Spirit, Soul, and Body
08 Mar 2016
The Make-up of Man
We must understand who we are in our daily walk with the Lord. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV) When we were born again, and made Jesus the Lord of our lives, we were placed “In Christ.” “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,” (1 Corinthians 1:30, NASB95) New creature means a new creation, a supernatural work of God done on the inside of us. We did not change in physical appearance, or in a natural way. The real you, your spirit, became new.
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16, NASB95) The outward man is seen, a physical body to contact the physical realm; it is temporary; at death, it will return to dust; it is perishing and growing older.
The inward man is unseen. ““But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:33, NASB95) “For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,” (Romans 7:22, NASB95)
At physical death, the inner man leaves the body. “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26, NASB95) The real you is a hidden man not subject to decay. For believers, the inner man goes into the presence of God. “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8, NASB95)
Man is a Trinity
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, NASB95) God is a triune being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can see the trinity in nature: an egg (yolk, white, shell); time (past, present, future). Man has three parts too: spirit, soul, and body; his inner man has two parts (spirit and soul).
Spirit of Man
Made in God’s image: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:26, NASB95)
God is a Spirit: ““God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” (John 4:24, NASB95) We are spirit-beings made in the image of God. ““That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6, NASB95) Man is a spirit; man has a soul; man lives in a body.
Adam’s spirit: “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7, NASB95) There is more than one type of death. A person can die spiritually and physically. Adam died spiritually the day he disobeyed God. Spiritual death = separation from God. Spiritual death sets in motion physical death which is separation of the spirit and the soul from the body.
Another type of death is the second death (or eternal death) which is eternal separation from God, for the person who never receives eternal life. “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14, NASB95)
At the new birth, we were made alive spiritually. “And you He (God) made alive (spiritually), who were dead (spiritually) in trespasses and sins,” (Ephesians 2:1, NKJV) The spirit of man is the life of man and has a voice, the conscience. Our spirit is the part of us that knows God; enables man too hear God’s voice and respond to Him; it is the location of God’s operation in us; it is the only way to contact God, spirit to spirit. God’s word is food for our spirit; as we need natural food to stay healthy physically, we need spiritual food (God’s Word) to stay strong spiritually. “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ ”” (Matthew 4:4, NASB95)
Soul of Man
The soul is part of every breathing creature; it is our personality. The soul contains a trinity:
Mind = thoughts, reasoning, imaginations, stores information
Will = where goals are set, decisions are made
Emotions = feelings
The soul is the go-between and the battleground of our spirit and body; our spirit and body are fighting for control of our mind. The soul did not change at our new birth, it needs to be renewed. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility (teachableness) receive the word implanted, which is able to save (restore, renew) your souls (minds).” (James 1:21, NASB95)
God’s word contains the power to restore our minds. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NASB95) “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7, NASB95) “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB95)
We need to learn God’s way of thinking, speaking, and acting. This is the reason we need to hear certain truths over and over again. We need to periodically go back to the basics. “Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.” (2 Peter 1:12–15, NASB95)
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, NASB95) Transform = Greek: Metamorphosis: to change from within. Something we must do ourselves, God won’t force us.
Body of Man
Our body is also referred to as the outward man where the nature of the flesh dwells. The body is physical to contact the physical realm and is the house of our soul and spirit; it is the temporary home of the real you. What does God want us to do with our bodies? Present our bodies to Him to be obedient to Him. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1, NASB95)
Glorify God in our body. “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20, NASB95) “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Romans 13:12–14, NASB95)
We need to learn to rule or control our body. “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27, NASB95) Our flesh (desires to do wrong) wars against our spirit (desires to do right). “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” (Romans 7:18, NASB95) “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:17, NASB95)
We need to reckon ourselves dead to sin and to the flesh. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11, NASB95) ““I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NASB95)
Mortify our flesh: mortify means to kill as if by starvation. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, [inordinate affection,] evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Colossians 3:5, Wordstudy KJV)
The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live above sin and the flesh. “Then he answered and spoke unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6, Wordstudy KJV) “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13, NIV)
Indeed that way of living leads to certain spiritual death. But if on the other hand you cut the nerve of your instinctive actions by obeying the Spirit, you will live. (Romans 8:13, Phillips translation)
For more on this subject, see our article Spirit, Soul, and Body – Part 2.