THE RESIDENCE OF THE DIVINE SPIRIT
In John 3:6 we read, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” This verse speaks of two distinct spirits—one is indicated by a capitalized word, and the other is indicated by a lowercase word. The first occurrence of the word spirit refers to the Holy Spirit of God, and the second, to the human spirit of man. That which is born of the Holy Spirit is the human spirit. Another verse showing these two spirits is John 4:24: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit.” Again, the first word is capitalized, and the second is not. We must worship God, who is Spirit, in our human spirit. Romans 8:16 further confirms the existence of the two spirits: “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.” The pronoun our definitely designates the human spirit and removes any ground to doubt the reality of both the divine Spirit and the human spirit.
In Romans 8:9 and 10 we read, “The Spirit of God dwells in you...But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead..., the spirit is life.” The King James Version capitalizes spirit in verse 10, but the better translations, such as the American Standard Version, render spirit with a small letter s. Why do we point this out? It is because Christians have very little knowledge concerning man’s spirit. Much attention is given to the Holy Spirit, but the human spirit, the residence and dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, is almost entirely neglected. Romans 8:9 refers without a doubt to the Holy Spirit, but verse 10 speaks of the human spirit: “Though the body is dead..., the spirit is life.” Of course, the Holy Spirit cannot be compared with our body. The comparison must be between the human body and the human spirit, not between the human body and the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 1:9 the apostle Paul said, “For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of His Son.” The common thought is that we serve God in the Holy Spirit, but this verse declares that we serve God in our human spirit.
Bible translators have found it very difficult to decide whether the word spirit in some passages refers to the Holy Spirit or the human spirit. The reason for this difficulty is that in the believer the Holy Spirit and the human spirit are mingled together as one spirit. First Corinthians 6:17 says, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” We are one spirit with the Lord. This indicates a mingling of the Holy Spirit with our spirit. Because of such a mingling, in some Bible verses it is difficult to say whether the word spirit refers to the Holy Spirit or the human spirit. In us the two spirits are mingled as one. We may say that this mingled spirit is the Holy Spirit, and we may also say that it is the human spirit. Sometimes we make a beverage by mixing two kinds of juices—pineapple and grapefruit. After the two are mixed, it is difficult to tell what kind of juice it is. Is it pineapple, or is it grapefruit? We might refer to it as pineapple-grapefruit juice. In the New Testament it is wonderful to see that the two spirits, the Holy Spirit and our spirit, are one mingled spirit.
LOCATING THE HUMAN SPIRIT
In the first chapter we saw that God the Father is in us (Eph. 4:6), Christ is in us (2 Cor. 13:5), and the Holy Spirit is in us (Rom. 8:11). All three persons of the Triune God are in us. But where within us is the Triune God? In what part of our being? It is very clear, beyond any ground of argument, that Christ today is in our spirit. The Scriptures confirm this fact. We do not need to be vague, like many who say in a general way that the Lord is in us. The last verse of 2 Timothy definitely states that Christ is in our spirit: “The Lord be with your spirit” (4:22). In order for Christ to be in our spirit, first He must be the Spirit, then we must have a spirit, and finally these two spirits must be mingled as one spirit. If the Lord were not the Spirit, how could He be in our spirit, and how could we be one spirit with Him?
In order to locate the human spirit, we need to divide the soul from the spirit. Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and operative, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” God’s word is a sharp sword to pierce our being, to divide our soul from our spirit.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 3 that we are the temple of God. According to the Old Testament, God’s temple is portrayed as having three parts: the outer court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.
We know that God was in His temple, but in what part? He was neither in the outer court nor in the Holy Place; rather, He was in the Holy of Holies. There in the Holy of Holies the shekinah presence of God dwelt. In the outer court was the altar, which is a type of the cross, and near the altar was the laver, which typifies the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit. In the Holy Place were the table of the bread of the Presence, the lampstand, and the incense altar. In addition to all these items, in the Holy of Holies was the Ark, which typifies Christ. Therefore, Christ was in the Holy of Holies, and God’s presence, the shekinah glory of God, was there also.
The Scriptures point out that today we are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16). As tripartite beings, we too are composed of three parts—the body, the soul, and the spirit (1 Thes. 5:23). But in which part of our being does the Triune God dwell? Second Timothy 4:22 states clearly that the Lord is in our spirit. Our spirit is the very Holy of Holies. The typology of the Old Testament temple presents a very clear picture. Christ (typified by the Ark) and God’s presence were in the Holy of Holies. Today the type of the temple of God is fulfilled in us. We are of three parts: our body corresponds to the outer court, our soul to the Holy Place, and our human spirit to the Holy of Holies, which is the very residence of Christ and God’s presence. This is illustrated in the following diagram:
Hebrews 10:19 says, “Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies in the blood of Jesus.” What is the Holy of Holies for us to enter today while we are here on earth? According to the above diagram, our human spirit is the Holy of Holies, which is God’s residence, the very chamber in which God and Christ dwell. If we would find God and Christ, there is no need for us to go to heaven. God in Christ is so available, for He is in our spirit.
DIVIDING THE SOUL FROM THE HUMAN SPIRIT
For this reason we need to divide our soul from our spirit (Heb. 4:12). If we are unable to divide our soul from our spirit, we will simply be unable to contact the Lord. If the high priest had been unable to locate the Holy of Holies, his efforts to contact God would only have ended in failure. First, he had to enter the outer court, from the outer court he had to enter the Holy Place, and from the Holy Place he would finally enter the Holy of Holies. There he would meet God and see the shekinah glory of God’s presence.
We must learn to discern our spirit from our soul. The soul conceals and covers the spirit, just as the bones conceal the marrow. It is easy to see the bones, but it is difficult to see the marrow hidden within. In order to get to the marrow, we must break the bones. Sometimes the marrow has to be scraped from the bones. How our spirit sticks to our soul! Our spirit is hidden and concealed in our soul. The soul is easily recognized, but the spirit is difficult to know. We know a little about the Holy Spirit, but we do not know the human spirit. The reason for this is that the human spirit is concealed in the soul. Because of this the soul needs to be broken. Just as the bones are very strong, so our soul is very strong. We have a spirit, but our soul covers it up. God’s Word as a sharp sword must pierce our soul in order to break it away from our spirit.
Speaking of the Sabbath rest, Hebrews 4:9 and 11 say, “So then there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God...Let us therefore be diligent to enter into that rest lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.” In order to discover the meaning of the Sabbath rest, we need to look at another type in the Old Testament. After the Israelites were delivered and saved from the land of Egypt, they were brought into the wilderness with the intention that they should go on into the land of Canaan. The land of Canaan was their land of rest (Deut. 12:9), a type of the all-inclusive Christ (Col. 1:12). Christ is the good land of Canaan, and He is our rest. In order to enter into the rest, we must enter into Christ. But where is Christ today? The answer is that He is in our spirit. The Israelites who had been delivered out of Egypt, instead of going on into Canaan, wandered for many years in the wilderness. This is a type showing that after being saved, many Christians simply wander in the soul. The reason the book to the Hebrews was written is that many Hebrew Christians had been saved, but they were wandering in their soul. They would not press on from the wilderness into the good land—that is, into Christ, who dwelt in their spirit. We must not continue to wander in our soul but must press on to enter into our spirit, where Christ is our rest. Let us illustrate further by the following diagram:
In ancient times all the people of Israel had access to the outer court, but only the priests could enter the Holy Place. Furthermore, only one, the high priest, could enter into the Holy of Holies, and that only once a year (Lev. 16:3, 15-17, 34; Heb. 9:7). Moreover, of all the Israelites who were saved and brought out of Egypt into the wilderness, very few went on into the good land of Canaan (Num. 14:28-30).
Even though we might have been saved for years, we must ask ourselves whether we are presently a Christian living in the body, in the soul, or in the spirit. Are we now in Egypt, in the wilderness, or in the good land of Canaan? We need to ask the Lord and search ourselves in order to be clear where we are. Frankly, many Christians are wandering all day in the soul, that is, in the wilderness. In the morning they have smiling faces, but by afternoon they are sorrowful with long faces. Yesterday it seems they were in the heavens, but today they are down. They are wandering in the soul, the wilderness, without rest, circling in the same rut day after day. They might have been following the Lord for twenty years, but today they are still going in circles, just like the people of Israel, who wandered for thirty-eight years with no improvement and no progress. The reason for their wandering is that they are in the soul. When we are in the soul, we are in the wilderness.
This is the reason the writer of Hebrews emphasized the need to divide the soul from the spirit. The word of God must pierce us so that we may know how to press on from the soul into the good land and the Holy of Holies of our human spirit. A soulish believer is one who wanders in the wilderness of the soul, where there is no rest.
The high priest had to pass through the veil in order to enter the Holy of Holies; this indicates that the veil, which typifies the flesh (Heb. 10:20), must be rent and broken (Matt. 27:51). Furthermore, the people of Israel had to cross the Jordan River in order to enter the good land. Under the waters of the Jordan they buried twelve stones, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, and another twelve stones, representing the resurrected Israelites, were brought over into the good land (Josh. 4:1-9). The old generation of Israel was buried in the death waters of the Jordan River. All of this typifies that the natural man, the soulish life, and the old nature must be broken as the veil and buried as the old man. Then we can enter into the Holy of Holies and into the good land in order to enjoy Christ as our rest.
DISTRACTIONS FROM THE HUMAN SPIRIT
These pictures will help us to realize that God’s economy is the Triune God in our human spirit. This Triune God in the one Spirit has taken our spirit as His residence and His dwelling place (Eph. 2:22). Thus, we must learn to discern our spirit from our soul. The problem is that we Christians are full of many natural thoughts. After we have been saved, we think that we need to be good and to do good. But God in His economy intends to work Himself into us as our life and as everything to us. We must forget everything else and concentrate on the indwelling Christ in our spirit. We must not be distracted from the aim and mark of this indwelling Christ. We should forget about being good and doing good deeds. We need to drop all those good things and enter the Holy of Holies. Many Christians are busily working in the outer court. They do not know that God’s intention for them is that they would enter into the Holy of Holies, where they can contact God, be filled with God, be occupied with God, be one with God in everything, and have God as their all. We must discern our spirit and fellowship with this indwelling One. We must let Him take us over and possess us.
Another religious distraction is that after we are saved, we feel that we are weak and that we need strength and power. Consequently, we pray that the Holy Spirit will be poured upon us that we may be made strong and powerful. Although there is some ground for us to do this, the main line of God’s economy is that we follow Him not in this outward empowering but in our spirit, where the Triune God dwells. Therefore, the most vital thing is for us to know our spirit and to deny our soul. We need to reject our soul and walk according to our spirit, because the Triune God is in our spirit. This mark of God’s economy is missed by most Christians—even the seeking ones.
Again we ask, where is the Triune God today? Praise the Lord that today this wonderful One, the Triune God, is in our spirit. We have Him in our spirit. The Triune God as the wonderful, all-inclusive Spirit is in us. If we are a believer, we have the Triune God in our human spirit. Our need today is to discern our spirit from our soul. When we know the proper way to discern the spirit from the soul, we will hit the mark of contacting the Triune God.
In a radio there is a receiver, a receiving element. When we tune the radio accurately, the electric waves in the air contact that receiver. Today the Triune God is the spiritual electricity. He is the electric waves throughout the universe, and we are the “radio.” The receiver within us is our human spirit. We tune our human spirit rightly when we have a broken and contrite spirit (Psa. 34:18; 51:17; Isa. 57:15; 66:2), when we are repentant before God and open to Him. If we have such a spirit, the Triune God, who is the wonderful Spirit and who is the spiritual electricity, will immediately contact our spirit. All we need to know is how to tune the receiver, how to tune our human spirit, discerning our spirit from all other things, such as our thinking, our emotions, and our choices. When we discern our spirit from all these soulish things, we will know how to contact the divine Spirit, who is the wonderful, all-inclusive Spirit of the Triune God. Then we will know the Lord’s word as the sharp sword that pierces to divide our soul from our spirit, and we will realize how to experience, enjoy, and partake of the indwelling Christ all the time.