Colossians 3:11 tells us that in the new man there is no natural person, but Christ is all and in all. However, the new man begins with the new birth in our spirit (John 3:6). We need to see the development from our new birth to the one new man where Christ is all and in all.
Man is of three parts—spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23). Man’s human life is in the soul. This life in the soul is our being, our person, our self. Before being saved, man is a soul (Acts 7:14), a person, with two organs: the body as an outward organ to contact the outward, physical world, and the spirit as an inward organ to contact God and the spiritual world. When we believed in the Lord Jesus and received Him, He came into our spirit as life. Now in our spirit, we have another kind of life, the divine life of God. Formerly we had only the human life in our soul, but now we have the divine life in our spirit. As a result, our spirit has now become a person. Formerly it was only an organ because it did not have life, but now it has also become a person with a life. By being born again, you became another person. Formerly you were a soulish person with the natural, soulish, human life; but now you have the divine, eternal, uncreated life in your spirit. By being regenerated, you have been converted to be another person. Formerly, your person was the soul, but now your person is your spirit. Now you must live, not by your soul, but by your spirit. You need to realize that you have a spirit, and you also need to realize that your spirit is your person.
John 3 tells us of the new birth in our spirit—“that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (v. 6). Then 1 Peter 2:2 speaks of the newborn babes. “As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word, that by it you may grow.” First, we are reborn; second, we have to grow. This growth has to be in our spirit. For newborn ones to grow does not mean that they pick up a lot of knowledge in their minds. To grow means that the very Christ within our spirit increases. The increase of Christ in our spirit is our real growth in life.
Christ is in our spirit, but to grow we have to enjoy Him. We have to eat Christ, drink Christ, and breathe in Christ. We have to take Christ in again and again. Day by day and bit by bit Christ will be increasing within us. With some this growth may have stopped. Although you may have been born again over twenty-five years ago, the amount of Christ within you may be nearly the same as when you were first saved. You may have picked up a lot of knowledge in your soul. You may have learned all the biblical teachings and all the regulations in Christianity. You may even have learned how to sing the hymns in a marvelous way. However, you have gained all these things in your soul. Where Christ is, in your spirit, there may have been hardly any increase. You may be an old babe, that is, a person who has been a Christian for many years with very little growth in life.
Some may boast that they have been saved for many years, that they have learned all the teachings in Christianity, and that they have heard many good, famous Christian speakers, but how much of Christ have they gained? Although a young brother may have been saved only a few years, he might have gained more Christ than they have. They may have a lot of knowledge in their soul, yet they may have gained very little of Christ in their spirit. Our unique need is to gain Christ in our spirit.
(The Two Greatest Prayers of the Apostle Paul, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)