Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Foundations: The Spirit Man

Recently, I typed these truths up for a friend, and while it was fresh in my thinking, I thought it would be good to also share them with you. My reason for doing so comes from the Word of God. In 1 Peter 3:15, we are instructed to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you."

Therefore, ask yourself, "If someone questioned me today on what I believed and required proof of it, would I have an answer?" For this reason alone, we must continually meditate on the foundational beliefs of our Christian faith.


Spirit, Soul, and Body

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Ge 1:27)
We were created in the image of God. But what does that mean? What is God's image? We find the answer in the book of John.

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Jn 4:24)
God is a Spirit, so if we are made in His image, then we are also a spirit. The verse here in John contains another foundational truth, it says to worship Him, whether it is through our actions, prayer, praise, singing, whatever it is, we must do so in spirit.

Jesus spoke of this in His conversation with Nicodemus. Nicodemus, you will recall, had inquired how man could be "born again." In his thinking, he equated this idea to returning to physical birth, but this was not what Jesus was speaking of.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (Jn 3:5-6)
When Jesus said "born of water," He was referring to our fleshly birth. This is evidenced by His following words, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." However, notice He also referred to being "born of the Spirit." This is salvation. But to know what this means, to fully understand salvation, we must first know the make-up of man and return to the story of Adam.

Man is a triune being. He is a spirit, has a soul, and lives in a body. We find this spoken of throughout the Bible. In 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Paul states, "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless." We read this again in Hebrews 4:12 where it refers to, "the dividing asunder of soul and spirit." Something that is divided is made separate from the other object. And then we find a reference to Adam in 1 Corinthians 15:45. "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." Here again, we see the words "spirit" and "soul" being used.

But what does it mean "a living soul" and "a quickening spirit"? For this we turn back to the story of the creation of man in Genesis. God placed Adam in the garden to tend it and gave him a helpmeet in Eve, but He gave them specific instructions to obey.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Ge 2:17)
He said, "Don't eat of the tree or you will die!" Yet we know after they did eat of the tree, they didn't die physically. Adam himself lived to be 120 years old. (Ge 5:6). We also know they did not die mentally because they continued to live and have children. Therefore, the death was a spiritual death.

This is corroborated by the Scripture. Remember the fig leaves? When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, when they disobeyed, suddenly they saw themselves as they were. They became aware of their nakedness. (Ge 3:7,10) This happened because of spiritual death. It is also the reason they were both cast from the garden itself. It is the reason for the curse placed upon them in Genesis 3:14-19.

Salvation

There is good news though! From that very moment, God set into motion a plan to redeem man, to return him to spiritual life in God. This plan culminated in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus speaks this in Matthew 5:17.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Mt 5:17)
Jesus came to fulfill the plan of God. All of the law, the tabernacle, the temple, the sacrifices, were but types or figures of what Jesus came to do. (Heb 9:9) Jesus completed it. His sacrifice was the final sacrifice.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Ro 4:3-4)
Salvation, being "born again", returns man's spirit to a place of life, light, and fellowship with God. (Jn 3:16) This was God's plan all along. He sent Jesus as the last Adam to "quicken", to make alive again, our spirit man. (Eph 2:1,5) Now, we can worship God in spirit, in His image, and He can speak directly to our heart. This is the love of God, that Christ came to put us back where we should be in the first place. He came to give us eternal, spiritual life.

If you enjoyed this teaching, drop me a line and say so. I always appreciate hearing from others.

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Suzanne
Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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