Laws

What we do in our daily living depends upon the law we are living by. To do good is a law, to do evil is another law, and to live by life is still another law.

Do not think that you can do anything without a law. Everything we do as Christians in our daily living is a function of one of the laws.

Suppose I become angry at a brother. I may try to suppress my anger and say to myself, “Although you are angry with this brother, you must not show it. If you lose your temper, you will also lose your face and cause a problem.”

Such behavior is not genuine; it is political. Furthermore, it cannot last very long. Some who suppress their anger develop stomach trouble as a result.

Although we may be political in this way, eventually the law of the satanic life will cause us to lose our temper.

To suppress our temper is to play politics; to lose it is to live according to the law of sin. If we are genuine, real, and frank, whatever we do or say will be a function of one of these laws.

No Law Can Defeat The Law Of The Divine Life

Everything is determined by the law we live by each day. If we live by the human life, the law of the human life will function.

However, the human life is weak, and its law is fragile because of the presence of the law of the satanic life, which is much stronger. Hallelujah, we have the strongest law in us, the law of the Spirit of life! We should live not by our human life but by the divine life.

In Romans 8 Paul says that we should walk according to spirit. To walk according to spirit is to live by the divine life.

When we live by the divine life, the law of this life, the strongest law, works within us. No law can defeat the law of the divine life. By this law we are freed from every difficulty.

Do not be concerned about your problems. As long as you walk according to the spirit and live by the law of the divine life, this law will work for you spontaneously.

Push The Right “Button”

We all need to be reminded to push the right button, not the button which causes “the law that” to function.

Do not teach me to love my wife, for in my human life I simply cannot do so. Instead, teach me to put my finger on the right button, the law of the Spirit of life. If I do this, I shall love my wife spontaneously.

Likewise, do not teach the sisters to submit to their husbands. The more you teach them to do this, the less they will be able to submit. Rather, teach them to press the right button, and they will submit to their husbands automatically.

The Right “Button” Is In Our Spirit

The Spirit witnesses with our spirit (8:16), and the button is the Spirit of God Himself. Day by day and hour by hour, we must keep our finger on this button. To do this is to have our mind set on the spirit and to walk according to the spirit.

Never take your finger off the button of the Spirit. If you keep your finger on the button, you will be in the spirit, the Spirit will be life to you, and every negative thing will be put to death.

Turn Our Whole Being To The Spirit

The secret to keeping our finger on the right button is to know that we have a human spirit and that the Spirit of life is in our spirit. We need to turn our mind, our whole being, to the spirit and to set our mind there. Then we shall walk according to the spirit. When we do this, all the negative things are spontaneously put to death, and we enjoy the divine life.

The Evil Law Of The Satanic Life Is Defeated

As we do this, the desire for good by the human life with its law of good is satisfied, and the requirements of the law of God are fulfilled. Furthermore, the evil law of the satanic life is defeated.

All is a matter of law. Do not try to love or to do good. Instead, turn your being to your spirit and keep your finger on the right button, that is, on the Lord Himself, who is everything to us as the Spirit of life. In this way you will enjoy Him, and you will live by the law of the Spirit of life.


All citations in this post, unless otherwise identified, are taken from: Witness Lee Life-Study Of Romans, message 37, Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA, U.S.A. 1989. Source: ministrybooks.org

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