Life-Study of Romansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the two foregoing messages we have seen that by grace we can reign in life over sin, death, and Satan. In this message we shall consider the matter of reigning in life over death.
Before we do this, however, let us review the difference between sin and evil and that between grace and the Spirit. Sin is the nature of Satan injected into man, and evil is sin in action. When Satan injects himself into man, that is sin. But when sin is present and active in us, that is evil. In the same principle, grace is God coming into man and being embodied in man. But when grace is present and active, it becomes the Spirit.
The Bible reveals that death comes from sin. As 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” This means that death is the result of sin. It is possible that our understanding of death may merely be doctrinal. When I was young, I was taught that there were two deaths: man’s physical death and the lake of fire, which is the second death. I did not regard death as something in which I was subjectively involved daily. Gradually, however, I discovered that in the Bible a number of verses indicate that death is presently working in us. Death is like a worm that is constantly eating us. Sin ruins us, but it does not eat us. Death is the “worm” that is devouring us day by day.
Death has a number of aspects, the present aspect and the future aspect, the subjective aspect and the objective aspect. After the millennium, all the unbelieving dead will be raised and will stand before the white throne to be judged (Rev. 20:12). Those whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death (Rev. 20:15). Our burden in this message is not with this future, objective aspect of death; it is with the present, subjective aspect. At this very moment, the element of death is within our being, endeavoring to kill us.
In chapters five through eight of Romans the subject of death is covered in a full way. In Romans 5 we see that death entered the world through sin and then passed to all men. Furthermore, as verse 14 makes clear, death also reigns. In 6:21 and 23 Paul says that the end of the things of which we now are ashamed is death and that death is the wages of sin. Romans 7 is a chapter not only on law, but also on death. In verses 10 and 11 Paul declares, “And the commandment which was unto life, this was found to me to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.” Furthermore, in verse 13 Paul says that sin works “death to me through that which is good.” Therefore, in verse 24 he cried out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?” The death that Paul is speaking about in chapter seven is not the death coming in the future; it is the death working within us right now.
Paul’s situation in Romans 7 was very different from David’s in Psalm 51. Psalm 51 is a psalm of repentance that followed a particular act of sinning. In Romans 7, however, Paul was not repenting because he had sinned. Romans 7 is concerned not with repentance, but with death, with the continual working of death within him. Repentance was of great help to David in Psalm 51, but it would have been no help to Paul in Romans 7. It could not have delivered him from the death in his mortal body.
In 1 Corinthians 15:55 and 56 Paul says, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” Death is likened to a scorpion, and sin is likened to the scorpion’s sting. According to Hebrews 2:14, the one who has the power of death is the Devil. Once we are stung by the “scorpion” of death, the Devil exercises his power to kill us. Thus, Satan has the power of death, and sin is the sting of death. Whenever we are stung by sin, the poison of death gets into us. The result is spiritual killing, spiritual death.
At this point it may be helpful to see a sharp contrast between the negative side and the positive side. Satan is opposed to God. When Satan injects himself into man, the nature of Satan in man becomes sin. On the contrary, God wrought into man becomes grace. Hence, sin is opposed to grace. When sin is present and active within us, it becomes evil. But when grace is present and active, it becomes the Spirit. The result of the activity of evil is death, whereas the result of the activity of the Spirit is life. Therefore, Satan, sin, evil, and death are opposed to God, grace, Spirit, and life.
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