It is interesting to note that there are three persons of the Godhead, three parts of man’s being, three inward parts of the soul, and also three parts to the spirit. All are in three parts. The Scriptures also reveal three parts in the tabernacle, the building of God. Three is the basic figure or number. Even in Noah’s ark there are three levels. With the tabernacle the number three is used many times. For example, the width of one board is one and a half cubits. When two boards are joined as a pair, the total width is three cubits. This means that the number three is a whole unit.
Therefore, the spirit is a complete unit, composed of three parts or functions: conscience, fellowship, and intuition. The shaded area in the diagram below illustrates the parts of the spirit.
It is easy to understand the conscience. We are all familiar with this. To perceive right from wrong is one function of the conscience. To condemn or to justify is another one of its functions. It is also easy to comprehend the fellowship. The fellowship is our communion with God. Within our spirit such a function makes it possible to contact God. In a simple word, fellowship is to touch God. But it is not very easy to understand the intuition. Intuition means to have a direct sense or knowledge. There is such a direct sense in our spirit, regardless of reason, circumstances, or background. It is a sense without reason, a sense that is not “reasonable.” It is a direct sense of God and a direct knowledge from God. This function is what we call the intuition of the spirit. Thus, the spirit is known by the functions of the conscience, the fellowship, and the intuition.
But these three parts in the human spirit must be proven from the Scriptures. First of all, the conscience is found in Romans 9:1: “My conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit.” Comparing Romans 9:1 with Romans 8:16, the conscience is located in the human spirit. On one hand, the Holy Spirit witnesses with our spirit. On the other hand, our conscience bears witness in the Holy Spirit. This proves that the conscience must be a function of our spirit. In 1 Corinthians 5:3 the apostle Paul says that in his spirit he judged a sinful person. To judge means either to condemn or to justify, which are acts of the conscience. But the apostle says that in his spirit he judged. This confirms that the condemning or justifying function is in the spirit; hence, the conscience is in the spirit. Psalm 51:10 speaks of “a right spirit within me” (KJV)—that is, a spirit which is right. Knowing right from wrong is related to the conscience, so this verse also proves that the conscience is in the spirit. Psalm 34:18 refers to being “contrite in spirit.” To be contrite means we realize that we are wrong. In other words, we accuse and condemn ourselves, which is a function of the conscience. A contrite spirit shows that the conscience is related to the spirit. Deuteronomy 2:30 says, “Hardened his spirit,” which means that the conscience was hardened. To be hardened in the spirit means to be careless with the conscience. When we cast off the feeling in the conscience, we become hardened in the spirit. These verses offer the strongest ground for the fact that the function of the conscience is in the human spirit.
Let us go on to find the scriptural ground for the fellowship. First of all, John 4:24 tells us that we must worship God in our spirit. To worship God requires worship in our spirit. To worship God is to contact God and fellowship with God. This verse proves that the function of worship or of fellowship is in our spirit. In Romans 1:9 the apostle Paul says, “I serve [God] in my spirit.” To serve God is also a type of fellowship with God. So this also proves that the organ for fellowship is in our spirit. Romans 7:6 must be added: “We serve in newness of spirit.” In other words, service is essentially fellowship with the Lord in our spirit.
Let us consider Ephesians 6:18, which says, “Praying at every time in spirit.” There is no article before spirit, nor is it capitalized. It does not mean the Holy Spirit but our human spirit. To pray means to fellowship with God. To pray in spirit indicates, then, that fellowship with God is a matter in our spirit. Luke 1:47 says, “My spirit has exulted in God.” This means that the human spirit has contacted God. Once again, fellowship with God is a function in the spirit. Then Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit.” This verse is very clear, because it shows that fellowship with God must be both in our spirit and in the Spirit of God. First Corinthians 6:17 says, “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” Real fellowship means that we become one spirit with the Lord. This fellowship is in the spirit. All these verses are sufficient to prove that the function of fellowship is in our human spirit.
How about the intuition? Although it is difficult to find the scriptural ground for this function, there are some verses. First Corinthians 2:11 reveals that the spirit of man can know what the soul cannot. Our spirit can discern that which the soul cannot discern. This proves that something extra is in our spirit. Our soul can know things by reason and by circumstantial experiences, but the human spirit can discern things without these. This direct sense shows that the intuition is in our spirit. Then there is Mark 2:8, which says, “Knowing fully in His spirit.” Mark 8:12 says, “He groaned deeply in His spirit.” John 11:33 says that Jesus “was moved with indignation in His spirit.” To know, to groan, and to be indignant in our spirit come from a direct sense of discernment that is not dependent upon reason. This we call the intuition, the third function of our spirit.
Now we have the scriptural ground for these six parts: the three parts of the soul and the three parts of the spirit.
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