The Christian Life, by Witness Lee

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When we were regenerated, we were crucified. The writer of the book Born Crucified quotes a French preacher who said that the church was "born crucified." Then he goes on to say that to be born here means to be regenerated. No one was born crucified in a physical sense, but every believer is regenerated crucified. This corresponds with the Lord’s word in John 3:5: "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." It would be helpful to read note 52 on this verse in the Recovery Version. "Water" here refers to the water in John the Baptist’s ministry. John said, "I baptize you in water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me...will baptize you in the Holy Spirit..." (Matt. 3:11). In this word of John the Baptist to the Pharisees, water and the Spirit are referred to definitely. Later, the Lord Jesus came to talk to Nicodemus, who was also a Pharisee. Surely he had heard John’s word. Thus, the Lord told him that he had to be born of water and of the Spirit. The water refers to John’s ministry, and the Spirit refers to the Lord’s ministry.

To be born of water, according to John’s ministry, is for the termination of people of the old creation. When we are buried in the water of John’s ministry, this indicates that we realize that we are good for nothing but death. When people came to John to repent, John threw them into the water to bury them, to end them, to terminate them. When a sinner repents to God, he should repent to such an extent that he realizes he is good for nothing but death. Thus, he hands himself over like a corpse to the baptizer.

When we preach the gospel and lead people to repent and believe into Christ, we may tell them, "You have to realize that as a person who has repented and believed into Christ, you, as a person of the old creation, are now a dead person. You have handed yourself over to me as a corpse, and I will now put you into a tomb of water to terminate you." Paul tells us clearly in Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12 that in baptism we are buried together with Christ into His death. When we raise up a baptized one from the water, that indicates resurrection. In resurrection, we are now in the Spirit. Through the terminating water of death and the germinating Spirit, we are born spiritually. To be reborn through termination and germination is to be regenerated. Thus, every regenerated person is regenerated crucified.

We are regenerated crucified and are dying to live (1 Cor. 15:36). We were born dead, and now we are dying to live. Dying to live means to live under the crucifixion of Christ. Every day we are dying. Paul said that he died daily (1 Cor. 15:31; 2 Cor. 4:11). Our environment is putting us to death every day. Our dying is a continuous matter. The Christian life is a long life of dying. Every day we die to live. We were reborn crucified, and now we are dying to live. This is a living under the crucifixion of Christ. In Galatians 2:20, Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith...." On the one hand, Paul had been terminated, but on the other hand, a resurrected Paul, one who had been regenerated, still lived. Paul had been crucified with Christ, yet Christ lived in him and he lived Christ (Phil. 1:21a). Christ and Paul had one life and one living.

(The Christian Life, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)