CRUCIFYING OUR FLESH
WITH ITS PASSIONS AND ITS LUSTS
IN DEALING WITH OUR BODY OF SIN
Man is a tripartite being—spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23). According to the fact in the Bible, although God has condemned sinful man and Satan has corrupted man, in God’s economy, God has drawn a boundary around our spirit so that Satan cannot enter into our spirit. Satan can corrupt our body and our soul, but God has restricted Satan’s corrupting to these two parts of our being and has reserved our spirit for Himself. When God enters into us, He enters into our spirit. Satan came in to corrupt our soul and our body. In the garden of Eden the serpent came to corrupt both Eve and Adam (Gen. 3:1-7). First he corrupted their soul, their mind; then their taking the fruit of the tree of knowledge corrupted their body. Sin was brought into the body, making the body the flesh, full of lusts and full of passions. But the spirit was preserved by God. Thus, there is still the possibility for us to repent. Repentance originates in one part of the spirit, that is, the conscience. The best way to preach the gospel is to stir up people’s conscience so that they realize that they are sinful before God. Based on such a realization, they can repent. Repentance initiates from our conscience, and our conscience is a part of our spirit. Because of the existence of the conscience in man’s spirit, the Chinese philosophers said that within human beings there is a part that they called "the bright virtue." In their logic they discovered that there is a part in fallen man that is reserved for God’s use.
The Lord Jesus told us that we must bear the cross to deal with our soul, our self (Matt. 16:24-26; Luke 9:23-25). Then Paul said that he was crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20a). No one can crucify himself. To be crucified one needs others to help him. It is possible for a person to commit suicide by many means, but no one can commit suicide by crucifixion, because no one can crucify himself. Yet, Galatians 5:24 says, "But they who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and its lusts." Although we cannot crucify ourselves, we can crucify our flesh, our fallen body, with its passions and its lusts. This is to deal with the body of sin. In Romans 6:6 Paul wrote, "Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be annulled [or, unemployed, jobless, inactive]." Then in Galatians 5:24 Paul said that we must crucify our flesh. This corresponds with Romans 8:13, which says, "For if you live according to the flesh, you must die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live." If we by the indwelling Spirit put to death the practices of our fallen body, we will not only live, but the divine life will also be transfused into our mortal body (Rom. 8:11). Here is the victory over sin. Our victory over sin is not that we are able to conquer sin; our victory over sin is in our remaining under the cross. Through the entire day, by our regenerated spirit with the help of the indwelling Spirit, we need to exercise Christ’s crucifixion upon our flesh with its passions and its lusts.
(The Christian Life, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)