NINE ITEMS OF SALVATION IN THE LIFE OF CHRIST
Let us first consider the nine items of salvation in the life of Christ. The first item is the law of the Spirit of life freeing us. The second item is the subjective and dispositional sanctification. The third item is the renewing of the mind, resulting in transformation. The fourth item is the building up in the Body of Christ. The fifth item is the conformation to the image of the Son of God. These are the five basic items. None of these five items are things we have ever thought of in our own mind. When you return to your localities, you have to teach the new ones properly, item by item.
After these five items of saving, there are four results: reigning in life, living in the church life, crushing Satan under our feet, which brings in God’s kingdom, and our bodies being redeemed and glorified.
THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE FREEING US
Life denotes the eternal life of God. The Spirit denotes the resurrected Christ who has been transformed into the Spirit. The law is the natural capacity. Every matter has its nature, and within its nature is a power, a capacity. For example, steel and iron have the capacity to be very hard, resistant, and durable. They can also sever and cut things. These are their capacities. But wood has a different capacity.
The law of the Spirit of life within us also has its nature, its essence. It also has its natural capacity. This capacity is the person of the pneumatic Christ Himself. This law is personified; it is just Christ Himself. He is the embodiment of the processed Triune God. Hence, this law is just the Triune God. He is not just a thing, but a person who frees us. Sin is also a person. We can never overcome sin. But the law of the Spirit of life releases us and gives us freedom.
THE LAW OF SIN AND OF DEATH
The law of sin and of death is also personified. It denotes the sin in our sinful nature, not the sins in our conduct. The sin in our nature is the evil nature of Satan. It causes us to have the ability to sin. Death and sin may be considered as twins. Where sin is, death is always there. Sin causes man to have the ability to commit sin. Death comes from sin and disables man from doing good. These twins reside in man, causing him to be weak in performing good, but strong in committing sin. As a result, man is finished and cannot do anything anymore. This is the condition of man since the fall. Paul describes this pitiful condition of man in Romans 7. At the end of the description, he said that he was a wretched man (v. 24) without any strength to overcome the law of sin and of death.
THE PROCESSED TRIUNE GOD MAKING THE THREE PARTS OF OUR BEING LIFE
How does the Triune God turn the three parts of our being into life? In Romans 8 we first see that the Spirit of Christ is the pneumatic Christ, who has entered into our spirit to make our spirit life (vv. 9-10). Our spirit has been made alive. Our spirit has not only been made alive, it has also become life. The Spirit has “life-ized’’ our spirit. Second, the Spirit is mingled with our spirit to become one spirit. This mingled spirit then spreads into our mind—the main part of our soul that surrounds our spirit—and makes our mind life. This means that when we set our mind on the spirit, our mind is life (v. 6b). Third, the resurrecting and indwelling Spirit of God reaches our body (v. 11), resulting in our body receiving the dispensing of life.
The way our whole person is turned into life is from the center to the circumference, from the spirit through the soul to our body. First, God makes our spirit alive. Then, He makes our soul alive. Finally, He makes our body alive. Ultimately, all three parts—our spirit, soul, and body—become life. At present, we can experience our spirit and soul coming alive. But our body has not been fully transformed. When our body is redeemed and in glory, it will also be fully alive. Thus, it will become life. Today, at times we are weak in our body and sick. By exercising our spirit, our body can be somewhat strengthened. This is a foretaste of our body becoming life.
THE COOPERATION WE SHOULD RENDER
First, we have to set our mind on the spirit (Rom. 8:6b). Second, we have to walk only according to the spirit (Rom. 8:4b). Third, we have to put to death the practices of the body by the Spirit (Rom. 8:13). Whatever the body desires to do, we would reject. We must wait on the order from the Spirit before we allow the body to act. Suppose you know that it is not good to go to the cinema and that it is good to go to the meeting hall for a meeting. You must remember that if you decide out of your own will to go to the meeting hall, it is still death. Your going to the meeting hall must be the result of the leading of the Spirit. This is why you have to put to death the practices of the body, whether they be good or bad. You have to tell the Lord, “Lord, I would not go to the cinema, nor would I go to the meeting hall. I would go wherever You want me to go.’’ If the Lord wants you to go to the meeting hall, you may go there. But which meeting hall should you go to? Should it be Hall Three, or Hall Nine? If you choose by yourself, then it is your own move again. You must stop and allow the Spirit to give you the leading within. Perhaps the Lord would not want you to go to Hall Three or Hall Nine. Perhaps He would lead you to go to Hall Two. When you go this way, it will be the move of the Spirit.
We must not merely do good works; we must follow the leading of the Spirit. We must put to death the practices of the body by the Spirit. We must walk only according to the spirit. This is our necessary cooperation. I hope that when you go back to your localities, you can explain these riches to the new ones you are helping. If you do this, you will be a faithful minister of Christ, able to plant the living word into man.
(Salvation in Life in the Book of Romans, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)