Life-Study of 1 Corinthians

Life-Study of 1 Corinthiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0959-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 21 of 69 Section 1 of 2

LIFE-STUDY OF FIRST CORINTHIANS

MESSAGE TWENTY-ONE

THE SPIRIT OF MAN
KNOWING THE THINGS OF MAN
AND
THE SPIRIT OF GOD
KNOWING THE THINGS OF GOD

(3)

Scripture Reading: 1 Cor. 2:1-16

In 2:11 Paul says, “For who among men knows the things of man, except the spirit of man which is in him? So also the things of God no one has known except the Spirit of God.” By this verse we see that the spirit of man knows the things of man, and the Spirit of God knows the things of God. The spirit of man is the deepest part of his being. It is the faculty that can penetrate the innermost region of the things of man, whereas the mind of man is capable only of knowing superficial things. So also, only the Spirit of God can know the things of God.

USING THE RIGHT ORGAN

In order to substantiate something we need to use the proper organ. For example, we substantiate sounds by the sense of hearing. But suppose someone is speaking and you exercise your sense of smell instead of your sense of hearing. In such a case you will not realize anything and may come to the conclusion that nothing is taking place. Actually, someone is speaking, but you are using the wrong organ to substantiate what he is saying.

An argument between a husband and wife can also illustrate the mistake of using the wrong organ. A brother may be very unhappy with his wife and offended in his emotion by her attitude toward him. But if he turns from his emotion to his spirit through the exercise of his will, his feeling will change. Instead of condemning his wife and being offended with her, he will understand her in an altogether different way. From these examples we see that it matters very much that we use the proper organs in dealing with various matters.

THE SPIRIT AND THE EXPERIENCE OF CHRIST

It is especially important that we use the proper organ— the human spirit—to know spiritual things. However, concerning the experience of Christ and the church, most Christians have been taught to know Christ and the church by the exercise of the mind and with traditional teachings as the basis. Some denominations even conduct seminars in which people are trained to use their mentality to solve problems among Christians. Furthermore, that training is based not on the pure Word of God, but on tradition. Thus, instead of using the spirit, the majority of Christians use their natural mind to understand, analyze, visualize, and philosophize. Furthermore, the basis for this mental activity is tradition, not the Bible.

This practice has caused many believers to make serious mistakes in their understanding of the experience of Christ. For example, one well-known Christian teacher has said in writing that Christ does not actually dwell in us, but is only in the heavens and is represented in us by the Holy Spirit. This is a clear case of exercising the mind according to traditional doctrine and theology to understand the experience of Christ. According to the Bible, Christ is both in the heavens and in the believers. In John 14:17 the Lord Jesus says concerning the Spirit of reality, “You know Him, because He abides with you and shall be in you.” Here the Lord says explicitly that the Spirit of reality will be in us. When we compare verses 17 and 18, we see that the very He who is the Spirit of reality in verse 17 becomes the very I who is the Lord Himself in verse 18. In verse 18 the Lord goes on to say, “I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you.” This surely does not refer to Christ’s second coming. If it did refer to Christ’s second coming, then all the Christians from the first century until now would have been orphans.

In verse 19 the Lord declares, “Yet a little while and the world beholds Me no longer, but you behold Me; because I live, you shall live also.” The words “a little while” certainly do not refer to the nineteen hundred years that have gone by since the Lord’s first coming. By this expression the Lord did not mean a period of years or even weeks. The Lord was indicating here that He was about to be crucified and buried. For this reason, the world would see Him no longer. However, just three days later, on the day of His resurrection, His disciples would behold Him. First the Lord was seen by Mary in the morning and then by a group of His disciples in the evening. Thus, it was after a little while that they beheld Him, although the world beheld Him no longer.

At the end of verse 19 the Lord Jesus says, “Because I live, you shall live also.” This indicates that He will live in us and cause us to live by Him. Hence, the Lord seems to be saying, “I will come into you and live in you and cause you to live by Me.” This began to take place on the night of His resurrection. John 20:19 says, “When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, Peace be to you.” According to John 20:22, “He breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.” By breathing the Spirit into the disciples, the Lord imparted Himself as life and everything into them. In this way, all that He had spoken in chapters fourteen through sixteen could be fulfilled. After the Lord breathed the Holy Spirit into the disciples, He disappeared from their sight. But from that time onward the resurrected Christ began to live within them and to cause them to live by Him.

In John 14:20 the Lord says, “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” This day is the day of the Lord’s resurrection. Here the Lord does not say, “In that day you will know that I am in the heavens and that you are on earth.” Nevertheless, this is the traditional teaching held by many Christians. The Lord says definitely, “You shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” The Lord says nothing here concerning being represented in them by the Holy Spirit. He says clearly, “I in you.”

Based upon the revelation in chapter fourteen of John, the Lord Jesus says in John 15:4, “Abide in Me and I in you.” In verse 5 He continues, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Here the Lord speaks not simply of being in us, but of abiding in us as we abide in Him. To abide means to stay, to remain. Christ abides in us; He remains in us. This is not representation, but the abiding in us of Christ Himself.


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