This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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LUKE 9:52-56.... And He sent messengers before Him; and they reached and entered a Samaritan village to make [things] ready for Him; but [the people] would not welcome or receive or accept Him, because His face was [set as if He was] going to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John observed this, they said, Lord, do You wish us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did? [2 Kings 1:9-16.] But He turned and rebuked and severely censured them. He said, You do not know of what sort of spirit you are, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them [from the penalty of eternal death]. And they journeyed on to another village.
1 PETER 5:8-11.... Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset--rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same ( identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the dominion (power, authority, rule) forever and ever. Amen (so be it).
The first part of this article has some quotes from respected Bible authorities to see what they claim the Bible has to say about our spirit, soul and body. We can’t include everything they have to say on the subject, but this should get us started.
The third great act of creation was that of man and woman "in the image of God." Each human being has a very complex physical body – more complex than any other creature – and the ability to reproduce other human beings. In addition, each man and woman is specially created in God’s own image. Each person possesses a body and soul, transmitted by genetic inheritance from his or her first parents, Adam and Eve. Each person, also, however, possesses an entity called "God’s image." Since this required a special act of creation (in addition to the creation of the physical elements and life-principle that were designed to be transmitted by genetic reproduction) it must be assumed that this creation is not transmitted by genetic inheritance and thus that each person’s "share" of God’s image was individually created for him or her. This creation took place for everyone not at the time of conception, when the mere transmission of physical and biological components takes place, but apparently at the time of the very first creation of this entity (with each "image," as it were, reserved in God until it is sent forth at the time of conception). The details of this marvelous transaction have not been clearly revealed, of course.
In any case, it is clear that each human being possesses an eternal spiritual personality, specially created for him or her in the everlasting image of God, capable of knowing and loving God and forever sharing His fellowship and purposes. (Quote from The Biblical Basis For Modern Science, written by Dr. Henry M. Morris, pp. 76-77, Emphasis added.)
It may be that God gives us our spirit at the moment that we are birthed and begin to breath. As Dr. Morris says later in his book, "In fact, the soul seems to be connected physically somehow with the blood supply apparatus and the spirit with the air supply, at least while the person or the animal is alive." (p. 381). The birth and death of man is very important to God, and He takes special note and is probably personally involved at the time, "Thus says God the Lord – He Who created the heavens and stretched them forth, He Who spread abroad the earth and that which comes out of it, He Who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:" (Isa. 42:5), and "Then shall the dust [out of which God made man’s body] return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God Who gave it ." (Eccl. 12:7).
SOUL: Cremer has characterized this use of the word in a sentence: "Nephesh (soul) in man is the subject of personal life, whereof pneuma or ruach (spirit) is the principle" (Lexicon, s.v., 795).
(4) This individuality of man, however, may be denoted by pneuma as well, but with a distinction. Nephesh or "soul" can only denote the individual life with a material organization or body. Pneuma or "spirit" is not so restricted. Scripture speaks of "spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. 12:23), where there can be no thought of a material or physical or corporeal organization. They are "spiritual beings freed from the assaults and defilements of the flesh" (Delitzsch, in loc.). For an exceptional use of psuche in the same sense see Rev. 6:9; 20:4, and (irrespective of the meaning of Ps. 16:10) Acts 2:27.
2. New Testament Distinctions: (1) In the New Testament psuche appears under more or less similar conditions as in the Old Testament. The contrast here is as carefully maintained as there. It is used where pneuma would be out of place; and yet it seems at times to be employed where pneuma might have been substituted. Thus in John 19:30 we read: "Jesus gave up his pneuma" to the Father, and, in the same Gospel (John 10:15), Jesus gave up His "psuche for the sheep," and in Matt. 20:28 He gave His psuche (not His pneuma) as a ransom-a difference which is characteristic. For the pneuma stands in quite a different relation to God from the psuche. The "spirit" (pneuma) is the outbreathing of God into the creature, the life-principle derived from God. The "soul" (psuche) is man's individual possession, that which distinguishes one man from another and from inanimate nature. The pneuma of Christ was surrendered to the Father in death; His psuche was surrendered, His individual life was given "a ransom for many." His life "was given for the sheep" (from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft, Emphasis added.)
SPIRIT: Hebrew ruwach, Greek pneuma. Man in his normal integrity ("whole," holokleeron, complete in all its parts, 1 Thess. 5:23) consists of "spirit, soul, and body." The spirit links man with higher intelligences, and is that highest part receptive of the quickening Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 15:47). The soul (Hebrew nephesh, Greek psuchee) is intermediate between body and spirit; it is the sphere of the will and affections. (from Fausset's Bible Dictionary, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1998 by Biblesoft, Emphasis added.)
We have all heard the testimonies of people who claimed to have had after-death experiences and then returned to life to tell of them. While this is quite possible (Jn. 11:39-44), it is not a normal human experience; even when we sleep, we are not aware of what is going on around us – our spirit and soul are shut down as well as our body. The normal function of our soul and spirit is to enable us to be aware of ourselves and our surroundings, to think and relate to others, and occasionally with God. Our relationships with others seem to be on a very superficial, shallow or limited level purposely designed by God, probably because it would be detrimental to our well being for a greater spirit-to-spirit communication – as in the case of divination or channeling, which God strictly forbids.
There are two issues that I believe are related to the above paragraph: physical healing of the body, and the ability of those who are unconscious to hear or be aware of what is going on around them. Again, on rare occasions this may happen, but normally it does not. And again, I believe it is because God knows that experiences like this can result in difficulties we cannot handle properly. Therefore, He limits our abilities in this life, but will greatly enhance them when we go to be with Him.
Thus, what God has given us and the limits He has placed upon these gifts, is what is best for us and God’s kingdom. I think it Biblical, for practical purposes or ever-day living, to consider our present bodies a temporary dwelling for us to live in, our soul the person we develop into as we interact with other people and our environment, and our spirit the mind with which we think, reason and direct our lives. Since we inherit our physical characteristics and sinful nature from our parents (1 Cor. 15:21-22), it seems likely that our soul is also a part of this inheritance at conception. Then if God gives a spirit to the person the moment they begin to breathe at birth, the soul and spirit become eternally entwined at that moment. Of course we are much more complicated than that, but this may be all that we need to know until God makes some future changes. Therefore, if this working model is correct, then we can understand why it is so very important and life determining what we take into our bodies and minds and thus allow them to influence and form us; the following Scriptures should illustrate this.
2 TIMOTHY 2:15-26.... Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. And their teaching [will devour; it] will eat its way like cancer or spread like gangrene. So it is with Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have missed the mark and swerved from the truth by arguing that the resurrection has already taken place. They are undermining the faith of some.
In the above paragraph we are given a choice to make in the process of becoming the person God wants us to be; we can either spend our time thinking and talking about the things of God, or vain and useless things. Whichever course we pursue will have the effect of molding and propelling us toward a certain destination.
19But the firm foundation of (laid by) God stands, sure and unshaken, bearing this seal (inscription): The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let everyone who names [himself by] the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it. [Num. 16:5; Isa. 26:13.] But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work.
22Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart. But refuse (shut your mind against, have nothing to do with) trifling (ill-informed, unedifying, stupid) controversies over ignorant questionings, for you know that they foster strife and breed quarrels. And the servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome (fighting and contending). Instead, he must be kindly to everyone and mild-tempered [preserving the bond of peace]; he must be a skilled and suitable teacher, patient and forbearing and willing to suffer wrong. He must correct his opponents with courtesy and gentleness, in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and come to know the Truth [that they will perceive and recognize and become accurately acquainted with and acknowledge it], and that they may come to their senses [and] escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, [Henceforth] to do His [God's] will.
If we follow God’s instructions we will become a vessel that He can bless and use, if we don’t follow His instructions we will become the kind of person as those described below.
2 TIMOTHY 3:1-17.... BUT UNDERSTAND this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].
6For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate silly and weak-natured and spiritually dwarfed women, loaded down with [the burden of their] sins [and easily] swayed and led away by various evil desires and seductive impulses. [These weak women will listen to anybody who will teach them]; they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth. Now just as Jannes and Jambres were hostile to and resisted Moses, so these men also are hostile to and oppose the Truth. They have depraved and distorted minds, and are reprobate and counterfeit and to be rejected as far as the faith is concerned. [Ex. 7:11.] But they will not get very far, for their rash folly will become obvious to everybody, as was that of those [magicians mentioned].
10Now you have closely observed and diligently followed my teaching, conduct, purpose in life, faith, patience, love, steadfastness, persecutions, sufferings--such as occurred to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, persecutions I endured, but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand]. But wicked men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and leading astray others and being deceived and led astray themselves.
14But as for you, continue to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, knowing from whom you learned [them], and how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action), so that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 TIMOTHY 4:1-8.... I CHARGE [you] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by (in the light of) His coming and His kingdom: Herald and preach the Word! Keep your sense of urgency [stand by, be at hand and ready], whether the opportunity seems to be favorable or unfavorable. [Whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is welcome or unwelcome, you as preacher of the Word are to show people in what way their lives are wrong.] And convince them, rebuking and correcting, warning and urging and encouraging them, being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching. For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, and will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.
5As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry. For I am already about to be sacrificed [my life is about to be poured out as a drink offering]; the time of my [spirit's] release [from the body] is at hand and I will soon go free. I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith. [As to what remains] Henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor's] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day--and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).
When our time comes will we be the person we ought to be?
It was in the midst of such conflict as described above that David learned the importance of the help that only God can give. This help comes to us as we look to, trust in, call upon, and wait and watch for Him to speak to our heart or soul (Ps. 5:1-3).
PSALM 143:1-12.... A Psalm of David: HEAR MY prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications! In Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness. And enter not into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no man living is [in himself] righteous or justified. [Ps. 130:3; Rom. 3:20-26; Gal. 2:16.]
3For the enemy has pursued and persecuted my soul, he has crushed my life down to the ground; he has made me to dwell in dark places as those who have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed and faints within me [wrapped in gloom]; my heart within my bosom grows numb.
5I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I ponder the work of Your hands. I spread forth my hands to You; my soul thirsts after You like a thirsty land [for water]. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! Answer me speedily, O Lord, for my spirit fails; hide not Your face from me, lest I become like those who go down into the pit (the grave). Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You.
9Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I flee to You to hide me. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me into a level country and into the land of uprightness. Save my life, O Lord, for Your name's sake; in Your righteousness, bring my life out of trouble and free me from distress. And in your mercy and loving-kindness, cut off my enemies and destroy all those who afflict my inner self, for I am Your servant.
David didn’t seem to have any difficulty discerning between his soul and spirit; his whole person was probably troubled by the enemies that he mentions but doesn’t name. This whole psalm gives a good description of a person who is on the verge of being completely overcome by his circumstances. There are times in our lives when God allows our circumstances to overwhelm us so that we will be reminded of how much we need Him every moment and learn not to rely upon our own ability.
Normally, when we are right with God, we receive the marvelous grace of God that comforts and equips us to handle every situation that we face. Occasionally, when God determines it necessary (Job 1:6-12; 2 Cor. 1:8-9), He seems to lift this shield of grace and allows the enemy of our soul to bombard us with difficulties that if we don’t handle properly can bring us into the state or condition that David found himself in – David illustrates the right course of action at times like this.
First, David seeks the Lord and acknowledges his lack of self-righteousness, and his need of God’s intervention. Too often we seek the help and assistance of professional people instead of God’s, which may be the reason we are experiencing a troubled soul and spirit. To remain in this condition for an extended period of time, without any help or relief from God, can lead to sever depression. But thank God, David shows us the right way.
Next, David begins to think about the mighty acts of God, probably in his own life as well as recorded history, and to ask for God’s help and guidance. We can do the same, and now we have the added benefit of the completed Word of God to read and meditate upon; many of God’s people neglect it, which is often the reason that they are experiencing a troubled soul and spirit.
David acknowledges the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and most assuredly it is this same Holy Spirit, working in conjunction with our own spirit, that gives us the inner peace and contentment that only God can give. Thus, our soul and spirit are consoled even in the midst of trying circumstances (Phil. 4:4-9).
PSALM 145:18-21.... The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely and in truth. He will fulfill the desires of those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him; He also will hear their cry and will save them. The Lord preserves all those who love Him, but all the wicked will He destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord; and let all flesh bless (affectionately and gratefully praise) His holy name forever and ever.
We have already dealt with the broad scope of Satan’s plans in Satan’s Vast Network Of Deception & Opposition, so we will narrow down our perspective to focus primarily on how he uses some of these schemes to lure people into destructive behavior and practices.
Jesus told the religionists of His day – "You are of your father, the devil, and it is your will to practice the lusts and gratify the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false" (John 8:44). So we have the testimony of Jesus that Satan is a murderer, intent upon destroying the lives of any and all individuals. He can inflict his murderous intentions upon us from either of two directions, by trying to gain an entrance through our body or through our mind – thus affecting our soul or person.
Any substance that is harmful to our bodies will eventually also have a harmful effect upon our soul. It’s no secret that an illness can cause us to become discouraged and depressed, but the real secret may be what was it that caused the illness? Even overeating and the resulting weight gain can lead to depression, how much more the addictive habits of alcohol and delusionary drugs? Just a causal look at our society will reveal to us just how effective Satan’s program to destroy has become.
Our spirit or minds use the physical brain to manipulate our bodies and to communicate with others, much the same as evil spirits, when given the opportunity, are able to take control of a person to a certain degree (Luke 8:27-33). Just how all this takes place is known only to God, but we do know that when a persons body has died and lies in the grave, their soul and spirit survive and are able to communicate – "When the Lamb broke open the fifth seal, I saw at the foot of the altar the souls of those whose lives had been sacrificed for [adhering to] the Word of God and for the testimony they had borne. They cried in a loud voice, O [Sovereign] Lord, holy and true, how long now before You will sit in judgment and avenge our blood upon those who dwell on the earth? [Gen. 4:10; Ps. 79:5; Zech. 1:12.] Then they were each given a long and flowing and festive white robe and told to rest and wait patiently a little while longer, until the number should be complete of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed as they themselves had been" (Rev. 6:9-11).
Satan’s attacks upon our minds come to us from all directions, but modern twentieth-century psychological counseling/therapy with its roots in occultism has been one of Satan’s most potent schemes to lead people away from the truths and help of God’s Word. And it is only from God’s Word that we can find answers to our questions, and the remedy for our problems; there is no other source available to us that we can completely rely upon. God tells us in His Word how we should conduct ourselves and what we should and should not take into our bodies and minds; if we would follow His instructions, Satan’s intrusions would be greatly reduced. There are of course illnesses that come upon us that we have no control over and sometimes have no understanding of, but these we have to leave in God’s hands.
Thousands of Americans are under the care of psychiatrists who issue prescriptions for mind-altering drugs, and thousands more are receiving council from psychologists that is contrary to God’s Word; most of these professionals earnestly desire to help people, not realizing that they are steering them away from the only real solution to be found in God. One of the most confusing issues about helping people is that only those who believe and trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior are eligible to receive His kind of help; therefore, people who are not truly born again have to look to another source for help. This distinction is hardly ever mentioned much less considered, and as a result people are using methods and technics that will never get to the root of their problems.
The best that nonbelievers can expect is the help of family, friends and professionals. If they give them advice or help that teaches them to trust in themselves or others instead of God who created us, they are not really helping them, but in reality are leading them away from the only true solution to their problems. Christians who avail themselves of this kind of help will not fare any better than non-Christians, and will only confuse and compound their problems. There is the possibility that even those who disregard God can find some relief if they give up harmful practices, but the only real solution is to get right with God and follow His instructions as recorded in His Word the Bible.
Satan’s plan is to gain gradual control over us by getting us to accept into our bodies or minds some of his destructive substances or suggestions. If we yield to any of his devices we weaken ourselves to his next attack, and the danger becomes increasingly greater. It is easy to see how even Christians can become so weakened and depressed that they despair of life, and when they get in this condition it is very difficult for them to find the strength to consider God’s remedy and to resist the devil’s attacks. Most people when they get to this depressed state, are so discouraged that they refuse to even listen to anyone’s suggestion that only God has the solution to their problems, and instead demand a pill or drug of some kind to ease their agony. Not a very pretty scene, but one that is probably occurring in hundreds of places at this very moment – and man’s only solution is to drug them into a stupor.
God’s help is much different from anything that man can give or conceive; only God can give inner peace and assurance, even if the problems should persist. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:4-9 that this desirable state of soul and spirit comes to us as we learn to rejoice in Christ and what He has done for us – "Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, gladden yourselves in Him]; again I say, Rejoice! [Ps. 37:4.] Let all men know and perceive and recognize your unselfishness (your considerateness, your forbearing spirit). The Lord is near [He is coming soon]. Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ( definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. Practice what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you" (Phil. 4:4-9).
Soul and spirit can be substituted for hearts and minds as mentioned above, and are then guarded, protected and comforted by the indwelling Holy Spirit – "But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you" (Jn. 14:26). This is God’s way of keeping us for Himself as we progressively learn and put into practice the instructions He has given us in the Bible.
ROMANS 8:28.... We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
So God has His plan, and Satan has his – which one are you going to follow?