The Ascendency of the Spiritual man Over the Natural Man
The nature of this union is set forth below and is five-fold. In the fall, the soul was allowed to take the ascendency over the spirit; the spirit with conscience, communion, and intuition being subjected to the soul with its reason, desire, and volition (will). This ascendency of the soul made man what he is afterward called; the "natural," i.e., soulish (Greek psukikos) man, and in as much as the reasoning and desiring and choosing were inspired and prompted by the devil, and the capitulation was to him, and the spirit union with God was rejected and violated in all its claims, the result is that man is not only separated from God but in his natural state is horizoned by a lower life than was intended. But more, he is then called "flesh," this is the active law of his fallen condition. It is not something in him, it is himself, the real principle of his being, and is always set over against "spirit" which is the real principle of life reunited with God by regeneration.
Further, as he capitulated, not only to the soul life, but to the devil, he is ever after, until delivered by Christ, actuated and influenced by "the god of this age," whose methods are not always manifestly against God, but are always in the place of God, even to the extent of projecting a counterfeit religion, with similar phraseology and means. The result of all this, as we have seen, is spirit, or spiritual death, and the nature of death in the Bible is primarily the separation of the spirit from God. All else that is called death results from this. Lost likeness, fellowship, knowledge, cooperation, dominion, with all that God meant and intended by them - this is the foundation of death. So thus "in Adam all died" "death passed upon all." This may be represented by lines which narrow down as they move towards the Cross. This movement indicates how through the Old Testament age God by types and figures is ever preaching the fact that death is His sentence and must be carried out. There may be seen also lines which widen out from the point of the fall and death. These represent the natural man's mind about himself. He refuses the Divine verdict and believing and preaching a gospel of the inherent goodness of human nature seeks to develop a system of improvement by all manner of means. For him salvation is in himself, and civilization, education, social reconstruction, mutual improvement, etc., will at length bring in a golden age. He refutes the Word of God which demands new birth. He makes sin and evil a negative thing, and so on. Thus man's estimate of himself is ever growing, and the opposite of the mind of God.
In the center of history God places the Cross and in the representative Person of Christ gathers the whole race under His own sentence and takes it into the full outworking thereof in death. Down through the center of the Cross is a black zero line. This marks in God's settled judgment the end of the natural man. From that point God has nothing to do with man only on the ground of that life which is begotten from the dead (Revelation 1:5). He demands that there shall be both an acceptance of and a witness born to the fact that when Christ died, that we were "crucified with Christ," (Romans 6:3-6; Colossians 2:12; etc). This has been dealt with at length in "Incorporation into Christ," Number 1. Then we come to this side of the Cross and the lines cross once again. First there is the beginning of the new man - the inner man - the spiritual man. He is "begotten again by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3). Here begins that spiritual life, walk, knowledge, etc., of which we have spoken, and here therefore begins that life process by which the new or spiritual man takes the ascendency over the old or natural man by the power of the Cross.
As we "walk in the spirit" we cease to "fulfill the lusts of the flesh." Thus in the spirit by the indwelling of God's Spirit there is, through Calvary, a restoration of the lost likeness, fellowship, knowledge, cooperation, and spiritual dominion.
(continued with # 13)