9.8 The Distinct Organism of the Spirit


Chapter 9: The Volition and Spirit of Man

from War On the Saints
by Jesse Penn-Lewis

Scriptures Referenced in This Section:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Ezek. 36:26 π Lk. 1:80 π Jn. 3:5 π Jn. 3:6 π Rom. 6:6 π Rom. 7:4-6 π Rom. 8:4-5 π Rom. 8:9 π Rom. 8:16 π 1 Cor. 2:6 π 1 Cor. 2:11 π 1 Cor. 2:13 π 1 Cor. 5:4 π 1 Cor. 6:17 π 1 Cor. 14:14 π 2 Cor. 2:13 π Gal. 5:16 π Eph. 5:17 π Heb. 4:12 π Heb. 6:1

That the human spirit is a distinct organism, as separate from the soul and body, is very clearly recognized in the Scriptures, as these few verses show.

"The spirit of man."
          1 Cor. 2:11

"My spirit prayeth."
          1 Cor. 14:14

"The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit."
          Rom. 8:16
"...my spirit..."
          1 Cor. 5:4

"Relief in my spirit."
          2 Cor. 2:13; top

There is also a separation of "soul and spirit" required and carried out by the Word of God - the sword of the Spirit - made known in Heb. 4:12 , because through the Fall, the spirit in union with God which once ruled and dominated soul and body, fell from the predominant position into the vessel of the soul and could no longer rule. In the "new birth" which the Lord told Nicodemus was necessary for every man ( Jn. 3:5 ), the regeneration of the fallen spirit takes place. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" ( Jn. 3:6 ), "a new spirit will I put within you" ( Ezek. 36:26 ), and through the apprehension of the death of the old creation with Christ as set forth in Rom. 6:6 , is the new spirit liberated, divided from the soul, and joined to the Risen Lord. "Dead to the law...joined to Another...having died...that we might serve in newness of the spirit." ( Rom. 7:4-6; top )

The believer's life is therefore to be a walk "after the spirit" minding "the things of the spirit." ( Rom. 8:4-5 ) In the R.V. the word "spirit" is not written with a capital "S" denoting the Spirit of God, but with a small "s" as referring to the spirit of man. But the believer can only thus walk "after the spirit," if the Spirit of God dwells in him ( Rom. 8:9 ), the Holy Spirit lifting his spirit to the place of rule over soul and body - "flesh," both ethically and physically - by joining it to the Risen Lord, and making it "one spirit" with Him. ( 1 Cor. 6:17; top )

That the believer retains volitional control over his own spirit is the important point to note, and through ignorance he can withdraw his spirit from co-operation with the Holy Spirit, and thus, so to speak, "walk" after the soul, or after the flesh unwittingly. A surrendered will to do the will of God, is therefore no guarantee that he is doing that will - he must understand what the will of the Lord is ( Eph. 5:17; top ) and for the doing of that will seek to be filled in spirit to the utmost of his capacity.

The knowledge that the Spirit of God has come to indwell the shrine of the spirit, is not enough to guarantee that the believer will continue to walk in the spirit, and not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. ( Gal. 5:16 ) If he "lives" by the Spirit he must learn how to walk by the Spirit, and for this understand how to "combine" and "compare" spiritual things with spiritual ( 1 Cor. 2:13 , R.V. margin; top), so as to interpret truly the things of the Spirit of God, exercising the spirit faculty by which he is able to examine all things, and discern the mind of the Lord.

Such a believer should know how to walk after the spirit, so that he does not quench its action, movements or monitions as it is moved or exercised by the Spirit of God, cultivating its strength by use, so that he becomes "strong in spirit" ( Lk. 1:80 ), and a truly spiritual man of "full age" in the Church of God. ( 1 Cor. 2:6 ; Heb. 6:1; top )

[9.7] The Spirit Energized by the Holy Spirit at the Back of the Will
[9.9] How Believers Ignore the Human Spirit
9: The Volition and Spirit of Man - Table of Contents
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