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Chapter 2 - A Working Hypothesis

It may be helpful to construct a working model of our constituent parts to use in considering how we as Christians are to respond to and walk by the power of the Holy Spirit.

If we think of Adam and Even as being created with a bodies, souls, and spirits, we can see that Satan appealed to the desire of the soul and first tempted Eve to sin and subsequently Adam chose to sin. They had been warned by God that on the day they sinned, they would 'die'. One can see a picture of everyone born physically since then as having a 'dead' or ineffective spirit.

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) - Ephesians 2:5

We can think of being 'born again' or receiving eternal life by the spirit of Christ in us as the moment when we cross from death to life.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. - John 5:24

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. - Romans 8:9

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? - John 3:7-10

It is interesting to note that it was expected that as a teacher Nicodemus should have understood that it was needful for a 'birth' to restore that which could then receive eternal life.

Those who have not been 'born again' are unable to have eternal life and come into judgment. After having been judged according their works they suffer for their sins and ultimately suffer the 'second death'.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. - Matthew 10:28

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. - Revelation 20:6

It is helpful to view our spirit as something which was dead or inactive and by virtue of the work of the Holy Spirit has been made alive.

You have been regenerated (born again), not from a mortal origin (seed, sperm), but from one that is immortal by the ever living and lasting Word of God. - 1 Peter 1:23

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. - 2 Corinthians 5:17

This new creation (the Christian with a regenerated spirit) is configured with a body that interacts with the physical world and a spirit which interacts with God. In between these two is his soul where choices are made that influence whether the body has a more worldly or spiritual orientation.

People without this spiritual regeneration (those who are not Christian) are compelled by the influences of the old sinful nature (called the 'flesh'). These are those that Satan can organize to accomplish his goals.

And that they may come to their senses [and] escape out of the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him, - 2 Timothy 2:26a AMP

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: - Ephesians 2:2

Many of those who declare their hostility towards God and reject him thinking themselves free, come evermore under the control of Satan who despises them and desires to use them as pawns to advance his own plans. These sad people (dead in their sins) having no hope of eternal life have no way (unless God in his mercy should intervene) to recognize much less accept the truth.

How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. - Jude 1:18-19

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. - 1 Corinthians 2:14

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. - Matthew 15:18-20

Sometimes the word 'heart' is used to refer to the actual physical heart (cardia). However, often it is used to refer to what might be considered an appendage to the soul. It can be thought of as a repository for those things we hold as integral to our life. It can sort of work as an 'automatic pilot' from which we are inclined to act in one way or another.

 

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: - 2 Peter 2:14

Here we see that the heart can though 'exercise' become filled with that which inclines actions and even thoughts. In this case towards evil.

In contrast to the 'automatic pilot' influence on our lives that our heart exercises through the soul, there is the 'manual control' that is our mind. Here we evaluate, consider, reflect, and conclude. It can be easier and more comfortable to go through life sort of on 'cruise control' being directed by what we have allowed in our heart. However, the Christian is called to a life of intentional control by which the heart can be purged of its old inclinations and sort of reprogrammed with that which can be drawn from the Spirit.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Romans 12:2

While we can visualize the mind and heart as part of the soul, it is less clear to see how our old nature operates.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. - Romans 6:1

It seems that there are material elements to this nature ('body of sin', the flesh) as well as immaterial elements (what was put to death at salvation). It seems as if our new birth resulting in salvation in some way disables the compulsive aspect of our old nature. As a result, we are freed from the power of sin, but not the influence. While some verses emphasize that we are free from the compelling nature of sin, the Christian desiring to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit has to understand that there is still within us something that opposes this effort.

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. - Galatians 5:17

When we Christians face our own inclination to sin, it can help to understand that there is some physical component in our body as well as an immaterial component in our soul that resists the intention of our mind to follow Christ.

WHAT LEADS to strife (discord and feuds) and how do conflicts (quarrels and fightings) originate among you? Do they not arise from your sensual desires that are ever warring in your bodily members? - James 4:1 AMP

It can be frustrating, especially for new Christians, to read about the peace, love, and joy that the Christian life should offer and yet somehow feel cheated because it isnít experienced. The reason for this is that often there is much we need to learn, understand, practice, and change.

My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you, - Galatians 4:19 AMP

  

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