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New Book-[The Economy of God]-Chapter13-Part3

THE CROSS DEALING WITH THE SOUL

After we have been regenerated, we should not live and walk and do things by ourself anymore. As long as we live by ourself, we will be under the bondage of Satan. Perhaps you may say, “I don’t think I live or do things by myself.” Here is the need to discern the spirit from the soul; then you will see how much you are in the soul. You say that you are not living or doing things by yourself, but I would ask, By what are you living? By the flesh? Probably you will answer, “No, no, I am not living by the flesh!” Then, are you living by the spirit? You say, “Well, I doubt it.” If you are neither living by the flesh nor by the spirit, by what are you living? The answer is that you are merely living by the soul. You say, “Oh, I don’t like to commit any sin, I don’t like to be fleshly, I don’t like to cooperate with Satan. I love God. I like to follow the Lord and walk in the Lord’s way. I like, I like, I like....” Still you are in the soul! Tell the Lord where you are. You yourself doubt very much that you are in the spirit. If you are not in the flesh nor in the spirit, you are in the soul. Praise the Lord, you are not in Egypt, for you have experienced the Passover. You have been delivered out of Egypt, but you have not yet entered into the good land of Canaan. You are still wandering in the wilderness of the soul.

(1) Human Love

Now we come to this issue: How can we discern the spirit from the soul? How can we know when we are in the spirit or in the soul and how can we divide the spirit from the soul? Look into the Word of the Lord.

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:37-39).

“Life” here in the Greek text is the same word as that for “soul.” The taking up of the cross in these verses refers to our human love for our dear ones. Human love is something in our soul, and it must be dealt with by the cross. How much do we love our dear ones? If we want to know how to discern the spirit and the soul, we should check our love. How do we love our parents, our children, our mother or father? How do we love our brother or sister? This is not man’s word, but the Word of the Lord. Discernment of the spirit from the soul is only reached when we have checked our human and natural love. Our natural love has to be dealt with by the cross. In the New Testament Epistles the Holy Spirit tells us that husbands must love their wives, wives must submit to their husbands, parents must take care of their children, and children must honor and respect their parents. But all this must be in the resurrection-life. Natural affection, natural love, and natural relationships have to be cut off by the cross. After being dealt with by the cross, we will be in the spirit, which means that we will be in the resurrection-life. We will live in the resurrection-life—not in the natural life, but in the spiritual life. One test of how much our soul has been broken is how much the cross has dealt with our natural love and affection. When the natural love has been cut off by the cross, we will lose our soul.

Furthermore, if we are going to lose our soul by dealing with the natural love, we need to learn how to hate.

“If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26, 27).

“Life” here again in the Greek text is the same as that for “soul.” Besides the love for our dear ones, we also have self-love, that is, the love for self or for our soul. The taking up of the cross has much to do with this self-love. “If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not. &” Hateth whom? Our enemies? We must love our enemies, but we must learn to hate our soul, ourself. To hate ourself has something to do with the losing of our soul. By hating ourself we can then cross out the self in our soul.

[Continued Tomorrow]