Dispositional sanctification by the indwelling Spirit, the freeing of the law of the Spirit of life, and the renewing of the mind which issues in the transformation of the soul, all are very crucial and are connected to one another. First, the inner element, the nature of God, which is holiness, works within us. This working within us is dispositional sanctification. Through dispositional sanctification we are renewed in our mind and transformed in our soul. Then there is the freeing of the law of the Spirit of life. We must study these items diligently and seek to experience all of them.
In order to be built up in the Body of Christ, we must experience reigning in life, dispositional sanctification, the freeing of the law of the Spirit of life, and the renewing of our mind which issues in the transformation of the soul. Without these experiences, we cannot be built up in the Body of Christ. We do not have the capacity within our natural life to be one with others. Marriage life illustrates that we do not have much capacity in our natural life to be one. In God’s ordination, man and woman should be married. Marriage is to make two people, husband and wife, one flesh (Gen. 2:24). The only couple in the universe that is able to be genuinely one is Christ and the transformed and glorified church. This couple will be in eternity. We must learn to reign in life, to be sanctified in our disposition, to be freed from the bondage of sin by the law of the Spirit of life, and to be renewed in our mind and transformed in our soul. When we have such experiences, we have the capacity to be built up with others.
The building up of the Body of Christ is a great matter. It is not simple or superficial. On the whole earth today, very few Christians have been built up. There are separations upon separations, divisions upon divisions, denominations upon denominations, groups upon groups. The building up in the Body of Christ is a very deep matter in Romans. The matter of reigning in life is mentioned in chapter five, the freeing of the law of the Spirit of life in chapter eight, and the renewing of the mind, which issues in transformation, in chapter twelve. Ultimately, the building up in the Body of Christ also is mentioned in chapter twelve, after all the preceding experiences, and it continues through chapter sixteen.
Paul presents the building of the Body in Romans 12, but he does not use the word build in this chapter. Instead, he says that we are “severally members one of another’’ (v. 5). This describes the building of the Body. To build is to be members one of another. To be members one of another is difficult to experience. In a group of three coordinating in the gospel, it may be pleasant and joyful, or very unpleasant, depending on the different temperaments of those in the group. On some occasions the team members may exercise to be polite to one another, not wanting to offend one another. But at other times the team members may simply express their feeling, disregarding the feeling of the other team members. Hence, it is not easy to be members one of another.
In September of 1939 Brother Nee held a conference in Shanghai after he had returned from his visit to England. The messages of the conference were concerning the Body of Christ. They were deep and high. In one of these messages, Brother Nee used Deuteronomy 32:30a to show the principle of the Body: “How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight…?’’ Brother Nee said that if one works by himself, he is able to gain one thousand. If two work individually, they can gain two thousand. But if two work together, they can gain ten thousand, five times as many as the two who work individually. Brother Nee said that this is the principle of the Body. This was the first time that I heard this matter. Brother Nee spoke message after message, week after week, concerning the Body, from 1939 until the middle of 1942. But after this period of time, a big turmoil broke out. That turmoil was so severe that Brother Nee gave up his ministry for a period of time.
In February 1986 I spoke on the subject of one accord during a training of the elders and co-workers. Through those messages I sounded the trumpet concerning the matter of one accord. Due to the messages given in that training, a letter was spontaneously drafted and sent to me with the signatures of over four hundred leading brothers throughout the world (see Elders’ Training, Book 8, pp. 154-155) who attended that training, assuring me that they would be in one accord with the ministry. But within a short time—about nineteen months—a strong opposition against my ministry began by a few brothers. One of them said publicly that he regretted signing the letter of February 1986. This is another example of how difficult it is to be built together with others.
I have been practicing the church life since July 1932. During these fifty-eight years, I can testify that I have seen much discord. Recently, in a meeting with the elders of the churches in California, I spoke about the genuine oneness and the one accord. The genuine oneness that the Lord prayed for in John 17 was actually practiced in Acts 1 and 2. In John the genuine oneness was taught, but in Acts the one accord was practiced. The one accord is just the practice of the oneness. Without the practice of the oneness, which is the one accord, the oneness might simply be a kind of thought or theory. But with the practice of one accord, the genuine oneness is realized in practicality.
In Acts the most prevailing thing among the disciples was neither their prayer nor the outpouring of the Spirit. The most prevailing thing was the one accord (1:14; 2:46; 4:24; 5:12; 15:25). In Acts 1, the Lord’s disciples saw the vision of the Lord’s ascension (vv. 9-11). That vision of the Lord’s ascension caused them to be outside of themselves and to be in one accord (vv. 14-15). Because of the one accord, they turned the entire world upside down (Acts 17:6, KJV). Their one accord was truly unique. Even to the present day, that one accord has never been repeated. We in the Lord’s recovery are somewhat weak and poor because of the lack of one accord. To be in one accord is to be built up. The one hundred twenty were built up. Their being in one accord was a building up. Therefore, the heavens opened, and the world was turned upside down.
In the beginning of Acts, the practice of one accord by the disciples brought in the Holy Spirit’s outpouring and the blessing of three thousand people being saved on the day of Pentecost (2:41). The church was established and built up through the one accord. In order to have the one accord today, we must pass through these aspects of being saved in the life of Christ presented in Romans 5 through 12.
(To Be Saved in the Life of Christ as Revealed in Romans, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)