To reign in life is to subdue three main enemies: Satan, sin, and death. In this message we shall consider the matter of reigning in life over Satan.


Satan is the source of sin. As we have pointed out a number of times, sin is the nature of Satan injected into man. According to the revelation of the Bible, Satan as sin is in our flesh, in our fallen, contaminated body. Romans 7:18 says, “For I know that in me, that is in my flesh, nothing good dwells.” When God created man, He created him with a body that was pure. But when Satan injected himself as sin into man’s body, the body became corrupted. Hence, in the Bible man’s body is called the flesh.

In our flesh we are one with Satan, for the flesh is Satan’s dwelling place in man. In the same principle, our spirit is the Lord’s dwelling place in us. A saved person is rather complicated because Satan as sin is in his flesh and the Lord as the life-giving Spirit is in his spirit.

Satan, sin, and the flesh go together. When Satan injected his evil nature into man, Satan became sin in man. When the nature of sin was injected into man’s body, the body was transmuted into flesh. Hence, Satan, sin, and the flesh are mutually related within man. If we would overcome Satan and reign in life over him, we need to recognize that Satan as sin dwells in our flesh.

Because Satan is the source of both sin and death, he is the greatest enemy of all. It is not sufficient to reign over sin and death without subduing Satan. We must also defeat the source of sin and death. Then we shall truly be able to reign in life.


Now we must consider the way to overcome Satan. In her writings, Mrs. Jesse Penn-Lewis had a great deal to say about overcoming Satan. However, although I put her suggestions into practice, what she suggested did not work for me. What Mrs. Penn-Lewis wrote regarding this matter was correct, but I had no way to apply it. Since the time Mrs. Penn-Lewis wrote her best books, more than fifty years have gone by. By the Lord’s mercy and grace, the saints have gone on during these years to see two important matters related to spiritual warfare: the Body and life.


In the early 1940s Brother Nee gave a number of messages in Shanghai on the subject of the Body. He told us that spiritual warfare is not an individual matter, but a Body matter. Satan is the enemy of the Body. Hence, in order to overcome him, we must stand with the Body. The Spiritual Man, completed in 1928, presented spiritual warfare as an individual matter, not as a Body matter. For this reason, after he had come to see the Body, Brother Nee told some of us that he did not want to have it reprinted.

We have not only seen the Body, but we have also seen the place of the divine life in dealing with God’s enemy. Life is nothing less than the Triune God dispensed into us to be our content. According to the book of Romans, life and the Body are one; they are inseparable. If there is no life, then there can be no Body. Life is the content, and the Body is the expression.


In Romans Paul does not mention Satan by name until 16:20. In this verse Paul says, “Now the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” The Greek word rendered “your” in this verse is plural; this points to the Body. God will crush Satan under the feet of the Body. Romans 16 does not refer to the Body in a universal sense, but it refers to the local and practical expression of the Body. This means that Satan can only be crushed under the feet of the practical expression of the Body in the local churches. If we speak about the Body in a doctrinal way, we have nothing but terminology. It is only when we have a proper local church as the practical expression of the Body that Satan is crushed under our feet.

This practical expression of the Body is possible only through the divine life. We may have the experience of redemption and salvation, but if we do not experience the divine life, it is impossible to have the practical expression of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is built up with Christ as life. Satan is overcome by life and by the Body.