Body, Soul & Spirit
Part 1: Our Foundation
It is important that we make it very clear that the message we dare to call the "total truth," which is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27), is not a message for the unsaved. We are all spirit people and every living person is operated by an indwelling spirit. The problem is that all unsaved people are operated by the spirit of error-Satan (Eph. 2:1). The popular message prevalent in our day is that everyone has god within, and all we have to do is recognize the fact that he is there.
The idea of the human race being spirit-indwelt and spirit-operated is not exclusively a biblical idea. It is a belief that is widespread in today’s world. The difference in the world view of that idea and the biblical view is that the world says that everyone contains god at their center and all one has to do to be complete is to recognize that fact.
The Bible says something very different. Yes, the Bible says we all have a god within that is our master and operator, but-and it is a huge "but" (a "but" that divides the entire human race, those both living and dead, into two entirely different kingdoms)-there are two different indwelling spirit operators and everyone is operated by one or the other of the two. The unsaved are operated by the spirit of error, or Satan, (I John 4:6) and they are members of Satan’s kingdom, the kingdom of darkness. The saved (born-again) are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, and they are members of His kingdom, the kingdom of light.
To tell people they are spirit operated and not make a clear distinction between the two spirit operators is very dangerous. To unsaved people, this statement puts them in danger of thinking that the god within them is the one true God. This lie gives them a false sense of security and thus they remain in their lost state of sin. Of course, we know that our operator changes when we accept Christ as our Savior and we become born-again-the spirit of error (Satan) exits at our new birth and the Holy Spirit enters, filling us with His spirit life.
I had a personal experience recently that illustrates what I am saying here. Virginia Brown and I got into a conversation with someone that shocked us to the core. The gentleman we talked to spoke of being Godindwelt, and we echoed back our agreement. The conversation continued along spirit lines and he chimed right in, seemingly in total agreement with what we were saying. Then Virginia asked him the great dividing question: "Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?" His answer stunned both of us. "No," he said. "Jesus Christ is merely an idea, not a person.
Whoa! I thought. We’re on a track we didn’t know we were on. We were dealing with a full-fledged "New Ager." Much New Age thought sounds very similar to what we believe and teach. But what puts us in two entirely different camps is that the New Agers do not believe in Jesus Christ, sin, the Cross, and the atonement. They believe Christ was a good prophet.
We were not talking to an idiot. He was an ex-professional who had done well in the world, had become ill and went into a strange kind of treatment that had gotten his cirrhosis of the liver and rheumatoid arthritis under control. He had been reared a Roman Catholic but as an adult had embraced some rather strange beliefs. Before our conversation about Christ ended, he told us he believed that Jesus Christ came from another planet. He was serious, and we weren’t laughing. We were not talking to a long-haired, pot smoking, freaky type guy. He went on to say that on the planet Jesus came from they had learned how to live in harmony and love, and Jesus came to this planet to teach us to live the same way. This teaching that Christ brought from His planet was so strange and extreme that He was crucified for what He taught.
He looked at us and said, "What you all say is so strange and extreme that I’m sure you all are being persecuted for your teaching." He knew enough to know that! He made some statement about Jesus, and I said, "Well, several things about Jesus that are different from any other prophet are, number one, He raised people from the dead, and, number two, He, Himself, was resurrected." He agreed with me about these two points, but said that Jesus raising Lazarus was a mistake because in doing it, He almost drained the mother ship of all its energy. Even though he agreed with us about Jesus’ death and resurrection, he denied the ascension. His idea was that Jesus was living on a mountain some-where in the Himalayas. He continued by telling us that he had talked to people who lived on this mountain in the Himalayas, too, who had talked to Jesus Christ.
No, we were not laughing. The conversation was too heartbreaking to laugh. The idea that an intelligent, educated person in the twentieth century could take the Savior and His atonement and turn Him into a science fiction character made me angry and sad at the same time.
A conversation I later had with a Protestant minister left me with the same feelings. Virginia was with me, and this minister was someone we had just met. We asked him to tell us about his church and what he preached. His answer was vague so Virginia asked him if he preached basic born-again stuff. He answered, "Oh goodness no! Not that!"
Of course we didn’t let the subject drop, and we kept on this same line. (We were driving in a car and I’m sure he would have liked to have leapt out of the window because of our persistence.) He said that the basic salvation message was much too simplistic. I continued to press the point by saying it wasn’t too simple for Jesus. His reply to my statement was that this kind of preaching would offend his congregation. I reminded him that Jesus didn’t mind talking about being born again. He argued back that it was Nicodemus who made this statement. "No," I quickly answered, "Jesus said that, not Nicodemus." It flabbergasted me that a minister with a seminary degree was so unfamiliar with the glorious Chapter 3 of John’s gospel.
When I’ve seen this minister since our conversation, he has had a hard time looking me in the eye. Of course, my fear is that this man is trying to lead a flock when he doesn’t have direction himself. We must know The Director to have direction ourselves. However, even those of us who do know God through His Son, often miss the full meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection and what it means for us in our daily lives.
Two Aspects of the Cross
Jesus did two things when He died on the Cross at Calvary. But we usually start out understanding and knowing only the first experience-the cleansing by His blood. Your sins are washed away by the Blood. The Bible says, "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin." I should pre-cede that by saying that the Bible also says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." So that includes everybody. Everyone has sinned and comes short of what God intends for man to be. Jesus shed His blood on that Cross for the remission of sins. Have you ever thought about where the blood came from or what caused the blood to flow out of Christ? Did you realize that the piercing of his side was where the blood and the water flowed out of? That was the flow. So, we understand that originally Jesus died for our sins and His blood was poured out on Calvary; therefore, our sins are forgiven. But, that didn’t totally answer my problem because sins were not my problem and sins, whether you know it or not, are not your problem. Sins are merely a byproduct of a deeper problem.
In the Old Testament, once a year on the Day of Atonement the high priest offered special sacrifices for the children of Israel to pay for the sins they had committed that year. The next year they had to go through this same process again. That would tell you that the sin problem was not answered. Then when Christ died for us, our sins were forgiven by our being washed in His blood.
As wonderful as that is, it does not fix the problem. Even after being born-again, we continued to sin. For me, I knew that when Jesus Christ hung on the Cross, He looked at every sin that man ever had and ever would commit. As He hung there, He looked at my life–not just the world and all its sin. He looked at me from the day I was born until the day I died, and He said, "I’ll pay for that." And I would think, "Since Jesus Christ has paid for my sins from the beginning of my life to the end of my life, that should make me so grateful that I would quit sinning."
But the problem was that I would keep sinning. I kept doing the very things I didn’t want to do. Paul says this in Romans 7. All the things I wanted to do-be nice to my mother, get along with my brother, be a better mother to my children, be a better wife to my husband, be a better Christian, witness more, pray more -I was devastated that I wasn’t doing. So the day came when this glorious washing of the blood and the forgiving of my sins wasn’t enough. Now, if you are any-thing like me, having this problem would make you feel guilty. And I thought that the fact that He died for me ought to keep me from being in such turmoil about my life. So, I had guilt and condemnation over the fact that the blood part of Calvary wasn’t enough to keep me from sinning.
The Body Death of Christ
Later in my life, Norman Grubb taught me the second aspect of the Cross. I heard him teach on this point many times, and finally the light dawned. I began to have a glimmer of understanding of what he was saying. The central part of our message hinges around the second part of the Cross: the body death of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that when Christ went to the Cross, "He became sin for us" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
That’s a mysterious thing, isn’t it? And why would He have to become sin? He had to because we are that. And for Jesus to die for us and to take care of sin for us, He has to be that. He can’t be one thing and take care of something for us that He is not. That doesn’t make any sense. That would be impossible. So for sin-the root of sin being Satan, evil itself-to be taken care of in man, then Jesus had to take on man’s sin nature. The Bible says that "one died for all, and therefore all died" (2 Cor. 5:14). So when He died on Calvary, you and I died there also. Everybody in the world that has ever lived or ever will live died in Jesus Christ on Calvary.
Am I saying that everybody is saved or will end up saved and in Heaven with God? No, I’m not! Nobody goes to hell because of their sins because all sin was paid for on Calvary. They go to hell because of their unbelief. They do not accept the truth that their sins are paid for and their sin nature-who they were-was taken care of on Calvary. Eternal life only becomes yours as you see this truth and are willing to receive it for yourself. So in Him we died. And those of us that have accepted Him as our personal Saviour know that His death has made new life a reality for us.
Now to get that clearer in your mind, think about death. The Bible says that on Calvary, all died. What is death? Death means the spirit leaving the body-the exit of spirit. So, when Christ became sin for us, He took on that sin spirit, and in His death and burial the sin spirit was out. As we accept Christ’s experience by faith, what happened to Him happens to us. The sin spirit indwelling us is out. Jesus was resurrected by God’s Spirit-life raising Him from the dead. We are quickened-made alive spiritually-by this same Spirit.
Jesus had to become sin. (Satan and sin mean exactly the same thing. I am not talking about deeds, I am talking about a person). We do not have to become sin because we are born that way. "You are of your father the Devil and the lusts of your Father you do"(John 8:44). You came into this world like that, and so did I. So we didn’t suddenly take on that Satan-nature; we didn’t suddenly become sin-we came here sin. That is how we differ from Jesus.
So as we die in Him, the sin spirit that we entered this earth with goes out in that death. And we have to be resurrected because we have a human spirit, but that spirit cannot operate us independently of a supernatural spirit. So if God did not quicken us and give us His spirit, we’d still be dead spiritually. We wouldn’t be Satan indwelt; we would just be inoperable because human spirit cannot operate our soul/body without supernatural spirit in union with it. So the old spirit of Satan is out. For us to have new, resurrected life, we must be quickened and brought back from the dead into new life in the same way that Jesus was-the Holy Spirit enters us.
Through that death, our old nature-the spirit of Satan-is out and the new Spirit of God, the person of Jesus Christ is in us. Where is He in us? He is one with our spirit. The Bible says, "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (1 Cor. 6:17). If I put my two hands together, you can see that they are joined together, but they are still distinctly separate. One hand does not mesh into or become the other. You must understand that Christ does not become you and you do not become Christ. There forever remains a duality in the union.
Imagine an artist’s palette with a dab of blue paint and a dab of yellow paint squirted on it. That’s the way you remain in your union. God represents one color and you remain the other. Many people mistakenly envision that our union is like this: that if you took a palette knife and thoroughly mixed those two colors together, blue would disappear and yellow would disappear and you would end up with green. But as I said before, there is duality (blue and yellow, not green) in the union. Both are vital. The Bible talks about it this way: you are in Christ and Christ is in you. Somehow there is a mix-up there, but it doesn’t ever say that you become Christ or Christ becomes you.
A Common Misconception
One of the problems that arise when we say we are in union with Christ and that we become one spirit with Him is that we have a hard time fitting sin into this equation. It would seem that the Holy Spirit would so dominate our union that His will would then automatically eclipse our freedom to choose and sinning for us would be impossible. If we become one with Christ, are we then unable to sin? Or does Christ sin as part of the union? Of course we must say no to both of these suppositions because from Scripture and experience two things are very clear: Christians (union people) do sin, and Christ has never sinned and never will sin.
I know people have this misunderstanding because when I first started catching on to union, that’s what I thought. I thought the part of me that was me was my body and my soul, and I was not aware that I had human spirit. I thought I was something like a hand-puppet: the part of me that was in the union was the souUbody and the part of God was the spirit. So the "me" part was the puppet part and the God part was the hand. That was good news to me because in that illustration I began to see that God was responsible for the operation of me. I was so desperate and hated the way I was so much that that was wonderful news.
But I could not understand who sinned or where sins came from. I would think "I’ll work that out later." Then I came to understand that I had a human spirit which at the new birth became joined to the Holy Spirit ("He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit").
Having laid this necessary foundation of the Body and Blood aspects of the Cross, we will next examine how we operate as free Christ indwell vessels.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 13 No 4
- What is this Human Self of Ours?
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Body, Soul & Spirit
- 1997 Irish Conference Report
- Zerubbabel Focus: Living Links
- Excerpt from Who Am I?
- Summer Camp: Moving Forward
- Z-Youth at Camp
- From Fear to Feedom
- Questions & Answers
- Tape Talk
- Area Fellowship News: Wisconsin Fellowship
- Excerpt from Who Am I?
- The Mailbox
- To Think About…
- To Think About…
- Words to Live By…