Body, Soul, and Spirit
In this fresh offering, Page shares the only answer to her inability to live up to the biblical standards of a right lifeand basis of our total truth message.
I am assuming if you have chosen to read this article that you have accepted Christ as your Savior, and you consider yourself to be a born-again Christian. If this is the case, then maybe you are at the place I was spiritually after I had been a Christian for a number of years. I knew God’s requirements for living a Godly Christian life and I wasn’t fooled into thinking that I even came close to meeting those requirements. My heartache was that I desperately wanted to “live right,” as I called it, and be the kind of person, both inside and out, that I knew God required me to be. No matter how hard I struggled to do this I missed the mark most of the time. I thought I had found the answer to my problem the first time I can remember reading Romans 7. I thought, this is me! I am just like Paul in that the very things I wanted to do and knew I ought to do I found impossible to do. And the things I didn’t want to do and knew I shouldn’t do, that is what I did continually. And, like Paul, I certainly considered this a wretched way of life! But I thought since the great and beloved Paul has experienced the same failures that I had, maybe this was it and it was the best any of us would ever be able to do this side of heaven. I mistakenly began to consider Romans Seven the normal Christian life.
This conclusion gave me no peace, however. My conscience and the Bible convicted me that my failure to obey Gods commands was sin, and in order to be a right person in His eyes, I had to stop sinning and live a righteous life. But as I have already said, the question that had me in a hopeless state was how to do it. I hope it is your question too, and if it is, stick with me because I am going to give you the answer. (Isnt it good news right there that there is an answer?)
The answer, as I have come to know and experience it, came in the form of the message that I, along with many others (namely my mentor and teacher Norman Grubb who first taught me these truths from Gods word), boldly say is the Total Truthsimply meaning that we are total humans who contain a Total God: He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17).
The basis of this total truth message is that there is no such thing as an independent self-operating self. The idea of anything or anyone in Gods universe being independent of the creator-God is a lie. This lie began with Satan. Im sure you know that Satan, originally named Lucifer, was created to be Gods lightbearer. His position in the universe as Gods servant did not suit him. Because of his pride and ambition, he chose to disobey God and reject His authority. Satan defiantly declared himself equal with God as though he had a self-operating nature of his own. Of course, this was his own trumped-up idea. It is obvious, isnt it, that the creature can never be equal with its Creator. This act of disobedience was the first sin ever committed in Gods glorious universe and this is the Original Sin. As its consequence, Lucifers name was changed to Satan, and he and his angels were cast out of Heaven.
All mankind has been infected by Satan with this same liethat we, too, can operate or live independently of God and have a nature of our own. Satan began his sin infiltration into the human race when he convinced Eve that God had lied to her. He talked her into believing that what he, Satan, was telling her was the truth: You will not surely die, the serpent said to the woman. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:4, 5). Eve gave the fruit to Adam, and he took and ate it, as well.
Thus Adam, like all of us after him, learned the hard way that what God had said was true because, contrary to what Satan had told him, he and Eve suffered the consequences that God had promised him. From the day that Adam fell, the entire human race has been infected by Adams sin: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12). So all sins are a product of people believing Satans original lie.
However, the true revelation of the Bible is that we humans have no nature. We were not created to have a nature, but to be containers of a deity nature, and we can only express the nature of the one within us. All the Bible symbols of our humanity describe us as containers and expressers of one who is not ourselves, but is a god. All that matters is, which god?
The illustrations the Bible uses of us in our humanity are vessels, branches, body members, slaves, and wives. In each of these instances we are the agent by which the occupant operates. The Bible refers to us as either vessels of wrath or vessels of mercy. The vessel of wrath, of course, is a container of the god by whom we experience wrath. And the vessel of mercy is a container that houses the God by whom we experience mercy (Rom. 9:22-23). So it is not the type of vessel that is important but which god it contains.
Every human being is born containing the spirit of error and is thus what the Bible calls lost: And you were dead (or lost) in your trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1); For the son of Man has come to save that which was lost (Matt. 18:11). The Bible says that we are children of your father the devil, and tells us that it is his deeds that we do. We remain in this lost state unless or until we accept Christ as our personal Savior and we become, in Biblical terms, saved or born-again: Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). We become cut off from the indwelling spirit of error (Satan) at our new birth, and we become joined to the Holy Spirit. From that time on we are united with Him in an eternal union.
Here is an illustration to help show you what I mean.
As you can see in the first illustration, there is a lower case s and a plus mark and Satan. The small s stands for our human spirit, and as you can see from this illustration, it is joined to Satan. But, as we have tried to make clear, this does not mean that we were born evil/sinful in and of ourselves, since we are not independent. But, as the drawing depicts, our human spirit is connected to Satanand it is his evil, sinful deeds that are expressed in and through us. Until we are born again, Satan is our boss and sin for us is a way of life: Wherein in time past we walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). The Lord Jesus is the only exception. He was born sinless, lived sinless, and died sinless.
In our second illustration, our human spirit (s) is joined to the Holy Spirit. The exchange of Satan with the Holy Spirit takes place when we accept Christ as our Savior. It is the body death of Jesus that is the means by which our human spirit is freed from the indwelling spirit of error (Satan). The Holy Spirit Himself becomes the new spirit life within us: He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17); He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you (Rom. 8:11).
I think it is necessary to digress for a moment to explain what the Bible means when it talks about our being put to death (crucified) with Christ on the cross and, in turn, our being dead with Him (Rom. 6:6-8): Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin; Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. I find that there are many interpretations of our being dead with Christ that are not only confusing but inaccurate. We must get it clear that death does not mean dissolution. It is, instead, the process by which spirit is separated from body.
The Bible says that Christ became sin or in other words, took the spirit of sin-Satan on himself (2 Cor. 5:21) and took it to the cross. In His death, the Satan/sin spirit was cut off or put out of Him. In our new birth experience (when we accept Jesus as our personal Savior) we are spiritually put to death with Himone died for all, therefore all died” (2 Cor. 5:14) and in His death the Satan spirit that we inherited from Adam, is put out of us. Our resurrection (new life) becomes the spirit of Christ who joins Himself to us in an eternal union (Rom. 6:4, 5). Thus, in actual fact, we become new creatures, or what the Bible calls the new man. When this exchange of spirits takes place in us, there no longer exists an old man who lurks around waiting to reinvent himself as us. Please dont begin to think from what I am saying that we reach a state of perfection where it is impossible for us to sin. The explanation of sin in the life of a Christian will come later.
I hope this short account lets you see that when we say that through Jesuss body death on the cross we become new creatures in Christ, we are stating a literal fact and not some high-sounding spiritual ideal. We are actually converted from having Satan joined to us (Satan/I) to Christ joining Himself to us (Christ /I).
Once I came to accept this Biblically validated philosophy as the foundation for my own Christian experiencethat I was in union with Christ and was thus one spirit with HimI was plagued with the following dilemma. (Let me interrupt and say here that it is my experience that most people have these same questions). Does the Holy Spirit take us over in our union with Him and automatically eclipse our freedom to choose and thus make it impossible for us to sin? Or can we say that because of our oneness, Christ is somehow responsible for our sin? 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.
Another question that plagues us as Christians regarding sin is this: Do we have to go Satans anti-God way? As we talked about earlier, Paul expounded this same anguish, which he exposed to the entire world in the famous chapter seven of his letter to the church at Rome. He lamented over his inability to do what he knew to be right and his continuing to do what he knew to be wrong. Paul cried out in anguish to be delivered from this plight he bemoans is worse than death. The Bible promises that God provides a way of escape for us from every temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). I see now what I didnt see in my Romans Seven experience and what Paul found to be the answer to his life worse than death. At the end of the chapter, we see the light dawn for our brother Paul when he ecstatically bursts forth with the blessed truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is the answer to the bondage in which he (US, TOO) is held. In the great glory Chapter Eight, we are blessed to have recorded for us Pauls discourse where he expounds how he has been set free to walk not in weak fallen flesh but to walk victoriously in the Spirit of truth and light!
Continued next issue.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 21 No 4
- Faith Lessons
- Editors Note
- To Think About
- Tape Talk
- Bible Study: The Old and New Man
- The Laugh of Faith Part 2
- A Look at a Book
- Greater Love Hath No Man
- The Intercession of Rees Howells – Queen Esther
- Letters from Norman
- Words to Live By
- What Is Flesh?
- Where Things Went Wrong, and Why
- Body, Soul, and Spirit