Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, by Witness Lee

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[What is the position of the flesh before God? What is God’s attitude toward the flesh? This matter is clearly mentioned in many places in the Bible; however, we can only point out here the most important passages.]

A. God Cannot Mingle with the Flesh

[Exodus 30:31-32: “Upon the flesh of man shall it (the holy anointing oil) not be poured.’’ The holy anointing oil typifies the Holy Spirit, which is God Himself. Therefore, the declaration that the holy anointing oil must not be poured upon man’s flesh means that God cannot mingle or unite with the flesh.]

B. God and the Flesh Cannot Exist Together

[Exodus 17:14, 16: “Jehovah said unto Moses…I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven… Jehovah has sworn: Jehovah will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’’] [The Israelites as the descendants of Jacob typify the chosen, regenerated part within us, that is the new man in our spirit belonging to Christ. The Amalekites as the descendants of Esau typify the fallen natural part within us, that is the old man in the flesh belonging to Adam. Esau and Jacob were twins, but their descendants, the Amalekites and the Israelites, were mutual enemies; they could not stand together. Likewise, our fleshly old man is very close to our spiritual new man; the two are also mutual enemies and cannot stand together. The fact that God would have war with Amalek shows us how God hates the flesh and desires to exterminate it. If the flesh is not exterminated and there is no dealing with it, our spiritual life will have no way to grow. The two can never compromise or co-exist.]

C. God is Determined to Remove the Flesh

[In the Old Testament God did one specific thing to express His attitude toward the flesh—He established circumcision. The first man whom God commanded to perform the act of circumcision was Abraham (Gen. 17). God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as the stars in the heavens and as the sands of the sea. But as God delayed in the fulfillment of His promise, Abraham took Hagar as his wife and bore Ishmael. Thus, he used the strength of his flesh to fulfill God’s promise. God was not pleased with him, and for thirteen years God hid Himself. Then, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God appeared again to him (Gen. 16:15; 17:1). At this appearance God commanded Abraham and all that belonged to him to be circumcised. This means God desired that the flesh be removed so that henceforth they would not serve God in the flesh.]

D. The Bible’s Conclusion of the Flesh

[Romans 8:8: “They that are in the flesh cannot please God.’’ The Bible has spoken much about the flesh, and at this point it concludes that the flesh cannot please God. If man belongs to the flesh, minds the flesh, and lives by the flesh, whatever he does, either good or bad, cannot please God.] How about you? Do you want to please God? If you do, you must live in the spirit and deal with the flesh.

(Lesson Book, Level 4: Life—Knowing and Experiencing Life, Chapter 15, by Witness Lee)