The Spirit and the Body, by Witness Lee

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According to the book of Romans, transformation issues in conformation. The life imparting of the Spirit not only imparts a new essence or element into us to replace the old and to create a new situation to transform us; eventually, it conforms us to the very image of the firstborn Son of God. Firstly we are transformed, and then we are conformed to the image of Christ.


By observing living things such as flowers and trees, I have learned that every form of life has a number of characteristics. (I do not speak from the standpoint of biology, but from the perspective of my learning through experience.) Every life has four main characteristics: the life essence, the life power, the life law, and the life shape. Take a carnation for an example. A carnation certainly has a life essence; it also has life power, the power to grow. Carnations, however, do not grow in a lawless way or without regulation. Rather, a carnation grows according to its own regulation, that is, according to the law of the carnation life. Hence, a carnation has a life law. Finally, a carnation has its own shape. The stem, the leaves, and the flowers all have a particular form. There is no need to teach a carnation what should be the shape of its leaves or the pattern of its blossom. How foolish it would be for anyone to do this! If you would try to teach a carnation how to grow and if that carnation could speak, it would say, "Don’t waste your time trying to teach me. I have a law within me, and I don’t need your regulations. As I grow, the life law within regulates me. This law knows what kind of leaves I should have and what pattern and color my blossom should be. Because every plant has its life essence, life power, life law, and life shape, it is shaped according to its kind. If it is a plant that produces fruit, it will produce fruit according to its kind. A peach tree, for example, brings forth peaches. A peach tree will never make the mistake of bringing forth bananas. Every life has its own law and its own shape.

To be shaped in a particular fashion is to be conformed. Oh, the divine life within us is shaping us into the form of the firstborn Son of God! By the impartation of life and by the process of transformation, we are being conformed to the image of the firstborn Son of God so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. When you enter into eternity and see the situation there, you may turn to me and say, "Brother Lee, you were right. You gave us a message saying that the life within would shape us, conform us, to the image of the firstborn Son of God. This is exactly what has taken place." Today we are under the process of sanctification, life impartation, transformation, and conformation. This is the activity of the indwelling, all-inclusive, life-giving Spirit. This is absolutely different from the teachings of religion. Teachings can never accomplish such a thing. Hallelujah, I am happy that within all of us there is this work of the all-inclusive Spirit! This Spirit is sanctifying us, imparting God’s life into us, transforming us, and conforming us.

(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)