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New Covenant View of Spirit, Soul, and Body

Teresa Of Avila's Testimony

Madam Guyon's Understanding

Watchman Nee's Revelation of Spirit, Soul and Body

My Understanding Of the New Inner Man

The New Covenant Experience

July 20, 2018

Since so many of the saints that followed Teresa of Avila by many, many years have been since so many of the saints that followed Teresa of Avila by many, many years have been profoundly influenced by her writings, it is helpful to examine something of their understanding of this connection of man's spirit, soul and body to the One that created it. Watchman Nee often quotes Madam Guyon who was profoundly effected by Teresa of Avila who lived a little before her. Watchman Nee died on June 1 , 1972 shortly after his release from 20 years in prison. It is amazing how so many of the saints of the 1500's and 1600's affected so many lives and are still affecting so many lives yet today with their testimonies. Even though these "testimonies" of intimacy with God are many it doesn't make understanding the depth of what they are saying easy to understand.

In this Study we will look at some of their teaching and some of their understanding of Spirit, soul and body! I have read all three of these persons books and all 24 books by Watchman Nee.

Watchman Nee, who was influenced by these two women, explains that the soul is half way between the body and the spirit and connects the two. The soul may be more inclined towards the body than the spirit and this is known as "carnal". It the soul is more inclined toward the spirit the person is said to be "spiritual". The spirit that has developed strength and influence may subdue the body and bring it under submission. Of course the spirit of man must function through the soul to affect the body. This arrangement puts the soul in a prime position and this is the reason the mind must be renewed.

If we have no concept of the difference between these three parts of man there will be many scriptures that will make little sense. The combination of body, soul and spirit is what identifies the character and personality of a person. Through the body man becomes "world-conscious". Through the soul man becomes "self-conscious" and through the spirit man becomes "God-conscious". We must commune with God through the spirit because God is Spirit. God, the Holy Spirit, also dwells in the spirit of man. Those who are "joined" to the Lord are one spirit with Him. Since the body came from this world it also returns to the earth. However, that which is from God returns to God. Either for eternal reward or eternal judgement. Since this body returns to this earth from which it came, God is preparing a new body, a spiritual one, that is from Him. Then we will be clothed upon from on high or from above.

While the body is the outermost part of man, the spirit is the innermost part of man. It must be the soul's function to keep the body and the spirit in their proper place and influence. From this it is apparent that the power of the soul is quite substantial. Within the soul are the (1) the will (2) the intellect (3) the emotions and these form the personality. Since it is the will of man that determines the course he will take and the intellect will determine the steps of the man, these must be surrendered to God in order to be led by the spirit of man. If the intellect holds tightly to the body and the world it will most likely reject God.

To understand what Teresa is speaking about the soul being in those "rapturous moments" in the presence of God we must understand the function of the soul in it's relationship with the spirit of man. The soul holding tightly to the spirit and out of the "control" of the body is a prerequisite for this "communion". If the soul will humble itself to lose "control" the spirit of man is free to commune with the Spirit of God. If the soul insists upon holding control over all aspects of the persons life that man is just a "living soul".

Watchman Nee continues with these comments.

1CO 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

The "body, soul and the spirit" makes up the temple of God. The Tabernacle was arranged in three parts. The Outer Court that reflects the body, the Holy Place that reflects the soul and the Most Holy Place that reflects the spirit. As in the Tabernacle, God dwells in the Most Holy Place, in the spirit of man.

The veil between the soul and the spirit was not divided until Jesus was crucified. Therefore, the Spirit that was "with the disciples" could then be "in them". The spirit of man then becomes "the Secret place of the Most High". No separate light is provided for the Holy of Holies because the Glory of God is the light of it. The Seven Spirits of God illuminate the Lampstand and provides the light for the Holy Place or this illumination is within the soul.

Those of us who are ignorant of the function and life of the spirit will be ignorant of how we may commune with God for God is Spirit. If we ignore the spirit we limit ourselves to the realms of the soul and body or to the limits of the flesh. That means that we will be a carnal person!

As Teresa explains the soul has three parts (1) the will (2) the intellect (3) the emotions with the will being the deepest part and the emotions being the shallowest part. It is the intellect that pulls these together into function.

The spirit of man also has three parts (1) Communion (2) the intuition (3) the conscience. Communion being the deepest and conscience being the shallowest. The intuition is the part that draws the others together into function. The conscience is the organ of the spirit that knows right from wrong and distinguishes by direct judgement. For example; Even if our mind excuses us and rationalizes that something is alright, the conscience will independently convict that it is wrong.

The intuition is the "sensing" instrument of the spirit. It will sense spiritual things independently from the soul or the body and does not need input from them. While we "know" in the intuition the mind merely helps us to understand what we know. The revelations of God and God teaching us is within our intuition. The gifts of the Spirit function within the intuition.

Communion is the deepest of these and is the place of true worship. While the soul may praise God because it understands something of what God has provided, and intellectually who God is, worship is beyond the soul, within itself. Paul prays for the Ephesians that God would grant them the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him. This communication of wisdom and revelation is by the Holy Spirit and within the spirit of man.

From this simple explanation we should see that each of these organs of the spirit are interrelated and function requires that each be active and accurate. In other words without communion the intuition is defective and even the conscience is impaired. However, communion without accurate intuition leaves us with no understanding of what the communion has produced. The function of intuition is "spiritual sense" while the function of communion is worship, revelation and wisdom .

The purpose of this differentiation is just to point out that we do have these three parts and each part has three organs. This confirms that the spirit is not the soul and the soul is not the body. The spirit is an independent organ that should be in union with God because it is in the spirit, through communion, that God leads us, teaches us, regenerates us and delivers us from lies and wrong concepts. It is in the spirit that God straightens us out, renews our intellect, will and emotions.

Since the soul has gained dominion within the unregenerated and the spirit is without life or power it has lost it's function within us. Then even though we are born again the soul still has dominion over us. One of the main parts of personal "restoration" has to do with rebuilding the spirit until it comes to full function. It should be obvious that this "rebuilding process" will be through communion.

It is this quiet prayer, listening prayer, soaking prayer, and infusion prayer that God does His work is us. This is exactly why ministers may plant and water but it is God Who causes the growth. The lack of communion is the reason the intuition is defective and the conscience is inactive.

We should explain why this "intellectual conversion" is a counterfeit salvation that completes no work in the spirit. The intellect may know all the doctrines about all the primary experiences but still not be regenerated in the spirit. Salvation must affect body, soul and spirit but the regeneration begins within the spirit of man. Any "salvation" that does not revitalize the spirit of man is a counterfeit salvation.

If we understand this much we will be better equipped to understand what Teresa is explaining about (1) spiritual communion (2) spiritual union (3) spiritual betrothal (4) spiritual marriage. While at this point in our experience we are all far from the reality of these, it is interesting to at least note that there are such experiences.

Teresa explains that in the "castle of the soul" there are 7 rooms with the 7th being the room in which God dwells. That is a private, secret place that others cannot visit. In explaining these other 6 rooms it is difficult for her to explain and more difficult for us to understand. While she refers to these "rooms" as being in the soul I think it would be clearer if we saw that at least some of these intimacies are within the spirit of man. However, the distinction is rather mute because we have not experienced them so how would we know. Still, since the realms seems to be "in communion" it could be and probably should be in the spirit of man.

It probably is not important for us to examine every aspect of these "rooms" but just enough to know that something so sublime exists and is available. These "rooms" are she says in the interior part of the soul. This would indicate that access is not by the intellect or through the emotions but within the will of man. Since we cannot initiate this intimacy when we choose it is not within that part of man's will. Therefore, it must be by the total surrender of our will to the will of God or we could relate it to the Tabernacle by saying through complete Consecration Offering.

Since "consecration" is the "sacrifice" that opens up the Holy Place life and ministry, which relates to the soul, we can understand the part the will plays in this intimacy. Then if we understand that "communion" is a function of the spirit, we would conclude that the soul must be joined to the spirit. In other words the soul firmly attached to the body would not be in position to enter into this intimacy.

Then what is the advantage of this intimacy in it's primary function? First, she says, there is a inner joy that is so great and so different that nothing the devil or the world can possibly offer can compare. We can distinguish between what the devil or the world gives because they are opposite and external. True joy, peace and passion can only come from God who IS these things.

Praise and worship may rise up out of either of these 3 parts of the soul once there is genuine revelation of Who He is. Even the exterior part of the soul, the emotions, may praise and worship God in truth and that probably is the way it is with the majority. Fewer will worship God out of the interior most part of the soul, the will. That means out of a will fully surrendered to God in total Consecration. Worshiping God out of the inner most part of the soul by revelation of Who He is, is most likely the highest worship attainable in the soul.

True worship and true praise are contagious and will spread to others because it will "awaken praise and worship" in them. However, each person must have their own personal revelation of Christ in order to initiate high praise and profound worship. This kind of praise and worship is not transferable but it will awaken worship in others. This is the role of "worship leaders". True worship must turn a person from himself to God as the object of his worship.

While this is true in corporate meetings, when we are alone we must initiate our own praise and worship and that only comes after we have some revelation of Who He is, personally.

It is in this intimacy with God that He communicate Himself to us, in the inner man. Either in the soul or in the spirit. Both are great advantage to us but "communion" still must be in the spirit by the Holy Spirit simply because God is Spirit. He is not soul but He communicates to our soul through our spirit. When God communicates Himself to us in this intimacy Teresa calls this "infusion". It is by "beholding Him that we are transformed into the same image". Beholding Him must obviously be in the spirit, since He is Spirit. Trying to behold Him in the soul is the source of frustration. Trying to "know Him" after the flesh is impossible.

Now she explains a realm that we know nothing of and will seem strange to most. She speaks of the great pain and suffering that we experience in this intimacy. This is not a pain in the flesh that we are accustomed to but a pain in the soul. This is different kind of pain that is the result of seeing our sins, failures, unrighteousness, ugliness, uncleanness and unholiness revealed by His Holiness and glory. Things that seemed so small and insignificant before now loom up as sufficient to drive us from His presence . We also suffer because we are aware of our ungratefulness and lack of appreciation for what He has done for us. The enlightened soul will weep over it's disrespect and foolishness in the light of His great majesty, holiness and glory. It is then that the fear of hell is nothing compared to the fear of offending Him.

While we are "in Him' and He is "in us" there should be great fear of offending Him in any way. This 'unity' does not foster "old buddy familiarity". When John saw Him he fell like a dead man and that same revelation today has the same result. John's familiarity with Jesus didn't lessen the shock of seeing the resurrected Lord.

Always walking in truth, love and righteousness glorifies God for that is what He is and reflects His attributes. The world is based in lies and for that reason it cannot endure. All the attributes of God are eternal.


1 PET 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, [7] casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

The "self-knowledge" that is exposed in intimacy promotes humility. "Lord search me and reveal my heart" promotes humility as the Lord exposes what is really there.

GAL 6:2] Bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. [3] For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. [4] But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. [5] For each one shall bear his own load.

It is only those who have a profound desire to do the will of God, will the will of God be revealed. It is to those that God reveals His will and then gives the ability and the knowledge to do His will.

The more God shows us His majesty, grandeur, holiness, righteousness and glory the more devastated and sorrowful we become because we see how far we are from what He, Himself, is.

It is the Word of God in us that has a manifestation called "good deeds" or "righteous acts".

REV 19:7] "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb

has come and His bride has made herself ready." [8] And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

The bride is clothed with righteous acts. The Word must have worked His righteousness in her, inspirationally, before it has the effect of "righteous deeds" in her.

The closer we walk with God the more careful we will walk because of our fear of offending Him increases with the revelation of Him. When we are aware of His great majesty we are aware of how little we can do to serve such a great King and Lord. This limitation produces a great cross in our life because we desire to honor Him but we are so helpless to do so.

She speaks of this place of being "planted by streams of living water" and becoming so dependent upon that stream for bearing fruit. The living water that flows from within must become one with the living water that flows from without, increasing the combined flow. The more souls that are contributing to the river, the deeper the river becomes as it flows from the throne of God.

This union and communion of the soul with God in Christ is "prayer" even if no words are exchanged. In a more profound "union with God" we are no longer conscious of ourselves or our needs. In union we employ all that we are and all that we have to honor Him and bring pleasure to Him and to bring glory to Him. Our motive is to meet His need and we are not aware of ours.

MATH 6:33] "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. [34] "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.

We could translate this freely as ; If we focus upon what is His and His desire, He will look after our needs. If you look after His, He will look after yours. Another aspect of "seeking the Kingdom" is to seek to bring honor to The King and to bring glory and praise to Him.

There should be just as much desire to have the will of God done "IN US" as there is for the will of God to be done "BY US". The "by us" would not be difficult if we had experienced the "in us". The reason is if we focus upon the "doing the will of God by us" the source of the ability may just come from us. If we focus upon "the will of God in us" then the ability can be from the divine source within.

Since the Living Word of God is within us He is not there just as a truth to be learned but as a life to be lived. The word of God is not just a truth but is a living experience. It is this Living Word of God that speaks within us. We must "hear" in the spirit and interpret the voice within the soul to understand what He spoke. Otherwise we may know He spoke but we don't know what He said.

Now suppose the Word of God said to you " I will never leave you or forsake you". What impact would that have in your life? If we believe that word is a "living experience" we can then rest in that truth as a personal fact. We wouldn't ever have to worry about ever being alone again. We can forget about being alone because we are living in the reality of God's Word to us. This Word then becomes the source of our inner joy, confidence and rest. Our confidence is that God is with us, beside us, and knows all our circumstances.

If this is our experience and has become a personal fact of life then we can relax and spend our time praising God and seeking His honor, glory and satisfaction. We are in effect "making an offering of our concerns for ourselves". That offering is another kind of worship.

We could say that this "knowledge" is not a matter of intellect but is an inner knowledge [revelation] deep within the spirit of man. One error that is common is that once a person receives a word from God like "I will never leave you" he may think that is God's responsibility to stay close to the person rather than the person staying close to Him. However, if we have the confidence that God is always near, even beside us or within us, we may respond to Him more naturally and without anxiety.

This sounds right and comfortable to our mind. But is this Scriptural? It may be "spiritual" but is it accurate. How does the soul function today? How does the spirit function today? How does the body function today?

These explanations seem logical and to come from the scriptures.

It is certainly true that deeper intimacy comes to us in the spirit by the Holy Spirit and because God is Spirit. Over the last many years the saints have tried to separate these three parts of man.

Paul speaks about being "soulish." He also speaks of being spiritual. He asks that God sanctify the believers in spirit, soul and body. Paul recognized that man has three parts that need sanctified or set apart for God. Only once in scripture are spirit, soul and body combined and need to be sanctified. This is the olny place in the Bible that these three elements are combined and to be sanctified by God.

1Thes_5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

All this part is true. It is true in the outward man who is not converted to live as Christian. But a Christian is a new species of person and nothing like an unconverted person.

1Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.

This is the only place in Scriptures where this miracle of being born by the Spirit of Christ or the Living and Abiding Word of God is mentioned.

This birth is essential to be Christian. This birth produces a New Inner Man who is Christian and who is created to serve God. Maybe this New Inner Man has a spirit and a soul and he lives in the old body but the scriptures do not mention that as a Christian fact!

Rom_7:22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man

2Cor_4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

Eph_3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man;

Paul uses the term Strengthen with the Power of His Spirit in the Inner Man as being normal. He also uses the phrase "I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man."

Paul also says that "our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day."

This "Inner Man" is what is Born Of God and that makes the inner man unique and becoming Christian.

Paul says the "Outer Man" is decaying yet the Inner Man is being renewed day by day. The "outer man" is probably the body but there may be other parts of the "outer man" that are involved. Does the Christian retain the old soul and the old spirit or do he get new inner parts. The Bible does not tell us that!

Both Watchman Nee and Teresa of Avila seem to use the Old body, the Old soul and the Old spirit in their books. Madam Guyon also seemed to use these "old" elements in her books. I found no mention of a New Inner Man in their books but Watchman Nee mentions an inner man in his books.

Since I saw that God births a New Inner Man and makes HIM Christian, by the Living and Abiding Word of God, I have lost interest in Watchman Nee's book and thoughts on the Spirit, soul and body. I agree that spirit, soul and body are scriptural terms and that God needs to sanctify them or to set them apart for Himself. But I believe that God BEGINS (creates) everything NEW. ( I could be wrong. Why?)

We seem to have Old parts that affect our Christian Life that we must overcome to become Spiritual! Particularly the Soul and the Body. The Tabernacle of Moses, which is a copy of the Tabernacle of God, seems to stress that fact. The Outer Court Seven Foundations ( experiences) points to growth in the Soul and in the Spirit up to the Measure of the Stature of Spirit of Christ. This Growth in the Tabernacle of God seems to point to the growth of the New Inner Man up to the Measure of the Stature of Christ.

Jesus was born of Mary but was conceived by the Living and the Abiding Word of God in the womb of Mary. He was Born as the Son of Man but was conceived as the Son of God.

We all were born of a woman but we were BORN AGAIN by the Living and Abiding Word of God. We were born as Baby Christians and we were told to grow up into Christ.

We were not told to Grow Up in our soul or of our spirit but that is applied in the New Testament. It seems to me that the New Inner Man must have a Soul and a Spirit just to be a New Inner Man. Whether that is the old soul and the old spirit is not identified.

If the New Inner Man is birthed as a Baby Christian we may be able to understand the opposition to God that He experiences. But as he grows up into Christ he overcomes those circumstances with the flesh and carnality that we all are confronted with.

There is no reference to a New soul or a New spirit in the Scriptures of the New Testament. There are references to the New Spirit in the Old Covenant that is speaking of the New

Covenant experience!

Eze_11:19 "And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within

them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,

Eze_36:26 "Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

This speaks of the Salvation Experiences of the New Covenant. He puts a New Spirit within us when He baptizes us into the Holy Spirit.

If a New Heart speaks of a New Soul, then He puts a New Soul into us at conversion into the New Covenant experience. Of course that is just speculation but a New Heart meets the requirements of a New Soul.