• Dividing Spirit, Soul, Body

    by Published on 06-12-2017 01:14 AM     Number of Views: 307 
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    2. Old Man Crucified,
    3. Dividing Spirit, Soul, Body,
    4. The Fall of Man

    The Existence of the Flesh

    Let us note carefully that though the flesh may be so put to death that it becomes “ineffective” (the real meaning of “destroy” in Rom. 6.6), it endures nonetheless. It is a great error to consider the flesh eradicated from us and to conclude that the nature of sin is completely annihilated. Such false teaching leads people astray. Regenerated life does not alter the flesh; co-crucifixion does not extinguish the flesh; the indwelling Holy Spirit does not render it impossible to walk by the flesh. The flesh with its fleshly nature abides perpetually in the believer. Whenever opportunity is provided for its operation, it at once will spring into action.

    We have previously seen how closely associated are the human body and the flesh. Until such time as we are freed physically from this body we shall not be able to be so delivered from the flesh that no more possibility of its activity exists. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh. There is absolutely no eradication of it until this body corrupted from Adam is transformed. Our body is not yet redeemed (Rom. 8.23); it waits for redemption at the return of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 15.22, 23, 42-44, 51-56; 1 Thess. 4.14-18; Phil. 3.20-21). As long as we are in the body, therefore, we must be alert daily lest the flesh break forth with its wicked deeds.

    Our life on earth can at best be likened to that of Paul, who remarked that “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10.3 ASV). Since he still possesses a body he walks in the flesh. Yet because the nature of the flesh is so corrupt he does not war according to the flesh. He walks in the flesh, yes; but he does not walk by the flesh (Rom. 8.4). Until a believer is set free from the physical body he is not entirely free from the flesh. Physically speaking he must live in the flesh (Gal. 2.20); spiritually speaking he need not and must not war according to the flesh. Now if by obvious inference from 2 Cor. 10.3, Paul, being in the body, remains susceptible to warring according to the flesh (though from v.4 we see he does not war that way), who then dares to say that he no longer has any potentially active flesh. The finished work of the cross and its continual application by the Holy Spirit are consequently inseparable.

    We must pay unusual attention to this point for it brings in grave consequences. Should a believer come to assume that he is sanctified completely and has no more flesh, he will slip either into a life of pretension or into a life of indolence void of watchfulness. One fact needs to be underscored here. Children born of regenerated and sanctified parents are still of the flesh and in need of being born anew just as any other children are. None can say they are not of the flesh and have no need to be born anew. The Lord Jesus asserted that “that which is born of the flesh is flesh” (John 3.6). If what is born is flesh, it proves that what gives birth to it must likewise be flesh for only flesh can beget flesh. That children are fleshly bears concrete testimony that the parents are not delivered completely from the flesh. The saints transmit to their children their fallen nature only because it is theirs originally. They cannot impart the divine nature received at regeneration because that nature is not originally theirs but is received individually as a free gift from God. The fact that believers do communicate their sinful nature to their children indicates it is ever present in them.

    Viewed from this approach, a new creature in Christ we realize never fully recovers in this life the position Adam had before the fall, for the body at least is still awaiting redemption (Rom. 8.23). A person who is a new creation continues to harbor the sinful nature within him; he is yet in the flesh. His feelings and desires are at times imperfect and they are less noble than those of Adam before the fall. Unless the human flesh is eradicated from within, he cannot have perfect feelings, desires or love. Man can never arrive at the position of being beyond the possibility of sin since the flesh persists. If a believer does not follow the Holy Spirit but instead yields to the flesh, he certainly will be under the reins of the flesh. Despite these realities, however, we should not emasculate the salvation fulfilled by Christ. The Bible informs us in many places that whatsoever has been begotten of God and is filled with God has no tendency towards sin. This though does not mean there is categorically no possibility of sinful desire. To illustrate. We say wood floats—that it does not have the tendency to sink; but surely it is not unsinkable. If the wood is soaked sufficiently enough in water it will sink of its own accord. Nevertheless the nature of a piece of wood clearly is not to sink. Similarly, God has saved us to the extent of not having the tendency to sin, but He has not saved us to the extent of our being unable to sin. Should a believer remain wholly bent toward sin, it proves he is of the flesh and has not yet appropriated full salvation. The Lord Jesus is able to bend us away from sin; but in addition we must be watchful. Under the influence of the world and the temptation of Satan the possibility of sinning stays with us.

    Naturally a believer should understand that in Christ he is a new creation. As such, the Holy Spirit indwells his spirit; and this, together with the death of Jesus actively working in his body, can equip the believer to live a holy life. Such a walk is only possible because the Holy Spirit administers the cross upon the believer’s flesh in putting to death the deeds of its members. It is then no longer active. This is not to imply, however, that he has no more flesh. For a believer continues to possess a sinful flesh and is conscious of its presence and defilement. The very fact that sinful nature is transmitted to the children has established beyond doubt that what we now possess is not the natural perfection of sinless Adam.

    A believer must confess that even in his holiest hours there may be moments of weakness: evil thoughts may creep into his mind unconsciously; unbecoming words may escape his mouth unknowingly; his will may find it sometimes difficult to yield to the Lord; and he secretly may even endorse the thought of self-sufficiency. These are none but the works of the flesh. Therefore let it be known to believers that the flesh is able to exercise its power again at any time. It has not been eradicated from the body. But neither does the presence of the flesh mean sanctification is impossible to a believer. It is only when we have yielded our body to the Lord (Rom. 6.13) that it is possible for us no longer to be under the dominion of the flesh but under the dominion of the Lord. If we follow the Holy Spirit and maintain an attitude of not letting sin reign over the body (Rom. 6.12), then our feet are freed from stumbling and we experience sustained victory. Our body thus delivered becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit and is at liberty to do God’s work. Now the way to preserve one’s freedom from the flesh must be exactly the way this freedom is first obtained at that juncture of life and death when the believer says “yes” to God and “no” to the flesh. Far from it being an aoristic once for all event in time, the believer must maintain throughout his life an affirmative attitude towards God and a negative response towards the flesh. No believer today can arrive at the point of being beyond temptation. How necessary to watch and pray and even to fast that one may know how to walk according to the Holy Spirit.

    Nevertheless, the believer ought to dilute neither God’s purpose nor his own hope. He has the possibility of sinning, but he must not sin. The Lord Jesus has died for us and crucified our flesh with Himself on the cross; the Holy Spirit indwells us to make real to us what the Lord Jesus has accomplished. We have the absolute possibility of not being governed by the flesh. The presence of the flesh is not a call for surrender but a summons to watchfulness. The cross has crucified the flesh wholly; if we are minded to put to nought the evil works of the body in the power of the Holy Spirit we shall experience indeed the finished work of the cross. “So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live” (Rom. 8.12-13). Since God has bestowed such grace and salvation, the fault is altogether ours if we continue to follow the flesh. We are no longer debtors to it as we once were before we knew such salvation. If we now persist in living by the flesh it is because we want so to live, not because we must so live.

    Many matured saints have experienced sustained victory over the flesh. Though the flesh abides, its power is reduced practically to zero. Its life with its nature and activities has been laid to rest so consistently by the cross of the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit that it is relegated to a state of existence as if not present. Due to the profound and persistent operation of the cross and the faithfulness of saints in following the Holy Spirit, the flesh, though existing, loses all its resistance. Even its power to stimulate believers seems to be nullified. Such a complete triumph over the flesh is attainable by all believers.

    “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” The entire relationship expressed in this verse hangs upon that word “if.” God has done all that is necessary; He cannot do anything more. It is now up to us to take a stand. If we neglect this perfect salvation, how then shall we escape? “If you live according to the flesh you will die”—this is a warning. Although you are regenerated you nonetheless will lose out in your spiritual walk as though you are not alive. “If by the Spirit” you live, you also die, but you die in the death of Christ. Such a death is most authentic because that death will put to nought all the deeds of the flesh. One way or the other you will die. Which death do you choose: that which stems from lively flesh or that which issues in active spirit? If the flesh is alive the Holy Spirit cannot live actively. Which life do you prefer: that of the flesh or that of the Spirit? God’s provision for you is that your flesh and its entire power and activities may be put under the power of Christ’s death on the cross. What is lacking in us is none other than death. Let us emphasize it before we speak of life, for there can be no resurrection without prior death. Are we willing to obey God’s will? Are we amenable to letting the cross of Christ come out practically in our lives? If so, we must by the Holy Spirit put to death all the wicked deeds of the body.
    by Published on 09-14-2016 08:10 AM     Number of Views: 283 
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    The Spiritual Man, CFP, Vol. 3, Part 10 THE BODY, Ch. 3, by Watchman Nee

    WE NOTED earlier how our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. What arrests our attention is the special emphasis the Apostle Paul gives to the body. The common concept is that the life of Christ is for our spirit, not for our body. Few realize that the salvation of God reaches to the second after He gives life to the first. Had God desired that His Spirit live solely in our spirit so that only it might be benefited, the Apostle would simply need to have said that “your spirit is the temple of God” and not mention the body at all. By now, however, we should understand that the meaning of our body as the temple of the Holy Spirit is more than its being the recipient of a special privilege. It likewise means being a channel for effective power. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit strengthens our inner man, enlightens the eyes of our heart and, makes our body healthy.

    We have also noted how the Holy Spirit makes alive this mortal frame of ours. To wait until we die before He raises us up is not necessary, for even now He gives life to our mortal body. In the future He will raise from the dead this corruptible body, but today He quickens the mortal body. The power of His life permeates every cell of our being so that we may experience His power and life in the body.

    No more need we look upon our outer shell as a miserable prison, for we can see in it the life of God being expressed. We now can experience in a deeper way that word which declares that “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Christ has presently become the source of life to us. He lives in us today as He once lived in the flesh. We can thus apprehend more fully the implication of His pronouncement: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10.10). This more abundant life suffices additionally for every requirement of our body. Paul exhorts Timothy to “take hold of the eternal life” (1 Tim. 6. 12); surely Timothy is not here in need of eternal life that he may be saved. Is not this life that which Paul subsequently describes in the same chapter as “the life which is life indeed” (v.19) ? Is he not urging Timothy to experience eternal life today in overcoming every phenomenon of death?

    We would hasten to inform our readers that we have not lost sight of the fact that our body is indeed a mortal one; even so, we who are the Lord’s can verily possess the power of that life which swallows up death. In our body are two forces in action: death and life: on the one side is consumption which brings us nigh to death; on the other side is replenishment through food and rest and these support life. Now extravagant consumption weakens the body because the force of death is too powerful; but by the same token excessive supply reveals signs of congestion because the force of life is too strong. The best policy is to maintain these two forces of life and death in balance. Beyond this, we should understand that the weariness which believers often experience in their body is in many respects distinct from that of ordinary people. Their consumption is more than physical. Because they walk with the Lord, bear the burdens of others, sympathize with the brethren, work for God, intercede before Him, battle the powers of darkness, and pommel their body to subdue it, food and rest alone are insufficient to replenish the loss of strength in their physical frame. This explains in a measure why many believers, who before the call to service were healthy, find themselves physically feeble not long afterwards. Our bodily strength cannot cope with the demands of spiritual life, work, and war. Combat with sin, sinners, and the evil spirits saps our vitality. Solely natural resources are inadequate to supply our bodily needs. We must depend on the life of Christ, for this alone can sustain us. Should we rely on material food and nourishment and drugs we will be committing a serious blunder. Only the life of the Lord Jesus more than sufficiently meets all the physical requirements for our spiritual life, work, and war. He alone furnishes us the necessary vitality to grapple with sin and Satan. Once the believer has truly appreciated what spiritual warfare is and how to wrestle in the spirit with the enemy, he will begin to realize the preciousness of the Lord Jesus as life to his body.

    Every Christian ought to see the reality of his union with the Lord. He is the vine and we the branches. As branches are united with the trunk, so are we united with the Lord. Through union with the trunk the branches receive the flow of life. Does not our union with the Lord produce the same results? If we restrict this union to the spirit, faith will rise up to protest. Since the Lord calls us to demonstrate the reality of our union with Him, He wishes us to believe and to receive the flow of His life to our spirit, soul, and body. Should our fellowship be cut off, the spirit most assuredly will lose its peace, but so will the body be denied its health. Constant abiding signifies that His life continually is filling our spirit and flowing to our body. Apart from a participation in the life of the Lord Jesus there can be neither healing nor health. The call of God today is for His children to experience a deeper union with the Lord Jesus.

    Let us therefore recognize that, though phenomena do occur to us in the body, they are in truth spiritual matters. To receive divine healing and to have our strength increased are spiritual and not purely physical experiences, although they do take place in the body. Such experiences are nothing less than the life of the Lord Jesus being manifested in our mortal frame. As in the past the life of the Lord caused this dead spirit of ours to be resurrected, so now it make alive this mortal body. God wants us to learn how to let the resurrected, glorious and all-victorious life of Christ be expressed in every portion of our being. He calls us to renew our vigor daily and hourly by Him. This is precisely our true life. Even though our body is still animated by our natural soul life, we no longer live by it because we have trusted in the life of the Son of God Who infuses energy into our members far more abundantly than all which the soul life could impart. We lay great stress on this “life.” In all our spiritual experiences this mysterious yet wonderful “life” enters into us abundantly. God desires to lead us into possessing that life of Christ as our strength.

    The Word of God is the life of our body: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4.4). This substantiates the thought that God’s Word is able to support our body. Naturally speaking man must live by bread, but when the Word of God emits its power man can live by it too. Herein do we behold both the natural and the supernatural way of living. God does not say that henceforth we need not eat; He simply informs us that His Word can supply us with life which food cannot. When food fails to produce or to sustain the desirable effect in our body, His Word can give us what we need. Some live by bread alone, some by it and the Word of God. Bread sometimes fails, but God’s Word never changes.,
    God hides His life in His Word. Inasmuch as He is life. so also is His Word. Should we view God’s Word as a teaching, creed or moral standard, it shall not prove very effective in us. No, God’s Word must be digested and united with us in the same manner as is food. Hungry believers take it in as their food. If they receive it with faith the Word becomes their life. God claims His Word is able to sustain our life. When natural nourishment fails we can believe God according to His Word. Then shall we perceive Him not only as life to our spirit but as life to our body as well. Christians nowadays experience great loss in not noticing how bountifully God has provided for our earthly tent. We confine God’s promises to the inner spirit and overlook their application to the outer flesh. But do we realize our physical requirement is no less needful than that of the spiritual?
    by Published on 08-27-2016 12:17 AM     Number of Views: 264 
    1. Categories:
    2. Dividing Spirit, Soul, Body

    The Ark of the Covenant in Our Spirit

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Hallas
    Quote Originally Posted by Parture
    If the Bible says it and I sense it by the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ agrees then it must be true.
    Do you think the "Holy Spirit", would have given you this sensing of these exact things, if you had never read or were told about these words in this Book? I have always been curious about why you never hear of this particular god, planting thoughts into non-Christian peoples minds that match, in any way, the words in the bible. Isn't that a curious thing? It seems to me that all revelations of biblical knowledge, come only to people who know it's contents first. Would you care to explain that to us non-Christians.
    When I came to Christ I never read the Bible, nor did I own a Bible. That's interesting. It was only after I was born-again that I began to read God's word.

    God is love and indwells His loved ones, not those who do not love Him. That's not to say the Holy Spirit can't work upon other people, for He certainly does (called prevenient grace, and common grace Rom. 1.20). But the intimate relationship of having His uncreated life in us is to grow in Him and walk in His ways, eventually reaching a state of complete selflessness and sinlessness. Satan works from outer to inner, but God works from inner to outer. So be careful of "so-called" planting thoughts into the mind of our outerman they are not always of God. Non-Christians receive God's suggestions that draws them to Christ. He will use environment and all kinds of means. His ways are greater than our ways.

    The Holy Spirit is always working even in those who are not saved, but the Holy Spirit doesn't indwell the spirit (innerman) of a person unless they are born-again. This is seen in the Temple. The outer court represents our body. It is where Jesus died on the altar. The Holy Place with its utensils represent the functions of our soul (mind, will and emotion). Within the Holy Place is the Holy of Holies which represents your spirit. Nobody was allowed enter except the High Priest once a year.

    When Jesus died on the cross the veil was rent between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. From that point on those that were saved or born-again can directly commune with God by having access to the Holy of Holies where the Holy Spirit comes down upon the mercy seat and indwells the spirit of a believer. Inside the Holy of Holies is the law in the ark which judges according to God's will in our conscience. The blood is sprinkled upon the mercy seat where God receives our worship (commune with God).

    “My conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 9.1). Heb. 9.4 states that the Ark contained "the golden pot that had manna (represents communion), and Aaron's rod that budded (represents intuition), and the tablets of the covenant (represent conscience)." Rev. 11.19 says the prophet saw God's temple in heaven opened, "and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple." Such is an even clearer picture of how our spirit, soul and body work when Jesus returns.

    "The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4.12). God wants your spirit, soul and body divided to not confuse your tripartite nature to walk by your spirit primarily and not your outerman of soul and body ("soulical body" 1 Cor. 15.44 original). Joints point to movement and marrow points to our senses.

    If you get lost in The Spiritual Man all will be made clear.

    by Published on 07-07-2015 09:23 PM     Number of Views: 429 
    1. Categories:
    2. Dividing Spirit, Soul, Body

    The ORDINARY CONCEPT of the constitution of human beings is dualistic—soul and body. According to this concept soul is the invisible inner spiritual part, while body is the visible outer corporal part. Though there is some truth to this, it is nevertheless inaccurate. Such an opinion comes from fallen man, not from God; apart from God’s revelation, no concept is dependable. That the body is man’s outward sheath is undoubtedly correct, but the Bible never confuses spirit and soul as though they are the same. Not only are they different in terms; their very natures differ from each other. The Word of God does not divide man into the two parts of soul and body. It treats man, rather, as tripartite—spirit, soul and body. 1 Thessalonians 5.23 reads: “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This verse precisely shows that the whole man is divided into three parts. The Apostle Paul refers here to the complete sanctification of believers, “sanctify you wholly.” According to the Apostle, how is a person wholly sanctified? By his spirit and soul and body being kept. From this we can easily understand that the whole person comprises these three parts. This verse also makes a distinction between spirit and soul; otherwise, Paul would have said simply “your soul.” Since God has distinguished the human spirit from the human soul, we conclude that man is composed of not two, but three, parts: spirit, soul and body.

    Is it a matter of any consequence to divide spirit and soul? It is an issue of supreme importance for it affects tremendously the spiritual life of a believer. How can a believer understand spiritual life if he does not know what is the extent of the realm of the spirit? Without such understanding how can he grow spiritually? To fail to distinguish between spirit and soul is fatal to spiritual maturity.

    Christians often account what is soulical as spiritual, and thus they remain in a soulish state and seek not what is really spiritual. How can we escape loss if we confuse what God has divided?

    Spiritual knowledge is very important to spiritual life. Let us add, however, that it is equally as, if not more, important for a believer to be humble and willing to accept the teaching of the Holy Spirit. If so, the Holy Spirit will grant him the experience of the dividing of spirit and soul, although he may not have too much knowledge concerning this truth. On the one hand, the most ignorant believer, without the slightest idea of the division of spirit and soul, may yet experience such a dividing in real life. On the other hand, the most informed believer, completely conversant with the truth concerning spirit and soul, may nonetheless have no experience of it. Far better is that person who may have both the knowledge and the experience. The majority, however, lack such experience. Consequently, it is well initially to lead these to know the different functions of spirit and soul and then to encourage them to seek what is spiritual.

    Other portions of the Scriptures make this same differentiation between spirit and soul. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb. 4.12). The writer in this verse divides man’s non-corporal elements into two parts, “soul and spirit.” The corporal part is mentioned here as including the joints and marrow—organs of motion and sensation. When the priest uses the sword to cut and completely dissect the sacrifice, nothing inside can be hidden. Even joint and marrow are separated. In like manner the Lord Jesus uses the Word of God on His people to separate thoroughly, to pierce even to the division of the spiritual, the soulical, and the physical. And from this it follows that since soul and spirit can be divided, they must be different in nature. It is thus evident here that man is a composite of three parts.

    The Creation of Man

    “And Jehovah God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2.7 ASV). When God first created man He formed him of dust from the ground, and then breathed “the breath of life” into his nostrils. As soon as the breath of life, which became man’s spirit, came into contact with man’s body, the soul was produced. Hence the soul is the combination of man’s body and spirit. The Scriptures therefore call man “a living soul.” The breath of life became man’s spirit; that is, the principle of life within him. The Lord Jesus tells us “it is the spirit that gives life” (John 6.63). This breath of life comes from the Lord of Creation. However, we must not confuse man’s spirit with God’s Holy Spirit. The latter differs from our human spirit. Romans 8.16 demonstrates their difference by declaring that “it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” The original of the word “life” in “breath of life” is chay and is in the plural. This may refer to the fact that the inbreathing of God produced a twofold life, soulical and spiritual. When the inbreathing of God entered man’s body it became the spirit of man; but when the spirit reacted with the body the soul was produced. This explains the source of our spiritual and soulical lives. We must recognize, though, that this spirit is not God’s Own life, for “the breath of the Almighty--the Holy Spirit--gives me life” (Job 33.4). It is not the entrance of the uncreated life of God--eternal life--into man, neither is it that life of God--the Holy Spirit--which we receive at regeneration. What we receive at new birth is God’s Own life--eternal life--as typified by the tree of life--eternal life. But our human spirit, though permanently existing, is void of “eternal life.” We receive the same life of the Holy Spirit.

    “Formed man of dust from the ground” refers to man’s body; “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” refers to man’s spirit as it came from God; and “man became a living soul” refers to man’s soul when the body was quickened by the spirit and brought into being a living and self-conscious man. A complete man is a trinity—the composite of spirit, soul and body. According to Genesis 2.7, man was made up of only two independent elements, the corporeal and the spiritual; but when God placed the spirit within the casing of the earth, the soul was produced. The spirit of man touching the dead body produced the soul. The body apart from the spirit was dead, but with the spirit man was made alive. The organ thus animated was called the soul.

    “Man became a living soul” expresses not merely the fact that the combination of spirit and body produced the soul; it also suggests that spirit and body were completely merged in this soul. In other words, soul and body were combined with the spirit, and spirit and body were merged in the soul. Adam “in his unfallen state knew nothing of these ceaseless strivings of spirit and flesh which are matters of daily experience to us. There was a perfect blending of his three natures into one and the soul as the uniting medium became the cause of his individuality, of his existence as a distinct being.” (Pember’s Earth’s Earliest Age) Man was designated a living soul, for it was there that the spirit and body met and through which his individuality was known. Perhaps we may use an imperfect illustration: drop some dye into a cup of water. The dye and water will blend into a third substance called ink. In like manner the two independent elements of spirit and body combine to become living soul. (The analogy fails in that the soul produced by the combining of spirit and body becomes an independent, indissoluble element as much as the spirit and body.)

    God treated man’s soul as something unique. As the angels were created as spirits, so man was created predominantly as a living soul. Man not only had a body, a body with the breath of life; he became a living soul as well. Thus we find later in the Scriptures that God often referred to men as “souls.” Why? Because what the man is depends on how his soul is. His soul represents him and expresses his individuality. It is the organ of man’s free will, the organ in which spirit and body are completely merged. If man’s soul wills to obey God, it will allow the spirit to rule over the man as ordered by God.

    The soul, if it chooses, also can suppress the spirit and take some other delight as lord of the man. This trinity of spirit, soul and body may be partially illustrated by a light bulb. Within the bulb, which can represent the total man, there are electricity, light and wire. The spirit is like the electricity, the soul the light, and body the wire. Electricity is the cause of the light while light is the effect of electricity. Wire is the material substance for carrying the electricity as well as for manifesting the light. The combination of spirit and body produces soul, that which is unique to man. As electricity, carried by the wire, is expressed in light, so spirit acts upon the soul and the soul, in turn, expresses itself through the body.

    However, we must remember well that whereas the soul is the meeting-point of the elements of our being in this present life, the spirit will be the ruling power in our resurrection state. For the Bible tells us that “it is sown a physical body--a soulical body--, it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor. 15.44). Yet here is a vital point: we who have been joined to the resurrected Lord can even now have our spirit rule over the whole being. We are not united to the first Adam who was made a living soul but to the last Adam Who is a life-giving spirit (v.45). Jesus is a life giving spirit because He gives eternal life to those who believe in Him.
    by Published on 02-07-2015 02:44 PM     Number of Views: 528 
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    How do You Definite the Heart?

    Laws and the Inward Parts

    “I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it” (Jer. 31.33b). To what do these inward parts refer? In order to understand we have to mention this matter of the “heart” (by heart here we do not mean the physiological organ). We will delve into this “heart” matter according to the record of the Scriptures and theexperiences of many of the Lord’s people. So far as the Bible record is concerned, the heart seems to embrace the following parts:

    (1) Conscience is attached to the heart—“having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience” (Heb. 10.22); “if our heart condemn us” (1 John 3.20). Condemning is a function of conscience, showing then that conscience is within the realm of the heart.

    (2) Mind too is linked to the heart—“Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?” (Matt. 9.4); “reasoning in their hearts” (Mark 2.6); “the imagination of their heart” (Luke 1.51); “wherefore do questionings arise in your heart?” (Luke 24.38) All these instances are stories about the heart. “And understand with their heart” (Matt. 13.15); “pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2.19); “quick to discern the thoughts . . . of the heart” (Heb. 4.12). All these verses indicate that the mind is linked to the heart.

    (3) Will is also tied to the heart—“with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord” (Acts 11.23); “ye became obedient from the heart” (Rom. 6.17); “purposed in his heart” (2 Cor. 9.7); “intents of the heart” (Heb. 4.12). These all reveal that will is definitely linked to the heart.

    (4) And emotion is joined to the heart—“his heart fainted” (Gen. 45.26); “Was not our heart burning within us?” (Luke 24.32); “Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14.27). All of these passages confirm that emotion is joined to the heart.

    On the basis of the above passages—and though we dare not assert that conscience is the heart, that mind is the heart, or that will is the heart, or emotion is the heart—we dare to affirm that the heart has at least conscience, mind, will, and emotion attached to it. The heart is able to exercise control over conscience, mind, will, and emotion. It may be said that the heart is the sum total of these four things. Conscience is the conscience of the heart; mind, the mind ofthe heart; will, the will of the heart; and emotion, the emotion of the heart.

    Hence the “inward parts” of Jeremiah 31.33 include at least conscience, mind, will, and emotion of the heart.

    The Relation between Heart and Laws

    What does it mean by “laws” in both Hebrews 8.10 and 10.16? We have mentioned before that the law of life is singular, not plural, in number. Why then do we find “laws” in these places? Why is “laws” plural in number? It can be explained in the following way. The life which we receive at regeneration is a law. This refers to the law itself. But the operation of this law in us is more than one. God’s life has its operation in all our inward parts. It operates in our spirit, in our mind, in our will, in our emotion. So that what Jeremiah records—“I will put my law in their inward parts”—points to the operation of the law of God’s life in every inward segment of man.

    So far as the law itself is concerned, it is singular; but as far as the operation of this law goes, it is plural. It can be likened to the water we use. The source is one, yet the pipes are many. The life in us is one law, though it operates in all our inward parts. The life is one, while its operations are many. It works in all the inward parts, nonetheless its source is but one.

    Heart Is the Passage of Life

    Even though the spirit is the highest part of man, what really represents him is not his spirit but his heart. “Commune with your own heart” (Ps. 4.4) coincides with what is commonly understood tobe “heart and mouth consulting together.”∗ We may say that the heart is the real “I”; without question it is the most important thing in our daily living.

    The heart stands between the spirit and the soul. All that enters the spirit must pass through the heart; so also is it true with all that issues from the spirit. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov 4.23). This means that the heart is the passage of life. In other words, all fruits which man bears outwardly come from the heart. Such is its significance.

    The heart is the passage or channel through which life must operate. It is for this reason that God must first move upon our heart before His life can enter into us. Had there been no sorrow of heart or repentance, God’s life would not be able to come in. God has to touch our heart—causing us either to sense the pain of sin or to taste the sweetness of His love and the preciousness of Christ—in order to bring us to repentance. Heartache is a matter of the conscience, while repentance is a change of mind. When our heart is so touched, our volition will decide and our heart will believe. And thus will the life of God enter into us as is a seed that is planted in us (1 Peter 1.23). . . .

    How, then, can this life be expanded? We should not forget that just as the acceptance of life commences from the heart so the growth of life must also start from the heart. Whether our spiritual life expands or not depends on how open our heart is towards God. If our heart is open to Him our life will expand; but if our heart is closed, it has no possibility of expansion. So, then, it comes back to the matter of the heart. We cannot afford to overlook this.
    We ought to recognize that the heart has its delight and inclination.

    To worship and serve God is not a matter of the heart, rather is it a matter of the spirit. On the other hand, to desire after God and to love Him is not a matter of the spirit but is of the heart. The heart can love God but it cannot touch Him. It may incline towards God but it cannot commune with Him. That which may touch God and communicate with Him is the spirit. . . .

    Nevertheless, should you be a heartless person God is still unable to commune and communicate with you. Your heart is like the switch of an electric lamp. If the switch is on, the light shines; if it is off, the light disappears. If your heart is open to God it is easy for Him to commune and communicate with you. But if your heart is closed to Him it will be difficult for God to commune and communicate with you. God’s life in us is a fact, nonetheless the heart is the switch of that life. Whether His life can flow from our spirit to our conscience, mind, will or emotion depends on the heart that serves as a switch. With an opened heart His life will reach all our inward parts; with a closed one, His life will not be able to get through.

    The Heart May Block Life’s Operation

    After we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit we possess an uncreated life, even the life of God. This life is full of power, a power which is infinite and unrestricted by time and space. Yet if our heart is a problem, God’s life will be seriously blocked. Should there be any problem in our conscience the life of God will doubtless be hindered. Should there be a problem in our mind or emotion or our will, again, God’s life will be obstructed. Yes, God’s life is placed within our spirit, but it needs to flow into all our inward parts. It will be blocked if any of our inward parts presents a problem.

    It is a matter of fact that each one who by grace belongs to the Lord has God’s life in him. This is positive and undeniable. That thislife of God in us is both alive and operative is also positive and undeniable: and having God’s life in us, we should experience revelation, enlightenment, an inner voice, and an inner sensation. Even so, many of God’s children are asking why they do not have revelation, enlightenment, inner voice and sensation. Is it because God’s life is not actually in them? Or that God’s life is not living in them? The answer is of course no. It is positive and undeniable that God’s life is in us and is both alive and operative. We do not have revelation, enlightenment, inner voice and inner sensation because on our side the “heart” causes problems. Either our conscience becomes a problem due to our not dealing with what it condemns, or our mind is bewildered by cares, evil thoughts, arguments or doubts. If it is not a problem of the will such as our being headstrong or disobedient, it may be a problem of the emotion such as carnal desire or some natural inclination. A part of the heart must have become a problem or hindrance.

    The life of God is put in us, and this life will issue forth from our spirit. Yet sometimes we do not allow it to pass through. Due to an obstacle raised by our conscience, mind, will or emotion, God’s life is unable to “law” out from us. Let us always keep in mind that in expanding outwardly, the life of God must pass through the various parts of the heart. Any problem in any segment of the heart will block its operation . . . .

    Two Conditions for Life’s Operation

    The law of life seeks to move out from our spirit that it may operate through our various inward parts. Oftentimes, however, it cannot pass through, as though striking a wall. This is because we have blocked it. In order to let the life operate freely, we must fulfill two conditions.

    (1) Obey Life’s First Impulse

    One of the conditions is that we should obey life’s first impulse. It should be noted that the unregenerated has no inward feeling at all; only he who is born again possesses at least something of such an inward feeling.

    Once a Christian physician said to a preacher, “Spiritual beginning and spiritual growth come from hunger and thirst. Many people feel neither hungry nor thirsty. How can we help them to feel so?” Replied the preacher. “You are a physician. You know that there is life in man. Unless he is dead he will more or less have the desire for food. How, then, can you increase his desire for food? You give him some medicine to stimulate him until his desire for food becomes normal. In the same way, the one who has some inward feeling must learn to obey such an impulse. If you obey this little feeling your hunger and thirst will increase a little. More obedience results in stronger hunger and thirst. As your inward feeling grows stronger, you obey a little more; and as you obey still further, your inward feeling increases that much more. More obedience means more inward feeling. Thus you immediately realize you are inwardly alive.”

    This is the way life will operate in us. It turns towards the emotional part of our heart, causing us to move towards God; next it turns to the mental part of our heart, drawing us to God; and then it turns to the volitional part, motivating us towards God even more. By such cycles of turnings, our spiritual life is increased and deepened and heightened. Therefore, we need to begin by obeying the tiniest inward feeling. As soon as we sense such an impulse, we must learn to obey. . . .

    One thing very precious is the fact that if we overstep the bounds set by God or if our action does not agree with our inner life, we will immediately sense our being “forbidden of the Holy Spirit” (Acts16.6) and that “the Spirit of Jesus suffer[s] [us] not” (Acts 16.7). By obeying the inner guidance in our goings and stayings time after time, we shall make progress in life. Let us repeat: we must obey life’s first impulse—even the tiniest of feelings—since obedience is an important condition for the operation of life.

    (2) Love God

    The other condition is to love God: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12.30). The word “mind” here is dianoia in the Greek. According to God’s word, to love God is related to the operation of life. According to the experience of many saints God first sows His life in them, then He stirs the emotion of their heart by love. If we study the Gospel of John we will see that it stresses love as well as faith. It not only states that “he that believeth on the Son hath eternal life” (3.36) but also asserts that “if a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (14.23). By faith life is received; through love life is released. Faith alone will let life in; love alone will let it out.

    We must therefore allow this love to reach into our heart, making its way into the emotional, intellectual, and volitional parts of our heart. Let us lift up our heart and say: “My God, I will love You with my soul, I will love You with my understanding, I will love You with my strength.” Whoever says this truthfully will soon see that his thought is changed, his speech is changed, his conduct is changed—all within and without him is changed. And why? Because there is the “story of love” within him. Oh, what God expects of us today is that our heart may be touched by Him; that our soul, our understanding, and our strength may all be touched by Him. “But whensoever it [the heart] shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (2 Cor. 3.16). As the heart turns to the Lord, there shall comeenlightenment, inner voice and inward feeling. . . .

    When the life of God operates in us there will be two effects: one is the effect of death, the other is the effect of resurrection. The effect of death takes away the sickness, whereas the effect of resurrection restores health. The first element of the Lord’s cross is death, its second element is resurrection. We are told in Romans 6 that these two are the strongest and most effective elements of the life of Christ. Now what is the cross? It is this, that when your heart is touched by God you offer yourself into God’s hand in order that His life may operate in you. And as it operates, there is an element which puts you to death. This effect of death takes away from you all which is undesired—that which rebels against God, that which is contrary to life, and that which is contradictory to the Holy Spirit. Meanwhile, there is also a living element, which causes you to live. The effect of this life is to enable you to live out all the riches of the Godhead, and so filling you with light, joy and peace. . . .
    by Published on 12-22-2013 04:30 AM     Number of Views: 672 
    1. Categories:
    2. Dividing Spirit, Soul, Body

    The Spiritual Man, 700 pages, by Watchman Nee does something to you that no other book does, except for the Bible of course though the Bible takes longer to work in you because it is far more than 700 pages.

    Why does this happen? Because it is the foremost book ever written on the dividing of spirit, soul and body. Nobody else has even come close. Nee considered it a perfect work. I concur. Watchman Nee had the highest IQ of anyone in the history of the Church that we know of. TSM extracts from the Bible the best and most applicable material to show you how the dividing of spirit, soul and body takes place and shortens it up to get right at the heart of the matter.

    So what happens is you read say 20 to 50 pages in one sitting. You're deeply touched, but nothing major happens. Wait for later that day or the next morning. You will sense a change in you, and you can directly correlate it to appreciating what was said from what you read.

    You've just experience a taste of the dividing of your spirit, soul and body to walk by your spirit more than you did the day before.

    Now, realize, this is just a taste of what can be realized. If you were to spend 5 hours that day continuing to read and let it sink into your innerman, the change in your spirit increases exponentially in correlation to your consecration, that is, the amount of time you are willing to delve into it.

    You should not need to go to Jessie Penn-Lewis' War on the Saints unless you are contending greatly with evil supernatural spirits that are attacking you incessantly.

    After reading TSM do read The Latent Power of the Soul that belongs at the end of the TSM.

    If you do all this, you will experience such a change in your being, you will be left in awe and read the Bible like you have never read it before, because the spiritual world will have opened up to you.
    by Published on 06-09-2013 11:13 PM     Number of Views: 772 
    1. Categories:
    2. Dividing Spirit, Soul, Body

    The Dividing of Spirit and Soul

    OUR LENGTHY DISCUSSION as to the difference between spirit and soul and their respective operations has been to lead us to this present point. For a believer who strives after God the element to be apprehensive about is the inordinate activity of the soul beyond the measure set by God. The soul has been in ascendancy for such long duration that in the matter of consecration it even presumes to take upon itself the task of realizing that act to God’s satisfaction. Many Christians are unaware how drastically the cross must work so that ultimately their natural power for living may be denied. They do not know the reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit nor that His authority must extend to gathering under His control the thoughts, desires and feelings of the entire being. Without their having an inner appreciation of this, the Holy Spirit is unable to accomplish everything He wishes to do. The greatest temptation for an earnest and zealous saint is to engage his own strength in God’s service rather than to wait humbly for the Holy Spirit to will and to perform.

    The call of the cross of the Lord Jesus is to beckon us to hate our natural life, to seek opportunity to lose, not to keep, it. Our Lord wants us to sacrifice self and be yielded wholly to the working of His Spirit. If we are to experience afresh His true life in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must be willing to present to death every opinion, labor and thought of the soul life. The Lord additionally touches upon the issue of our hating or loving our self life. The soul is invariably “self-loving.” Unless from the very depth of our heart we abhor our natural life, we shall not be able to walk genuinely by the Holy Spirit. Do we not realize that the basic condition for a spiritual walk is to fear our self and its wisdom and to rely absolutely upon the Spirit?

    This war between the soul and the spirit is waged secretly but interminably within God’s children. The soul seeks to retain its authority and move independently, while the spirit strives to possess and master everything for the maintenance of God’s authority. Before the spirit achieves its ascendancy the soul has tended to take the lead in all regards. Should a believer allow self to be the master while expecting the Holy Spirit to help and to bless him in his work, he undoubtedly will fail to produce spiritual fruit. Christians cannot anticipate a walk and work pleasing to God if they have not crushed their soul life by persistently denying its authority and unconditionally laying it in the dust. Except all power, impatience, and activity of the natural life are deliberately and one by one delivered to the cross and a ceaseless vigil is maintained, it will seize every chance to revive itself. The reason for so many defeats in the spiritual realm is because this sector of the soul has not been dealt with drastically. If soul life is not stripped away through death but is allowed to mingle with the spirit, believers shall continue in defeat. If our walk does not exclusively express God’s power it shall soon be vanquished by man’s wisdom and opinion.

    Our natural life is a formidable obstacle to spiritual life. Never satisfied with God alone, it invariably adds something extra to God. Hence it is never at peace. Before the self is touched God’s children live by very changeable stimulations and sensations. That is why they exhibit a wavy up-and-down existence. Because they allow their soulical* energies to mix in with spiritual experiences their ways are often unstable. They accordingly are not qualified to lead others. Their unrelinquished soul power continually deflects them from letting the spirit be central. In the excitement of soulical* emotion the spirit suffers great loss in freedom and sensation. Joy and sorrow may imperil the believer’s self-control and set self-consciousness on a rampage. The mind, if overly active, may affect and disturb the quietness of the spirit. To admire spiritual knowledge is good, but should it exceed spiritual bounds the result shall be merely letter, not spirit. This explains why many workers, though they preach the most excellent truth, are so cold and dead. Many saints who seek a spiritual walk share a common experience—one of groanings because their soul and spirit are not at one. The thought, will and emotion of their soul often rebel against the spirit, refuse to be directed by the spirit and resort to independent actions which contradict the spirit. The life in their spirit is bound to suffer in such a situation.

    Now given a condition like this in the believer, the teaching in Hebrews 4.12 takes on paramount significance. For the Holy Spirit instructs us therein how to divide spirit and soul experientially. The dividing of these two is not a mere doctrine; it is pre-eminently a life, a must in the believer’s walk. Just what is its essential meaning? It means, first of all, that by His Word and through His indwelling Spirit God enables the Christian to differentiate in experience the operations and expressions of the spirit as distinct from those of the soul. Thus he may perceive what is of the spirit and what is of the soul.

    The dividing of these two elements denotes additionally that through willing cooperation the child of God can follow a pure spiritual path unimpeded by the soul. The Holy Spirit in Hebrews 4 sets forth the high-priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus and also explains its relationship to us. Verse 12 declares that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” And verse 13 follows by informing us that “before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” These therefore tells us how much the Lord Jesus fulfills His work as High Priest with respect to our spirit and soul. The Holy Spirit compares the believer to a sacrifice on the altar. During the Old Testament period when people presented an offering, they bound their sacrifice to the altar. The priest then came and killed it with a sharp knife, parting it into two and piercing to the division of the joints and marrow, thus exposing to view all that formerly had been hidden from human sight. Afterwards it was burned with fire as an offering to God. The Holy Spirit uses this event to illustrate the work of the Lord Jesus towards believers and the experience of the believers in the Lord. Just as the sacrifice of old was cut asunder by the priests’ knife so that the joints and marrow were exposed and divided, even so the believer today has his soul and spirit split apart by the Word of God as used by our High Priest, the Lord Jesus. This is that the soul may no longer affect the spirit nor the spirit any more be under the soul’s authority; rather, each will find its rightful place, with neither confusion nor mixture.

    As at the first the Word of God had operated on creation by separating light from darkness, so now it works within us as the Sword of the Spirit, piercing to the separation of the spirit and soul. Hence the noblest habitation of God—our spirits—is wholly separated from the base desires of our souls. Wherefore we come to appreciate how our spirit is the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit and how our soul with all its energy shall indeed do the will of God as revealed to the human spirit by the Holy Spirit. No room can there be then for any independent action.

    As the priest of old split the sacrifice, so our High Priest today divides our soul and spirit. As the priestly knife was of such sharpness that the sacrifice was cut into two, piercing to the separation of the closely knit joints and marrow, so the Word of God which the Lord Jesus currently uses is keener than any two-edged sword and is able to split cleanly apart the most intimately related spirit and soul there may be.

    The Word of God is “living” for it has living power: “active” because it knows how to work: “sharper than any two edged sword” since it can pierce into the spirit. What God’s Word has penetrated is much deeper than the soul; it reaches into the innermost spirit. God’s Word leads His people into a realm more profound than one of mere sensation; it brings them into the realm of the eternal spirit. Those who wish to be established in God must know the meaning of this penetration into the spirit. The Holy Spirit alone can teach us what is soul life and what is spirit life. Only after we learn how to differentiate experientially these two kinds of life and come to apprehend their respective values, are we delivered from a shallow, loose, sensational walk into that which is deep, firm and spiritual. Only then do we come into rest. The soul life can never furnish us rest. But please note that this must be known in experience; simply understanding in the mind will merely make us more soulish.

    We need to pay special attention to this piercing and dividing. The Word of God plunges into the soul as well as into the spirit in order to effect the division of these two. The Lord Jesus in His crucifixion had His hands and feet and side pierced. Are we willing to let the cross work in our soul and spirit? A sword pierced through Mary’s soul (Luke 2.35). Although her “Son” was given by God, she was required to let go of Him and to relinquish all her authority and demands upon Him. Even though her soul craved to cling tenaciously to Him Mary must deny her natural affection.

    The cleaving of soul and spirit means not only their separation but also a cracking open of the soul itself. Since the spirit is enveloped in the soul, it cannot be reached by the Word of life save through a cracked shell. The Word of the cross plunges in and splits open a way into and through the soul so that God’s life can reach the spirit within and liberate it from the bondage of its soulish shell. Having received the mark of the cross, the soul now can assume its proper position of subjection to the spirit. But if the soul fails to become a “thoroughfare” to the spirit, then the former surely will become the latter’s chain. These two never agree on any matter. Before the spirit achieves its rightful place of pre-eminence it is challenged persistently by the soul. While the spirit is striving to gain freedom and mastery the strong soul power exerts its utmost strength to suppress the spirit. Only after the cross has done its work on the soulish life is the spirit liberated. If we remain ignorant of the damage this discord between the spirit and soul can bring or remain unwilling to forsake the pleasure of a sensuous walk, we shall make hardly any spiritual progress. As long as the seige thrown up by the soul is not lifted the spirit cannot be freed.

    Upon carefully studying the teaching of this fragment of Scripture, we may conclude that the dividing of spirit and soul hinges upon two factors: the cross and God’s Word. Before the priest could use his knife the sacrifice had to be placed on the altar. The altar in the Old Testament speaks of the cross in the New Testament. Believers cannot expect their High Priest to wield God’s sharp Sword, His Word which pierces to the separation of soul and spirit, unless first they are willing to come to the cross and accept its death. Lying on the altar always precedes the plunging of the sword. Hence all who desire to experience the parting of soul and spirit must answer the Lord’s call to Calvary and lay themselves unreservedly on the altar, trusting their High Priest to operate with His keen Sword to the dividing asunder of their spirit and soul. For us to lie on the altar is our free-will offering well-pleasing to God; to use the sword to divide is the work of the priest. We should fulfill our part with all faithfulness, and commit the rest to our merciful and faithful High Priest. And at the appropriate time He shall lead us into a complete spiritual experience.

    We need to follow the footsteps of our Lord. As He was dying, Jesus poured out His soul to death (Is. 53.12) but committed His spirit to God (Luke 23.46). We must do now what He did before. If we truly pour out the soul life and commit our spirit to God we too shall know the power of resurrection and shall enjoy a perfect spiritual way in the glory of resurrection.
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