THROUGH OUR PUTTING TO DEATH
THE PRACTICES OF OUR BODY BY THE SPIRIT
According to Romans 8:13, we are conformed to the death of Christ through our putting to death the practices of our body by the Spirit. It is not the body itself but its practices that we must put to death. The body needs to be redeemed (v. 23), but its practices need to be put to death. These practices include not only sinful things but also all things practiced by our body apart from the Spirit.
We must put to death the practices of the body, but we must do it by the Spirit. On the one hand, we must take the initiative to put to death the practices of the body; the Spirit does not do it for us. On the other hand, we should not attempt to deal with our body by relying on our own effort without the power of the Holy Spirit.
The putting to death here is actually our coordinating with the Spirit who indwells us. Inwardly, we must allow Him to make His home in us that He may give life to our mortal body (v. 11). Outwardly, we must put to death the practices of our body that we may live. When we take the initiative to put to death the practices of our body, the Spirit comes in to apply the effectiveness of Christ’s death to those practices, thus killing them.
BEARING ABOUT THE PUTTING TO DEATH OF JESUS THAT THE LIFE OF JESUS ALSO MAY BE MANIFESTED
We are conformed to the death of Christ by bearing about in the body the putting to death of Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body (2 Cor. 4:10). The putting to death of Jesus refers to the working of death, the working of the cross, which the Lord Jesus suffered and went through. In our experience this is a kind of suffering, persecution, or dealing that comes upon us for the sake of Jesus, for the sake of the Body of Christ, and for the sake of the new covenant ministry. This does not refer to sufferings and troubles that are common to all human beings in the old creation, such as illness or calamity, or to punishment, correction, or discipline suffered because of sins, mistakes, or failure to fulfill one’s responsibility. This putting to death of Jesus consumes our natural man, our outward man, our flesh, so that our inward man may have the opportunity to develop and be renewed (v. 16). The experience of the putting to death of Jesus results in the manifestation of the life of Jesus in our body. The life of Jesus here is the resurrection life, which the Lord Jesus lived and expressed through the working of the cross.
(The Christian Life, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)