Part 7 of 8
In this installment I’m attempting to define exactly what Paul means most often when he uses the words “the spirit,” as Paul uses it in conjunction with the believers walk. Galatians 5:16a This I say then, walk in THE SPIRIT… There’s significant truth to appreciate in this matter of “the spirit” in Paul’s epistles. We need to look more closely.
The Apostle Paul uses the term “the spirit” ninety-two times in his thirteen epistles. Sometimes this directly refers to “the Spirit” of God. Other times it refers to “the human spirit” of all men; and most other times and most importantly it refers specifically to the “combined spirit,” which is an amalgam of “the Spirit of Christ” that indwells the believer’s human spirit.
We begin to see this union of His Spirit and the believer’s spirit by verses such as these.
2 Corinthians 3:17a Now THE LORD (Jesus) IS THE SPIRIT…
1 Corinthians 6:17 But HE THAT IS JOINED UNTO THE LORD IS ONE SPIRIT.
Romans 8:16 THE SPIRIT itself beareth witness with OUR (human) SPIRIT, that we are the children of God:
All who have believed since the resurrection, possess the Godhead’s “One Spirit” (Eph 4:4) in the form of Christ’s “Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2a) within them. The “Spirit of God” and “Spirit of Christ” are one in the same; they are summed up as “Christ in you” now as “that Spirit” in you.
Romans 8:8-10 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the SPIRIT OF GOD dwell IN YOU. Now if any man have not the SPIRIT OF CHRIST, he is none of his. 10 And if CHRIST BE IN YOU, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Eph 3:16 That he would grant you… to be strengthened with might by HIS (Christ’s) SPIRIT in the inner man;
1 John 4:13 Hereby know we that WE DWELL IN HIM (Christ), AND HE IN US, because HE (Christ) HATH GIVEN US OF HIS SPIRIT.
The oldest manuscripts from which our King James Bible is derived had no punctuation or capitalization. The translators took upon their selves to try and distinguish between God’s Spirit and “the spirit of man” (e.g., Zech 12:1, Prov 20:27, Eccl 3:21, 1Cor 2:12) by the use of the capitalized and non-capitalized letter “s.” E.g., John 3:6b … that which is born of the Spirit (Christ’s Spirit) is spirit (the believer’s human spirit).
We know from John 4:24a that God’s substance “is spirit” as a table may be wooden. Paul makes clear in Eph 4:4 that God is “one spirit,” not three spirits. Christ to day is “the Lord” and He is “that Spirit.” Acts 2:36 … hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Then also Paul tells us “NOW the Lord (the risen Jesus Christ) is that Spirit” (2Cor 3:17a).
Therefore, we may conclude that “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is nothing less than the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is by the “Spirit of Christ” that we as believers may realize, experience, and experientially come to know Him within us. John says believers possess the “anointing (Spirit that is) received of Him (1John 2:27). Everyone who is born of God the Father possesses the Godhead’s Spirit by Christ within their spirit – by which they may “know.”
1 Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; THAT WE MIGHT KNOW (eido, inwardly know) the things that are (Gk., charizomai, the favor, which is) freely given to us of God.
It is by the indwelling “Spirit of Christ” that we come to know the “favor” that we have received of God in Christ. Our union with the Father is by His organic Spirit-life, which is found only in “the Son” (1John 5:11-12). The Spirit of God first came into the world via “the Son of God,” in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. He was crucified and then raised from the dead to become “the life-giving Spirit” (1Cor 15:45). The “Spirit of Christ” as He is today is the outcome of His resurrection from the dead in His glorified spirit-body (Rom 1:3). Christ comes, as the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:2) into a believing man’s human spirit the very moment that one believes (trusts) Christ as his Savior. Christ’s “Spirit of life” in the believer may then…flow out from their spirit via their soul faculties (mind, emotion and will). As we continue to rely upon Him “who is our life” (
3:4a) we are changed to give expression to His indwelling “Lord’s Spirit” of life (2Cor. 3:18). Col
The eternal Christ was processed via the steps of incarnation, human living, death of the cross, and resurrection; principally to become “… the last Adam (Christ), (who became) a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45b). First Christ was the eternal Spirit, then Son of Man, and then again “the Spirit of life.” So we see that there have been major changes in that…“NOW the Lord is that Spirit” (2Cor. 3:17).
Let’s now consider Jesus’ own words here in John 7:37-38, exactly as it appears in the KJV of the Bible.
“… If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
NOTE: The Italicized word “given” in v38 is as it properly appears in the KJV of your Bible. We note this because the word “given” does not appear in the Greek Text. What would be the significance of this? It is significant because it actually means “the Spirit of Christ” not only could not be given, but if we note the time in which this was stated – before the cross, the “Spirit of Christ” as He is today simply “was not yet” because Jesus had not yet been glorified through resurrection – He had not yet become “the Life-giving Spirit.” That is, Christ’s “Spirit of life” (Rom 8:2a) was not yet available because it did not yet exist as He now is after His resurrection. Jesus had not yet died and was not resurrected as “the life-giving spirit” (1Cor 15:45). The “Spirit” of the Godhead did not yet bear the marks of Jesus’ humanity as the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” now does since His resurrection.
The word “spirit” is derived from the Greek word “pneuma,” also translated as the breath, wind, or air. Today the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is like the air surrounding us. He is so available, to be received and taken in by “as many as receive Him” (John 1:12, 20:22). We may be able to live without food for several days, without water for about 2 days, but we cannot enjoy the benefit of His sustaining life within us without having first received Him into us and then continually enjoying Him as “the breath of life” (John 20:22).
Believers are joined to Christ’s Spirit in their spirit but they also need to gain Him in their self-souls, where all of us have been soul-sick since our human birth. We may practically enjoy the fruit of His sustaining life in our spirit by our self-soul submitting to abiding in union with Him in our spirit, continually (John 15:5); by trusting Him and walking in accord with Him, permitting Him to be the Lord (governor) of our life.
We are first children, and then we grow up to follows His inner leading, as God’s sons.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the CHILDREN of God:
Romans 8:14 For as many as are LED BY THE SPIRIT of God, they are the SONS of God.
In time, either here on earth or hereafter all the Father’s organically birthed sons will grow to express His life and nature that abides within their spirit. We are first rebirthed to be “the children of God,” and this is unshakable – we are “sealed” by “the Spirit. Only some of us go on to become the grown up “sons of God” (Rom 8:14) as they learn to be “led by” the indwelling “Spirit of God” in Christ.
These sons are the grown up children of God. Compare this to the physical; though we have been born physically – we still need to maintain the health of life by breathing, eating and drinking. Breathing is not as an event that is completed once and for all, it must be continual. Receiving Christ’s as God’s One Seed of life by our rebirth is a one time primary event; but “abiding” in spirit (John 15:1-6, Gal 5:16, 25) is our daily dependence upon Him. This is key to our daily life of rest and peace in Christ just as physical breathing is key to our health being undisturbed physically.
Christ is life generating and then also life sustaining by His inherent organic “Spirit of life” in us. John 5:26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. Jesus not only is “the life” but also the sustainer of that life. He is the life supply to man. He is as the vine tree, which supplies the life and nourishment to us as attached branches (John 15:4-5), as He flows to and through us.
The union of Christ’s “Spirit of life” in our spirit as one is “the spirit” to which Paul so frequently refers as being necessary for our daily walk. This is the co-mingled spirit that we have by Christ’s Spirit indwelling our spirit. Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in THE SPIRIT, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.