As a believer in Christ, do you sometimes feel as if Christ is far away from you? You love Him as your wonderful Savior, and you appreciate all He’s done for you. But does it seem as if your relationship with Him is objective rather than intimately personal? Do you wonder how you can have a closer relationship with the Lord?
To answer this question, we first need to see the nature of our relationship with the Lord Jesus. When we repented of our sins and believed in Jesus as our Savior, something remarkable took place in us that made our relationship with Christ profoundly personal and subjective. And it had everything to do with our human spirit and the divine Spirit being united together. As we’ll see, this union between us and the Lord is what makes Christ real, near, and available to us all the time.
Since this is such a great matter in the Bible, we can only discuss it briefly in this post. We’ll read crucial verses and insightful notes in the New Testament Recovery Version to help us see our union with the Lord and its significance for our Christian life.
The human spirit
According to the Bible, God created us with a spirit, a soul, and a body. Our body is the outermost part of our being, and our soul is within our body. Our spirit is the innermost part of our being, even deeper than our soul.
Zechariah 12:1 is a remarkable verse:
“Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him.”
The Word of God ranks the spirit of man with the creation of the heavens and the earth, showing us how meaningful it is in God’s eyes.
So why is our human spirit so important?
This God-created organ is endowed with abilities unique to human beings. It can contact God, who, according to John 4:24, is Spirit. It can receive God, which is how God can come into us when we’re regenerated. And it can contain God so that God can live in us. This is why our human spirit is so important. With our spirit, we can know and experience God inwardly and subjectively.
But until we were saved, our spirit was in a deadened state, a consequence of Adam’s disobedience in the garden of Eden. Through Adam, the entire human race became fallen, utterly sinful, and separated from God.
Yet God didn’t give up on His plan. Instead, He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world to die for fallen sinners. Jesus Christ accomplished a wonderful redemption through His death on the cross so that all who believe in Him can be saved from eternal judgment and be brought back to God.
The life-giving Spirit
Of course, Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t the end, in the same way that being redeemed isn’t the end of our relationship with Him. On the third day, He resurrected from the dead. And in His resurrection, something momentous occurred.
First Corinthians 15:45 says:
“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul’; the last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving Spirit.”
In His resurrection, Christ became a life-giving Spirit. Note 1 on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version sheds light on what this means for us. Let’s read the first part:
“Through creation Adam became a living soul with a soulish body. Through resurrection Christ became a life-giving Spirit with a spiritual body. Adam as a living soul is natural; Christ as a life-giving Spirit is resurrected. First, in incarnation He became flesh for redemption (John 1:14, 29); then, in resurrection He became a life-giving Spirit for the imparting of life (John 10:10b). Through incarnation He had a soulish body, as Adam had; through resurrection He has a spiritual body. His soulish body has become a spiritual one through resurrection.”
We fallen human beings have a twofold need: we need to be redeemed, and we need to obtain divine life, as God planned for us. As the note explains, in incarnation, Christ took the monumental step of becoming a man of flesh and blood in order to redeem us. Then in resurrection, Christ took another step and became a life-giving Spirit in order to impart life to us.
Now let’s read the second part of this note to see what happened when we believed in Christ:
“Now He [Christ] is a life-giving Spirit in resurrection, with a spiritual body, ready to be received by His believers. When we believe into Him, He enters our spirit, and we are joined to Him as the life-giving Spirit. Hence, we become one spirit with Him (6:17). Our spirit is made alive and is resurrected with Him. Eventually, our present soulish body will become a spiritual body in resurrection, just like His (vv. 52-54; Phil. 3:21).”
Before His death and resurrection, Christ could only be among and with His followers. He couldn’t be in them. But as the life-giving Spirit, He can enter into all who repent and believe in Him. Specifically, when we were saved, He entered into our human spirit, the part of our being that can receive Him.
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Joined to the Lord
Let’s read this statement from the note again:
“When we believe into Him, He enters our spirit, and we are joined to Him as the life-giving Spirit. Hence, we become one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).”
The verse reference for this statement is 1 Corinthians 6:17, which says:
“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.”
Let’s take a closer look at the words joined and one spirit.
First, what does it mean to be joined to the Lord? Note 1 in the New Testament Recovery Version explains:
“This refers to the believers’ organic union with the Lord through believing into Him (John 3:15-16). This union is illustrated by that of the branches with the vine (John 15:4-5). It is a matter not only of life but in life (the divine life). Such a union with the resurrected Lord can only be in our spirit.”
The word organic refers to living things, things related to life. Here the note points out that our union with the Lord is organic because it’s in and of the divine life. Our organic union with the Lord is illustrated by branches with the vine. Branches, of course, aren’t joined to a vine with glue or nails; that wouldn’t be organic. Instead, the branches and the vine are one with each other by sharing the same life.
In John 15, the Lord Jesus said that He is the vine and we, His believers, are the branches. When we believed in the Lord, we were joined to Him in the divine life. Now, we share that life in an organic union with the Lord.
This union with the Lord can only be in our spirit, since it’s the result of the Spirit coming into our spirit. By believing in Christ, we’re joined to Him in the deepest part of our being. This is the nature of our relationship with Him.
One spirit with the Lord
Now, what does one spirit mean? Note 2 on this phrase in 1 Corinthians 6:17 explains:
“This indicates the mingling of the Lord as the Spirit with our spirit. Our spirit has been regenerated by the Spirit of God (John 3:6), who is now in us (v. 19) and is one with our spirit (Rom. 8:16). This is the realization of the Lord, who became the life-giving Spirit through resurrection (15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17) and who is now with our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22). This mingled spirit is often referred to in Paul’s Epistles, e.g., in Rom. 8:4-6.”
Once we receive Him, we and the Lord are no longer separate, but one spirit. This is the result of the Lord as the Spirit being mingled with our spirit.
To illustrate this mingling, we can use the example of hot water and a tea bag. They’re two separate things, but when they come together, a mingling takes place. The water and the tea bag are mingled together to produce tea.
Similarly, when we believed in Jesus Christ, His Spirit and our spirit were mingled together, resulting in one spirit. We’re no longer two separate entities, but we’re joined to Him as one.
Our Christian life
Knowing that the Lord as the Spirit and our human spirit are mingled as one is crucial for us to live the Christian life. God wants us to live in this union with Him.
Note 2 on 1 Corinthians 6:17, which we just read, references Romans 8:4-6. Romans 8:4 says:
“That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the spirit.”
Let’s read note 3 on spirit:
“It is difficult to discern the word spirit used in this chapter, in Gal. 5, and in other places in the New Testament, unless it is clearly designated to denote God’s Holy Spirit or our regenerated human spirit, as in v. 9 and v. 16 of this chapter. According to the usage in the New Testament, the word spirit, as used in this verse, denotes our regenerated human spirit indwelt by and mingled with the Spirit, who is the consummation of the Triune God (v. 9). This corresponds with 1 Cor. 6:17, ‘He who is joined to the Lord [who is the Spirit—2 Cor. 3:17; 1 Cor. 15:45] is one spirit’—one mingled spirit.”
In this verse, we see our mingled spirit, our regenerated spirit indwelt by the Spirit. Here, the apostle Paul says that we are to walk, that is, to live, do, say things, and conduct ourselves according to the spirit, referring to our mingled spirit.
We should live our Christian life in oneness with the Lord by walking according to our mingled spirit. Since this is the case, our mingled spirit should be the focal point of our relationship with the Lord.
Our life with the Lord
Because we’re joined to the Lord, Christ is near, subjective, and always available to us. We can experience and enjoy Him by contacting Him in our spirit anytime, anywhere, in any situation. He’s one with us, and we’re one with Him!
No matter what kind of situation we’re in, Christ is one with us, and we can experience and enjoy Him being everything to us. By turning to Him and contacting Him in our spirit, we can experience Him living in us, and even for us, at any given moment. If we need patience, He’s the patient One in our mingled spirit. If we need love, endurance, or wisdom, He can meet all our needs from right within us.
Because Christ is joined to us, we can know and enjoy His presence with us all the time in the most personal way. The more we enjoy Christ this way, the more we’ll express Him to people around us.
The Bible reveals that our relationship with Christ is an organic union, the mingling of His Spirit with ours. He’s not far away from us at all! On the contrary, He’s nearer to us than we could have ever imagined. We simply need to practice contacting Him in our spirit to experience Him in our daily life. We have such a precious relationship with the Lord in our mingled spirit!
The union and mingling of the divine Spirit with our human spirit is a profound fact that we can, and must, experience daily. We’ve only been able to touch on this subject briefly, but if you live in the US we encourage you to order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version so you can read all the notes on the verses in this post.
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