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Joined: 2006/11/26
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 Deliverance From Sin - Watchman Nee

The same truths that David Pawson shared on how to be delivered from sin is shared in this excerpt by Watchman Nee from “The Spiritual Man”. The truth revealed in Romans 6 is essential to know and understand in order to be delivered and obtain victory over the power of sin.


ROMANS 6 LAYS THE FOUNDATION for the Christian's deliverance from sin. Such deliverance God provides for every believer; all may enter in. Moreover, let us be unmistakably clear that this liberation from the power of sin may be experienced the very hour a sinner accepts the Lord Jesus as Savior and is born anew. He need not be a long-time believer and undergo numerous defeats before he can receive this gospel. Delay in accepting the gospel according to Romans 6 is due either to the incomplete gospel he has heard or to his unwillingness in wholly accepting and fully yielding to it. Whereas actually this blessing should be the common possession of all the newly born.


Chapter 6 begins with a call to reminisce, not to anticipate. It directs our attention to the past, to what is already ours: "Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with him, that the body of sin might be annulled, that we should no longer serve sin" (v.6 Darby). In this single verse we find three major elements--

(1) "sin" (singular in number);

(2) "old man"; and

(3) "body" (the body of. sin).

These three are vastly different in nature and play unique roles in the act of sinning. Sin here is that which commonly is called the root of sin. The Bible informs us that we were formerly slaves of sin. Sin had been the master. First of all therefore, we need to recognize that sin possesses power, for it enslaves us. It emits this power incessantly to draw us into obedience to its old man so that we might sin. The old man represents the sum total of everything we inherit from Adam. We can recognize the old man by knowing what the new man is, because whatever is not of the new man must belong to the old. Our new man embraces everything which flows newly from the Lord at our regeneration. Hence the old man betokens everything in our personality which is outside the new-our old personality and all which belongs to the old nature. We sin because this old man loves sin and is under its power. Now the body of sin refers to this body of ours. This corporeal part of man has become the inevitable puppet in all our sinning. It is labeled the body of sin because it likewise is subject to the power of sin, fully laden with the lusts and desires of sin. And it is through this body that sin manages to express itself, else it will be merely an invisible power.

To recapitulate then, sin is the power which pulls us to do sin. Old man is the non-corporeal part of what we inherit from Adam. The body of sin is the corporeal element we inherit from him.

The process of sinning follows this order: first, sin; next, the old man; lastly, the body. Sin exudes its power to attract man and force him to sin. Since the old man delights in sin, he condones sin and bends to it, instigating the body to sin. Wherefore the body serves as the puppet and actually practices sin. It is through the joint enterprise of these three elements that sin is committed. Present always are the compulsion of sin's power, the inclination of the old man, and the practice of the body.

Now how can a man be delivered from sin? Some theorize that since sin is the first cause we must annihilate it in order to attain victory; accordingly they advocate "the eradication of sin." Once the root of sin is pulled out, think these, we never shall sin again and are obviously sanctified. Others argue that we must subdue our body if we desire to overcome sin, for is it not our body, they ask, which practices sin? So there arises in Christendom a group of people who promote asceticism. They use many techniques to suppress themselves for they anticipate that once they overcome the demands of their bodies they shall be holy. None of these is God's way. Romans 6.6 is transparent as to His way. He neither eradicates the root of sin- within nor suppresses the body without. Rather, God deals with the old man in between.


The Lord Jesus in going to the cross took with Him not only our sins but also our beings. Paul enunciates this fact by proclaiming "that our old man has been crucified with him." The verb "crucified" in the original is in the aorist tense, connoting that our old man was once and forever crucified with Him. As the cross of Christ is a fact accomplished, so our being crucified with Him is additionally an accomplished fact. Whoever questions the reality of the crucifixion of Christ? Why, then, should we doubt the reality of the crucifixion of our old man?

Many saints, upon hearing the truth of co-death, immediately assume that they ought to die, and so they try their best to crucify themselves. Either lack of God's revelation or lack

of faith accounts for this attitude. They not only do this themselves;

they teach others so to do as well. The results are too obvious: no

power is theirs to be freed from sin and their old man they feel will not


This is a grievous misjudgment. The Bible never instructs us to crucify ourselves. Precisely the opposite are we told We are taught that when Christ went to Calvary He took us there and had us crucified. We are not instructed to begin crucifying ourselves now; instead the Scriptures assure us that our old man was dealt with at the time Christ went to the cross. Romans 6.6 alone is sufficient to substantiate this. There is not the remotest idea conveyed of desiring to crucify ourselves, nor does the Word in the slightest sense imply that our crucifixion awaits realization. The verse in Romans 6 permits no room for doubt when it categorically pronounces that we were crucified with Christ, a fact already accomplished. This is truly the effect of the most precious phrase in the Bible-"in Christ." It is because we are in Him and are united with Him that we can say that when Christ went to the cross we went there. in Him, that when Christ was crucified we too were crucified in Him. What a wonderful reality that we are in Christ!

Mere mental assimilation of these truths cannot withstand

temptation, however. The revelation of God is positively essential. The

Spirit of God must reveal how we are in Christ and how we are united

with Him in one. He must also show us distinctly bow our old man

was crucified with Christ for the simple reason that we are in Christ.

This cannot be simply a mental comprehension; it must be a disclosure

of the Holy Spirit. When a truth is unfolded by God it most naturally

becomes a power in man, who then finds himself able to believe.

Faith comes through revelation. Without the latter the former is

impossible. This explains why many do not have faith,

for though they mentally understand they do not have God's

revelation. Therefore, brethren, pray until God gives us revelation so

that "knowing this" in our spirit we may truly confess "that our old

man has been crucified with him."

What is the consequence of the crucifixion of our old man? Again the answer comes to us unequivocally-"that the body of sin might be annulled." "Annulled" should be rendered 11 withered" or "unemployed." Beforehand when sin stirred, our old man responded and consequently the body practiced sin. With the crucifixion of the old man and its replacement by the new man, sin may still stir within and attempt to exert its pressure, but it fails to find the consent of the old man in driving the body to sin. Sin can no longer tempt the believer for he is a new man; the old has died. The body's occupation was formerly that of sinning but this body of sin is now unemployed because the old man was set aside. It is not able to sin and hence has been denied its job. Praise the Lord, this is what He has furnished us.

Why does God crucify our old man with Christ and render

our body jobless? His purpose is that "we should no longer serve sin." What God has done in this regard makes it possible for us not to yield thereafter to the pressure of. sin nor to be bound by its power. Sin will exercise no dominion over us. Hallelujah! We must praise God for this deliverance.


How shall we enter into such blessing? Two elements are indispensable. First, "reckon yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 6.11 Darby). This is the essential of faith. When God avows that our old man was crucified with Christ we believe His Word and "reckon ourselves as dead." How then do we die? "We reckon ourselves as dead to sin." When God affirms that we are resurrected with Christ we again trust His Word and "reckon ourselves alive." How then do we live? "We reckon ourselves as alive to God." This reckoning is none other than believing God according to His Word, When God says our old man was crucified, we account ourselves dead; when He insists we are made alive, we reckon ourselves as alive. The failure of many lies in the desire to feel, to see and to experience this crucifixion and resurrection before trusting in the Word of God.

These do not realize God has done it already in Christ and that if only they would believe His Word by reckoning that what He has done is true, His Holy Spirit would give them the experience. His Spiritwould communicate to them what is in Christ.

Second, "neither yield your members instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but yield yourselves to God as alive from among the dead and your members instruments of righteousness to God" (Rom. 6.13 Darby). This is the essential of consecration. If we persist in holding on to something which God wants us to relinquish, sin shall have dominion over us, and our reckoning shall be futile. If we fail to yield our members as godly instruments of righteousness to speak and do what He desires and go where He directs, should we be surprised we are not yet delivered from sin Whenever we refuse to relinquish or we offer resistance to God, sin shall return to its dominion. Under such circumstances we naturally lose the power to reckon, that is, to believe God's Word. In our ceasing to exercise faith and to reckon, can we still be said to be positionally in Christ? Yes, but we are living no longer in Him according to the sense of the "abide in me" of John 15. Accordingly we are unqualified to experience what is factual in Christ, even our crucifixion.

Now we may infer from any defeat of ours that it is due either to lack of faith or failure to obey. No other reason can suffice. Conceivably a defeat could flow from both these reasons; if not from both, then from one or the other. We ought to learn how to live in Christ by faith, never seeing or thinking of ourselves outside of Him. Learn to believe daily that we are in Christ and that whatever is true of Him is true of us. Likewise, through the power of God we must learn daily to keep our consecration unspotted. Count all things as refuse, for there is nothing in the world we cannot relinquish for the Lord and nothing that we should want to keep for ourselves. Let us be disposed to respond positively to God's demands, however difficult or contrary to the flesh they may be. For God no cost is too high. Anything can be sacrificed if only we may please Him. Let us daily learn to be obedient children.

Had we so reckoned and so yielded, we would now be enjoying what the Word of God has manifestly declared: "sin will have no domino over you."


A Christian enters a decidedly hazardous period of his life upon coming to know the truth of co-death and experiencing something of freedom from sin. If at this juncture he receives good instruction and permits the Holy Spirit to apply the cross to himself in a deeper way, he eventually will reach spiritual maturity. But if the believer is content to view his experience of victorious life over sin as the apogee of attainment and forbids the cross to contravene his soul life then he will abide in the soulical realm and mistake his soulical

experience for a spiritual one. In spite of the fact his old man was dealt with, the believer's soul life remains untouched by the cross. The will, mind and emotion will therefore continue to function without any check; and the result: his experience is confined to the realm of the soul.

What we need to know is how far such deliverance from

sin actually has affected our being--what it has touched but

also what it has not yet touched which should be. More es

pecially must we understand that sin has a very particular

relationship to our body. Unlike many philosophers we do not

consider the body intrinsically evil, but we do confess that

the body is the province of sin's domination. In Romans 6.6

we find the Holy Spirit describing our body as "the body

of sin," for it is nothing but that before we experience the

treatment of the cross and yield our members to God as in

struments of righteousness. Sin had seized our body and

forced it into servitude. It became sin's fortress, instrument

and garrison. Wherefore no designation is more fitting than

that of "the body of sin."

A careful reading of Romans 6 through 8, which tell of deliverance from sin, will uncover not only what is the relation

of the body to sin but also what is God's perfect salvation in releasing our body completely from serving sin into serving Him.

In Romans 6 the Apostle sets forth these statements:

"the sinful body might be destroyed" (v.6)

"let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey

their passions" (v. 12)

"do not yield your members to sin as instruments of wickedness" (v.1.3)

"yield ... your members to God as instruments of righteousness" (v.13)

In Romans 7 God uses Paul to speak of the body in the following terms:

"at work in our members" (v.5)

"I see in my members another law" (v.23)

"making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my mem

bers" (v.23)

" who will deliver me from this body of death?" (v.24)

In Romans 8 the pronouncements of the Holy Spirit through Paul are very plain:

"your bodies are dead because of sin" (v.10)

"will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which

dwells in you" (v.11)

"if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live" (v. 13)

"the redemption of our bodies" (v.23)

From these passages we can begin to discern God's particular concern towards our body. God is aware that the body is sin's special sphere of operation. Man has become a slave to sin because his body is sin's puppet. But the moment his body is disemployed from sin the person ceases to be its slave. A man thus freed from sin actually experiences the liberation of his body from its power and influence.

The purpose in crucifying the old man is to release the body from the dominion of sin. With the old man, sin's partner, crucified and the new man taking its place, sin's power over the body is broken, because without the cooperation of the old man sin cannot directly use the body.

It must be emphasized that to be delivered from the power of sin merely means to have our body liberated. (Of course our perfect redemption which also includes the deliverance from the presence of sin lies in the future). Not yet dealt with is the life of the soul upon which we lean. If we consider victory over sin as life on the highest plateau then we are most foolish. We are accepting the "annulling" or "withering" of the body as life supreme but ignoring the fact that over and above the body of sin stands the natural soul which requires as much dealing as does the body. A believer's spiritual odyssey is bound to be shallow if he only knows the body unemployed (wonderful as that may be) but fails to experience the soul life denied.


 2024/2/3 9:27Profile

Joined: 2024/1/19
Posts: 304
North Eastern UK

 Re: Deliverance From Sin - Watchman Nee

Yes very good from Nee but this:

// (Of course our perfect redemption which also includes the deliverance from the presence of sin lies in the future).//

which put it in the realms of Keswick and as Oswald Chambers says 'fizzled out'.

Look to the early church instead which taught the perfect redemption in this life.

 2024/2/3 12:13Profile

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