Did you know a Christian can actually die from sickness or disease while the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lies dormant within them? Or did you know that believers can be overcome with depression, anger, and bitterness, all the while possessing God’s love, joy, and peace in their spirits? It’s true—they can and they do. Why? Because they really don’t understand what changed when they were born again. The Bible says that every born-again believer has undergone a complete inner transformation. Understanding spirit, soul, and body is critically important to every believer. It’s like the key that opens the treasure chest of God’s grace. It could be a matter of life and death, and it’s the foundation to understanding the rest of Scripture.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17-18)
It doesn’t say that all things are becoming new or have the potential of becoming new; they are new, the moment you are born again. But in order for that to make sense, you must first understand how God created you.
God’s Word clearly teaches that we are three-part beings
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Thessalonians 5:23)
The body is a complex physical creation by which a person relates to this world and to other people in the world. The soul includes the conscious and subconscious minds, the realm of emotions and the will. Soul gives a man personality, self-awareness, rationality and natural feeling.. Man has a non-physical aspect which consists of a different kind of materiality – spirit. It is with his spirit that a man worships and may contact God. It is this part of man that is eternal.
The threefold nature of man might be illustrated in several ways. Dr. Clarence Larkin uses three circles (Rightly Dividing the Word, page 86). The outer circle stands for the body of man, the middle circle for the soul, and the inner for the spirit.
In the outer circle the ‘Body’ is shown as touching the Material world through the five senses of ‘Sight,’ ‘Smell,’ ‘Hearing,’ ‘Taste’ and ‘Touch.’
The “Spirit” receives impressions of outward and material things through the soul. The spiritual faculties of the ‘Spirit’ are ‘Faith,’ ‘Hope,’ ‘Reverence,’ ‘Prayer’ and ‘Worship.’
The BODY: This is your PHYSICAL component of being. It is flesh made from a collection of unremarkable mineral elements (but is mostly water) and is in harmony with the nature and spirit of this world. It grows, matures, begins to deteriorate, eventually dies, and then decomposes back into its constituent elements and remains a part of the dust of the world. The body is a part of you but is NOT ALL of what defines who YOU are.
“And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,”(Proverbs 5:11)
The SOUL: This is who YOU are; it is a part of your SPIRITUAL component. This is your individuality, your “I AM” so to speak (made in God’s image), your “heart.” Although your individual soul did not exist before your mother and father procreated you, it will exist forever. It cannot be killed by man:
“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.”(Matt. 10:28)
When your body dies your soul (YOU) will leave the body of flesh:
“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”(Genesis 35:18)
The SPIRIT: This is the source of power and control for both your body and soul; our spirit is regenerated when we are baptized in the Spirit. Angles and demos can also put things in our spirit. Our conscience and intuition gives us awareness of the Spirit. It is either evil or good, darkness or light, unholy or Holy, unclean or clean, of Satan or of God:
“But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.”(Luke 9:55)
Where your soul spends eternity after it departs is determined by your personal relationship to God (saved or unsaved). You are an eternal being. You determine your own destiny. In fact, the Bible says that you are a “god” (small “g”):