Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 12: The Spiritual Man (1), by Watchman Nee


We have mentioned that the spirit, soul, and body in a human being are like the holy temple, which is divided into the Holiest of all and the outer court, and that God lives in the Holiest of all. There is a veil separating the Holiest of all and the Holy Place. This veil seems to shut the glory and presence of God within the Holiest of all and shut out the Holy Place. This causes man to feel and see only the things outside the veil in the Holy Place and not understand or know the things in the Holiest of all. Other than by believing, one cannot see God’s presence in his outer life.

However, the existence of this veil was only temporary. When the time came, the Lord Jesus’ body—the reality of the veil (Heb. 10:20)—was crucified on the cross, so that the veil was split from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). Now the separation between the Holiest of all and the Holy Place has been removed. God’s purpose is not to dwell forever only in the Holiest of all. He wants to also expand His presence into the Holy Place. However, He is waiting for the work of the cross to be completed. Only through the cross can the veil be rent and the glory of God shine out from the Holiest of all.

Therefore, when the believer allows the cross to complete its work, God also causes the believer’s spirit and soul to have the experience of the Holiest of all and the Holy Place in His holy temple. If a believer submits constantly to the Holy Spirit without any argument, the fellowship between the Holiest of all and the Holy Place becomes better and more harmonious day after day. Before long, he will see a great change. It is the work of the cross that causes the real veil of the holy temple, both in heaven and on earth, to be split. In this way the cross exerts a real and solid effect on the life and experience of the believer, causing him to lose his soul-life and to not have independent acts but rather to completely wait for and rely on the spiritual life to originate, to generate, the power to live and work. It is then that there is an experience of "veil splitting" in the believer’s entire spirit and soul.

This veil was "split in two from top to bottom." This is God’s work and not man’s doing. When the work of the cross has been completed, God according to His own will splits the veil. This is not by our laboring and not by our own strength to grab and ask in order to obtain. Whenever the work of the cross is completed, the veil will be split. Therefore, let us renew our consecration to God, not love ourselves, be willing to put our soul-life to death, and let the One in the Holiest of all be our Lord in everything. If the Lord sees that the cross has done a deep enough work in us, He will surely cause the Holiest of all and the Holy Place in us to become one, just as He, by the power of God, split the veil before so that His Holy Spirit could flow out from His glorious body.

This then will cause the glory of the hidden place of the Most High to fill us abundantly in our daily, sensate life. This will cause all our living and activities in the Holy Place to be sanctified by the glory from the Holiest of all; this will cause our soul to be like the spirit, indwelt and completely governed by the Holy Spirit of God. This will cause our mind, emotion, and will to be filled by the Holy Spirit. Finally, this will cause what we previously kept in the spirit through faith, to be known now even in our soul. Moreover, it will never decrease or suffer loss. What a blessed life this is! Now "the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house" (2 Chron. 7:1-2). From now on, our own activities, although they be as good as those of the priests who served God, will lose their opportunity to act in the glory of God. Now the glory of God will be everything, and no more will we emphasize the work of the animal liveliness.

This is the other aspect of the dividing of the spirit and the soul. Concerning the aspect of the soul affecting and controlling the spirit, the work of the cross is to divide the soul from the spirit. But concerning the aspect of being filled with the Holy Spirit and letting the spirit have the authority, the work of the cross is to cause the soul to no longer be independent but be one with the spirit completely. Concerning the experience of our personal living, we should seek that the spirit and the soul become one. If we will thus let the cross and the Holy Spirit work deeply, we will then see that what the soul has lost is not even one ten thousandth of what it has gained. What has died now bears fruit; what was lost is now kept unto eternal life. If our soul-life is under the control of the spirit, we will see that our soul has an extremely great change. Formerly, because it was for ourselves and because it always wanted to act alone, our soul was, so to speak, lost before God and useless in His hands. Now our soul, although lost on the side of man, is gained on the side of God. From now on, we are those spoken of in Hebrews 10:39: "who have faith to the gaining of the soul." This is much deeper than the common saying, "the salvation of the soul." Here it specifically speaks of life. Now that the believer has learned not to act or behave by feeling or by what is seen through the eye, he can have faith to save his life to serve God and glorify God. What seemingly is lost is gained in reality. James 1 also mentions this saving: "Receive in meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (v. 21). When a branch is grafted to a tree, it receives the nature of that tree. Likewise, when the word of God is engrafted into our life, it transmits its nature to us. By this the tree is saved from being useless and is saved even to bear fruit. From the word of life we obtain the life of the word. The branch is not eliminated; rather, it has a new life as its principle of vitality. All of the soul is still here, yet now it is not the soul-life that makes the faculties of the soul living, but rather the life of the word of God. This is the true "salvation of the soul."

Our human nerves are very sensitive and easily stimulated by outside things. Outward conversations, attitudes, environments, and human relationships can easily touch us. Our mind has many thoughts, plans, and imaginations which are truly confused. Our will has many opinions and ideas and loves to do things according to its own whims. None of the faculties of our soul-life give us peace. Whether individually or collectively, the soul-life causes us to shift from time to time, change often, be disturbed, feel confused, and have no peace.

(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 12: The Spiritual Man (1), Chapter 15, by Watchman Nee)