1Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept faultless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Before we can begin to understand what the Scriptures tell us about death and resurrection, we must first understand our own being and God’s being in whose image and likeness we have been created. God is one being, yet God is three persons; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Genesis 1:26 And God said; “Let Us make man, in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them reign and 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 moving creature that moves upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
When God created mankind in His own image, He put into mankind many likenesses of Himself. This does not mean that mankind is the same as God, but it does mean there are many similarities or likenesses between God and mankind. For this study, we will only focus on one of these likenesses. God is one being yet God is three. Man is also one being yet man is three. However, where God can rightfully be described as three persons, only one part of man, his soul, can rightfully be described as a person. So in looking at the three-in-one makeup of man, we can say that man is like God but not the same as God.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
According to God’s word, our soul and our spirit can be divided and separated one from the other. They are not the same they are two distinctive parts of our being.
Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in the fires of Sheol.”
Our soul and our body are not one, but two parts of our being. Man can kill our body, but only God can destroy both our soul and body.
Note: The word translated, as Sheol in this verse is the Greek word Gehenna. This word Gehenna was usually used to describe the fiery pit of Sheol, into which the wicked, both their body and soul, will be thrown after the resurrection to eternal damnation. The Greek word usually used to describe Sheol, being Hades. Therefore Matthew 10:28 is referring to the second death. In the first death, the body goes to the grave, not to the fiery pit of Sheol.
II Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house, not made with hands in the sky. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our house which is from the sky, 3 if indeed, being clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality will be swallowed up by life. (Underlining added)
Our body that we now dwell in is as described as an earthly house, a tent (something which is only a temporary dwelling). While our body that we desire to be clothed with, is described as an eternal house (something that is everlasting).
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Firstly God forms the body of man from the dust of the earth. Secondly God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. In so doing God by His breath implanted into man part of God’s Spirit which became man’s spirit.
The breath of God and the Spirit of God are one and the same thing. We find the conformation this truth in the Gospel of John.
John 20:22 And when He (Jesus) had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them. Receive the Holy Spirit: (Words in italics added.)
God formed Adam’s body out of the dust of the earth. But there was no life in Adam’s body until God breathed into it. According to the Scriptures, this breath of God that is in man is the spirit in man.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding.
Job 34:14 If God should set His heart on it, and should gather to Himself His Spirit, (which is) His breath, 15 All flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.
(Words in italics added.)
And man becomes a living soul.
The Parable of the Egg.
For a moment, let us compare an egg with a man. An egg like man has a body, the eggshell. It has a source of life, the egg white. And it has a living being, the yoke. So the egg is a living being that lives in a body and it has a source of life.
When the life source of the egg (the egg white) is spent, its body (the shell) is broken, while the yoke (the eggs living being) lives on. Its old body broken, the living being puts off its shell (the old body) and lives on unclothed in the bird’s nest. In time, the living being will be clothed once more. This time in a coat of many feathers, with which the living being, the self-part of the egg, will rise into a new world; no longer as an egg, but as a bird.
Man has a body, made from the dust of the earth. Man has a source of life, his spirit that comes from God, and man has a soul, his living being. So man is a soul, who lives in a body and has a spirit.
Man is a soul, and the soul of man is a living being that never ceases to be. Man’s soul is eternal and the soul of man continues to live on long after man’s spirit has returned to God who gave it, and his body has returned to the dust of the earth from which it was made. But a time is coming, when man will put on a new body and rise to meet Jesus Christ in the air.
God formed man’s body from the dust of the earth. Our body is basically any part of our being that a scientist can analyse. This includes our flesh, blood, bones, brain and our five earthly senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch and taste.
God breathed into man, and it is by this breath of God, the spirit within man, that we gain understanding of the things of God (Job 32:8). Our spirit that comes from God, is not only that which gives life to our body, it is by our spirit that we communicate and commune with God.
And man became a living soul, or as some modern versions say, man became a living being. Our soul (our living being) is the self-part or me-part of our being. Our soul includes our self wants, self-will, self-desires, our feelings and our mind.
Our brain is part of our body. Our brain stores information and controls and operates all of our bodily systems and functions. Our mind is part of our soul. It is by the use of our mind, that we (our soul) can communicate both with our body (via our brain) and with God (via our spirit). It is by the use of our mind, that we (our soul) make the many choices (both small and great) that we make every day.
We (our soul) can make one of three choices.
1: We (our soul) can choose to be led by our body, which is to be led by the lust of the flesh.
2: We (our soul) can choose to be led by our soul, which is to be led by our self wants, self-will, self-desires and feelings.
3: We (our soul) can choose to be led by God via our spirit.
At this point, I am often asked, “Where does our conscience fit in?” Our conscience is whatever prods us to do what we believe is right.
You could say that we have three consciences.
1: Our mind.
2: Our spirit.
3: The Holy Spirit.
Or you could say that our conscience is the interaction of all three.
What is death? In the Bible, death does not mean the end of man, as man is an eternal being. Death has more to do with separation. For example: Spiritual death for man is separation from God, while physical death, is separation from our physical body.
Even before we are born, we are already a soul who lives in a body and has a spirit. Safe within our mother’s womb all three parts of us are already very much alive. But the body is dead to the world around us, because it is separated from the world by our mother’s womb. As long as our body remains separated from the world, it is dead to the world and dead to us (our soul), because it has little influence or control over our soul. But as soon as we are born from our mother’s womb, our body comes alive to the world and alive to our soul. Because from then on our body has the power to influence our soul, and if we allow it, the body can even control our soul (our mind and our will).
Also, even while in our mother’s womb, our spirit is alive. If our spirit were not alive, there would be no life in our body, and we would be still born. But in the Biblical sense our spirit is dead, because our sin nature separates our spirit from God and our sin nature also separates our spirit from us, in that we choose not to listen to the promptings of our spirit.
Just as it is necessary for our body to come alive, by being born from out of our mother’s womb, before our body can have any great influence over our soul, so it is also necessary for our spirit to be born out of our old sin nature, before our spirit can have any great influence over our soul. This can only come about by being born again by the Spirit of God
John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Surely surely, I say to you, unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'”
Within our mother’s womb, we are carried in a bag of water. When our mother (who is flesh) gives birth to our body of flesh, we are born of water and enter into this world. But to enter the kingdom of God, we must be born again.
Before we are born again, our sin nature (which is living our lives to please ourselves according to our own desires and will) and the powers of darkness control our lives. We think that we are in control of our lives but we are not. Then when we are born again, we choose to no longer be controlled by our sin nature, and in the name of Jesus Christ the powers of darkness no longer have any power over us.
This is how Paul describes the born again experience.
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who has rescued us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the deliverance from sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who has made us able to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the deliverance from sin.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: the breath of the Almighty that gives them understanding.
Job 32:18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constrains me.
It does not matter whether we are born again or not, the spirit within, which comes from God, just doesn’t give life to our body of flesh, the spirit also gives us understanding of some of the basic spiritual truths, and it also acts as our conscience, telling us what is just and constrains us from doing wrong. Of cause we can shut out the voice of our spirit by not listening and hardening our hearts to the truth.
Have you ever wondered why little children, are often so open to spiritual truths, and why adults are often so hard to get through to with spiritual truths? That is because adults often shut down the spirit within them and will no longer listen to their spirit (1Timothy 4:2). But because all have that conscience, that spirit from God dwelling within them, none of us have any excuse for our sins.
We should not confuse these truths, with the truth that fallen man lives according to how it led by his soul and his flesh; and that when he repents and is born again, he chooses no longer to be led by his soul and his flesh (this is what we often call dying to self).
Instead he chooses from how on to be led by the Spirit of Christ which becomes one with his spirit. For this reason we often say that the born again man is no longer a living soul, but has become a living spirit. Nevertheless, the soul of the born again man still remains the self-part of man, and as long as we live in this earthly body, we need to daily die to self (that is, we need to daily die to our soul and flesh) and come alive to the Spirit of Christ who now lives within us).
I Peter 1:9 Receiving the goal of your faith, the deliverance of your souls.
The goal of our faith is the deliverance of our soul, but in order to deliver our soul, we must first die to our soul. As Christians we often talk about dying to self, and coming alive to the Spirit of Christ, who now dwells within us. This dying to self is what Jesus Christ calls losing one’s soul. In reality because of our sin, our soul is already eternally lost and damned, and unless we die to our soul for Jesus Christ sake, we shall never find it.
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto His disciples, “If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whosoever will to save his soul will lose it, but whosoever will lose his soul for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if gains the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Romans 8:13 For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Matthew 10:39 He who finds his soul will lose it, and he that loses his soul for My sake will find it.
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by
VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL. P.O. BOX 144 WYNNUM QLD 4178 AUSTRALIA.
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Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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