Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Body, Spirit and Soul - Part THREE

As I meditate on these things, another part overlooked before has surfaced. It's about the Rich man and Lazarus. I noticed the Rich man was in Hades and Lazarus in Abraham bosom or heaven. I would bring a verse from this reading to your attention. "Then he (Rich man) cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame'" (Luke 16:23). I have always thought that the Rich man wanted some temporary relief from the torments he was experiencing. But now I notice something else. I guess this is where 'reason' comes into play. He is what the years have made him. He asked for the tip of the finger to be dipped in water and applied to his tongue. Lazarus was in heaven. We need to ask the question, 'What water was available to him'? Let me share another verse with you. "I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts" (Rev. 21:6b). We now need to ask another question, 'Why the tongue'? Let me give you another verse of scripture. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21a). Now let's put this all together to see what the Rich man was actually asking to happen. The Rich man wanted Lazarus to go to the river of the water of life and to put his finger into it and then to place this water on his tongue. You would recall we have mentioned James 3:3, all about the tongue. A drop of this water would give him life and take away death. It is no wonder, God put in place a great gulf to stop those who would want to go from heaven to Hades, maybe to see some love one but also stop those who would now choose life rather than torment. Unfortunately, the time of grace for these has passed. Reading the verses in Revelation 21:3 to 8, verse 6 is all about the Lararuses and verse 8, all about the Rich men.    

Paul when writing to the Romans has this advice for them. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom.12:2). This is all about the imagination, conscience, memory, reason and affection. If we want to have a healthy mind, we need to have healthy thoughts, those which line up with the word of God. It is these thoughts which are going to feed our soul. So what does the Bible say about how we should renew our thoughts? Paul gives us the answer when writing to the Philippians. "Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, if there be any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things (Phil 4:8). By giving these place in our minds, our thoughts will be healthy and full of life, not only to us but also to those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying though us to them. As the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit (Rom. 8:16), the Holy Spirit will be producing, growing, developing the fruit of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23) into our spirit of man. This feeds our soul.  

Why then is our speaking so important to others and the Holy Spirit being able to bless others by what we say? Let me remind you of another verse which says, "No speaking your own words" (Isaiah 58:13b). The children of Israel had departed from speaking God's word and were using their own thoughts. As verse 6 says "Is this not the fast that I have chosen" (Isaiah 58:6). This is all about what God requires of us each. We need to renew our minds with His thinking which only comes through the Holy Spirit speaking to us and we in turn listening to what He is saying. This then renews our thoughts to line up with the chosen word to be spoken which again feeds not only others but our souls as well. This is not just head knowledge anymore, we have now spoken the word of God into our souls or as some would say, we have got it into our hearts. A true and healthy mind invigorates a very healthy soul, and isn't that what God requires? 

So I now come to the third part, the 'Soul'. 

Matthew leaves us in no doubt what the worth of our soul is to God, for he records these words of Jesus. "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul" (Matt. 16:26)? From this verse we can gain the insight that it is possible to lose your soul. It appears to be all about worldly wealth. Worldly wealthy in this context is about doing it all on your own without God being involved. I guess this is where the parable of the Rich Fool comes into play. You can read this in Luke 12:13 to 21. It appears this Rich man had I's disease. I will do this and I will do that. No mention of God. So what was the outcome? "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you'" (v20a). Again we see the first temptation coming to the fore. I can do this on my own without Gods help. So his body goes back to the dust it came from, God destroys his soul and his spirit is confined to hell for eternity.

It was only recently, I was subject to a most enlightening message about the 'Valley of dry bones'. You can read this account in Ezekiel 37:1 to 14. You would remember this was a valley filled with dry bones. The animals had obviously had their fill and picked them clean and the sun along with the other elements had done their best to leave these bones dried, parched, without any sign of life. They were now dry bones, some scattered all over the place as predators would have used them in making nests. I had always accepted this was about the house of Israel who would one day be bought back to life as our Bible tells us, but new revelations come as the Holy Spirit wills. Let me share a verse from this reading with you. "Thus says the Lord God to those bones; 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live"' (Ezek. 37:5). You see it's not about the bones, but all about the breath". "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 (Gen. 2:7). It wasn't until God breathed into the spirit of man was he given a soul to now make him a complete being made in the likeness of God. "Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness" (Gen.1:26a).

So now we have a trinity. As I understand this it is three separate but three being one.  Let me use the following verses for use in this area of thinking. "For there are three that bear witness in heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and theses three are one. And there are three that bear witness on earth; the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one (1John 5:7-8)". "He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself" (1John 5:10a). So here we have three in heaven and three on earth, those on earth an image or likeness of those in heaven. I see the Spirit, the water, and the blood reflected in the Tabernacle. You would remember when Jesus had died on the cross, the centurion pierced the side of Jesus and out flowed water and blood (John 19:34). Jesus had combined the Brazen Alter, representing the blood and the Laver representing the water in His own body, Him now being the Great High Priest to enter in through the Door. So how do these three in heaven line up with the three on earth? We need to do this so we can proceed. First we have the Father. I align God with requiring a blood sacrifice (Heb. 9:22). The Spirit instructing the spirit of man (Romans 8:16). The Word, is our body. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). It was only when the spirit of man was clothed in flesh did God breath into man and he became a living Soul (Gen. 2:7). The three were separate but became one. I see a difference between the two verses I have used, that of John 5:7 and 8. In v7 the three are One, where in v8 they are to agree as one. We only reflect the trinity as it is very possible for these three not to agree as one. Doesn't this now take us back to Romans 8 verses 1 to 17, regenerate and unregenerate man?

Three separate identities all in one place yet do they agree? It is only when we allow the Holy Spirit to nourish the spirit of man and we allow our mind to be renewed, will our soul be healthy, knowing the truth and as we know it is only the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). Our soul is under threat of death (Matt. 10:28). We are not yet a complete spiritual being. We are bound by the earthly restrictions, but there is coming a time when those in the body of Christ will become as He is (1Cor. 15:50-58). Let me share with you some verses from Timothy, Peter and John about the truth that sets us free.       

2 Tim. 2:24-26.  And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

2 Tim. 3:3-9. But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

2 Peter 1:1-4. Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

2 Peter 1:12-15. For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,  knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

2 Peter 2:1-3. But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

1 John 3:18-24. My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

3 John 2-4. I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

So I have now looked and defined my understanding of Body, Spirit and Soul. So now it is time to collate all the relevant information gleaned throughout this study. So what is now my understanding of this topic?

The Soul is the product of the spirit of man. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Gal. 5:22-23). It's a growing process. What our spirit produces determines our soul's condition. When we stand before God and He looks, examines our soul, if it contains evil or bad, it will be destroyed (Matt. 10:28). Just as the Church at Sardis was dead, God breathed into this church and the Philadelphian Church was born to once again live, but different to those of its past. The soul could now live again but when other things take the rightful place of the Holy Spirit, decay and rot sets in again and the church passes into the Laodicean Church. Here is the witness of a two congregation church representing the Church (Rev. 3:14-18) and the 'Body of Christ' (19-21). Here we have the Tares and Wheat (Matt. 13:24-30), Goats and Sheep (Matt. 25:31-46). The soul is dependent on what it is fed. This now poses a new question. What are we feeding our Soul? Have we, are we continually renewing our mind, which contains the thoughts to feed our soul and keep it acceptable to God?  

Part Three of Four

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