This week has been filled with wonderfully deep discussion with my friends and loved ones who I also happen to call my fellow church members. I have also been reading this book (for the third time) called “Grace the Forbidden Gospel” by Andre Van Der Merwe. If you haven’t read this book and want to learn more about all this grace stuff, stop what you’re doing and go buy it right now! (I will even include the link for a free PDF version of it at the end of this post). Anyway, back to what I was saying, re-reading this book reminded me of a really cool concept that the author wrote about which I think is worth discussing.
That is the concept of the three parts that make up us as humans. It’s really cool that we have three parts because God also has three parts (Father, Son, and Spirit) and this, to me, is a beautiful picture of how we were created in His image. Be warned: This is a pretty deep subject but I promise to be as simple and clear as possible!
“Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -1 Thessalonians 5:23
Spirit = our essence, who we truly are
Before we know Christ our spirit is dead and only capable of doing, thinking, and being evil. When we take in Christ’s sacrifice as our own we become one with him in spirit and our spirit becomes alive. That means our essence and the essence of Christ himself are intertwined, bonded, FUSED together as one. Our essence, then, becomes as holy, blameless, and perfect as the essence of Christ. Our spirits have no want for or capability to sin any longer.
You wanna know something really amazing about God?
He relates to us spirit to spirit. He sees, loves, gives into, blesses, and hangs out with who we really are; perfect and one with His Son! That means the things we do have no effect on how He relates to us. That’s pretty awesome, right?! Now, you might be thinking, “If our spirit, who we really are, is perfect then why do we still sin?” That’s a great question that brings me to the other two parts of us.
Soul = mind, will, intellect, personality, and emotions
Our soul is the expression of who we believe ourselves to be. It is how we relate to others, how our mind process, and how our emotions react to things. When we are made alive in Christ our soul is the part of us that still struggles with sin. This makes our soul the part of us that is in continual need of retraining or renewing to act out of who we are in Christ. So when we hear verses like the one over in Romans 12, the soul is what these verses are talking about.
“Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.”
Let’s face it, we live in a sinful world where sin is our natural reaction to emptiness. This is nothing new which is why we find in the New Testament that when the soul is discussed it is usually in opposition with our spirits; here it is called “the flesh.” Check out some of these verses about our flesh:
“For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit.” - Romans 8:3-5
“But I say, live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want.” -Galatians 5:16-17
Our souls will always act out of who we believe that we are. This makes it extremely important to fill our lives with things of the spirit and continually refocus on the perfect and pleasing essence that grace has made us.
Body = skin and bones, outer shell, vessel
Of course, we all know that we have a body! It’s pretty obvious because we look at it every day. We make sure it’s clean, smells good, and is covered. We do things to make it look better or catch more attention; our body is the most obvious part of us. This leads us to assume that we are bodies that just have a soul and a spirit. That is a wrong assumption. We are a spirit that has a soul and lives inside a body. Our bodies are simply our temporary vessels that last us one small lifetime. Our body will follow either our soul or our spirit; whichever we give control to. It does nothing and controls nothing on its own. It is just what the soul uses to express who we believe ourselves to be.
Do you have a headache yet?
This is deep stuff! The more I understood this concept though, the more grace and my perfection through Christ made sense to me. It’s worth researching, digging into, and being hungry for. Grace is so simple and yet there is so much depth to it. It keeps deep minds like mine intrigued without making God hard to relate to. I really love that about God.
So, my challenge to you is this: Live as a spirit. Pursue things that bring you peace, joy, and completion over things that offer only temporary highs. This will cause the other two parts of you to fall in line. Dare to think outside the box; God is much too big to fit in one.