Spirit and Soul Spirit It is imperative that a believer know he has a spirit, since, as we shall soon learn, every communication of God with man occurs there. If the believer does not discern his own spirit he invariably is ignorant of how to commune with God in the spirit. He easily substitutes the thoughts or emotions of the soul for the works of the spirit. Thus he confines himself to the outer realm, unable ever to reach the spiritual realm.
1 Corinthians 2.11 speaks of “the spirit of the man which is in him.” 1 Corinthians 5.4 mentions “my spirit.” Romans 8.16 says “our spirit” 1 Corinthians 14.14 uses “my spirit.” 1 Corinthians 14.32 tells of the “spirits of prophets.” Proverbs 25.28 refers to “his own spirit.” Darby Hebrews 12.23 record “the spirits of just men.” Zechariah 12.1 states that “the Lord . . . formed the spirit of man within him.”
The above Scripture verses sufficiently prove that we human beings do possess a human spirit. This spirit is not synonymous with our soul nor is it the same as the Holy Spirit. We worship God in this spirit. According to the teaching of the Bible and the experience of believers, the human spirit can be said to comprise three parts; or, to put it another way, one can say it has three main functions. These are conscience, intuition and communion. The conscience is the discerning organ which distinguishes right and wrong; not, however, through the influence of knowledge stored in the mind but rather by a spontaneous direct judgment. Often reasoning will justify things which our conscience judges. The work of the conscience is independent and direct; it does not bend to outside opinions. If man
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should do wrong it will raise its voice of accusation. Intuition is the sensing organ of the human spirit. It is so diametrically different from physical sense and soulical sense that it is called intuition. Intuition involves a direct sensing independent of any outside influence. That knowledge which comes to us without any help from the mind, emotion or volition comes intuitively. We really “know” through our intuition; our mind merely helps us to “understand.” The revelations of God and all the movements of the Holy Spirit are known to the believer through his intuition. A believer must therefore heed these two elements: the voice of conscience and the teaching of intuition. Communion is worshiping God. The organs of the soul are incompetent to worship God. God is not apprehended by our thoughts, feelings or intentions, for He can only be known directly in our spirits. Our worship of God and God’s communications with us are directly in the spirit. They take place in “the inner man,” not in the soul or outward man. We can conclude then that these three elements of conscience, intuition and communion are deeply interrelated and function coordinately. The relationship between conscience and intuition is that conscience judges according to intuition; it condemns all conduct which does not follow the directions given by intuition. Intuition is related to communion or worship in that God is known by man intuitively and reveals His will to man in the intuition. No measure of expectation or deduction gives us the knowledge of God. From the following three groups of Scripture verses it can readily be observed that our spirits possess the function of conscience (we do not say that the spirit is conscience), the function of intuition (or spiritual sense), and the function of. communion (or worship).
A) The Function o f Conscience in Man’s Spirit “The Lord your God hardened his spirit” Deut. 2.30 “Saves the crushed in spirit” Ps. 34.18 “Put a new and right spirit within me” Ps. 51.10
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“When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit” John 13.21 “His spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols” Acts 17.16 “It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” Rom. 8.16 “I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment” 1 Cor. 5.3 “I had no rest in my spirit” 2 Cor. 2.13 AV “For God did not give us the spirit of timidity” 2 Tim. 1.7 B) The Function of Intuition in Man’s Spirit “The spirit indeed is willing” Matt. 26.41 “Jesus perceiving in his spirit” Mark 2.8 “He sighed deeply in his spirit” Mark 8.12 “He was deeply moved in spirit” John 11.33 “Paul was pressed in the spirit” Acts 18.5 AV “Being fervent in spirit” Acts 18.25 “I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the spirit” Acts 20.22 “What person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him” 1 Cor. 2.11 “They refreshed my spirit as well as yours” 1 Cor. 16.18 “His spirit was refreshed by you all” 2 Cor. 7.13 AV C) The Function o f Communion in Man’s Spirit “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” Luke 1.47 “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” John 4.23 “Whom I serve with my spirit” Rom. 1.9 “We serve . . . in the new life of the spirit” Rom. 7.6 “You have received the spirit of sonship when we cry Abba Father” Rom. 8.15 “The Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit” Rom. 8.16 “He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” 1 Cor. 6.17 “I will sing with the spirit” 1 Cor. 14.15 “If you bless with the spirit” 1 Cor. 14.16 “In the spirit he carried me away” Rev 21.10
We can know by these Scriptures that our spirit possesses at least these three functions. Although unregenerated men do not yet have life, they nevertheless possess these functions (but their worship is of evil spirits). Some people manifest more of these functions while
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others less. This does not however imply that they are not dead in sins and transgressions. The New Testament does not consider those with a sensitive conscience, keen intuition or a spiritual tendency and interest to be saved individuals. Such people only prove to us that aside from the mind, emotion and will of our soul, we also have a spirit. Prior to regeneration the spirit is separated from God’s life; only afterwards does the life of God and of the Holy Spirit dwell in our spirits. They then have been quickened to be instruments of the Holy Spirit. Our aim in studying the significance of the spirit is to enable us to realize that we as human beings possess an independent spirit. This spirit is not man’s mind, his will or his emotion; on the contrary, it includes the functions of conscience, intuition and communion. It is here in the spirit that God regenerates us, teaches us, and leads us into His rest. But sad to say, due to long years of bondage to the soul many Christians know very little of their spirit. We ought to tremble before God, asking Him to teach us through experience what is spiritual and what is soulish. Before the believer is born again his spirit becomes so sunken and surrounded by his soul that it is impossible for him to distinguish whether something is emanating from the soul or from the spirit. The functions of the latter have become mixed up with those of the former. Furthermore, the spirit has lost its primary function— towards God; for it is dead to God. It thus would appear that it has become an accessory to the soul. And as the mind, emotion and volition grow stronger, the functions of the spirit become so eclipsed as to render them almost unknown. That is why there must be the work of dividing between soul and spirit after a believer is regenerated. In searching the Scriptures it does seem that an unregenerated spirit functions no differently from the way the soul does. The following verses illustrate this.
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“His spirit was troubled” Gen. 41.8 “Then their spirit was appeased toward him” Judges 8.3 Darby “He that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly” Prov. 14.29 Darby “A downcast spirit dries up the bones” Prov. 17.22 “Those who err in spirit” Is. 29.24 “And shall wail for anguish of spirit” Is. 65.14 “His spirit was hardened” Dan. 5.20
These show us the works of the unregenerated spirit and indicate how similar are its works to those of the soul. The reason for not mentioning soul but spirit is to reveal what has occurred in the very depth of man. It discloses how man’s spirit has become controlled and influenced completely by his soul with the result that it manifests the works of the soul. The spirit nonetheless still exists because these works come from the spirit. Though ruled by the soul the spirit does not cease to be an organ.