THE HOLY SPIRIT AND EXPERIENCE
"For when we were in the flesh, the passions for sins...operated in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we...having died..." (Rom. 7:5-6). Therefore, the flesh can dominate us no more.
We have already believed and confessed that our flesh has been crucified on the cross. Now—not before this—we should pay attention to the question of our experience. Even though we may pay attention to experience, we still hold fast the facts we have before God because what God has accomplished for us and our experience of the accomplishment of God are two inseparable matters.
God has already done all that He could do; He has already accomplished all. Now, the only questions are how do we deal with what He has done and what is our attitude toward what He has accomplished. He has crucified our flesh on the cross, not just in term, but in reality. If we are willing to believe and willing to exercise our will to choose what God has accomplished for us, that very matter will become experience in our life. There is no need for us to accomplish it, because God has already accomplished everything. There is no need for us to crucify our flesh, because God has already crucified it on the cross. Now the questions are whether we believe that this is real and whether we want this to be accomplished in our life. If we believe it and we want it, we need to work together with the Holy Spirit to obtain this experience. Colossians 3:5 says, "Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth." This is the way to have the experience. The word "therefore" follows the foregoing portion. Verse 3 says, "For you died." This is what God has accomplished for us. "For you died." "Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth." The first death is a positional fact which we have in Christ. The second death is the real experience which we possess. We can see the relationship between these two deaths. The failure of the believers in the flesh is because of not seeing the relationship of these two deaths. Some only want to put to death their flesh, first paying attention to their experience of death, but the more they put to death their flesh, the more alive their flesh is. Some only know that their flesh has been crucified with the Lord Jesus on the cross and do not pursue the practice. In both cases they cannot have the experience of crucifying the flesh.
If we want to put our members to death, we must have a basis. Otherwise, even though we eagerly pursue experience, relying vainly on our own efforts, we will not have the experience. We believers who know that the flesh has died with the Lord and do not apply what the Lord has accomplished for us will see that the knowledge of the believers is also of no avail. In order to put the flesh to death, we must first understand co-death. Having known co-death, we must practice putting to death. These two go together and support one another. If we are only satisfied with knowing the fact of co-death, thinking that now everything is spiritual and the flesh has been extinguished, we deceive ourselves. On the contrary, if while putting to death the evil deeds of the flesh, we pay too much attention to the evil deeds and do not take the attitude that our flesh has already died, this also is in vain. If while putting to death the flesh, we forget that death already took place, nothing can be put to death. "You died"—you died with the Lord Jesus because, when the Lord Jesus died, He crucified your flesh on the cross. "Therefore," you now need to practice applying the death of the Lord to put to death all the practices of the members. This "putting to death" is based upon "you died." To put to death means to apply the death of the Lord Jesus to execute the death sentence on every member. The death of the Lord is the most authoritative death, the most fatal death, and whatever meets it cannot but die. Since we are identified with His death, if temptation is in any of our members and lust is going to operate, we can apply this death to deal with that member and cause it to die instantly—to put it to death.
(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 7, by Watchman Nee)