LED BY THE SPIRIT
Notice the connection between these two verses: “For if you live according to flesh, you are about to die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:13-14). Putting to death the practices of the body is a killing. This killing is in the Word and is executed by the Spirit. When verse 14 mentions being led by the Spirit, it is referring to our being led to put to death the practices of the body.
If we are led by the Spirit regarding sports, we may put that practice of the body to death. If we are led by the Spirit regarding attending a movie, we may choose not to go. If we are led by the Spirit when we shop, what the stores have to offer will lose their attraction. The practices of the body are the manifestation of its lusts. As these practices are put to death under the leading of the Spirit, we show to the worldlings that we are the sons of God and do not live like the sons of the Devil.
THE CROSS AND THE SPIRIT
Here are two more related verses: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:24-25, Gk.). In verse 24 we have the crucifying of the flesh; this is the killing, seemingly done by ourselves. In verse 25, however, it is plain that this killing is done by the Spirit. The way to walk in the Spirit is by the cross. By experiencing the killing of the flesh, the self, and the natural man, we abide in Christ and enjoy the resurrection also.
DIVIDING OF SOUL AND SPIRIT
“For the word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, both of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). When the Word of God pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, it is both a killing and a resurrection. This dividing work is done by the Word of God, which keeps the soul under the killing and the spirit in resurrection.
This dividing by the Word is the means by which we abide in Christ in a deep, rich way. May the whole recovery be brought into such an abiding life.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)