Connected But Separate
The passage from Hebrews, that I used to open this chapter, alludes to the fact that our soul and spirit are intimately connected, yet also distinctly separate. The Bible makes it clear that the soul and spirit are the primary non-physical aspects of our humanity, while the body is the physical container that holds them while we exist on this earth.
What Is the Spirit?
Our spirit is God’s life in us. It is our channel of communication with God through the Holy Spirit. It is what makes true worship of and communion with God possible. The spirit gives a “God-consciousness” to every believer. It translates the things of the Spirit of God for us as His children (see 1 Corinthians 2:14). It is the means through which spiritual gifts are given and expressed by the Holy Spirit within us (see 1 Corinthians 2:10-15). It is often referred to in the Bible as a “still small voice.”
I’ve been very intentional to avoid what might open the door to controversy regarding differing doctrinal views. This book isn’t about that. It’s about helping individuals find hope in Christ to move beyond the shame and brokenness of their lives. Respectfully, I believe that man’s spirit is renewed at the point of salvation, not necessarily replaced, as some believe. Regardless which theological camp we land in, the principal point is that, in Christ, God gives us a new spirit. And from that, He desires to reproduce the life of Jesus within us.
Numerous Christian writers concur that our spirit is comprised of three elements: conscience, fellowship, and intuition. Depression
- Conscience – For us to discern right from wrong, to distinguish good from bad (see Romans 8:16; 9:1).
- Fellowship – For us to contact God and to commune with Him (see John 4:24; Romans 1:9).
- Intuition – For us to have a sense within our spirit of what our soul cannot perceive, regardless of reason or circumstance (see 1 Corinthians 2:11).
What is the Soul?
Our soul is the essence of who we are – the intangible nature of our tangible human being. It is comprised of our inborn, God-given temperament. In the Hebrew language, the word nephesh would be translated “soul” or “breath of life.” These symbolize the non-visible lifeforce within us that animates our physical body. Depression
As is the spirit, the soul is also comprised of three parts: mind, will, and emotions.
- Mind – For us to think, consider (see Psalm 13:2), know (see Psalm 139:14), and remember (see Lamentations 3:20). In the mind we have thoughts, ideas, concepts, reasonings, understanding, knowledge, and so on.
- Will – For us to have purposes and choices (see Job 7:15; 6:7), and to make decisions (see 1 Chronicles 22:19).
- Emotions – For us to experience emotional feelings, such as love (see 1 Samuel 18:1; 2 Samuel 1:7) or hate (see 2 Samuel 5:8), to like or dislike, to be joyful (see Isaiah 61:10; Psalm 86:4) or grieved (see 1 Samuel 30:6; Judges 10:16).
When we are saved (born again), our spirit is instantaneously renewed, but our soul is not. “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT). While salvation does not make our soul new, a new hope and desire to serve and love God infuses into our mind, will, and emotions. DEPRESSION
If we had received a new soul at the time of salvation, we would likely have lost all of our emotions, knowledge, and memory in that moment. In Christ we received a renewed spirit. Romans 12:2 (NIV) tells us our soul is to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” As we continue on this journey, this renewing progressively develops our faith and trust in God. It is through the internalizing of God’s word that we are sanctified and transformed into the image of Jesus.
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