The Human Spirit

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Tripartite Being: Spirit, Soul, and Body

1 Thessalonians 5:23 " And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Three parts of man graphic provided by Hebrews For Christians info@hebrew4christians.com


We now shall consider biblical insights about the human spirit.  God is Spirit and according Genesis 1:27 humans were created by God in His image, which means we have a spiritual component. Genesis 2:7 God formed Adams` physical body out of the dust of the earth, and then God blew the breath of life into Adams nostrils. At the very moment; when God`s breath (Spirit) made contact with the flesh (physical body formed out of the ground) the connection produced what has been termed a "living Soul."  The soul became the meeting place which linked the upper nature defined as the human spirit, soul in the middle, with the physical nature at the lower level. To put it another way, man became a "tripartite"  being: Spirit, Soul, and Body. 


The spiritual aspect held the leadership role for it was the highest aspect of the three. The soul held middle ground with the body holding the lowest. This is not to demean the physical aspect of human nature because, for one, possessing a physical body is obviously essential to interact in the earthly realm and to be able to visibly identify others as well as for personal identity in the physical world. Our physical bodies were designed by God, and so there are many reasons why we should not belittle this aspect of human nature. What comes to mind is how some evil spirits crave operating within and hate to leave a human body. This speaks volumes about this uniquely designed aspect of what it is to be human. 


And so, at first, the three aspects of human nature were flowing in God`s order. There was perfect harmony between the spirit, soul, and body. However, conflict started when Adam chose to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. (This was defined as the "Fall") , this act of disobedience produced devastating change. God is Spirit and Adam`s decision to disobey God broke the spiritual connection and communion he had with God. This separation is actually what is meant when defining spiritual death: Adam and Eve died spiritually, even though they were still alive physically.  When he died spiritually the harmony between spirit, soul, and body was destroyed. You see, sin not only separated Adam from God, it also separated Adam from himself.


Furthermore, according to scripture, this sinful act negatively penetrated everything in the physical world. Someone rightly described 'sin" as a rupture of the relationship with God. This was how the difficulties of seeing into the spiritual realm began: Adam broke the spiritual connection and communion he shared with God, and he lost his true identity. It`s important to note that when humans regain the spiritual connection that it does not imply that we become as Adam was before he fell. In scripture, John 3:6 the Lord Jesus describes getting "saved" by saying; "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." ( Note the upper case "S") in the first time he says "Spirit." This upper case "S" tells us that Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit and therefore to be born-again is something God initiates. Thanks be to God that He initiated various methods enabling humankind to spiritually reconnect with him. Oh yes! I am fully persuaded that one must have a personal encounter or some sort of spiritual awakening with that which  is spirit to embrace its reality. For sure, each one of us have been given the ability to choose what we believe. Yet, free will, does have its limitations. What I mean is based on how difficult it can be for us humans to believe something that we didn`t previously believe. The question, then, becomes " are you reconnected with God spiritually? 


It`s significant to understand that the human spirit is where people are God-conscious, the soul is where we have self-consciousness, and our physical body is where we have world-consciousness.  As stated above the human spirit as it relates to the Christian Faith, teaches that people are changed spiritually when they get saved (born-again). To be born-again is not just a matter of Christian terminology. This biblical doctrine is defined as Regeneration. When it occurs the human spirit is completely restored or to be more exact, brought to life as the person regains the spiritual connection with God that Adam lost in the Garden of Eden.  It is my belief that no-matter where you are, if you are truly seeking God wholeheartedly that He has already initiated contact. I refuse to put God in a box whereby thinking I can say how, why, and in what specific manner God will reveal himself or enable others to reconnect spiritually with him. 


However, I am absolutely positive that receiving Salvation is one sure way that produces the spiritual connection which creates what it means to be God-conscious. It is through this process of linking up with God that the spiritual aspect of the individual becomes most like God. Proverbs 20:27 says, "The spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." This spiritual connection also refers to the place where the Holy Spirit indwells humankind; he dwells within the human spirit of believers. The Lord Jesus  announced this amazing mystery to his disciples just before he was to leave the earth. John 14:16-17 "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." In this passage, make no mistake about it; the Lord Jesus was promising that the Holy Spirit would come and live within true believers.


Equally amazing is how the Holy Spirit speaks to us through our conscience. Apostle Paul tells us "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscious also bearing witness in the Holy Ghost." This tells us that the regenerated human conscious progressively develops spiritually, which, in turn, distinguishes it from other aspects of the soul. It is interesting how Paul reveals the fellowship between the Holy Spirit and human conscience while making a solemn oath. 


DIFFICULTY  GRASPING THE SPIRITUAL


Seeing that, being born-again, as shown above, is so much more than a matter of Christian terminology, and the reality of the Holy Spirit indwelling true believers, and speaking  to us through our conscious is true. The question, then, become " Since combining these truths with a regenerated human conscious  progressively, equates to growing spiritually, why is it still so difficult for people to see into the spirit realm?"


One major reason why people can`t see spiritually even after being born-again is because our physical bodies suppress everything spiritual. Yes, although people are spirit beings, our natural bodies do restrain us from experiencing spiritual realities. In this context, it has been rightly stated that the "Flesh"  is the vehicle and circumstances of humankind`s physical life in this world. Returning to John 14:16-17, when Jesus said those in the world could not receive the Spirit; "because it seeth him not." I am strongly convinced that one major reason he said this is directly related to how heavily people depend not just on eyesight but on our five natural senses to interact in the physical world. This strong tendency can be traced back to when Adam died spiritually. You see, after Adam and Eve died spiritually , God no longer viewed them  as "  living souls."  Adam and Eve  became identified as "flesh." ( Genesis 6:3) This change in identity means that when  the communication and spiritual connection they had with God was cut off,  fleshly tendencies engulfed  their  souls and took control.  The repercussions of Adams disobedience went further that losing the strength of  his and Eves`  spirituality. No, it affected everything ; bringing suffering, illness and death into the entire physical world. Please don`t misconstrue human  physicality (humanness) with fleshly tendencies.


You see, in scripture, "fleshly tendencies" are described in many ways: the "flesh", "old creature", "sinful nature", and or "the natural man" are all synonyms which refer to a dynamic principle of sinfulness. In the Old Testament for God`s people the "rite of circumcision" had a ethical meaning. It signified their responsibility to serve as the holy people whom God had called out of the worldly system.  A symbolic meaning of this surgical removal of flesh focuses on the aspect of "cutting flesh off" or separating oneself from sinfulness and anything or anyone not connected to God. 


Therefore, in this context the word "flesh" describes a sinful nature that is accursed by God. It is important for believers to grasp the significance of the curse placed upon the flesh. Obviously, anything accursed by God is condemned by God. And so, knowing that the flesh is accursed by God how do you think we should view the flesh? Let`s get personal. How do you think we should view our old creature, the old you, the old me; our uniquely personal fleshly tendencies? God wants his people to gain the type of understanding that produces an agitated awareness concerning this sinful nature and its influential power. God wants his people to fully understand what it means if and when they quote the following, Galatians  2: 20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me." To be crucified with Christ speaks directly to  nailing the flesh (old me, old you) to Calvary`s cross.


This is why Apostle Paul writes in Romans 8:5 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit." He goes further Romans 8:8 "So they that are in the flesh cannot please God." I cannot overemphasize the truth concerning the depth and pervasive power of the "flesh." I refer to how it produces internal division between emotions, the ability to reason, and the human will. These things are seated within the "soul."  As previously stated when Adam died spiritually God no longer viewed him as a living soul because his fleshly tendencies engulfed his soul and took control.


In the following passage Apostle Paul is analyzing his Christian conversion an it`s within reason to suggest that he was comparing the influence of his "old self" with the influence produced by his spiritual growth. Mind you, Paul`s spiritual growth was not based on his Hebrew lineage, or impressive theological credentials, but on the faith based intimate relationship he developed with the Lord Jesus.  You see, without a spiritual awakening and subsequent growth his introspection would not have accurately described the internal conflict caused by sin-filled fleshly tendencies. Observe Romans 7:14-18 " We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." 


Know this: fleshly tendencies of those who have no relationship with God prohibit them from functioning the way God intended. Above, Paul reveals how he wrestled with his own "old creature`s" hindering influence. This assures us that even after one receives salvation, as believers our fleshly tendencies are powerful enough to hinder us from grasping spiritual things as well. Make no mistake, I am not suggesting that we can not check our sin-filled fleshly tendencies. We must kill them when they arise. Again, it is important to recognize that above Paul acknowledges the existence of two natures warring within: the "old creature" and the "new creature." 


Paul further describes this truth in Ephesians 2:1-2 " As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts, Like the rest we were by nature objects of wrath." Its important to note that Paul is addressing people who had entered a relationship with God. In other words they were truly saved or born-again believers. However, Paul is emphasizing how these  believers did not need to live any longer under the pervasive control of their sinful tendencies. Since Paul was telling them that they no longer needed to live under the control of sin`s power, this tells us that although they were still being dominated by their "sinful nature," that hey did not have to allow sinful tendencies to dominate them.   To conclude this point, it`s notable to state that being led by the flesh, will consequently dull spiritual perception.  Oh yes! The human spirit is where people are God-conscious, the soul is where we have self-consciousness, and our physical bodies are where we have world-consciousness. Amen and Amen!