You are currently browsing the archives for the Theology category.
Sub Title – Are You Primarily A Soulish Person, Or A Spiritual Person?
God sometimes teaches us with illustrations and visible examples. Jesus used illustrations of farming and nature to make his points. The Apostle Paul spoke of athletics and the military, as well as alluding to the human body.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews also used the illustration of the human body to present a spiritual truth.
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of the nature of God’s Word; that it can cut through our thoughts and intentions. It can reveal our true motives compared to what we might be saying. We may verbalize something that is a 90% good thought with a 10% selfish motive. To the human listener, it may sound 100% good, but God’s word opens us up like a surgeon, and shows us what’s inside of us.
The writer makes two comparisons; he compares two groups of two things that coexist but are not the same. He says that soul and spirit can be divided, and he says that joints and marrow can be divided. A consideration of the dividing of joints and marrow will show us a spiritual truth, so we will start there. We’ll start with that which is visible and knowable.
Marrow grows in the bone. It is not bone, but it grows in the bone. I won’t go into what bone marrow does, but suffice it to say this: marrow grows in the bone but it is not bone, it is marrow.
Here is where things get amazingly interesting: Marrow is separated from bone by a porous membrane one cell thick. That is the thinnest of membranes possible. There is virtually almost “nothing” separating bone from marrow, but it is separated, and one is not the other. I spoke to four physicians about this, including an oncologist and a retired surgeon who teaches.
The writer of Hebrews uses that anatomical truth to illustrate this spiritual truth: Soul and spirit are as close as they can be, but they are not the same thing. They almost are the same thing, but they are not the same thing.
That observation begs for definitions, and this is where things can get tricky, but here is what I think.
The soul of a man is that which pertains to all the intangible aspects of that natural (not born again) man. The soul speaks of desire, thoughts, passions, emotions, and the appreciation for art, music, movies. The soul wants things, rejects other things, likes and hates things, feels things, etc. It is that part of you that isn’t physical. It’s that part of you that gets really happy or miserably sad.
The soul can be moved by a good movie, inspired by the Olympics, or enraged at injustice.
Here is another verse that seems to point to the triune nature of man.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV) Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some say that body and soul are synonymous while others make a differentiation. I am obviously in the camp that believes humans are triune creatures: body, soul and spirit.
For all that the soul is… it isn’t spirit. The spirit seems to be that part of man that is made alive when one becomes “born again”.
John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
I’ll leave you with this observation, and try to develop in more in my next article, but I’ll end with this thought: If soul and spirit both exist, but are different, then how can we know the difference between a soulish experience and a spiritual experience?
I think that many people wrongly interpret soulish experiences, thinking they are spiritual experiences.
If you don’t know the story of Chicken Little, here is a brief synopsis.
The main line of the story has to do with a chicken who has an acorn fall on her head, and then proclaims “the sky is falling”. The point that I get from the story is that the chicken over-reacts to an event, and makes more of it than what it actually is.
Among the Body of Christ, there may be some that have the Chicken Little mentality regarding the re-election of Barack Hussein Obama. They might be believing that all is lost, that the nation is crumbling, and that the end is near.
In some ways I agree, but I am not wringing my hands this morning after America has re-elected Obama. I did not vote for him, and I don’t like his philosophy of how to run a country. I do believe that our nation is deteriorating on a moral level. I would not be surprised to see a total financial collapse in my lifetime. I would not be surprised if eventually the Church has to go under ground.
I worry about my children and grandchildren’s future. In many ways, life may be harder for them than it has been for me.
But…none of this should surprise or undermine the faith of the Bible believing Christian. We have been told ahead of time how things will come to a close.
1 Timothy 3:1-5a 1But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power.
If you are a Bible believing Christian, you have been taught that such things will increasingly come to pass as time goes on. Election 2012 should not shake you, if you view the results as lining up with this passage.
Dear brethren: The church of Jesus Christ shall not fail. Jesus said so. Matthew 16:18 tells us, “on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it“.
Finally, I direct your hearts to this incredible passage in Ephesians. Take time today to think on this passage. Take it in deeply. It is an amazing truth.
Ephesians 1:15-23 15Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,21far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.22And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
May I invite you to read my sermon notes on this passage? They can be found here. God’s great power is working in us, His people, His church.
If, like Chicken Little, we focus on the fact that “the sky is falling”, remember that we are saved by the God who owns the heavens.
Psalm 89:11 11 The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them.
My hope for every Follower of Jesus is that we would not be like Chicken Little, who had nothing but a sense of doom and gloom, but that we be Believers who understand the increasing severity of the world’s situation would have more hope than anyone on the planet.
Maranatha…come Lord Jesus.
I spent a few hours today on another blog debating the idea of God’s direct intervention in leading His children. The general camps were divided as follows:
1. Yes, God still “speaks” to His children through His Word, through revelations of different sorts including prophecy, circumstances, and through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, etc.
2. No, God gave us His Word, and we ought not to lean towards anything more than that. Love God and do as you please, and things will work out because God is sovereign, and He is good.
That is a simplification of what was said today.
I happen to believe both of those ideas, but that isn’t the point of this article.
Some of the brethren “seemed” to base their theological position upon the excesses of “the other camp”. I won’t even mention what their positions were, or what their arguments were, because that isn’t the main point here.
The Main Point Here Is…it seems as though when we see excesses in a certain camp, it make us sure that our camp is correct, because they obviously make lots of mistakes “over there”.
When the debate started, strong convictions were given. What was revealing though, was that instead of Scriptures leading the way in the argument, the excesses and mistakes from “those other guys” were offered up as evidence “against them” and “for us”. Let me add that none of it was done in a mean or unloving way.
When Biblical evidence was asked for, the formerly “compelling argument” became a bit less compelling, and I felt, concessions were made.
I must admit, that I was challenged in this as well. Is MY theology strongly based on Scripture, or is it equal parts of Scripture, personal experience, and the avoidance of what others do?
What is the point here? Glad that you asked.
We need to be very careful to not build a theology on…
1. Someones else’s bad experiences, or…
2. Our good experiences and comfort levels.
The truth in such topics like “How Does God Lead His Children?” are not airtight, and are not, in my opinion, essentials of the faith.
We should have an opinion on such things. We should have strong opinions.
I hope that our opinions are based more on God’s revealed Word than on experiences, whether ours or other people’s.