Peninsula Community Church
Body, Soul and Spirit
January, 26, 2014
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 – Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
This week I want to begin our “Body, Soul and Spirit” series. I have been praying about this study for some time and now feel that the time has come to begin. The question to be asked here, “Is why should we do a study such as this?” For me, I believe that as we study this together we will find that we will be better Christians, we will be more productive as agents of Christ in His ministry, and we will experience greater growth in Christ. I also believe that we can shed many of the unhealthy thoughts and false ideas about life and what it means to live a fulfilled Christian life.
The passage we just read will be our theme verse for this study. Throughout the study, we will supplement it with many other passages in the Bible. This particular passage is a part of Paul’s conclusion to I Thessalonians. This is a prayer prayed by Paul for those to whom he was writing. He prayed that their whole being which includes the spirit, soul, and body would be kept blameless to the coming of the Lord. His desire was for them to understand that this is an ongoing process of the recognition of what Christ has done in them and for them that results in their growth in purification and sanctification. It is also a message of hope that says that we must take action to be blameless but that God is doing the work of sanctification in them. It is a work that has already been achieved for them and continues to be achieved in them as they understand what He has done.
The basis of this study is founded in the fact that man is a creation of God. As a creation of God, man was created as a three-part being. This means that man is not just physical or spiritual but has at all times a physical, spiritual, and soul component. We find the story of creation in Genesis 2-3. Here, we find that man was created in God’s image. When we understand this concept of being created in His image, we understand that we are like Him as a three-part being. We are not three separate people but we are one person living with three components. These three parts make us who we are. They form our perceptions and our ideologies. These components also form and shape what others think of us. These components form the template through which the stimuli of life are processed.
While other creatures may live, they do not have life. In Genesis 2:7 it is important to see that God breathed life into man. Moses stated Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. The result of God breathing into man is that he became a living creature. This is the one thing more than any other sets man apart from the rest of God’s creation. God breathed into man and he was given life. Mankind was created to have life, to be a ruler over the rest of creation, and to enjoy all that God had created. How awesome is that?
While this is true, as you know by reading the Bible, the intent of God was upset when man sinned through Adam. When man fell into disobedience, all of life changed. Something died in man that day. Prior to the fall of man, he did not know pain, he did not know shame, he did not know failure, and he did not know sin. A second result of man’s sin that day was that the order of man’s created person was upset. Instead of living from the spirit and living from the life that had been breathed into him, man began living in distortion, lies, and doubt. Instead of living out of the spirit, man now lives by being driven by the body and/or the soul rather than from the spirit that had been breathed within him. It was at this juncture that man became disoriented about who he was and about his purpose here on earth. This is why we see Adam and Eve hiding from God. This is why we see that Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nakedness.
To understand God’s purpose in creating man and our role in life as a created being of God we must understand the role that our body, soul and spirit plays in determining how we live and what we we expect. When we have these in right alignment, we will experience life from a new perspective and a new vision of what is possible for us.
As noted we are a three-part being. God has created us as body, soul, and spirit. To understand these three parts, let me take a moment to explain what each of these parts represent. Please note that these definitions are simplistic, but we will look into each of these with more detail as we continue this study.
The body is that part of us that is visible. We see the body. It is obvious to us. The body involves the five senses. This includes smell, touch, vision, hearing, and taste. The body allows us to experience life through the senses. The body also helps to identify who we are to others.
Secondly, we have the soul. The soul is that part of man that involves the mind, the will, and the emotions. It is in the soul of man that the things he learns are processed. It is in the soul that God desires to bring change. The word soul can and is often exchanged for the word heart.
Finally, we have that part of man which is called the spirit. The spirit is that part of us that sets us apart from all other created beings. The spirit is that part of us that was breathed into by God himself. The spirit is that part of us that relates to God and begins to truly know God. It is for this reason that we can never be good enough to know God. We must accept God and Christ and his ways so that our spirit is aligned with God.
The problem we have is that when Adam sinned in the garden of Eden, man’s spirit died. It was darkened by sin. Christ came to restore life to man’s spirit. For that reason, it is only by God’s Spirit that our spirit is quickened. We are made alive again when God touches us and we become a new creation. Apart from the quickening of God’s spirit within us we are dead in our trespass and sin. For that reason, we can never be good enough to inherit the kingdom of God.
The following passage details this new life for us. Ephesians 2:1-7 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.