Friday, February 8, 2013

Body, soul, spirit, Life, Salvation, Death, Resurrection

1 Thessalonians 5:23 "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."

Today's blog will attempt to tell the complete saga of man, a soul with a spirit clothed in a body, through five main points covered in scripture: creation, fall, redemption, death and resurrection.

1. Man as a soul, with a spirit clothed in a body at creation.
Man is a three-fold being who was created to know God and excercise authority in this world. As we noted yesterday we defined man as a soul with a spirit clothed in a body.  After working our way through many scriptures and several observations, we concluded that man is essentially a three-fold being: body, soul and spirit.  Second, though a second viewpoint (dichotomy) terms man a two-fold being, immaterial/material, we did not entirely dismiss that view out of hand.  The reason being is because from Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 2:7 we see God revealing the creation of man from two angles: a spiritual being in a physical body who was to walk with God and a soul clothed in a body who was to take dominion over his surroundings and be self-aware. 

In short, here is what we learn of mankind as originally created:

1. Humanity's body was perfect, capable of interracting and working the physical environment.  Being that the body of man was made from the earth, God embdued the body with five senses and the capability to be aware of the world.

2. Humanity's soul is the life of the man.  The soul was breathed from the Spirit of God embduing physical life into the man.  Man was uniquely created with the ability to think, feel, choose and have conivictions or a conscience.  The soul is the man himself. We could say, with older Bible teachers of the past, that the soul is simply man's self awareness and the body is his center of world awareness.

3. Humanity's spirit was to be the aspect of man wherein he communed with God.  Being made in the image of God meant among other things that man alone could communicate and be communicated to by God in his spirit. 

2. Man as a living soul, clothed in a body, died in his spirit at the fall
When Adam and Eve heeded the voice of the serpent tempting them in the garden to partake of the tree, the scripture says that for Eve, the tree was pleasant to the eyes and desireable to eat.  She had already began to alter God's word in her mind and by her will she chose to abnadon the grace of God on her life in preference to her soulish desires.  Adam willfully chose his wife over God and the two of them fell from the Grace that has been clothing their mortal bodies.  As souls they continued to live, however the curse of death and decay began to set in, killing their spirit, affecting their soul totally to the point of where they could only live by their own desires.  The bodies of the both of them would be subject to physical death.  All of this of course ended up affecting every single person born into this world, with the sin and guilt of Adam passed down through the bloodline of the father's side. (1 Peter 1:17-18) In short:

1. Man died in his spirit
2. Is corrupted in his thinking, feeling and choosing in his soul.  Nothing he can do, apart from grace and saving faith can please God.
3. Will die in his body.

3. Saved man is a soul who has a resurrected spirit and lives in a body
When a man is born again by the Spirit of God and believes on Jesus Christ for the forgivness of sins, the Bible is clear on what takes place.  First, the Holy Spirit at saving faith has pentetrated past my mind, emotions, will of my soul and through God Word, pierces the dividing wall between soul and spirit. (Hebrews 4:12) As He shows me the awfulness of my sin and the awesomeness of Jesus Christ, by the New Birth I believe and am saved, born again, justified or decllared righteous and adopted into God's family. (John 1:12-13; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3; Romans 8:16-17)  At salvation I am instantly saved in my spirit or "inner man" by the New Birth or Regeneration. As I grow in grace through the process of sanctification, I am being saved in my soul as I conform my mind, emotions and will to God's Word.  Though sin indwells my soul, my new nature in my spirit is the working of the Spirit who desires to affect me in my soul.  The body of course is still decaying.  In short:

1. My spirit or inner man is made alive by the New Birth
2. My soul is being saved and I through Christ am urged daily by the Spirit in my human spirit to go to the scriptures and be led by Him
3. My body is still decaying.  I realize now as a Christian I am to look forward to resurrection. 

Sadly not everyone will by grace through faith believe on Jesus Christ.  It is God's grace, His Spirit and His word which prevail upon people to choose and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is man who choosing to reject Christ apart from grace deems himself unworthy of eternal life. (Acts 13:46) Unless the Spirit of God moves, and unless a person believes and repents of his sins, they will still be a soul with a dead human spirit living in a decaying body.  An unbeliever functions in their body, soul and dead spirit much like those who evidence never having been truly saved as seen in 1 Timothy 5:6 "she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives."

4. Saved people are souls, with living spirits who die and leave behind a dead human body and go to heaven.  Unsaved people are souls, with dead spirits who leave behind a dead human body and go to hell to await judgment
So what occurs at death?  For the Christian, the Bible states in 2 Corinthians 5:6 "Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord"  The Christian as a soul with a spirit goes immediately into the hands of the Lord in Heaven, where he is welcomed with a glorious entrance. (2 Peter 1:11-12)  The body, called by Paul (2 Corinthians 5:1-5) and Peter (2 Peter 1:14) a tent, refers to the frail and temporary nature of our current physical body that eventually returns to the dust from when it came.  Unbelievers, when they die, are souls with dead human spirit who immediately go to a place called Sheol, Hades or hell, as exampled by the Rich Man in Luke 16:29-31.  Contrary to pop culture today, when a person dies, it is a one way trip to the immediate presence of God for believers and Hell for sinners.  With those sober realities outlined, we must understand that scripture reveals one more point in its saga of believers/unbelievers in the body, souls and spirits....

5. There is to be a resurrection for the righteous and a resurrection of the unrighteous
Though a Christian in their souls and spirit go immediately into the presence of the Lord, the totality of His salvation for them is not yet complete.  Yes they are free from the penalty of sin in their spirit - thus in that respect they are instantly saved.  Concerning their souls, they are progressively saved by the Spirit's sanctifying work, making them more and more like Jesus while they excercise their mind, emotions and will in His Word - hence the removal of sin's power.  And even when they get to Heaven, believers certainly enjoy a dimension of existence whereby they are set free from the presence of sin - i.e glorification.  However the Christian in that state is looking forward to the day they get a resurrected body like their Lord.  At His return, Christ will resurrect every believer, Old and New Testament, transforming their bones and decay into a glorified resurrected body - setting the body free from the putrification of sin. (Daniel 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; 1 John 3:1-3)  The ressurrection represents the goal of redemption, a hope that was first revealed to men such as Job (Job 14:14; 19:25-28) and Abraham (Hebrews 11:19)

Sadly for unbelievers, they await the final judgment which will occur a thousand years after the resurrection of the righteous.  Though not spelled out in near the detail as that of believers, unbelievers evidently will have a ressurected body capable of withstanding eternal judgment. Daniel 12:2b tells us that the resurrection of the wicked will receive a body that is "disgraceful, existing in everlasting contempt".  Christ at that final judgment will cast them into the Lake of Fire, along with the Devil and his fallen angels. (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15)

Conclusion: Today's blog attempted to tell the complete saga of man, a soul with a spirit clothed in a body, through five main points covered in scripture: creation, fall, redemption, death and resurrection.  My prayer is that this will aid you in your study of the scripture and perhaps shed light on both your own life and your dealings with others.  Remember, what is done on this earth will pass, what is done for Christ will last.