Spirit Soul and Body
In the old days, before we were reborn, the word order of the above heading
was the other way around - body soul and spirit. Any of you older generation
will doubtless remember the "All Time Great" song of the thirties called
Body and Soul.
When we are in the world, that is unconverted, our purpose in life is to
satisfy the wants of our persons. In the prosperous parts of the world
this would entail purchasing a motor car with built-in air-conditioning:
In the third world this would entail having enough to eat to "keep body
and soul together."
In other writings we have seen that mankind, that is all men and women,
are made up of a body, a soul and a spirit.
The purpose of the natural man is to satisfy the wants of the body and
the soul. This is supposed to bring comfort and ease to life. Unwelcome
for some, God also placed a spirit inside us, and although half dead and
in bondage to Satan, this spirit recognises its Creator and causes the
soul to realise that something is wrong with the self-life.
This soul searching is carried out to a lesser or greater extent until
the soul either rejects the promptings of the spirit or responds.
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power
of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the
wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom,
which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes
of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified
the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared
for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his
Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which
is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of
God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit
which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to
us of God.
(1 Corinthians 2:5-12)
So, we see that the spirit of natural man, which through the sin of Adam
is a slave to Satan, prompts his soul, which is in a state of guilty rebellion:
His soul prompts the body into obedience for the satisfying of the soul.
Let's look at the three parts that make up humankind separately.
This is the physical doer of the three. It gets us to work on time so that
the body can be fed and the soul comforted by the senses - the desires
of the heart such as music.
The body can dominate the soul in certain circumstances, sometimes called
the lusts of the flesh. An example of this is when adultery or fornication
is contemplated. The soul might know that this is sin, but depending on
the degree of rebellion, may allow the needs of the body to be satisfied.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he
that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
(1 Corinthians 6:18)
This loudmouth partner of the triumvirate is the one which controls the
actions of the body. (He) usually disdains the prompting of the spirit
and orders the body around for their mutual comfort. This part is made
up of one's will, mind, etc. This is the real I. As shall be shown
later, the soul is the only part of the triumvirate that we have control
of. Our soul seems to be what makes us different to the animals.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
This is the part that natural man knows the least about, probably because
he is the silent partner. The soul can decide to listen to the promptings
of the spirit, or not. We all have a spirit and it's God given.
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth
forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth
the spirit of man within him.
...because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the
pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall
return unto God who gave it.
The spirit seems to be the conscience, in Walt Disney terms, our "Jiminy
Cricket" that convicts us of our sins.
Before we are converted, the spirit part of our Old Man can be influenced
by Satan. How we resist his evil intentions is monitored by God who made
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and
in whose spirit there is no guile.
He also rewards us accordingly:
He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he
delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according
to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the
ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
At certain times the soul unwillingly loses control of the body. For example
due to the bite of a mosquito the person contracts malaria. Here you (your
body and soul) feels terrible - headache, shivering with cold under a heap
of blankets one minute and shortly thereafter sweating like a pig with
a high temperature. A very unpleasant experience.
There may be certain times when the soul willingly gives up control of
the body; usually directly as when taking drugs, or if control is handed
over to spiritual forces. For example when one "loses his sanity."
When the willing loss of control is more indirect, in the form of obedience
to outside forces, either temporal or spiritual. For example when you become
a soldier for your country in times of war; or a soldier of God in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When our spirit successfully convicts our soul of our soulishness and evil
intentions, often as a result of a singular occurrence or cataclysm in
our lives; and by faith believe that there is a Higher Being, that He is
Righteous and Holy, also that He sent His only Son to die on our behalf,
both bodily and soulishly; are prepared to act upon it, and do so; thereafter
despising our former self (soulishness) and turning away from it consciously
- then God places His Spirit inside us, switches on the power of our spirit,
and the order in which things happen is completely turned around. This
change in us is more fully explained in other writings1.
Now our lives operate in the order of Spirit(spirit), soul and body.
With the power now switched on, we become aware of spiritual things and
God's providence becomes evident to our renewed senses. We each submit
our wills (souls) to God and our spirit now becomes the dominant partner.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for
they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because
they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Corinthians 2:14)
This is still the real me, but we have each now willed to give up control
thereof to our spirit, which in turn belongs to God through His Holy Spirit.
We operate according to the Spirit and can allow God's power to be released
through us to a lesser or greater extent.
Someone once wrote:
Miracles are wrought by spiritual power. Spiritual power is always proportioned
to our faith.
Let's have a look at a most revealing Scripture:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ
Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
We see that there is no condemnation for those who walk according to the
Spirit. This surely means then, that those who don't walk after the Spirit
but after the flesh shall have condemnation. What a significant Truth.
Unfortunately Satan has succeeded in removing the meaningful phrases from
the newer bible versions to confuse the unwary and unrepentant.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit
unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another
with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for
(1 Peter 1:22-23)
Here's something interesting and revealing:
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit
searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth
the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the
things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received,
not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might
know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we
speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy
Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness
unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually
discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself
is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may
instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
(1 Corinthians 2:10-16)
There is confusion in certain circles concerning judging one another2.
The person stating such a thing reveals his/her confusion between discerning
and condemning. This is usually as a result of not living according to
Just a lump of flesh and blood that shall be buried one day:
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower
of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But
the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the
gospel is preached unto you.
(1 Peter 1:24-25)
In the light of the above, we can now understand the following passage
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor
effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous,
nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom
of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified,
but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of
our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient:
all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power
of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy
both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the
Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord,
and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies
are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and
make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not
that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall
be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he
that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye
not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,
which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a
price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are
(1 Corinthians 6:9-20)
We see here at the last that our bodies and spirits belong to God. For
We dealt with the subject of charity a couple of years back, not so. Let's
look at it again in the light of the increased knowledge that we have been
given by the Holy Spirit since then. In effect we are now higher up the
spiritual path and can look back with new eyes.
It would be a good plan to go back and read the article again to prepare
our minds for what is to come.
Here's the Scripture passage again:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity,
I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though
I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all
knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains,
and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to
feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have
not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and
is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed
up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily
provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in
the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things,
endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be
prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall
cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we
know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is
come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child,
I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but
when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through
a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall
I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these
three; but the greatest of these is charity.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-13)
If we look carefully it shall be noticed that charity is an attitude of
the soul. Paul compares gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, faith and
speaking in tongues, which are given to us; to an attitude on our part
as a result of learning and willing to be charitable.
In verse eight he says that charity shall never fail. We see also that
charity is controlled by us, but those who get God's gifts are controlled
by Him and we'll only know His purpose once we become perfect (resurrected).
The last verse sums it up. As we have previously seen, faith comes in four
parts; hope is as a result of faith, but charity is self (soul) propagating.
Okay, so what happens to our souls when our bodies die?
My friend, this is one of the deep things of God. The knowledge has always
been there in the shadows, but needs to be taken out and polished and placed
on the mantelpiece of our minds, so that every time we look at it we are
reflected in it and shall eventually learn to live by the reality of it.
This is why Paul could exclaim:
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live
are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus
might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us,
but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is
written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and
therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise
up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things
are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving
of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but
though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day
by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for
us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look
not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:
for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which
are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house
of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan,
earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are
in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would
be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of
life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God,
who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we
are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body,
we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are
confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body,
and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present
or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done
in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be
good or bad.
(2 Corinthians 4:10 - 5:10)
Here are the key verses:
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at
home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(2 Corinthians 5:6)
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according
to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
(1 Peter 1:17)
... .confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Each one of us, the real me; the everlasting me; the soul; is only on
this present world for a very short period of time of about seventy years.
Thereafter we move on.
Our earthly body is buried and rots away and our spirit returns to God
who gave it. Thus, the only part that we can control the destiny of is
our soul. It's our unchanging soul that either suffers in the lake of fire,
or is eventually welcomed into the New Jerusalem.
Jesus of Nazareth had this to say:
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.
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the
whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange
for his soul?
Now concerning those chosen ones who shall meet the Lord in the air. They
shall have incorruptible bodies.
But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what
body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened,
except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that
shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his
own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one
kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes,
and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and
bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the
glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one
glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the
stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption;
it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in
glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural
body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there
is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made
a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit
that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural;
and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth,
earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the
earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the
heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne
the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you
a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound,
and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For
this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must
put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to
pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death,
where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting
of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour
is not in vain in the Lord.
(1 Corinthians 15:35-58)
Our souls will probably reside in these resurrected, spiritual bodies and
we shall receive the rewards due to us while in our earthly bodies.
**A Psalm of David.** LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall
dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness,
and speaketh the truth in his heart.
Here's another thought provoking fact:
At the time of the saints coming to judge the world with their Master,
the Lord Jesus Christ, it would seem that they shall remain unchanged for
one thousand years while the rest of humanity carry on in their human bodies.
This means that they shall see some forty generations pass by before their
eyes, or fourteen lifetimes, before Satan is loosed.
Here's some beautiful prose to close with:
I went one night to hear an address on consecration. No special message
came to me from it, but as the speaker kneeled to pray, he dropped this
sentence: "O Lord, Thou knowest we can trust the Man that died for us."
And that was my message. I rose and walked down the street to the train;
and as I walked, I pondered deeply all that consecration might mean to
my life and - I was afraid. And then, above the noise and clatter of the
street traffic came to me the message: "you can trust the Man that died
I got into the train to ride homeward; and as I rode, I thought of the
changes, the sacrifices, the disappointments which consecration might mean
to me and - I was afraid.
I reached home and sought my room, and there upon my knees I saw my
past life. I had been a Christian, an officer in the church, a Sunday-school
superintendent, but had never definitely yielded my life to God.
Yet as I thought of the darling plans which might be baffled, of the
cherished hopes to be surrendered, and the chosen profession which I might
be called upon to abandon - I was afraid.
I did not see the better things God had for me, so my soul was shrinking
back; and then for the last time, with a swift rush of convicting power
came to my innermost heart that searching message:
"My child, you can trust the Man that died for you. If you cannot
trust Him whom can you trust?"
That settled it for me, for in a flash I saw that the Man who so loved
me as to die for me could be absolutely trusted with all the concerns of
the life He had saved.
Friend, you can trust the Man that died for you. You can trust Him to
baffle no plan which is not best to be foiled, and to carry out every one
which is for God's glory and your highest good. You can trust Him to lead
you in a path which is the very best in the world for you.
"Just as I am, thy love unknown,
Has broken every barrier down,
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine ALONE,
O Lamb of God, I come!"
This reality is probably the reason why the Protestant martyr, Hugh Latimer,
just prior to being burned at the stake at Oxford England in October 1555
together with his friend, was able to state:
Be of good comfort Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day
light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never
be put out.
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came
in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities
forsake their own mercy.
Life is not salvage to be saved out of the world, but
an investment to be used in the world.
1 See Heart of the Gospel and Our Old Man.
2 See the article of the same name.