Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
When you read the Bible, you’ll notice that the Holy Spirit is mentioned in numerous verses. This, of course, is the divine Spirit of God. Many verses also mention the human spirit. As we saw in a previous post, our spirit, the deepest part of our being, was specially created by God with the ability to contact and receive Him.
In the post, we’ll look at three key verses in the New Testament that mention the two spirits—the Holy Spirit and the human spirit—together. We’ll also read notes in the New Testament Recovery Version to see what these verses reveal to us about our Christian experience.
1. Born of the Spirit in our spirit
John 3:6 says:
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
In this verse, the Spirit with an uppercase “S” refers to the Spirit of God, and the spirit with a lowercase “s” refers to our human spirit. Both are involved when we’re regenerated, or born again.
Note 2 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version explains what happens at our new birth:
“The first Spirit mentioned here is the divine Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, and the second spirit is the human spirit, the regenerated spirit of man. Regeneration is accomplished in the human spirit by the Holy Spirit of God with God’s life, the uncreated eternal life. Thus, to be regenerated is to have the divine, eternal life (in addition to the human, natural life) as the new source and new element of a new person.”
When we believed in Jesus, something took place inside us: our spirit was born of the Spirit! This resulted in a revolutionary change in our inward being. Because we were born again of the Spirit, the divine, eternal life is now our new source and new element of our new person.
The birth of a child is certainly a wonderful, blessed event, but it’s just the beginning of the child’s life. Daily the child needs to grow and develop until it reaches maturity.
In the same way, being born again is our first experience of the divine Spirit and our human spirit. That new birth initiated our Christian life. From that time on, we need to grow in the life of God by experiencing and living by His life in us.
2. Worshiping God in spirit
The next crucial verse on the two spirits is John 4:24, which says:
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”
Here, the two spirits are related to the worship of God. Let’s take a look at the context of this verse.
In John 4 Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a well. In verses 13-14, He told her:
“Everyone who drinks of this water shall thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall by no means thirst forever; but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life.”
The woman came to the well to draw physical water, but she was a deeply dissatisfied person: she had already had five husbands, and she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband. Jesus knew this; He also knew that she needed to drink Him as the living water. Only He could truly satisfy her and quench her inner thirst.
During the course of their conversation, the Samaritan woman brought up the matter of worship. Even though she was immoral, she had particular concepts about how and where people should worship God. She said to Jesus in verse 20:
“Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, yet You say that in Jerusalem is the place where men must worship.”
But in verse 24, Jesus said:
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truthfulness.”
What did the Lord mean here? Let’s read note 2 on this verse in the Recovery Version:
“Spirit here refers to the nature of the complete Triune God; it does not refer merely to the Lord Spirit. To worship God, who is Spirit, we must worship with our spirit, which is of the same nature as He is.”
Jesus revealed to her that God is Spirit, so we must worship Him with our spirit. The worship God wants isn’t in a certain physical place but in the realm of the spirit.
Note 3 helps us to see more concerning worshiping God the Spirit with our spirit:
“This word was given to instruct the Samaritan woman regarding her need to exercise her spirit to contact God the Spirit. To contact God the Spirit with the spirit is to drink of the living water, and to drink of the living water is to render real worship to God.”
Our spirit is both the realm where we must worship God and the way we worship Him. Our God-created spirit has the wonderful capacity to contact and receive God. So to worship God, we must use our spirit to contact God, who is Spirit. This is how we drink of Him as the living water.
Not only so, drinking the Lord as the living water is how we render true worship to God.
The real need of every human being, including believers, is to enjoy the Lord as the living water. Only He can fully satisfy us and quench all our inner thirst.
This is true for the course of our whole Christian life. Just as we physically drink water several times every day, God wants us to drink Him daily as the living water that never runs dry. We drink this living water by exercising our spirit to contact God, who is Spirit.
One of the simplest ways we can exercise our spirit is by calling upon the name of the Lord. Jesus is the name of the living and resurrected Lord, so anytime, anywhere, we can turn our heart to Him and contact Him by calling, “Oh, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus.” When we contact Him, He refreshes us, revives us, and quenches our thirst.
3. The Spirit witnessing with our spirit
Romans 8:16 says:
“The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.”
The experience of the two spirits revealed in this verse is very sweet and comforting. When we believed in the Lord Jesus, as discussed above, we were reborn with God’s divine life and became His children. God as the Spirit entered into our spirit. Since then, He as the Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. This reassures us that our salvation is real.
We can continue to experience the witnessing of the Spirit with our spirit throughout our Christian life. From this verse, we see it’s not just the Spirit alone who witnesses. Note 1 in the Recovery Version highlights the role our spirit plays:
“It is not only that the Spirit witnesses and our spirit witnesses also. Rather, it is that the Spirit witnesses with our spirit. This indicates that our spirit must take the initiative to witness first; then the Spirit will witness with our spirit.”
We don’t need to wait for the Spirit to witness first. In fact, when we take the initiative by exercising our spirit, the Spirit will then witness with our spirit. We can do this by testifying of the spiritual facts. For instance, we can declare something like this:
“Lord Jesus, You are my Savior and Lord. Thank You, I have been born of the Spirit in my spirit! I have the life of God. I am a child of God!”
As we make such a declaration, the Spirit within us witnesses with our spirit that we are indeed children of God. We have a sweet sensation that God is our dear, loving Father, that we are born of Him and have His life.
When we’re going through difficult times, we can exercise our spirit and declare something to the Lord. For example, we can declare, “Lord, You are with me in my spirit! Thank you for being with me.”
Though we may be feeling down, when we exercise our spirit this way, we’ll experience the comfort of the Spirit witnessing with our spirit that we are indeed children of God.
How is it possible for the Spirit to witness with our spirit this way? Let’s read note 2 on the phrase our spirit in Romans 8:16:
“This reveals that the Spirit of God today, the all-inclusive Spirit of the Triune God, dwells in our regenerated human spirit and works in our spirit. These two spirits are one; they live together, work together, and exist together as one mingled spirit (1 Cor. 6:17).”
When we were regenerated, the Spirit of God came to dwell in our spirit. He’s not separate from us, only living far away in the heavens. The Spirit of God is actually dwelling, living, and abiding in our regenerated spirit.
First Corinthians 6:17, referenced at the end of this note, says:
“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”
This tells us the two spirits are mingled as one. This is how the Spirit can witness with our spirit that we are children of God.
The importance of knowing these three verses
These three crucial verses show us what God desires. God doesn’t want us to know Him merely in an objective way as One who lives outside of and apart from us. Instead, the Spirit and our human spirit are intimately involved with each other.
Our Christian life begins when we’re born of the Spirit in our spirit with God’s life, and it continues as we live by His life within us. Daily we can worship God, who is Spirit, in our spirit by contacting Him and drinking Him as the living water. And because our spirit and the Spirit are mingled as one, we can be reassured and comforted by the witnessing of the Spirit with our spirit that we are beloved children of God.
It’s entirely through the Holy Spirit and our human spirit that we can subjectively experience God as our life, our true satisfaction, and our comfort. We hope you enjoyed these three important verses pointing out the two spirits, and that they will encourage you in your Christian life. If you live in Australia, you can order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version to read all the notes on the verses mentioned in this post.