Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

The Two Lines in the Bible Issuing In Two Principles of Living

How does God desire that we would live in order to please Him? Does the Bible reveal principles by which we should  direct our lives?

In the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we can find the seeds of the divine truth which develop throughout the entire Bible. There we can see that God placed man in a very pleasant garden, with all manner of trees for his enjoyment. Among the many trees of the garden, there were only two mentioned by name—the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9). However, the latter can be considered the tree of death, for the issue of eating that second tree was actually death (v. 17). Hence, there was a great choice before man as to which tree he would eat from.

In this post we’ll consider how these two trees reveal two sources and form two lines as two principles for our living. I hope that through this post you’ll be helped as I have to see these two principles and make the better choice.

The Two Trees in the Garden Representing Two Sources for Man to Choose

Each tree represents a source for man to live by. Life, signified by the tree of life, is of the source of God who is life (John 1:4; 14:6; 1 John 5:12). Death, signified by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is of the source of Satan, him who has the might of death (Heb. 2:14). Such a choice, that is between life or death, is one that we all must continually make.

The Two Sources Becoming Two Lines and Consummating in Two Destinations

These two trees, as seeds, develop throughout the entire Bible and are eventually harvested in the book of Revelation consummating in either the city of life, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1-2) or the lake of fire, the second death (20:14). The development of these two seeds forms two lines throughout the Bible, portraying two choices before man today. Hence we must frankly say that every human being is living on one of these two lines which will issue in one of these two destinations.

Due to the fall of man in Genesis 3, all of mankind became subject to death for in Adam all die. But praise God that through the redemption of Christ a new and living way has been opened to all men to return to God’s original intention and enjoy Christ as the eternal life (1 John 5:12), who is the reality of the tree of life (John 15:1; 14:6). How thankful I am that one day I was led to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior and life. Now Christ is my life (Col. 3:4).

Two Lines Becoming Two Principles of Living—the Principle of Life the Principle of Right and Wrong

However, it is still possible for believers, those who have received this eternal life, to miss the mark of living according the principle of life today, choosing rather to live by the principle of right and wrong. Since the other tree is very complex including knowledge, good and evil, that is right and wrong, it is very possible to mistakenly be good, ethical, well intended but yet miss the line that fulfills God’s plan and reaches God’s goal.

Only life, the eternal life, embodied in the Son of God, Christ can satisfy God’s heart’s desire and cause us to grow up in God’s life until we arrive at a full-grown man (Eph. 4:13)in order to become the bride of Christ to match Him.

As believers in Christ, indwelt by His Spirit of life (Rom 8:2), we have continuous consciousness of this life. As long as everything is normal we may feel peaceful. However, whenever our thoughts, words, or deeds are not according to the indwelling Spirit of life, we will naturally feel uneasy, troubled and even deadened within.

The apostle Paul said, “for the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). This is the sense of life that every believer possesses as the issue of their divine birth. Yet, we need to practice to follow the sense of life by stopping and checking, not is this matter right or wrong, but is this something from the source of life, according to the principle of life. Whenever we simply stop and turn to the Lord, calling on Him, and inquiring of Him in our spirit, we will find that sense of life and peace (or the absence thereof) leads us to remain on the line of life according to the principle of life.

I have to say that such a discovery changed my concept from that of trying to  be a good person, even a good Christian, to being a person of life, on the line of life.

The Principle of Life Being a Principle of Dependence and the Principle of Right and Wrong Being a Principle of Independence

Things of life such as eating, drinking or breathing are all matters of dependence. No matter how mature we become, we will never graduate from breathing. This is the principle of life. It requires that we maintain continuous contact with the Lord, looking at Him, inquiring of Him, and saying “O Lord! Lord Jesus! I love You!” just to stay in fellowship with Him in moment by moment way.

That which is according to knowledge, and right and wrong is altogether independent. The more you know, the more independent you are.

However, the principle of our Christian life should be entirely of life, fully dependent on the Lord, a life of fellowship. May we learn to contact the Lord in everything and stay in dependent fellowship with Him that as the apostle Paul, we may say, “For to me to live is Christ” (Phil 1:21a).

It is such a dependent living according to the principle of life, that will carry us on the line of life into the consummation of life—the New Jerusalem.

As a word of credit, I must gratefully say that my earliest impression of this truth came from reading a short booklet by Watchman Nee entitled Two Principles of Living. You can read it for yourself online at www.ministrybooks.org under the tab “Books by Watchman Nee” / “Additional Titles by Watchman Nee.” May the Lord enlighten you to this truth as He enlightened me. You can also get your free copy in Basic Elements of the Christian Life, Vol. 3 as part of Bibles for Americas free literature series.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

2 Replies

  1. Wow. Most of the time I just assume that I should do the right thing in a situation. But that decision is usually completely independent of God. So then my doing the right thing is actually according to the tree of knowledge. And the result of that is spiritual death.

    Wow. Doing the right thing or the good thing can result in spiritual death. Incredible.

    Awesome awesome post.

    1. Clark,

      It is awesome to see that we don’t have to live by right and wrong but by the tree of life, Christ as the life-giving Spirit in our spirit. May the Lord remind us continually to check with Him in our spirit, with a simple “O Lord.” Staying on the line of life by caring for the principle of life will speed us onward to become the New Jerusalem.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.