Lesson 9 – The Holy Spirit with Our Human Spirit
THE MEANING OF THE WORD SPIRIT IN THE BIBLE — SPIRIT, WIND AND BREATH
From my youth I have loved the Bible, and I have studied it for years. I have found that we can study the Bible in two ways. One way is to study it according to the letter and another way is to study it in the Spirit. Paul said, “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). We want to know the Lord’s word, not just by the letter but by the Spirit. The unique writer of the Bible is the Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Sam. 23:2). Throughout the years we have released many messages on the Spirit as the consummation of the Triune God. But we have the burden once again to see the Christian life from its very foundation, and the foundation of the Christian life is the Spirit with our spirit.
The subject of this message is not “The Spirit and Our Spirit” but “The Spirit with Our Spirit.” We do not use the conjunction and but the preposition with. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit.” With is a preposition, and it is instrumental. If we say the Spirit and our spirit, this is a compound subject. Our spirit is not the subject and should not be the subject. Our spirit is the helper. If I do things with you, you are not the subject but the instrument. You are my helper. Our spirit is not the subject. The subject must be the Spirit.
In Ezekiel 37 the Hebrew word ruach is used to refer to the Spirit (v. 1), breath (v. 5), and wind (v. 9). The way in which ruach is translated depends on the context of the sentence or paragraph.
In the New Testament, the Greek word pneuma may be translated also as Spirit (John 3:5-6), breath (Rev. 11:11), or wind (John 3:8). We know that pneuma is the wind in John 3:8 because “the wind blows.” Revelation 11:11 also uses pneuma when speaking of the resurrection of the two martyred witnesses. It says “the breath [pneuma] of life out of God entered into them.” Some translate this as “the Spirit of life.” Second Thessalonians 2:8 says that the Lord will slay Antichrist, the lawless one, “by the breath of His mouth.” The word breath here is also the Greek word pneuma.
THE HOLY SPIRIT (IN THE OLD TESTAMENT)
Every story in the Old Testament is related to God. The first story is concerning God’s creation of the heavens and the earth, with millions of items, and His creation of man. In this story the Spirit of God is mentioned. Genesis 1:1 says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then the following verse says, “The Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters” (Heb.). Thus, we see that the Spirit was the Spirit of God in God’s creation of the universe. In creation God’s name according to the Hebrew was Elohim, the mighty One and the faithful One.
After His creation, God began to work on man. In God’s work on man, His name is Jehovah. The Spirit of Jehovah is in God’s reaching of men and in His care for men (Judg. 3:10; 6:34; Gen. 6:3a). The title Jehovah literally means “He that is who He is; therefore, the eternal I Am.” As Jehovah, He is the One who was in the past, who is in the present, and who is to come in the future (Rev. 1:4). Jehovah simply means to be. God was, God is, and God shall be forever. He is the great I Am.
God told Moses that His name was “I Am That I Am” (Exo. 3:14). This means, “I am always the thing which should be.” If there is a need of light, He is the light. If there is a need of life, He is the life. He is everything. The Lord Jesus Himself told us that His name is “I Am” (John 8:58). The name I Am means that the very One who works on man is everything to man. He takes care of man and He comes upon man. This is Jehovah in His reaching of man and in His care for man.
THE HOLY SPIRIT (IN THE NEW TESTAMENT)
The first divine title used for the Spirit in the New Testament is the Holy Spirit. According to the Greek text, the title translated as the Holy Spirit may be in two forms: the Spirit the Holy or the Holy Spirit. According to my understanding, this means that in the New Testament age, the very God who is the Spirit is “the Holy.” God is a Spirit and this Spirit now is totally “the Holy.” We are now in an age in which God Himself as the Spirit is “the Holy” to make man not only separated unto Him but also one with Him. In the Old Testament, the most God could do with man was to make man separated unto Him but not one with Him. But now in the New Testament age, the time has come in which God would go further and deeper to make man absolutely one with Him, to make man Him and to make Him man. Athanasius, who was one of the church fathers, said concerning Christ: “He was made man that we might be made God.” This means that we are made God in life and in nature, but not in the Godhead. This process takes place by the Spirit the Holy.
In the New Testament, two divine titles of the Spirit are very striking: the first one and the last one. The first one is the Spirit the Holy and the last one is the seven Spirits (Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:6). The Spirit the Holy is for making man God, making man one with God and making God one with man. In other words, the New Testament age is for bringing God and man together, to constitute them together so that they coinhere (mutually indwell each other) to be one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Man and God become one spirit, one entity. Eventually, the Spirit the Holy has to be seven times intensified to become the seven eyes of the Lamb. All the living creatures were made by God with two eyes, but eventually the Lamb will have seven eyes, and these seven eyes are the seven Spirits of God, the sevenfold-intensified Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH OUR HUMAN SPIRIT
From the beginning, Christ was God, and God is Spirit. Then God as Spirit became a man to die on the cross to bear our sins and accomplish redemption. After this, He was resurrected, and in and by resurrection He became the life-giving Spirit. What then is the difference between the Spirit that was from the beginning and the life-giving Spirit? Are they two Spirits or one? We may illustrate the answer in the following way. Originally, I may have a cup of plain water, but if I gradually pour some juice into it, followed by some milk, tea, honey, and a little salt, eventually I will have a wonderful drink. It is still the water I had originally, but now there is a difference. At first it was purely, plainly, and uniquely water. Now it is still water but with certain elements added to it. Christ as Spirit in eternity was the “plain water,” but the life-giving Spirit has further elements added to Him, including incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
The life-giving Spirit is still the original Spirit, but many wonderful elements have been added to Him. Without crucifixion, redemption, resurrection, and ascension the original Spirit could not come into man. It was not until Christ accomplished redemption, passing through incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension that He came into man. How wonderful this is! Now Christ as God is the all-inclusive Spirit with redemption, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension.
We must see that our fellowship with God is the fellowship between two spirits, that is, the mutual fellowship between the human spirit and the divine Spirit. God Himself is Spirit, and we have a spirit in the depths of our being. When these two spirits commune with each other, there is fellowship. Thus, the meaning of fellowship is that we use our spirit to fellowship with God, who is Spirit. If we cannot see this point, it will be difficult for us to practice fellowship with God.
In the beginning when God created all things, He created man with a spirit so that man would have an organ within to contact God, who is Spirit. God created the cattle, the sheep, the birds in the air, and the fish in the sea, but He did not give any of them a spirit because He did not intend for them to contact and receive Him. But when God created man, He wanted man to be a vessel so that He could enter into man. God wanted to be in man just as water is in a cup. In order for God to be in man, man must receive Him. In order for man to receive Him, man must have an organ; otherwise, it would be impossible for man to receive God even if he were willing. Therefore, when God created man, He formed a spirit within man as an organ for man to receive Him. This can be compared to God making man with a stomach because He wanted man to receive food. With a stomach, man can receive food. The stomach receives food, and the body receives the nutrients from the food. In this way the food also becomes the constituents of the body. In the same way, since God wanted man to receive Him as the constituents of his life, He created man with an organ, and this organ is the spirit. Just as the stomach within man is for receiving food, the spirit within man is for receiving God. Just as man needs to use his stomach to receive food, man also needs to use his spirit to receive God.