It’s ironic that I’ve been writing this blog for over three years and I have never covered one of the essential Bible lessons that changed my life. This truth is what I call Spirit, Soul, and Body. It is a game changing truth for any Christian to understand because it opens up the Bible and causes it to make more sense. It also changes how we relate to God and ourselves.
So what do I mean by Spirit, Soul, and Body? Look at 1 Thessalonians 5:23:
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This passage verifies that we are a three part being comprised of a spirit, a soul, and a body. So what are those three parts and what do they do?
Spirit is the Greek word pneûma, which means a current of air, breath, blast, or a breeze. Genesis 2:7 says the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. God put His spirit in Adam and this is what caused life to come into Adam. When we are born again, the wind or breath of God comes into us and gives us new life. According to 1 Corinthians 6:17 when we are born again we become one spirit with the Holy Spirit. Spiritually we are one with God and made new.
This is important to understand because much of what the New Testament says about the identity of a believer is about the spiritual part of themselves. Here are a few examples:
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- Colossians 2:9-10 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him
- 1 John 4:17 As He is, so are we in this world.
These passages are impossible to understand if we don’t understand Spirit, Soul, and Body. For example, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says we become a new creation in Christ when we get saved. That has to be talking about our spirit because none us got a new body when we got saved. I also don’t know anyone that got a new soul, which is our mind, will, and emotions (more on the soul in a minute). This means we had to become spiritually new.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says we are the righteousness of God in Christ. This has to be talking about our spirit because all of us have done unrighteous actions in our body and soul after we got saved.
Colossians 2 says we have the fulness of God’s kingdom in us and that we are complete in Jesus. This has to be talking about spiritual reality because we all have places of lack in our lives. In the spiritual part of us we are complete, however.
The verse in 1 John is a clincher because it says we are like are Jesus is while living in the earth right now. That can’t be talking about our body because Jesus was a male Jewish carpenter physically, which would disqualify over 99.9% of the world. It also can’t be talking about our soul (mind, will, and emotions) because none of us think entirely Jesus thinks in our brain. This means we are like Jesus in the spirit!
By now you are probably thinking, great Brian, I see what you are saying, but what good does it do me for in my everyday life to know that I’m like Jesus in the spirit? I’m glad you asked. The Bible tells us that we are to renew our minds to truth the same way our spirit is renewed each day. When we renew our mind to truth, we begin to think like Jesus thinks. This allows the realities that are true spiritually to begin to invade our mind, will, emotions, and the rest of our bodies.
The best way I can say it is an unrenewed mind acts like a clog in our plumbing that keeps water from flowing through our pipes. Once the clog is removed, water can flow freely and an impact is made. Look at Ephesians 4:17-4:18:
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
In this passage Paul said that the Ephesians believers were alienated from the power of God that was already in them because they lived in the futility of their mind. Alienate means to separate. This means these Christians weren’t thinking right and even though they had the same power that raised Jesus from the dead living on the inside of them, their thinking kept them separate from this power. Their thinking clogged up their spiritual plumbing! Now look at Paul’s solution to them in Ephesians 4:23:
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
These Christians are told to change the way they think. Paul didn’t tell them to do some religious ritual or even pray more to get the spirit of God flowing in their lives. He said to be renewed in the spirit of their mind. When you and I renew our minds to truth, we open up the gates of heaven that are already inside of us spiritually and allow them to flow through our mind, will, and emotions, and into our physical bodies. For example, when I begin to get sick, I realize that in the spirit, I’m like Jesus, which means I’m healed. I don’t do religious rituals to get God to heal me or even beg Him for healing. I know healing is in me, so I study scriptures about healing to get my mind renewed to that truth and then declare His promises out of my mouth. I live from victory instead of trying to get God to give me victories He has already won!
If this is a new concept to you, please read this article again and study out all these verses for yourself. Don’t just take my word for it. Also, call or email and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. I say this because the concept of Spirit, Soul, and Body I just presented is a game changer. It means we no longer have to see ourselves as beggars or inadequate as believers. In the spirit we have the fulness of the kingdom of God inside us, which means there is no lack. We just need to renew our mind to who we are!
If you’d like to learn more about your Identity in Christ, check out this series I taught called Identity.