fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

Separating Soul and Spirit


Separating Soul and Spirit by Julie McAllen

Paul’s prayer for the Thessalonians addresses body, soul, and spirit.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 5:23)

We have a body. This is our flesh.

We have a soul. This is our personality, our intelligence, our humor: all of those little proclivities that make us unique.

We have a spirit. This is the quality in human nature that enables us to know and worship God.

Jesus warned that God could destroy both body and soul.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt 10:28)

But we are not mere body and soul. We are made in God’s image. God is Spirit. And it is He who divides soul and spirit.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

How is soul and spirit separated? By judging the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Our soul and body might perform godly acts, but have ungodly motives (intentions of the heart). It is a PURE SPIRIT God wants, not just obedient robots who perform works saying “Lord, Lord.” Therefore, it is the Holy Spirit’s work inside of us dividing a tainted soul from a pure spirit.

Our souls are tainted and capable of sin (Ez 18:4). As we grow up, we build into our personalities some things that we think are “us.” For example, a person known as very humorous to others could be regarded as a “funny soul,” but that humor may just be a wall defending a great hurt God intends to heal. As flesh covers our inner organs, soul covers our spirit. The word of God unveils the layers to reveal the real us. He separates what is truly of His Spirit created in all holiness and what is simply the persona of the living soul. We worship Him with our spirit for “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23, 24) We do not simply worship with our bodies or even with our personalities (soul). We worship with our Spirit. The Father is looking for such ones known as His true worshipers. Then “the Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:16) It is not in our physical being that we have this revelation, it is in our spirit where we know we belong to God. Abba Father!

When body and soul are destroyed, only spirit is left. And where does it go?

When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. (Ps 146:4)

and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecc 12:7)

Solomon observed that the dead “know nothing” and therefore exhorts “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” for in the grave work ceases (Ecc 9:5, 10). At death our thoughts have perished and we no longer can do whatever our hands did in life. But Solomon’s observations are all from a human perspective “under the sun.” Here on earth, when we see a dead body, we see a dead soul. We do not, however, see their spirit which has returned to the God who gave it. That part is ALIVE and accountable to Him. Every knee shall bow, some in praise to the One they finally get to meet face to face, some in absolute collapse understanding their eternal destiny separated from Him. At the outset of this article, I quoted Paul encouraging us to keep body, soul and spirit blameless. We do well to care for our flesh and minds, but how do we keep our spirits blameless?

Jesus said a person must be born again if they are to see or enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5) This is absolutely necessary because it is with our spirit (not our body or soul) that we recognize our Creator, our family in Christ, and our eternal home. After all, it is our spirit that returns to God. If a spirit has not been properly cared for by being born again first as Jesus advised, consider the consequences:

You are merely flesh and personality, both can perish (Matt 10:28)

You can not understand the scriptures in depth (1 Cor 2:6-16)

You can not be led or taught by God (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27)

You can not know the truth (1 John 2:20)

You can not worship God (John 4:24)

You are not an adopted child of God (Romans 8:16)

You are not part of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12,13, 27)

You can not produce any fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23)

You can not receive any gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:4-11)

And you do not even belong to Christ (Romans 8:9)

Denying someone the Spirit of God is rather unchristian wouldn’t you say? Yet, many go through their religious lives unacquainted with it’s importance. If a person following a religion does not have God’s indwelling Spirit, then they are utterly dependent on whatever the priesthood or leadership of that religion dictates. In the end, not having belonged to Christ themselves, they are most pitied as they cry “Lord, Lord….” and recount all the wonderful things they did in the name of their religion and yet Jesus will say to them “I never knew you…” (Matt 7:21-23)

If you seek religion only, your body and soul can perform it’s duties. If you seek a relationship with God, the Almighty and Eternal Spirit, then you MUST be born again.

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie

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February 26, 2010 - Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , ,

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