THE PROPER UNDERSTANDING
OF BEING CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST
Our Being Crucified with Christ
In our experience, we must learn to enjoy Christ as Immanuel through the life-giving Spirit, and we must also learn to apply the cross. Seventy years ago, many crucial, deeper spiritual truths were brought to China through some of the European missionaries, such as Sister M.E. Barber. Brother Watchman Nee picked up these deeper truths, such as the subjective death of Christ and the life principles of Christ in resurrection, and propagated them throughout China. About this same time, I got saved and began to read many of his writings. I received a great deal of blessing through reading these publications. Although I received much blessing from those writings, my eyes were still not very open at that time. But today I thank the Lord that He has opened my eyes concerning the experience of the cross of Christ.
When some in China began to hear the deeper truths concerning the crucifixion of Christ, they began to say that they wanted to crucify themselves. Brother Nee corrected this improper understanding by saying that no one could crucify himself. He said people could commit suicide by many different methods, but crucifixion was not one of them. Crucifixion requires the help of another person. He pointed out that Paul did not say in Galatians 2 that he crucified himself. Paul said that he had been crucified with Christ (v. 20). Another person crucified him. Through Brother Nee’s correction, I learned a great deal.
Crucifying the Flesh Being Our Responsibility
Later, I discovered that there was another side to the experience of crucifixion. Galatians 5:24 says, "But they who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts." This verse indicates that we must crucify our flesh with its passions and lusts. We cannot crucify "ourselves," but we must crucify our "flesh." To crucify ourselves is one thing, but to crucify our flesh with its passions and lusts is another thing. Our self, our person, was crucified with Christ on the cross by God. We have been crucified, but we still live. While we are living, our flesh is very active. The flesh of the young people may be more active and aggressive than the flesh of the older saints, and the flesh of the older people may be more subtle than the flesh of the young people. But regardless of our age, the flesh must be crucified.
The Cross and the Spirit
Being One in Our Experience
The cross is wherever the life-giving Spirit is. Actually in our experience, the Spirit includes the cross. When you are filled with the Spirit, you are also filled with the cross. The Spirit is always crucifying (Rom. 8:13). He is the carrier of crucifixion, because with Him is the reality of the cross. If there is no Spirit, there is no cross. Likewise, if there is no cross, there is no Spirit. After Christ was filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14), He bore the cross. The Spirit and the crucifixion of Christ can never be separated. These two are one.
The Spirit includes the cross, and the Spirit is also the reality of resurrection. If you are full of the Spirit, you are in resurrection, and you are also under the death of Christ. Today both Christ’s death and His resurrection are with the Spirit in our experience. If you have the Spirit, you have Immanuel and the life-giving Spirit in resurrection through the cross.
(The Triune God to Be Life to the Tripartite Man, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)