APPREHENDING THE THINGS
OF THE SPIRIT BY FAITH
The things of the Spirit are apprehended by faith. Ephesians 3:17 says, "That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith." First Timothy 1:4 speaks of "God’s dispensation which is in faith." We know that Christ is making His home in our hearts through faith. Likewise, through faith we realize that God has an economy, and without faith we cannot realize God’s economy. God’s requirement for us related to everything in the New Testament is faith. If we do not believe, we cannot apprehend anything spiritual. We know there is a God, Christ, and the Spirit through faith. By faith we know that Christ is in the heavens and also in our spirit. By faith we know that the Bible is the Word of God, and by faith we know that we have been saved, regenerated, and forgiven by God. By faith we are sanctified, transformed, renewed, and eventually glorified. By faith we also are overcomers. Everything spiritual is apprehended by faith.
Anything that is apprehended by faith is a mystery. For this reason, the present age is the age of faith and the age of mystery. Furthermore, anything that is a mystery is of grace. The things of the law are visible and physical, but whatever is of grace is invisible and mysterious. God is mysterious, and the Spirit of God is mysterious. Christ in us is mysterious, and our salvation, regeneration, justification, and sanctification are mysterious. The Body of Christ is also a mystery. It is by faith that we know that the church is not merely a gathering or a congregation but the Body of Christ, and it is by faith that we know that we are brothers. If we do not have faith, our apprehension of everything spiritual collapses. Therefore, we should not trust in our feelings concerning the divine Spirit and the human spirit. According to our feelings, there may be no divine Spirit and no human spirit. When we come to the matter of the two spirits, we must be in faith. Paul declared, "Having the same spirit of faith, according to that which is written, I believed, therefore I spoke; we also believe, therefore also we speak" (2 Cor. 4:13). Paul spoke not in the spirit of knowledge, feeling, or sensation, but in the spirit of faith.
Today God’s mysteries are known by faith. The age of mystery began at the time of the Lord’s incarnation, but when He appears again, the age of mystery will be over. All the mysteries will be completed at the trumpeting of the seventh trumpet (Rev. 10:7). Those who do not believe in Jesus today will see Him at that time. However, today everything spiritual is a mystery. The Spirit and our spirit both are mysteries. Therefore, we must exercise our God-given faith. Every Christian has something within him called faith. We cannot explain it, but we have it. The more we believe in God, Christ, and the Bible, the happier we are. The more we believe that Christ is in us and is making His home in us, the happier we are and the more living we are, but the less we believe, the deader we are. The more we believe that the divine Spirit indwells, works, moves, and operates in our spirit, the happier we are. We should not question the truth of the two spirits. We must have a complete faith and full assurance that we have a spirit and that the Spirit of God indwells us.
JOINED TO THE LORD AS ONE SPIRIT
First Corinthians 6:17 says, "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit." This is a strong word. Paul did not merely say that the Spirit mingles with our spirit or that these two spirits become one spirit. He said that we, the complete and entire person, and the Lord are one spirit. We have stressed very much that the Spirit indwells our spirit. Although this is correct, we need to see something further. First Corinthians 3:16 says that we are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us, the whole persons. We are composed of spirit, soul, and body. Since we are the temple of God, the Spirit is in our body, our soul, and our spirit. To say that the Spirit is in our spirit is correct. However, to say that the Spirit is only in our spirit and not in our body or mind is not right in every sense. The Spirit is not only in our spirit but also in our body. First Corinthians 6:13-20 speaks of the sanctification of the body. The subject of this portion of the Word is the body. In this section Paul says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (v. 19). Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible goes so far as to say that our entire being is one spirit with the Lord. Our faith has to go this far also. Whether or not we believe this, God considers it to be so. As long as one is a believer in Christ, he as a person and the Lord our Savior as a person are one spirit. Not only are our spirit and soul the temple of the Holy Spirit, but also our body is His temple. The more we believe this, the more we will experience it. If we speak negatively, our experience will be negative. If we say there is no God, then to us there will be no God, but if we say there is a God, then we will experience that there is a God. Likewise, if we say that our body is dirty, then our body will be dirty, but if we believe that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, our body will be holy. To speak indicates that we believe, and when we believe, we receive what we believe and even become what we believe. If we say we are saved, then we are saved. If we say that we are sanctified, then we are what we believe. We all have to believe that there is a divine Spirit and a human spirit, and because there are these two spirits, God and we, we and God, can be one spirit. We should go so far as to say not only that the divine Spirit is in our spirit but also that we ourselves and God are one spirit.
Because we are one spirit with the Lord, we should not condemn ourselves or others too much. We should not say that we are poor or the sisters are poor. The Lord in heaven will say we are wrong; we are not poor and the sisters are not poor. In the eyes of God, we are holy. The Corinthian believers had many problems, but at the beginning of his first Epistle to them, Paul said, "To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus" (1:2). We are sanctified. We should believe what the Bible says. If we do, we will gain what we believe.
Faith always has an object. The object of our faith is the Word of God. By faith we know that there is a God because the Bible tells us there is a God. Likewise, by faith we know that God has an economy because 1 Timothy 1:4 says so. In speaking about the divine, spiritual facts we should avoid considering our experience. It is a fact that the Spirit is in our entire being. According to our experience and exercise, however, the Spirit sometimes seems to not even be in our spirit. We must be clear about what the Bible says. To depend solely upon our experience we do not need revelation, but to believe what the Bible says requires much revelation. This is why we all have to come to the Word often. The more we come to the Word and know what is in it, the more we spontaneously believe (cf. Rom. 10:17). We all have to believe that the divine Spirit dwells in our human spirit. We also need to exercise our faith to believe that the divine Spirit is not only in our spirit but also in our whole being. Our whole being is one with the Lord. If we have such an enlarged vision, this vision will keep us sanctified, transformed, victorious, and even overcoming.
(Messages to the Trainees in Fall 1990, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)