Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, by Watchman Nee


Some brothers have asked whether this means that we will no longer sin after we have experienced victory. My answer is that eventually we will realize everything in our practice. But in the mean time, there is still the possibility of sinning. According to the Bible, what kind of life should we live? The Bible shows us that the life of a Christian is a life of faith. "The righteous shall have life and live by faith." The righteous receive life by faith; this is the initial experience. The righteous also live by faith; this is the ongoing experience.

There are two worlds before us. One is the physical world, and the other is the spiritual world. When we exercise our physical organs, we are living in the physical world. But when we exercise our faith, we are living in the spiritual world. When we exercise our eyes to look at ourselves, we are still sinners; we are still unclean, proud, and no better than any other person in the world. But when we exercise faith to look at ourselves in Christ, we see that our temper and stubbornness are gone. Everything is gone. There are two worlds today, and every day we have to make a choice between them. Man has a mind, an emotion, and a will. Our will is free; therefore, we live in the world that we choose. If we live according to the senses of our physical organs in the physical world, we will substantiate the physical world. If we live by faith in the spiritual world, we will substantiate the spiritual world. In other words, when we exercise our senses, we live in Adam, but when we exercise our faith, we immediately live in Christ. We are always between these two things. When we live by our senses, we live in Adam, and when we live by faith, we live in Christ. When we live in Christ, everything in Christ will be our experience.

The Bible never teaches that sin can be eradicated. But once a believer has entered the overcoming life, according to the principle of God’s work and according to His provision and His commandments, such a person should no longer sin. It is possible for us to express Christ every day, and it is possible for us to more than conquer every day. But the minute we live in our feelings and by our feelings, we will immediately fail. Brothers and sisters, we have to live by faith daily; only then can we substantiate everything in Christ.


What should we do if we fail accidentally? We should come immediately to God and put our sins under His blood. The very next moment, we can look to the Lord and say, "God, I thank and praise You because Your Son is still my life and my holiness. He will live out His overcoming life from within me." We can be recovered within a second. There is no need to wait for five minutes or an hour. God forgives and cleanses us, but we think that we should feel sorry for ourselves a little longer and suffer a little more punishment before we are thoroughly cleansed. This is just asking for trouble. We are living by our feelings and merely prolonging our ties to Adam for another hour or two.

Some may ask, "If a man still fails and needs the cleansing of the blood after he has entered the overcoming experience, is he not the same as those who never have the overcoming experience?" Brothers and sisters, there is a big difference. Before one overcomes, his life is a total failure. Occasionally he may overcome, but he fails habitually and repeatedly. However, after he has overcome, his life becomes a victorious life. If he fails, it is an occasional failure; on the whole, he overcomes continuously. There is a big difference between the two! Hallelujah! The difference is too great! Formerly, it was mostly failure and occasional victory. Now it is mostly victory and occasional failure. Before one overcomes, the failures are repetitious. Those who lose their temper always lose their temper. Those whose thoughts are unclean always have unclean thoughts. Those who are stubborn are always stubborn, those who are narrow-minded are always narrow-minded, and those who are jealous are always jealous. Every time one fails, he fails in the same things, and victory is rare. A person is habitually bound by his temper, pride, jealousy, or lying. After he goes through the overcoming experience, he will only fail occasionally, and when he fails, he will not commit the same sin over and over again. When he sins, it will be different than before.

Before a person overcomes, he will be at a loss as to what to do once he fails. He will not know how to recover his fellowship with God and how to receive God’s light once again. He will feel that he is at the bottom of a long flight of stairs and will not know how to climb back up. After he has overcome, he may still fail occasionally, but within a few seconds, he will be recovered. He will immediately confess his sins and be cleansed. He can thank and praise the Lord at once, and Christ will live out His victory from within him once again. This is the great difference between overcoming and not overcoming.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 2) Vol. 24: The Overcoming Life, Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)