Part 3 | Chapter 1: Deliverance from Sin and the Soul Life (Continued)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Note: These are the notes I wrote down as I read through this book. Sometimes the notes are a word-for-word transcription from the book. Other times it’s my paraphrase of what was written. These notes are not intended to fully explain what Watchman Nee wrote. If something is confusing or requires more clarity, you can reference this book for more information.

Soul and Sin

Soul life supplies the energy for executing whatever is commanded.

If the spirit rules, the soul will be directed by the spirit to exercise its volition to decide or to do on behalf of the spirit’s desire.

If sin reigns in the body, the soul will be enticed by sin into using its volition to decide or to do what sin desires.

The soul works according to its master, for its function is the execution of orders.

If the body of sin rules, then the soul will obey sin.

If the soul rules, then the soul obeys for self to rule.

If the spirit rules, the soul obeys for God’s will to be done.

After the fall, man turned into a fleshy being. Sin reigned in man’s body and became part of our nature. The soul became enslaved, compelling him to walk after sin.

Sin became man’s nature while soul became man’s life.

Life and nature are different. Life is broader than nature.

Life possesses a nature, which includes the life’s disposition and desires.

For example, animal life leads to its nature and instincts, which are to eat, sleep, and reproduce.

If we live by the soul, we must know that the soul’s disposition and desire is to sin.

Sin decides our walk and the soul furnishes the strength to sin.

The nature of sin initiates while the soul energizes.

Sin originates while the soul executes.

Such is the condition of an unbeliever and a carnal believer.

The zoe life of Christ, imparted into our spirits at new birth, not only has energy and power but a new nature.  Life possesses nature.

The believer now has two lives and hence two natures—the soul life and the spirit life. The soul life has a sin nature while the spirit life has God’s nature.

The two natures are fundamentally different and cannot be mixed. These two natures strive for authority over the whole man.

A Soulish or Carnal Christian

Every sin comes from our sinful nature and the soul becomes a willing servant.

The soul, inherited from Adam, cannot avoid being infected by Adam’s fall.

The soul may not be entirely defiled. But it is natural and quite unlike God’s life.

The sinful nature has been deeply affected by the cross but the self-life still persists, and we can remain soulish.

Because the old soul executes God’s new nature in our spirit, mixture is easy.

When soul life executes the spirit’s desires, natural life and supernatural life mix. Thus, the soul tries to fulfill God’s demand with self-strength.

Because of the pride in our soul life, we rarely depend upon the Spirit to execute God’s demands. We want to do it ourselves.

Will we take God’s nature and desires in our spirit and execute them with soul power? Or will we rely 100% on the Spirit for His nature and His power to live from our spirits, relying on His empowering and enabling grace to obey Him and follow Him?

Will we please God in our own soul power? Or rely 100% on the Spirit? We must be strengthened with power in our spirit so that we may follow the dictates of our new nature.

Reckoning the old man as crucified allows the Spirit to put to death in experience the sin nature of our soul.  Giving us victory over the dominion of sin ruling in our body.

It’s possible for God’s new nature to release godly desires in our spirit, but for our soul to execute these desires. The soul can still energize the daily walk of man. This is soul power from the old man.

To depend upon soul life to carry out the wish of the spirit is to use natural (or human) force to accomplish supernatural (or divine) goodness. This is trying to fulfill God’s demand with self-strength.

Few acknowledge our weakness and incapability so that we can lean utterly upon God.

Man takes pride in his prowess. Therefore, he never will trust the Spirit to live and do right. Rather, he will correct and improve his soul power.

To follow the dictates of our new nature, we can’t rely upon soul power or self-life to execute these desires.  Rather, we must be strengthened with power so that the Spirit overcomes the soul and our spirit becomes the life-source we live by. Rather than self in the soul being the life source we live by.

Maturity is manifesting every virtue of God’s nature, which is inherent in His indwelling life.

If we fail to wait humbly and to rely entirely upon God, he inevitably employs his natural, soulical vitality to meet God’s requirements, which He places upon His children.

No matter how good this appears it can never please God.

He is mingling what is of man with what is of God, expressing heavenly desire by earthly power. The result:  He remains soulish.

Bryan Kessler