The Volition and Spirit of Man
It is now necessary to see from the Scriptures the true way in which God
works in the believer, in contradistinction to the way of Satan and his wicked
spirits; for the principle of co-operation with God,note 1 and not passive control by
Him, must be fully understood, not only as the basis of deliverance from
deception and possession, but also as the basis for the warfare which will be
dealt with in our next chapter.
Briefly, it may be said that the Holy Spirit dwelling in the regenerate human
spirit, energizes and works through the faculties of the soul and the members of
the body, only in and with, the active co-operation of the WILL Of the believer,
i.e., God in the spirit of man, does not use the man's hand apart from
the "I will use my hand" of the man himself.note 2
CO-OPERATION WITH GOD DOES NOT MEAN
When Paul said, "His working, which worketh in me mightily" (Col. 1: 29), he
first said, "I labour according to" His working. The "I labour" did not
mean that hands and feet and mind worked automatically in response to a Divine
energizing, as the engine works in response to the steam, but at the back of the
"I labour" was the full action of Paul's will, saying "I choose to labour," and
"as I labour, God's power and energy energizes me in the acting," so that it is
"I who live and move and work," and "yet not I, but Christ--the 'Spirit of
Christ' in me." (See Gal. 2: 20; Phil. 1: 19).
It was so in the Greater than Paul, Who said, "I came not to do Mine own
will, but the will of Him that sent Me," "The Son can do nothing of Himself,"
and yet He said also, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work." "The works
that I do shall ye do also!" He had a separate will, but He came not to do His
own will, but the will of the Father, and He was doing the Father's will when He
said to the one who sought His healing power, "I WILL, be thou clean!"
Thus it should be in the life of the believer. Granted the essential union of
his will with the will of God, and the energizing power of the Holy Spirit, by
his own deliberate choice of harmony with that Holy Will, the believer is
actively to use his will in ruling himself in spirit, soul and body. God
dwelling in his spirit co-working with him through his exercised volition.note 3
GOD GOVERNS THE RENEWED MAN BY HIS
For deliverance from the power of sin and protection from deceiving spirits
in their workings, it is important to have a clear apprehension of God's purpose
in redemption. God created man, with dominion over himself. This dominion was
exercised by his act of will, even as it was by his Creator. But man fell, and,
in his fall, yielded his will to the rule of Satan, who from that time by the
agency of his evil spirits has ruled the world, through the enslaved will of
fallen man. Christ the Second Adam came, and taking the place of man, chose
obedience to the Father's will, and never for one moment diverged from His
perfect co-operation with that will. In the wilderness He refused to exercise
the Divine power at the will of Satan, and in Gethsemane in suffering His will
never wavered in the choice of the Father's will. As Man He willed the will of
God right through, becoming obedient even unto death, thus regaining for
regenerated man, not only reconciliation with God, but liberty from Satan's thraldom, and the restoration of man's renewed and sanctified will to its
place of free action,note 4 deliberately and intelligently exercised in harmony with
the will of God.
Christ wrought out for man upon Calvary's Cross salvation of spirit, soul,
and body, from the dominion of sin and Satan; but that full salvation is wrought
out in the believer through the central action of the will, as he deliberately
chooses the will of God for each department of his tripartite nature.
The will of the man united to the will of God--and thus having the energizing
power of God working with his volition--is to rule his (1) "own spirit"
(see Prov. 25: 28; 1 Cor. 14: 32); (2) thoughts or mind (Col. 3: 2)
inclusive of all the soul-powers; and (3) body (1 Cor. 9: 27), and when,
by the appropriation of God's freeing power from slavery to sin and Satan, the
believer regains free action of his will so that he gladly and spontaneously
wills the will of God, and as a renewed man re-takes dominion over spirit, soul
and body, he reigns in life "through . . Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5: 17).
But the natural man does not reach this stage of renewal and liberation of
his will, without first knowing the regeneration of his own human spirit. God is
not in fallen man until the moment of his new birth (Ephes. 2: 12; 3: 16;
John 3: 5-8). He must be "begotten of God;" the very fact of such a begetting
being necessary, declares the non-existence of Divine life in him previously.
After such a begetting, it is also necessary to understand that the regenerated
man does not, as a rule, immediately become a spiritual man, i.e., a man
wholly dominated by, and walking after the spirit.
THE NATURAL" VERSUS THE "SPIRITUAL" MAN
At first the regenerated man is but a "babe in Christ, manifesting many of
the characteristics of the natural man in jealousy, strife,note 5 etc., until he
apprehends the need of a fuller reception of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the regenerated spirit as
The unregenerate man is wholly dominated by soul and body. The regenerate man
has his spirit (I) quickened, and (2) indwelt by the Holy Spirit, yet may he
by soul and body because his spirit is compressed and bound. The spiritual
man has his spirit liberated from bondage to the soul (Heb. 4: 12) to be the
organ of the Holy Spirit in mind and body.
It is then that, by the Holy Spirit's power, his volition is brought into
harmony with God in all His laws and purposes, and the whole outer man into
self-control. Thus it is written "The fruit of the Spirit . . . is self-control"
(Gal. 5: 23, m). It is not only love, joy, peace, long-
suffering, and gentleness, manifested through the channel of the soul--the
personality--but in a true dominion over the world of himself, (1) every thought
captivity, in the same obedience to the will of the Father as was manifested
in Christ (2 Cor. 10: 5); (2) his spirit "ruled" also from the chamber of the
will, so that he is
of a "cool spirit" and can "'keep back" or utter at his will what is in his
spirit as well as what is in his mind (Prov. 17: 27, m.), and (3) his body so
obedient to the helm of the will, that it is a disciplined and alert instrument
for God to energize and empower; that body an instrument to be handled
intelligently as a vehicle for service, and not any longer master of the man, or
the mere tool of Satan and unruly desires.
THE CALL TO DECISIVE ACTION OF THE WILL
All this is fully made clear in the New Testament Epistles. "Our old man was
crucified with Him" is said of the work of Christ at Calvary, but on the part of
the one who desires this potential fact made true in his life, he is called upon
to declare his attitude of choice with decisive action, both in the negative and
positive positions. The Apostle appeals again and again to the redeemed believer
to act decisively with his will, as the following few passages show:--
|"Cast off the works of darkness."
||"Put on the armour of light."
|Rom. 13: 12.
||Rom. 13: 12.
|"Put away the old man."
||"Put on the new man."
|Eph. 4: 22.
||Eph. 4: 24.
|"Put off the old man with his doings."
||"Put on the new man."
|Col. 3: 9.
||Col. 3: 10.
|"Put to death your members."
||"Present your members unto God."
|Col. 3: 5.
||Rom. 6: 13.
|"Put off the body of the flesh."
||"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh."
|Col. 2: 11.
||Rom. 13: 14.
|See also Ephes. 6: 13, 16
"Take up the whole amour. . .
||"Put on a heart of compassion."
||"Put on the whole armour of God."
||Eph. 6: 11
All these passages describe a decisive act of the will, not toward exterior
things, but toward things in an unseen, immaterial sphere, incidentally showing
the effect in the spiritual sphere of a man's volitional action.note 6 They also
emphasize the effect of the decisive use of the will of man, when it acts in
harmony with the liberating power of Christ. Christ has done the work on
Calvary's Cross, but that work is applied in fact through the action of the
believer's own will, acting as if he himself had power to "cast off" the
invisible works of darkness, and finding with this action of his will, the co-
working of the Spirit of God making the casting off effectual.
In saving the man, God calls him into co-action with Himself, to "work out
his own salvation,"note 7 for it is God Who works with and in him, to enable him to
will and to do His pleasure.
GOD CALLS A MAN INTO CO-ACTION FOR HIS
In the hour of his regeneration God gives to man the decisive liberty of will
to rule over himself, as he walks in fellowship with God. And by this
restoration of a will free to act in choosing for God, SATAN LOSES HIS POWER.
Satan is the god of this world, and he rules the world through the will of men
enslaved by him, enslaved not only directly, but indirectly, by his inciting
men to enslave one another, and to covet the power of "influence," whereas they
should work with God to restore to every man the freedom of his own personal
volition, and the power of choice to do right because it is right, obtained for
them at Calvary.
In this direction we can see the working of the world-rulers of darkness in
the realm which they govern, directly in atmospheric influence, and indirectly
through men, in (1) hypnotic suggestion,note 8 (2) thought reading, (3) will
controlling, and other forms of invisible force, sometimes employed for the
supposed good of others.
The danger of all forms of healing by "suggestion," and all kindred methods
of seeking to benefit men in physical or mental ways, lies in their bringing
about a passivity of the will,note 9 and mental powers, which lays them
open to Satanic influences later on.
THE BELIEVER'S RIGHT OF DECISION OF WILL
The liberation of the will from its passive condition, and control by the
prince of this world, takes place when the believer sees his right of choice,
and begins to deliberately place his will on God's side, and thus choose the
will of God. Until the will is fully liberated for action, it is helpful for
the believer to assert his decision frequently by saying, "I choose the will of
God, and I refuse the will of Satan." The soul may not even be able to
distinguish which is which,note 10 but the declaration is having effect in the unseen
world, i.e., God works by His Spirit in the man as he chooses His will,
energizing him through his volition to continually refuse the claims of sin and
Satan; and Satan is thereby rendered more and more powerless, whilst the man is
stepping out into the salvation obtained potentially for him at Calvary, and God
is gaining once more a loyal subject in a rebellious world.
On the part of the believer the action of the will is governed by the
understanding of the mind, i.e., the mind sees what to do, the will
chooses to do it, and then from the spirit comes the power to fulfil the choice
of the will, and the knowledge of the mind. For example, the man (1) sees that
he should speak, (2) he chooses or wills to speak, (3) he draws upon the power
in his spirit to carry out his decisions. This means knowledge of how to use
the spirit, and the necessity of knowing the laws of the spirit, so as to fully
co-operate with the Holy Ghost.
THE SPIRIT ENERGIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AT
THE BACK OF THE WILL
But the believer thus co-operating with God in the use of his volition, must
understand that the choice of the will is not sufficient alone, as we see by
Paul's words in Rom. 7: 18. "To will is present with me, but to do . .
.is not." Through the spirit, and by the strengthening of the Holy Spirit in
the "inward man" (the regenerate human spiritnote 11--Eph. 3: 16), is the liberated
will desirous and determined to do God's will, empowered to carry out its
choice. "It is God which worketh in you . . to will," i.e., to
enable the believer to decide or choose. Then it is "God which worketh in you .
. to do His pleasure" (Phil. 2: 13), i.e., energizes the believer
with power to carry out the choice.
That is, God gives the power to do, from the spirit where He dwells, and by
the believer understanding the using of his spirit, as clearly as he understands
the use (1) of his will, (2) of is mind, or (3) of his body. He must know how
to discern the sense of his spirit, so as to understand the will of God, before
he can do it.
THE DISTINCT ORGANISM OF THE SPIRIT
That the human spirit is a distinct organism,note 12 as separate from the soul and
body, is very clearly recognized in the Scriptures, as these few verses
|"The spirit of man." 1 Cor. 2: 11.
||"My spirit prayeth." 1 Cor. 14: 14.
|"The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit." Rom. 8: 16.
||". . .my spirit. . ." 1 Cor. 5:4.
|"Relief in my spirit."note 13 2 Cor. 2: 13.
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