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The Relationship of Flesh and Spirit; Physical Things vs. Spiritual Things

Your body

Jesus inside "Ye MUST be born again" (John 3:7 KJV)

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
(John 3:5-6 KJV)

Each man and woman born into this world is a being made of three (3) distinct components:

"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."
(1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV)

1: The BODY. This is your PHYSICAL component of being. It is flesh made from a collection of unremarkable mineral elements (but is mostly water) and is in harmony with the nature and spirit of this world. It grows, matures, begins to deteriorate, eventually dies, and then decomposes back into its constituent elements and remains a part of the dust of the world. The body is a part of you but is NOT ALL of what defines who YOU are.

"And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,"
(Proverbs 5:11 KJV)

2: The SOUL. This is who YOU are; it is a part of your SPIRITUAL component. This is your individuality, your "I AM" so to speak (made in God's image), your "heart." Although your individual soul did not exist before your mother and father procreated you, it will exist forever. When your flesh dies, your soul goes on living forever.

"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
(Matt. 10:28 KJV)

When your body dies your soul (YOU) will leave the body of flesh:

"And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin."
(Genesis 35:18 KJV)

3: The SPIRIT. And this is a little more complex to explain. Every man, woman and child is born with a sin-nature (spirit) and a carnal mind that naturally is at enmity with the Law of God.

"But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of."
(Luke 9:55 KJV)

Where your soul spends eternity after it departs is determined by your personal relationship to God (saved or unsaved). You are an eternal being, made in God's image.  In fact, the Bible says that you are a "god" (small "g"):

"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?"
(John 10:34 KJV)

"So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
(Gen 1:27 KJV)

But you don't have the Holy Spirit of God within you because of Adam's transgression. By virtue of his disobedience, you inherited his sin-nature. And in order to be saved, your spirit must be reborn. The unsaved man or women who have only the first birth are in eternal danger. Since the body and soul of the unsaved man or woman are bonded to the dead spirit of this present world, when this world's physical elements and spiritual components (including "Death") are cast into the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:13-15), those eternal souls, living or already dead, will perish with them. You can't change yourself from this nature, but God can change you if you accept His Gift of Salvation by His Grace.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
(John 3:16 KJV)

The key word is BELIEVE that Jesus is the Son of God, receive His forgiveness for being a sinner (by nature) and accept His free Gift of eternal life. It's as simple as that, but understanding why this is God's plan of salvation requires faith in Him to do it. He will, if you trust Him to.

So, what exactly is the difference between the relationship of the unsaved soul and the saved soul? What does being "Born Again" actually mean? The answer is something that God does for you at the moment you accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior: An OPERATION.

Have you ever been operated on by a doctor? The doctor uses a knife to cut away something that is diseased. Well, God's "operation" is similar. Using the Sword of the Lord instead of a scalpel, the Great Physician (Luke 5:31) severs the direct (but unseen) connection between your soul and your flesh:

"For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
(Heb. 4:12 KJV)

"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead."
(Col. 2:12 KJV)

This "operation" is a spiritual circumcision. Your flesh is cut away from your soul and you are given God's Spirit by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit:

"But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God."
(Romans 2:29 KJV)

Don't misunderstand the above verse. God does not make you a 'spiritual Jew' when he saves you, but he does adopt you into His family, whether you are a Jew or a Gentile.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
(Galatians 3:28 KJV)

After you have accepted the free gift of salvation through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as you grow and mature in the Lord (your continuing sanctification), you will begin to notice some changes in how you think. You will find that your heart (soul) grows more and more in agreement with God and His law (which is spiritual), but your flesh will still want to go the way of the world. All true born-again Christians have a split personality, so to speak. And even when you work not to sin (you don't work to stay saved), sin still happens along your path of Christian growth. Paul sums it up quite well in the book of Romans:

"I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
(Romans 7:21-25 KJV)

Your soul is saved, but your flesh, your present physical body, is still dead and cannot be salvaged. It will perish and return to the Earth. (You get a new body later.) Your present flesh will still lust to do those things that are unlawful, while at the same time your heart and the Spirit will condemn those thoughts and feelings and empower you to avoid the temptation. But no Christian is perfect in the flesh, and as you go through this life you will sometimes give in to those feelings and will sin in the flesh (but not in your heart).

FACT: The flesh of Christian people still wants to sin after they are saved:

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."
(1 John 1:8 KJV)

"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:"
(1 John 2:1 KJV)

When this happens, and the guilt begins to set in, the Christian starts worrying about losing his/her salvation or committing the unpardonable sin. Well, it can't happen. FACT: It is NOT POSSIBLE for a Christian's SOUL to sin, because that soul has been born again by His (God's) seed into God's family:

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."
(1 John 3:9 KJV)

After you are saved, and as your heart knowledge about God's love grows in your Christian walk, you will begin understanding FROM THE HEART the effects of sin and lawlessness on yourself and others. And as you begin to love others as you love yourself, and strive to do unto others as you would have others do unto you, you will find that you are changing and that change comes from the heart by the indwelling Holy Spirit and the Grace of God, by faith in Him.

Physical circumcision is permanent and cannot be reversed; once that flesh is cut away it is gone forever. The same metaphor applies to circumcision of the heart; once that body of flesh is cut away your soul can't be reattached to it. And Praise God for that!

Salvation is the FREE GIFT of God and eternal; it is not earned (or retained) by good works:

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
(Romans 3:23 KJV)

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
(Gal 2:16 KJV)

If you are not good enough to earn it, why do so many Christian people think that they can un-earn it? Once you have given your soul to God it is His forever! If you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are loved of God and don't have to worry about holding onto God because HE WILL HOLD ONTO YOU.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
(Romans 8:38-39 KJV)

Jesus carrying the cross

This He did for YOU!

"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
(John 3:18 KJV)

You will find a very helpful in-depth study of these things on our pages: The Doctrine of Salvation and Doctrines of Grace

In the next chapter we will study the role of Geology in Middle East end-times prophecy.

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The Dead Sea Geology and End Times Prophecy





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Gaines R. Johnson, D.D., D.Th.
The Bible, Genesis & Geology Ministry

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