Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Actually, human beings are made up of a SPIRIT who has a SOUL who lives in a BODY. Initially, this may be too deep of a concept to grasp, but once we fully understand these three aspects of our being, we can obtain a clearer understanding of how God's Word brings life to the total person.
When God said, "Let us make man in our image," He was referring to the fact that man is a triune being in much the same way that God is a trinity. While God is only ONE, the scriptures teach us that He is made up of three parts: Father; Son; and Holy Spirit. In the same way, while each person is only one, each human being is made up of three distinct parts: Body; Soul; and Spirit.
Think of an egg. One egg has three parts. The shell houses the egg white and in the center of it all is the yoke. The same concept is true of the trinity of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and the tripartite makeup of man (Body, Soul, Spirit); all are one, and yet, they are three.
When God created Adam, He molded him out of the dust of the ground. Paying careful attention to every cell, blood vessel, nerve, organ, and body part, God created the human body to work in synchronized harmony so that His prized creation could live in a perfectly designed house of flesh and blood. Every body part was carefully constructed so that this new being would be able to take dominion over the earth with physical excellence. This earthly vessel had to be designed so that it could house something God decided to create in His image - something very precious to Him.
Unfortunately, the body seeks to rule for the sake of pleasure. The body is always screaming, "FEED ME, FEED ME!" Left to itself, the human body tends to become gluttonous when it comes to the things that God has allowed with moderation such as: food; drink; touch; adornment; sex; approval; and accolades. In addition, oftentimes Satan will bring drugs and alcohol into someone's life because he knows that the human body can begin to crave these "false highs" and the devil's chief desire is to kill, steal and destroy God's creation. If the body is allowed to rule the being, there will be no thought for long term health and welfare. This does not please God.
So the human BODY is really intended to be nothing more than a shell. It is our God-made "human suit" that clothes our spirit and soul. Because of sin, our bodies will eventually wear out and die, but our real person - our soul and spirit - will escape death to live on, either in the presence of God or apart from Him for ever and ever. In addition, the Bible teaches us that one day, those who have died to be with the Lord, will be reunited with their glorified body on the day of resurrection. The newly created and completely perfected three-in-one, born-again Christian will continue to live throughout all of eternity as God originally intended: never dying; never breaking down; and never in need. Our bodies will function at optimal (supernatural) level; free from the effects of sin.
At first glance, our soul and spirit may seem to be so closely related that it is hard for us to comprehend the distinct significance of the two. Let's break down the function of each, so that we can gain a better understanding of the spiritual growth of a christian according to the scriptures. When it comes to understanding human behavior and how to live the life of an over comer - as God commands - it is very important that we study the deep truths of God's Word and how to apply His Word to our total human being.
So let's look first at our SOUL. Our soul is described as our MIND, our WILL and our EMOTIONS. It is the part of us that thinks, makes decisions and has a personality. We may assume that our soul is the "real us" - the one in control - and often it is. The soul is strong, determined, opinionated, self -centered and selfish when left to itself. The desire of the soul is to give the body comfort. The seat of the soul wants to rule over the total man for the sake of self preservation - whether by means of good or bad. The soul is the part of mankind that chooses to obey or disobey God on a day to day basis. Man's soul was originally created to give God pleasure through fellowship. God allowed each living soul the ability to choose whether it would obey or disobey His voice; but, He yearns for mankind to love Him freely and not out of mechanics or because of tyranny.
For the final touches on Adam's new life, God breathed life into him and man received God's Spirit. The human SPIRIT is the supernatural part of man that is like God. Even so, the human spirit is either that of God - as from the born-again experience - or, it is that of man. Because of Adam's sin, the Spirit of mankind was separated from God. The only way to reunite a holy intimacy between the creator of the universe and His prized creation is by the shed blood of a living sacrifice. In the Old Testament, that shed blood was from bulls and goats and had to be repeated each year. The blood of bulls and goats never seemed to fully purge man's conscious from the guilt of sin and so God knew that man needed a long term, once-and-for-all, sacrifice in order to be fully reconciled to a right fellowship with the Father. So, He sent His Son, Jesus, to be that perfect blood sacrifice for all of our sins. It is through the shed blood of Jesus - God's own Son - that mankind receives the Holy Spirit and is once again reunited with their creator, to commune with Him and live forever. This was God's plan from the beginning.
Originally, by the Spirit, Adam was able to talk with God and understand His ways. As Adam's Spirit received instruction from God, his soul and body would then come into agreement with God's plan through obedience; that is, until Adam and Eve decided to break covenant with God through disobedience in the garden. It was then that God's Spirit was separated from mankind, leaving him to function as a body and soul who longed for the living Holy Spirit of God to fill the void in the center of his being. All humans long to be complete.
Left to ourselves, our soul will inevitably lead our bodies down the wrong path as every decision is based off of a self-centered motive of physical comfort. Our soul only aims to protect the body, but has no basis for differentiating between good protection and bad protection. Our bodies only aim to be fed. Our bodies seek comfort - whether good or bad. In conclusion, a human that is led by body or soul is destined for a life of brokenness and heartache.
God never intended for us to be a ship without a compass. We were originally created to hear His voice and to seek His will daily. This, however, can only be a reality through the power of the Holy Spirit; and even then, we have been given a free-will choice of whether we will obey God's commands or not. Our body and soul must be trained to submit to the Holy Spirit as we grow in the knowledge and understanding of His Word. That is why we are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
So as we wash our minds with God's Word (Ephesians 5:26), our soul is strengthened for making right choices that will ultimately preserve the body according to God's wisdom, and not out of fleshly desperation. Although the soul is the strong-willed seat who desires to control the total man, the born-again Christian who determines to be guided by the Holy Spirit (a much softer and more gentle voice) will enjoy more health and greater rewards in both body and soul. This promise is for this life and for the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).
When Jesus said the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41), he was explaining how the body and soul are constsantly vying for the leadership position of the human being. Our spirit, whether the Holy Spirit of God or the unholy spirit of darkness, guides our soul through all eternity. Therefore, we should always watch and pray that we might be able to hear the voice of the Lord, and then, that we would be determined to obey the voice of the Lord.
In the end, our soul and spirit will escape this earthly vessel of clay to either stand in the presence of God or to stand in utter darkness - forever.
We are a SPIRIT, who has a SOUL, who lives in a BODY. We are three - yet, we are one. And, on THAT DAY, all of our parts will be judged according to our salvation (marked by our acceptance of the blood of the Lamb) and rewarded for our good works, or the lack thereof.
The Lord wants everyone to be whole in BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT. He wants everyone to be restored to His original plan. So let's seek to wash our minds with His Word, daily, as He transforms us into the perfect human that He originally inteded for us to be... for all eternity!
Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.