The Law of Life and Law of Death
John G. Lake
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8: 1-2.
There are three laws here. First, there is the law of the flesh. Second, there is the law of death. Third, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, (which) hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
Man is compelled to recognize that there exists a law of death in his own members. The hair turns gray, the eyes grow dim, not because you are sick, but because the law of death is operating in you.
Wrinkles come in your face, the body gets old. All these common evidences are noticeable every day, and teach us the operation of the law of death that exists in our members, permeating our being and established in our nature.
The natural consequence is that in spite of all you can do, you will die. You may live as sanitary as you know how, but eventually you will die, for there is a law of death that claims every man in the world.
Until this hour, that one unconquerable foe of the race is death.
I heard this amusing incident which illustrates that truth. A lawyer, Gilluly had secured the names of the doctor’s prominent patients who had died. So he appeared in court and among other questions, he asked, “Doctor, you had a patient once by the name of so-and-so. Where is he?” The doctor answered, “He is dead.” “Now then you had another patient by the name of so-and-so. Where is he?” He is dead.” Well you can imagine the effect of an attorney keeping that up for half an hour. It looked as though all the patients the doctor had treated had died. And of course if the doctor lived long enough to sign death certificates, he would have to sign them for all the people, as there is a law of death that claims every man.
We see that in the natural order, man will die. But I want to call you attention to this law on the spiritual side. Just exactly as there is a law that claims your body in death, there is a law of death that claims your soul too, unless you do something to counteract it. The law of death will claim your soul as well as your body, in the natural, in spite of everything you can do.
People seem to think that they must be terrible sinners in order to lose their soul. That is not true. All you have to do is to be naturally careless. Just live like cows do. Just like the dogs do. Just live like the horses do. Just be an animal. Dogs are honest, the cows are honest, horses are honest. They do not steal, or lie, or swear, or get drunk.
Suppose you put yourself on the same level with the animals, as men are doing every day. What will be the end of this? Well, your body will die, and you will lose your soul too. Not because you have been a highwayman. That is not the reason. Just because you have been so careless that you have not taken pains to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and secure from Him the only element that will stop that process of death in the soul.
I saw a slab in Westminster Abbey for a man who had died at the age of 152 years, by the name of Parr. On account of his great age some of the royalty got a hold of him and brought him to London, away from plain diet and rural life. They wined him and dined him and in a few days it proved too much for and he died. It does not make any difference if a man lives fifty years, or seventy-five years, or one hundred and fifty-two years, like Fred Parr did; he will die.
They die because there is a law of death, and this body is doomed to die by that law of death, and this body is doomed to die by that law of death. That law of death came into being through sin, through disobedience to God. Before man sinned there was no death. There were no heavy eyes, no heart breaks, no soul wrenches, no clods rattling on coffin lids. But sin came and “through sin death entered into the world.” Through sin! That is the cause of it. That is the reason death came. Sin generated decay which is sickness, and death which is dissolution.
In nature we have antidotes. I knew of a farmer out in the country, James Sawyer, who came into the house during his wife’s absence, and took what he supposed was the medicine that he had been in the habit of using. It sat up on the clock shelf. His wife had carbolic acid on the clock shelf too, and he grabbed the first bottle he saw, and instead of getting the medicine bottle he got the carbolic acid. But before he lost all power of control he crawled down into the cellar, and got a big pail of lard and proceeded to eat it. Every once in a while his stomach would become overloaded and he would vomit. It was a fine case of presence of mind for a farmer in the country, who probably had nothing else available that would have helped him in such a circumstance. It saved his life.
There is an antidote for sin, the deadliest poison, something that will counteract sin and nullify its power. Jesus Christ knew that this condition of sin rested upon the world. He came by the grace of God to provide something that would stop its progress, nullify its power, and give man deliverance from death.
Your soul is dying, dying, dying because of disobedience to God. Because you live in conformity with that law of death, you are going on dying and dying, and you will die, unless you put yourself in harmony and contact with another law.
Nobody can put you in harmony with that other law. You must do it yourself. No man can put you in harmony with that law of life, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” He is its source. It is from His Soul that it is ministered unto you. It is His Spirit that does it. So the Apostle rejoiced that he was made “free from the law of sin and death.”
That law operates in the physical as well as the spiritual. A man is in a state of fear. Someone has typhoid fever. They are placarding the houses to keep other from getting in contact with that dread disease. Now fear causes your mind to become subjective. When you are full of fear, your pores will absorb everything around you. You are drawing into yourself what is around you. That is the way people absorb disease.
I was ministering one time where the bubonic plague was raging. You could not hire people for a thousand dollars to bury the dead. At such times the government has to take hold of the situation. But I never took the disease.
Now watch the action of the law of life. Faith belongs to the law of life. Faith is the very opposite of fear. Faith has the opposite effect in spirit, and soul, and body. Faith causes the spirit of man to become confident. It causes the mind of man to become restful, and positive. A positive mind repels disease.
Consequently, the emanation of the Spirit destroys disease germs. And because we were in contact with the Spirit of life, I and a little Dutch fellow with me went out and buried many of the people who had died from the bubonic plague. We went into the homes and carried them out, dug the graves and put them in.
Sometimes we would put three or four in one grave.
We never took the disease. Why? Because of the knowledge that the law of life in Christ Jesus protects us. That law was working. Because of the fact that a man by the action of his will, puts himself purposely in contact with God, faith takes possession of his heart, and the condition of his nature is changed. Instead of being fearful, he is full of faith. Instead of being absorbent and drawing everything to himself, his spirit repels sickness and disease. The Spirit of Christ Jesus flows through the whole being, and emanates through the hands, the heart, and from every pore of the body.
You observe that we lay hands upon the sick for healing. What for? Simply that the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that dwells in the Christian may flow through our hands into their body. We were praying for a sick woman last night, when I saw the Spirit of God strike. It flashed through her soul just as consciously as a stroke of lightning. I felt it in my spirit and I know the one we were praying for was conscious of it too. The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
If a man were traveling down the road in a certain direction, and were aware that at the end of that pathway he is going to drop over into the grave, and that not only his body is going into that grave, but he is going to lose his soul, we would naturally think that a sane man would stop. I wonder what keeps a man from exercising good old-fashioned horse sense? Some power somewhere is exercising itself to keep him in that state of mind, so that he acts like a man that is drugged. The soul is asleep. It is in a dormant state. The soul of man is drugged by the devil’s power.
No sane man would come to the end of his journey, losing both soul and body, if he realized it. He is not aware.,. He is not awake. His soul is in a stupor. That is the reason that we preach with all our energy, to arouse men out of that lethargy. The Word of God says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.”
Don’t you see that when men turn their faces heavenward and look to the Lord Jesus for salvation, instantly by faith they contact the law of life, and the result is the consciousness of salvation.
In the natural world there is a great law called gravitation. This causes everything to move toward the center of the earth. That is the reason that when you throw anything into the air, it will come down again. There is another law called levitation. It is the powerful operation of the law by which we will rise to meet the Lord in the air.
In Christ Jesus there is a law that lifts you up, just as in the natural there is a law of death that pulls you down. Christianity and salvation are the conscious taking of yourself out of the law of death and putting yourself out of that law of death into the conscious control of the law of life. “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the Law of sin and death.”
I want to leave this written upon your soul by the grace of God. Religion is not a matter of sentiment. It is not the matter of how you feel, or how I feel. It is the matter of the inevitable law, the conscious law, established eternally. In the path of darkness, you will keep going on downward, and death will be the result. Let your heart turn upward, embrace the Lord Jesus Christ, let His living Spirit get a hold of your soul, and you will be lifted heavenward, just as naturally as can be.
You are in sickness and you are down. It is terrible to look into the faces of some of these woe-be-gone people. I visited with a dear man today and his soul was in the gloom of darkness. He said, “I can sight something and see further than my eyes can see, and after a while it concentrates into a narrow sphere ten inches in diameter, and it is total blackness. Tell me what is that?” I replied, “Dear Brother, that is due to the fact that there is no life of God and light of heaven your heart.” That poor man was under the law of death.
A man came to me one day and said, “Mr. Lake, I am haunted.” I asked, “What do you mean?”
He answered, “I have been associated with bad people who I believe were demon-possessed, and it seems when I walk up the street there are a horde of demons around me and I can see them. They grin at me and laugh and taunt me.” I replied, “Brother, I will pray for you.” I called on God to cast those demons out of his life, to bind them, and send them back to hell, or whoever else they came from. After we prayed he sat up with a sigh of relief, and said, “Brother, I am free.” I added, “Brother, you have come out of the regions of darkness and sin and hell, and Christ and the Spirit of God have put you over on His side, under the law of the Spirit of life. You ought to see the angels of God, with as much readiness as you did the demons.”
The next day he returned very joyfully, and said, “Before I got to the bank I saw an angel, and there have been angels around me all day. As I walked up the street there was an angel that walked beside me.”
During that great plague that I mentioned, they sent government ship with supplies and a corps of doctors. One of the doctors sent for me, and said, “What have you been using to protect yourself? Our corps has this preventative and that, which we use as protection, but we concluded that if a man could stay on the ground as you have and keep ministering to the sick and burying the dead, you must have a secret. What is it?”
I answered, “Brother that is the ‘law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ I believe that just as long as I keep my soul in contact with the living god so that His Spirit is flowing into my soul and body, that no germ will ever attach itself to me, for the Spirit of God will kill it.” He asked, “Don’t you think that you had better use our preventative?” I replied, “No, but doctor I think that you would like to experiment with me. If you will go over to one of these dead people and take the foam that comes out of their lungs after death, then put it under the microscope you will see masses of living germs. You will find they are alive until a reasonable time after a man is dead. You can fill my hand with them and I will keep it under the microscope, and instead of these germs remaining alive, they will die instantly.” They tried it and found it was true. They questioned, “What is that?” I replied, “That is ‘the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.’ When a man’s spirit and a man’s body are filled with the blessed presence of God, it oozes out of the pores of your flesh and kills the germs.”
Suppose on the other hand, my soul had been under the law of death, and I were in fear and darkness? The very opposite would have been the result. The result would have been that my body would have absorbed the germs, these would have generated disease and I would have died.
You who are sick, put yourself in contact with God’s law of life. Read His Word with the view of enlightening your heart so that you will be able to look up with more confidence and believe Him. Pray that the Spirit of God will come into your soul, take possession of your body, and its power will make you well. That is the exercise of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
A man came to me about a month ago and said, “Mr. Lake, I am in an awful darkness and dread. If there is a hell, I am in it now.” I inquired, “Brother, what put you there?” He shrugged his shoulders. I said, “There is some place where you departed from the law of righteousness, from the place of truth, from the law of life in Christ Jesus, and let the law of death get hold of you.”
Then I told him the story of Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress. How that Christian lay down, and while he slept, his roll, which was the witness of God, fell out of his pocket. He awoke and went on without noticing. But as he went down the road he began to have doubts. He wondered if he had been saved. After a while everything grew blacker, and finally he discovered he had lost his roll. What did he do? “Well,” he said, “I will go back.” He turned back, went to the tree where he had been asleep, and found his roll. He got back his witness. “His Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.”
Jesus is the Law of life. Life comes from His soul. He breathes it into your heart. He pulses it into your nature. He transmits it into your body. That is what makes people whole.