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eagleswings
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Connecticut, USA

 "KNOWING" and "RECKONING"


These are a few relevant selections from Watchman Nee's [u]The Normal Christian Life[/u]on the matters of "knowing" and "reckoning" on what God has created and made the Christian to be [i]in Christ[/i]

Page numbers are from the edition published by Christian Literature Crusade, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, USA

Several good transcriptions are available online, an excellent one at ccel.org

Two essential points should be noted:
1. "Knowing" what has happened to us in Christ must preceed "reckoning" on it.

2. What does reckoning mean? `Reckoning' in Greek means doing accounts book-keeping. Accounting is the only thing in the world we human beings can do correctly. "Reckoning" is like doing arithmetic; like counting up the change in your pocket. If you have thirteen pence, you don't "reckon" that you have ten, or seventeen pence.


From Chapter 3, THE PATH OF PROGRESS: KNOWING

As we study chapters 6, 7 and 8 of Romans we shall discover that the conditions of living the normal Christian life are fourfold. They are: (a) Knowing, (b) Reckoning, (c) Presenting ourselves to God, and (d) Walking in the Spirit, and they are set forth in that order. If we would live that life we shall have to take all four of these steps ; not one nor two nor three, but all four. As we study each of them we shall trust the Lord by His Holy Spirit to illumine our understanding; and we shall seek His help now to take the first big step forward. 49

You were crucified on the selfsame cross as He, for you were in Him when He died. How can you know? You can know for the one sufficient reason that God has said so. It does not depend on your feelings. 52

THE FIRST STEP: “KNOWING THIS …”
The normal Christian life must begin with a very definite “knowing,” which is not just knowing something about the truth nor understanding some important doctrine. It is not an intellectual knowledge at all, but an opening of the eyes of the heart to see what we have in Christ.

How do you know your sins are forgiven? Is it because your pastor told you so? No, you just know it. If I ask you how you know, you simply answer, 'I know it!' Such knowledge comes by Divine revelation. It comes from the Lord Himself. Of course the fact of forgiveness of sins is in the Bible, but for the written Word of God to become a living Word from God to you He had to give you " a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him " (Eph. 1. 17). What you needed was to know Christ in that way, and it is always so. So there comes a time, in regard to any new apprehension of Christ, when you know it in your own heart, you 'see' it in your spirit. A light has shined into your inner being and you are wholly persuaded of the fact. What is true of the forgiveness of your sins is no less true of your deliverance from sin. When once the light of God dawns upon your heart you see yourself in Christ. It is not now because someone has told you, and not merely because Romans 6 says so. It is something more even than that. You know it because God has revealed it to you by His Spirit. You may not feel it; you may not understand it; but you know it, for you have seen it. Once you have seen yourself in Christ, nothing can shake your assurance of that blessed fact.

Any true experience of value in the sight of God must have been, reached by way of a new discovery of the meaning of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. That is a crucial test and a safe one.

And here in our passage Paul makes everything depend upon such a discovery. " Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin" (Romans 6. 6).

DIVINE REVELATION ESSENTIAL TO KNOWLEDGE
So our first step is to seek from God a knowledge that comes by revelation-a revelation, that is to say, not of ourselves but of the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. 54-56

(After relating the story of a man whose eyes had been opened so that he knew, Nee continues), “We need not work to die, we need not wait to die, we are dead. We only need to recognize what the Lord has already done and to praise Him for it. Light dawned for that man. With tears in his eyes he said, 'Lord, I praise Thee that Thou hast already included me in Christ. All that is His is mine!' Revelation had come and faith had something to lay hold of ; and if you could have met that brother later on, what a change you would have found! 59
The finished work of Christ really has gone to the root of our problem and dealt with it. There are no half measures with God. He has made full provision for sin’s rule to be utterly broken. " Knowing this," says Paul, " that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin " (Rom. 6. 6). " Knowing this "! Yes, but do you know it? " Or are ye ignorant?" (Rom. 6. 3). May the Lord graciously open our eyes! 61

From Chapter 4 THE PATH OF PROGRESS: RECKONING
We now come to a matter on which there has been some confusion of thought among the Lord's children. It concerns what follows this knowledge. Note again first of all the wording of Romans 6. 6: ---Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him ". The tense of the verb is most precious for it puts the event right back there in the past. It is final, once-for-all. The thing has been done and cannot be undone. Our old man has been crucified once and for ever, and he can never be un-crucified. This is what we need to know.

Then, when we know this, what follows? Look again at our passage. The next command is in verse 11 : "Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin ". This, clearly, is the natural sequel to verse 6. Read them together: 'Knowing that our old man was crucified.... reckon ye yourselves to be dead'. That is the order. When we know that our old man has been crucified with Christ, then the next step is to reckon it so.

Unfortunately; in presenting the truth of our union with Christ the emphasis has too often been placed upon this second matter of reckoning ourselves to be dead, as though that were the starting point, whereas it should rather be upon knowing ourselves to be dead. God's Word makes it clear that 'knowing' is to precede 'reckoning'. " Knowing this ... reckon." The sequence is most important. Our reckoning must be based on knowledge of divinely revealed fact, for otherwise faith has no foundation on which to rest. When we know, then we reckon spontaneously.

So in teaching this matter we should not overemphasize reckoning. People are always trying to reckon without knowing. They have not first had a Spirit-given revelation of the fact; yet they try to reckon and soon they get into all sorts of difficulties. When temptation comes they begin to reckon furiously: 'I am dead; I am dead; I am dead!' but in the very act of reckoning they lose their temper. Then they say, 'It doesn't work. Romans 6. 11 is no good.' And we have to admit that verse 11 is no good without verse 6. So it comes to this, that unless we know for a fact that we are dead with Christ, the more we reckon the more intense will the struggle become, and the issue will be sure defeat. 62-64

(After describing the day he himself came into this awareness of knowing the truth, Nee writes:)

I do not mean to say that we need not work that out. Yes, there is an outworking of the death which we are going to see presently, but this, first of all, is the basis of it. I have been crucified: it has been done.

What, then, is the secret of reckoning? To put it in one word, it is revelation. We need revelation from God himself (Matthew 16:17; Ephesians 1:17,18). We need to have our eyes opened to the fact of our union with Christ, and thst ids something more than knowing it as a doctrine. Such revelation is no vague, indefinite thing. Most of us can remember the day when we saw clearly that Christ died for us, and we ought to equally clear as to the time when we saw that we died with Christ. It should be nothing hazy, but very definite, for it is with this as basis that we shall go on. It is not that I reckon myself to be dead, and therefore will be dead. It is that, because I am dead—because I see now what God has done for me in Christ—therefore I reckon myself to be dead. That is the right kind of reckoning. It is not reckoning toward death but from death. 65, 66


THE SECOND STEP: “EVEN SO RECKON…”

What does reckoning mean? `Reckoning' in Greek means doing accounts book-keeping. Accounting is the only thing in the world we human beings can do correctly. An artist paints a landscape. Can he do it with perfect accuracy? Can the historian vouch for the absolute accuracy of any record, or the map-maker for the perfect correctness of any map? They can make, at best, fair approximations. Even in everyday speech, when we try to tell some incident with the best intention to be honest and truthful, we cannot speak with complete accuracy. It is mostly a case of exaggeration or understatement, of one word too much or too little. What then can a man do that is utterly reliable? Arithmetic! There is no scope for error there. One chair plus one chair equals two chairs. That is true in London and it is true in Cape Town. If you travel west to New York or east to Singapore it is still the same. All the world over and for all time, one plus one equals two. One plus one is two in heaven and earth and hell.

Why does God say we are to reckon ourselves dead? Because we are dead. Let us keep to the analogy of accounting. Suppose I have fifteen shillings in my pocket, what do I enter in my account-book? Can I enter fourteen shillings and sixpence or fifteen shillings and sixpence? No, I must enter in my account-book that which is in fact in my pocket. Accounting is the reckoning of facts, not fancies. Even so, it is because I am really dead that God tells me to account it so. God could not ask me to put down in my account-book what was not true. He could not ask me to reckon that I am dead if I am still alive. For such mental gymnastics the word `reckoning' would be inappropriate; we might rather speak of `mis-reckoning'!

Reckoning is not a form of make-believe. It does not mean that, having found that I have only twelve shillings in my pocket, I hope that by entering fifteen shillings incorrectly in my account-book such `reckoning' will somehow remedy the deficiency. It won't. If I have only twelve shillings, yet try to reckon to myself: `I have fifteen shillings; I have fifteen shillings; I have fifteen shillings', do you think that the mental effort involved will in any way affect the sum that is in my pocket? Not a bit of it! Reckoning will not make twelve shillings into fifteen shillings, nor will it make what is untrue true. But if, on the other hand, it is a fact that I have fifteen shillings in my pocket, then with great ease and assurance I can enter fifteen shillings in my account-book. God tells us to reckon ourselves dead, not that by the process of reckoning we may become dead, but because we are dead. He never told us to reckon what was not a fact.

Having said, then, that revelation leads spontaneously to reckoning, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are presented with a command: "Reckon ye ...." There is a definite attitude to be taken. God asks us to do the account; to put down `I have died' and then to abide by it. Why? Because it is a fact. When the Lord Jesus was on the cross, I was there in Him. Therefore I reckon it to be true. I reckon and declare that I have died in Him. Paul said, "Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God." How is this possible? "In Christ Jesus." Never forget that it is always and only true in Christ. If you look at yourself you will think death is not there, but it is a question of faith not in yourself but in Him. You look to the Lord, and know what He has done. `Lord, I believe in Thee. I reckon upon the fact in Thee.' Stand there all the day. 66-66







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Roger P.

 2005/5/14 3:16Profile
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re: "KNOWING" and "RECKONING"

Hi Brother Roger,

Understanding that we have been crucified, past tense, is similiar to the way Paul teaches also about the reign of Christ in our lives.

1Cor. 1:4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

All are freely given access into all grace that comes through faith in Christ. So as Nee points out that death and life are all found in Christ. However, it sounds to me like Nee is trying to convince man by the use of logic. Yes we need to hear that all things have been given to us in Christ, yet why did the Corinthians stumble? The Apostle Paul personally taught them, yet they according to Paul could not understand the Spiritual things of Christ. Why, Paul identifies that they are still being led by their carnal mind.

1 Corinthians 3:
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; 3 for you are still carnal.

What is the difference between what Nee seems to try to be convincing man of the logic of the word of God and the actual realization of being led by the Spirit. And thus knowing that all the answers are found in Christ as to our death in Him and our victorious life in Him?

Listen to the words of Isaiah 55:

Is. 55:1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.

Here God lovingly calls out, buy from Me without money. Come, buy, and eat. What is the substance of what we are called to eat?

"Incline your ear, and come to Me. [b]Hear, and your soul shall live:[/b]." Hearing the word of God causes us to give up everything that He calls us to give up. Hearing the word of God causes us to hope in Him for all the goodness that satisfies His creation.

Watchman Nee states the beginning, but did not identify why we must seek out Him for the things that are promised. If we reckon ourselves dead, then we must also understand that we are called to seek Him in all the things He convicts us of that are of the old man. Understanding that we are crucified with Him means that we seek, listen, and obey His voice.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2005/5/14 15:35Profile
philologos
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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re: "KNOWING" and "RECKONING"

Good to see this contribution on the topic. It is only if you separate his teaching on 'reckoning' that it leads to difficulties. More later.


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Ron Bailey

 2005/5/14 16:08Profile
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

How is it that the Corinthians did not know that they were healed? Only the Spirit can heal. Only the Spirit gives the things of Christ. Why were they not crucified with Christ as Watchman Nee exhorts? Why did they not understand what it means to be crucified with Christ? Why were they backsliden?

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2005/5/14 18:16Profile
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2736
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 Re:

Quote:
What is the difference between what Nee seems to try to be convincing man of the logic of the word of God and the actual realization of being led by the Spirit. And thus knowing that all the answers are found in Christ as to our death in Him and our victorious life in Him?



Quote:
All are freely given access into all grace that comes through faith in Christ. So as Nee points out that death and life are all found in Christ. However, it sounds to me like Nee is trying to convince man by the use of logic.



I believe that in subsequent chapters of this book Nee addresses your concerns. He identifies what he calls the 'Path of Progress' of which "knowing" and "reckoning" are just beginning steps; the full progression involves
1)knowing
2)reckoning
3)presenting ourselves to God
4)walking in the Spirit

In my opinion Nee does a masterful job of of logically presenting the objective facts of God's word but he also stresses that there must be subjective experiences that are based on those objective facts. Nee gets very practical, that's what I like about his writing.

If we lack the subjective experiences we must ask God in faith for a revelation of eternal facts, including the baptism of the Spirit as the gift of the risen Christ to His Church.

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2005/5/14 20:13Profile
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Thankyou Ron, Sorry Roger,

I thought that this was all there was to what was posted. In the OT, many times God speaks of shepherds that can only heal superficially because they themselves have stopped listening to Him. I worry many times that much of what is taught these days speaks of the "prosperity gospel," of old. Today we see the prosperity gospel as a health and wealth creation program. But in the OT, the prosperity gospel also existed. But then the manifestations were a little different. The prophets of old were called to warn of judgement on those who continued to sin. The people of old surrounded themselves with prophets that spoke that God is not angry. There will be peace. But we all know that Scripture teaches there is no peace where sin continues.

The more I learn from Scripture the more I see that today there still exists a "prosperity gospel." Not like the one everyone here acknowledges, but indeed like the one that existed in the OT. It's roots stem from Hyper-Calvinism.

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2005/5/15 9:28Profile









 Re: I will side with Nee.....

....as he sides with the Word of God.

There is just such a pathetic uncertainty in the lives of church people in this hour. I have spent most of my own life in uncertainty. I thank God that I have lived long enough to believe His Word and have learned how to agree with what He has provided for me. Glory be to God, now and forever more. Am I eternally secure? YES I AM, as long as my faith is in the "finished" work of Christ. If there is yet something to be done, then His work is not finished. The completeness and entirity of my eternal hope for life with God rests solely on the shed blood of Jesus Christ on my behalf and His resurrection from the dead. If that won't do it, I am eternally lost. But I know what He keeps for me unto that day. And what a day it will be. Fear and trembling? Oh my yes. Worship? Like never before. Joy? Unspeakable and full of His glory. What a day, what a day, what a day.

 2005/5/16 8:16
rookie
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Joined: 2003/6/3
Posts: 4792


 Re:

Brother Lahry wrote:

Quote:
Am I eternally secure? YES I AM, as long as my faith is in the "finished" work of Christ. If there is yet something to be done, then His work is not finished. The completeness and entirity of my eternal hope for life with God rests solely on the shed blood of Jesus Christ on my behalf and His resurrection from the dead.



To have a real faith in the "finished work of Christ," means that you have known Him who works in you. As He has proven His faithfulness even when you have been unfaithful, when you repented, He was there to continue the work He started. He has created a trust in you for Him that allows you to say, the blood of Christ is sufficient for all my needs. Submission to Him, now in this life, has created a hope in you that surpasses anything this world can offer. You now live as a pilgrim looking forward to the heavenly country.

Br. Lahry, is this a fair statement of the trust that He has created in you concerning the understanding of the finished work of Christ?

In Christ
Jeff


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Jeff Marshalek

 2005/5/16 16:23Profile





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