I have just two more passages concerning the human spirit and then we can summarize what we have seen. Then we move on to the heart.
Man can have a proud spirit instead of patient, which leads to an angry spirit.
The end of a matter is better than its beginning;
Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit.
Do not be eager in your heart [ruach - spirit] to be angry,
For anger resides in the bosom of fools.
The truth of all of us as sinners is that we are all capable of anger, of prejudice, or bitterness, etc., and it is up to us to control and refresh the human spirit in each of us.
Hence the wise use of the Hebrew bahal (eager) by Solomon, which means to rush into or to be anxious to do. All of us will be tempted with anger, and for some of us the impulse to anger is much more frequent, but all of us must rule our spirit and say no to the impulse. The power to say no and follow through is to know the truth and love the truth. Blessed are the peacemakers. Gentleness and patience are virtues of Christ. And if we fail, we must recognize that all have the flesh within, and though it grieves us to fail, in grace we repent and recover and we continue to fight the good fight to rule our spirit for goodness.
The faithful spirit conceals a matter properly, i.e. doesn’t gossip, slander, backbite.
“trustworthy” - aman ruach = faithful spirit.
He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy [ruach is used but not translated: “he that is of faithful spirit”] conceals a matter.
Spirit of son of God: wisdom, poverty (as Christ), gentleness, power, love, discipline, fervency, broken (proper attitude towards sin), patient, faithful.
The references to the negative ways of the human spirit are sometimes clearly about the unbeliever. All the unregenerate in this world have a fallen spirit, and its characteristics are ultimately in error, though their intentions and desires sometimes seek for good. We are born into this world broken, having lost the identity and purpose that God intended for us, and so although man may have an idea of that which is good and attempt to grasp it, it will always allude him.
Spirit of enemy of God: bondage, jealousy, timidity, stupor, error, whoredom, pride, anger.
The new creature has been made of the type that walks by the Holy Spirit. That is our way. That is what we have been designed for. We are of that type alone.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
All of this soul searching, if you will, and striving to keep our innards clear would be meaningless if God has not opened His life up to us.
I read today Chesterton saying, “the prophet saw God from behind; it was as if some immeasurable presence had turned its back on the world.” This is certainly a different view of the event, and not that Chesterton was taking it, for he was making another point entirely. But I thought about this. When the cherubim were stationed at the gate to the Garden of Eden, it was much like God turning His back on us who deliberately and knowingly disobeyed Him. How sad if God had always remained a shadow to us, an outline in the distance, a path of footprints set down some time ago that we knew we could follow but would never catch up to God in order to be able to see Him. Even having the OT, the writings and the prophets all filled with the promise of His coming, if He had never come, then all this time spent in war against the flesh, against the darkness of evil would all be for naught because God turned His back and kept on going as if He forgot about us. The state of our inner man wouldn’t matter one bit.
But then God came into the world as an infant. He turned around and faced us, not as an imposing judge with scepter and fire, but as a helpless infant. The angels said to the shepherds go and see. The star said the same to the magi. God turned around and showed His face. We would think that the world joined together in one big shout of joy and one big sigh of relief, but rather, many of us feared. Herod demanded that He be killed, and to make sure there weren’t any mistakes, he commanded for all the little boys in Bethlehem to be eliminated.
When God turned His face many were filled with fear, for they knew somewhere in their own hearts that this meant a reckoning. I think all who reject Christ know there is something wrong with their belief, but they ignore the nagging feeling while they hope that time continues as it was when we only could find God’s footprints across the mountain. To have to face God, and to face God as He is a man just as they are, making it clear that He has come for them, is the scariest thing there is.
We who can see the face of God in the Person of Jesus Christ are to be transformed from His glory to our glory, by the Holy Spirit within us, having soul, spirit, and heart all in agreement as to the value and joy of the life of Christ given to us by His grace.
For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.