STRIPPING OFF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS
By His all-accomplishing death, the Lord Jesus has stripped off principalities and powers (Col. 2:15, Gk.). The powers of darkness are related to our flesh. We may even say that they are wrapped up with our flesh and self. In the self there is Satan and the power of darkness. Do not argue that the powers of darkness are in the air. Yes, these powers are in the air, but they are also related to our self and our flesh. When the Lord Jesus was crucified, He nailed the flesh and the self on the cross. By doing that, He also stripped off the principalities and powers.
Suppose I am wearing a white shirt and that on this shirt are some spots of dirt. The best way to remove the dirt is to strip off the shirt. When the shirt is removed, the dirt is removed also. Our flesh and self are like the white shirt. God created this white shirt, but Satan has caused spots of dirt, the principalities and powers, to appear on it. The best way to eliminate these spots is to strip off the shirt, that is, to deal with the flesh and the self.
Let us once again use married life as an illustration. Brothers have often come to me with difficulties they are having with their wives. I have said to them, "The only way to deal with the problem is for you to go to the cross. Do not deal with your troublesome wife. Deal with the self that is bothered by her. She has a bothering self, and you have a bothered self. Instead of dealing with your wife’s bothering self, deal with your bothered self. If you are buried in the tomb, you will not be troubled by your wife any more. The reason you are troubled by her is that your self is still so active. Your self wants to have a wonderful wife who has been dealt with by the Lord. But I will not take sides with you. I take sides with your wife in killing you so your self might be buried. Brother, if you are willing to be buried, there will be no problems."
The reason that Satan and the principalities and powers trouble you is that you are still wearing the "dirty shirt." If you strip off the "shirt" and leave it in the tomb, the evil powers will also be stripped off. It is in this way that Christ, by His death on the cross has stripped off all the principalities and powers. When He went to the cross in His flesh, all the principalities and powers followed Him. The Lord seemed to say, "Principalities and powers, follow Me. I am going to the cross. By My death on the cross, I shall strip you off." This is the meaning of Colossians 2:14 and 15.
CRUCIFYING THE OLD MAN
By His death, Christ has also crucified our old man (Rom. 6:6). Christ died not only for our sins, but also because of our self, which is our old man, our sinful old man. Sins are the expression of our old man, whereas our old man is the source of our sins. This old man has been crucified on the cross of Christ.
CRUCIFYING THE FLESH
When He was crucified on the cross, Christ also crucified our flesh with its passions and lusts (Gal. 5:24, Gk.).
The death of Christ has accomplished so many positive and negative things. Everything negative has been dealt with by the cross of Christ. This is the all-inclusive death, the all-accomplishing death. When we are conformed to such a death and are willing to undergo such a baptism, all the positive aspects of Christ’s death will be realized, and all the negative things will be terminated. If we are willing to live under this death, there will be no problems.
(The Experience of Christ, Chapter 18, by Witness Lee)