The Experience of Christ as Life for the Building Up of the Church, by Witness Lee


The third line in 1 Corinthians is the line of the spirit. Here we are referring to the human spirit and the Holy Spirit. In chapter five Paul told the Corinthians that when they came together, he would meet with them, not in his body but in his spirit. He said, "When you and my spirit have been assembled..." (v. 4). In this assembly he judged a sinful person in the name of the Lord, in the spirit, and in power by delivering such a one to Satan (v. 5).

Paul was a man who behaved in his spirit. In chapter four Paul asked them whether he should come to them with a rod or in love and in a spirit of meekness. When he came to them the first time, he came in demonstration of the Spirit by the exercise of his spirit (2:4). Chapter seven also shows that he was a man in his spirit. In this chapter he was one with the Lord to such a degree that even when he gave his own opinion, he had the Spirit of God.

To be a spiritual man does not mean that you have the Holy Spirit descending on you in a miraculous way to speak in tongues. Balaam’s donkey miraculously spoke in tongues, that is, in a human tongue, but his donkey was not spiritual (Num. 22:28-30). Paul, however, was genuinely spiritual. He said in chapter seven that he did not have the Lord’s commandment, but as one who had obtained the Lord’s mercy, he gave his opinion (v. 25). His opinion became a part of the divine revelation in the Bible. At the end of chapter seven he said, "I think that I also have the Spirit of God" (v. 40). It seems that he was not so sure that he was in the spirit. This shows that to be a spiritual person is to be very human. Many Christians think that to be spiritual one must be angelic, but that is not a spiritual man. A spiritual man is very human in the spirit.

The word spiritual is used a number of times in 1 Corinthians. Paul said in chapter two that the spiritual man discerns all things (v. 15). In chapter three he said that he could not speak to the Corinthians as to spiritual men (v. 1). In chapter nine he said that he sowed spiritual things (v. 11). In chapter ten he spoke of the spiritual food, spiritual drink, and spiritual rock (vv. 3-4). Then in chapter fourteen he spoke of those who think they are spiritual (v. 37).

In order to be spiritual, we always have to exercise our spirit. We always have to walk, behave, and have our being in our spirit. If we are going to be humble, we must be humble in the spirit. Actually, if you live and walk in the spirit, you will be humble without any consciousness of your humility. You will have the reality of being humble without having the consciousness of it. We are also told in the Bible to love one another, but our love may be a soulish love, a natural love. Such love is not the spiritual, divine love which is God Himself embodied in Christ to dwell in our spirit and to be expressed through our spirit. We must love one another in the spirit.

(The Experience of Christ as Life for the Building Up of the Church, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)