THE SPIRIT OF MAN
Verses 11 and 12 continue, "For who among men knows the things of man, except the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way, the things of God also no one has known except the Spirit of God. But we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things which have been graciously given to us by God." Only the spirit of man knows (not understands or apprehends) the things of man. Similarly, only the Holy Spirit knows the things of God. Both the spirit of man and the Holy Spirit know things directly, not by deduction or investigation. Therefore, they both know through the intuition, not through the mind.
Since only the Holy Spirit knows the things of God, we can only know the things of God when we receive the Holy Spirit. The spirit of the world is a spirit which does not have any fellowship with God. Even though it is still a spirit, it is dead. Hence, it cannot bring us fellowship with God.
The Holy Spirit of God knows the things of God. Therefore, when we receive in our spirit what the Holy Spirit already knows in the intuition, we also know the things of God. This is why it says, "we have received...the Spirit which is from God, that we may know the things...given to us by God."
But how do we know? Verse 11 says that we know through our spirit. This makes the matter very clear. The Holy Spirit reveals to our spirit all that He knows in His intuition, causing our spirit’s intuition to also know what He knows. Through the intuition we know the things revealed by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, whenever the Holy Spirit reveals the things of God, He reveals them in our spirit. In God’s eyes, other than man’s spirit, there is no other organ in man which can know the things of man. Hence, the Holy Spirit does not reveal the things of God to our mind because He knows that our mind is incapable of knowing the things of God. The mind is not an organ for knowing things pertaining to God and man. Although the mind can think and even design many things, it cannot say that it knows these things because only the spirit of man can know the things of man.
Here we see how highly God esteems the regenerated spirit of man. If a man is not regenerated, his spirit is still dead; thus, God has no way to reveal to him the things pertaining to God. Although he may be very intelligent, he still cannot comprehend the things of God. God’s fellowship with man and man’s worship of God require the regenerated spirit as the unique uniting ground. Without a regenerated spirit, there will always be a separation between God and man; He cannot come to our side, neither can we go to His side, because man’s intuition, apart from his mind, emotion, and will is still dead and unable to know the intention of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, man is unable to know the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The enlivening of the spirit is the first step towards fellowship between God and man.
Man has a free will. He has the full right to decide his own things. Therefore, even after a sinner has been regenerated and has become a believer, he still has many temptations. Due to ignorance or prejudice, many believers do not give a proper place to their spirit or to the intuition of the spirit. God regards the spirit as the unique place where He can have fellowship with man and as the only location where man can worship Him and communicate with Him. However, many believers only walk according to their mind or emotion. Many times they almost ignore the voice of their intuition. The principle of their conduct is to do things according to what they regard as reasonable, appealing, pleasing, and interesting. Even when they have a heart to carry out God’s will, they mainly take the instant thoughts of their heart or some logical ideas as God’s will and follow those. They do not realize that they should follow the notion expressed by their intuition through their spirit, not their own thought. Even when they are willing to listen to their intuition, they do not maintain their emotions in a calm position; they fluctuate up and down according to their emotion and confuse the voice of their intuition. Consequently, walking according to the spirit becomes an occasional event in the believers’ life and not their lasting, daily, life-long experience.
(Spiritual Man, The (3 volume set), Chapter 20, by Watchman Nee)