The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee
Chapter 2: “The Cross of Christ”:
Page 34: “So we see that objectively the Blood deals with our sins. The Lord Jesus has borne them on the Cross for us as our Substitute and has thereby obtained for us forgiveness, justification and reconciliation. But we must now go a step further in the plan of God to understand how he deals with the sin principle in us. The Blood can wash away my sins, but it cannot wash away my ‘old man.’ It needs the Cross to crucify me. The Blood deals with the sins, but the Cross must deal with the sinner.”
Pages 35-36: “How were we constituted sinners? By Adam’s disobedience. We do not become sinners by what we have done but because of what Adam has done and has become. I speak English, but I am not thereby constituted an Englishman. I am in fact a Chinese. So chapter 3 draws our attention to what we have done—‘all have sinned’—but it is nevertheless not because we have done it that we become sinners.
“I once asked a class of children, ‘Who is a sinner?’ and their immediate reply was, ‘One who sins.’ Yes, one who sins is a sinner, but the fact that he sins is merely the evidence that he is already a sinner; it is not the cause. One who sins is a sinner, but it is equally true that one who does not sin, if he is of Adam’s race, is a sinner too, and in need of redemption. Do you follow me? There are bad sinners and there are good sinners, there are moral sinners and there are corrupt sinners, but they are all alike sinners. We sometimes think that if only we had not done certain things all would be well; but the trouble lies far deeper than in what we do: it lies in what we are. A Chinese may be born in America and be unable to speak Chinese at all, but he is a Chinese for all that, because he was born a Chinese. It is birth that counts. So I am a sinner because I am born in Adam. It is a matter not of my behavior but of my heredity, my parentage. I am not a sinner because I sin, but I sin because I come from the wrong stock. I sin because I am a sinner.
“We are apt to think that what we have done is very bad, but that we ourselves are not so bad. God is taking pains to show us that we ourselves are wrong, fundamentally wrong. The root trouble is the sinner; he must be dealt with. Our sins are dealt with by the Blood, but we ourselves are dealt with by the Cross. The Blood procures our pardon for what we have done; the Cross procures our deliverance from what we are.”