The Flesh and the Spirit, by Witness Lee


Now we need to see what sin is. Sin is not evil deeds such as hating and killing others. These are outward doings. They are not sin itself. Sin itself, according to the Bible’s revelation, is Satan himself. When sin came into the created man, Satan came into him. We can use the illustration of a black bookmark being placed within a book. The book may be likened to something created by God and the black bookmark to sin being placed within it. One day, Satan got into man. Sin is Satan getting into you.

Sin is a living person. Romans says that sin can deceive us, kill us (7:11), and lord it over us, that is, have dominion over us (6:12, 14). All these activities prove that sin is a living person. This living person is Satan. Satan outside of you is not sin. When Satan gets into you, that is sin. Satan in you is sin. We have to realize where Satan is in our being. He is in our flesh.

Paul said in Romans 7 that he practiced what he hated (v. 15). Since this was the case, he said, "It is no longer I that work it out, but sin that dwells in me" (v. 17). Paul used the phrase no longer I twice. In Galatians 2:20 he said, "It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me." In Romans 7 he said, "It is no longer I..but sin that dwells in me." Sin is another person within us. I may like to do something, but eventually I do not do it. Instead, I do what I hate. So it is no longer I, but another person who does it. This person is in my flesh. Paul said, "I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells" (v. 18). In my flesh no good thing dwells, because the flesh is fully possessed, taken over, by Satan as sin.

Some people do not believe that there is such a person as Satan in this universe. They do not know that this person, whom they do not believe exists, is in their flesh. They do not believe that Satan exists and they do not know that while they are saying this, Satan is speaking in their speaking. They speak for Satan, whom they do not believe exists. Satan is in man’s flesh.

We have shown that the flesh is our corrupted body. The flesh also refers to the corrupted human beings. Romans 3:20 says that by the law no flesh can be justified. The word flesh here does not refer to our polluted body but to our fallen being. By the works of the law no human being, no fallen one, can be justified. That means none of the people who are flesh can be justified. In God’s eyes human beings are altogether flesh. Genesis 6:3 tells us that at a certain point in the eyes of God, man became flesh.

Man is totally flesh because the fallen being today is under the dominion of the fallen flesh. Every human being today in society is dominated by his flesh. Who sends people to Las Vegas into the casinos? Who sends people to the movie theaters? The flesh sends them. In God’s eyes we are totally flesh. In God’s eyes we are no longer mere human beings, but we are flesh, which has been possessed, saturated, taken over, and mingled with Satan.

Look at today’s society. Everyone is flesh. Outwardly, men behave like gentlemen; inwardly, they are flesh. Outwardly, women behave like ladies; inwardly, they are flesh. The husband is flesh; the wife is flesh; the boy is flesh; the girl is flesh; the gentleman is flesh; the executive is flesh; the janitor is flesh. Everyone is flesh, because everyone is under the dominion of Satan, having been corrupted by him.

(The Flesh and the Spirit, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)