Salvation of the Soul
The day in which we are living is a day marked by renewed activity of evil spirits and great manifestations in the spirit world with the result that many people are victims of Satan and his demons. The current rise of psychiatry and psychoanalysis attest the fact that the souls of men are being beset by evil spirits. What is a Christian’s recourse? What is a Christian ‘s protection?Ephesians 6:10-18 speaks of these days and of God-given protection. We are urged to put on the whole armour of God that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. In verse 12 we have a description of the powers against which we are engaged. They come under the heading of five specific individuals or groups.
1) The Devil. He is a distinct personality, the arch enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ, constantly striving for world dominion. He is described in Ezek. 28 as originally the most beautiful, the wisest and most cunning of all God’s creatures. He forfeited his right to reign but has not yet relinquished his rulership. That will not be done until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and takes over the reigns of government.
2) Principalities, or despots. This is a group who stand next in authority to the supreme authority of Satan in his realm.
3) Powers, or empowers. These are a sort of superior police in whom the higher will is activated in carrying out orders.
4) Rulers of the darkness of this world. This is an order of vice-regents whose sphere of operation is only in the world.
5) Spiritual wickedness in the heaven lies. This is a vast array of spiritual hosts of heaven arrayed in a heavenly warfare.
No matter how diverse these orders, Paul tells us that they are all connected in one confederation which we might term “The great empire of heaven. ” Realizing the force and power of this confederation, the Lord God Almighty has provided armour for those who are His children, and He has exhorted us to put on that armour. He does not put it on us – We must do it ourselves. It does not necessarily follow that because one is a Christian he is clothed in the whole armour of God, for one can be saved and not put on this armour. Such a one would readily fall victim to the wiles of Satan. Let us consider the various pieces of armour.
Gird your loins with truth (v. 14). (Note that the definite article is not used with truth – it is not the truth, which is the Word of God. We have that later.) For one to gird his loins about with truth is to gird himself with earnestness and sincerity. The leather girdle was put on first by the soldier that he might affix the other pieces of armour to it. For one to be girded with truth is for him to enter the conflict against Satan with all sincerity. How many people have at one time or another approached the Christian life with doubtful disputations and with a lack of earnestness and sincerity. They therefore cannot stand before the enemy. It is very well illustrated in the lives of Joseph and Daniel in their sincere determination to live for the Lord. This is what it means to gird your loins with truth.
Put on the breastplate of righteousness (v. 14). Confusion confounded reigns among Christians today because of the failure to distinguish between the righteousness of God which is imputed to us when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and the righteousness of the saints which is a composite of the righteous deeds of the saints (Rev. 19:8). This breastplate of righteousness is something that the Christian is to put on himself. Righteousness is simply right living. If one earnestly and sincerely enters a conflict with Satan, it will be manifested by his right living. Do not resort to subterfuge by asking, “How do I know what is right or wrong,” because we are told in James 1:5 that the Lord will give wisdom. We have never had difficulty in distinguishing between right and wrong. Our difficulty has been in always doing what we knew to be right.
Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (v. 15). Rom. 10:15 speaks of the beauty of the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things. As there are two sandals for the normal individual, there are two aspects of the gospel of peace. We have peace with God when we are justified by faith (Rom.5:1) and are forever safe with the Lord; but we have the peace of God when we learn to trust Him completely in all things (Phil. 4:5-7).
Concerning these sandals of the preparation of the gospel of peace, it is doubtful if one is thought of as being shod with them unless he is carrying the gospel of peace to others. In Rev. 12:11 we learn that one of the ways of overcoming Satan is by the word of testimony, which definitely is telling others the story of Jesus.
Take the shield of faith (v. 16). How often the Lord rebuked His own disciples after this fashion: “a ye of little faith.” The weakness of the average Christian is lack of faith. In Hebrews 12:1, we read: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” The sin which does so easily beset us is one which is common to all believers. Many people speak of this sin or that sin as being their besetting sin, but the Word speaks of THE besetting sin as pertaining to all Christians. That sin is set forth in the epistle of Hebrews as unbelief or lack of faith. The greatest hindrance to Christian testimony is lack of faith among its adherents. Someone said, “Pray for me that I may have a deeper faith”; but that will not get it, because “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). If one wants more faith, one must live more in the Word of the Lord, and then he will be able to quench the fiery darts of the Devil. On each occasion when the Lord was tempted He repelled the attack with His faith which was based on the Word of God. Christian, go back to regular, prayerful study and meditation of the Bible.
Put on the helmet of salvation (v. 17). The helmet protects the head from the attack of Satan and enables the Christian to press forward. In I Thess. 5:8 we read that the helmet is the hope of salvation. This is the salvation which is to be revealed at the Lord’s return, and the hope which Christians possess is that of having a part in this salvation by occupying a position of rulership with Christ in the coming Kingdom. There is no doctrine in all the Word of God that has sustained, encouraged and inspired Christians to renew and redouble their efforts in the service of the Lord as the doctrine of the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. Satan hates that doctrine worse than any doctrine in the experience of a Christian. If Satan can encourage the Christian to give up the hope of occupying a position with Christ in the Kingdom or neglect that hope, then he has one before him who has not on the helmet of salvation.
Christian, do not for one moment relinquish your hope in the soon coming of the Lord even though it involves the loss of friends and church relationships. Jesus Christ himself put a premium on watching for the coming of the Lord.
Take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (v. 17). Notice in this connection that no provision has been made for the armour to cover the back of the Christian, signifying that he is to keep his face toward the front and there is to be no retreat. In Luke 9:62 we read, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The only weapon of offense is the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. David said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psa. 119:11).
Again, referring to a Christian’s temptations, I call your attention to the fact that the only defense and offense of our Lord was to quote the Word of God. One of the greatest testimonies to the inspiration of the Scriptures is to be found in the fact that when Satan felt the power of the Word as the Lord used it against him, he tried to use that same Word against the Lord (Matt.4:6).
Surely, the one pressing need of the majority of Christians today is to know and use the Word of the Lord. Having armed oneself with the whole armour of God, he is then to be “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18).
Holiness of life and walk is God’s will for His children; and it is, or should be, their own desire.
God’s will on this matter has been declared and revealed. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (I Thess. 4:3).
God has not left His will or the means for its accomplishment to chance or to be discovered at the end of this nineteenth century. One of God’s methods for securing holiness of life is by HOPE. This hope is set on a person-Jesus Christ. “Every man that hath this hope in HIM (Christ) purifieth himself, even as HE is pure” (I John 3:3). It is part of the true foundation of real Christianity. “Ye turned to GOD from idols to serve the living and true GOD; and to wait for HIS SON from heaven” (I Thess. 1:9, 10). Thus looking for Christ, we are occupied with Christ, and in this manner we are “conformed to His image.” “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the LORD, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the SPIRIT of the LORD” (II Cor. 3:18). Here is no restless effort, no anxious toiling, no spiritual dissipation, no occupation with “the ordinance of men,” but occupation of a heart with a heavenly character and walk-and this by secret transmutation – without effort. “And we have the prophetic word made firmer still. You do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through (the gloom) and the Morning Star rises (comes into being) in your hearts” (II Pet. 1:19, ANT). We are now in the night of this world’s existence – The Light of the world was extinguished on Calvary’s Cross-and the only light we have to guide our feet as we journey onward and upward is the PROPHETIC WORD. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). Being a lamp unto our feet, the Prophetic Word shows us how to walk; and being a light unto our path, the Prophetic Word shows us where to walk.
Man’s way of holiness, which glorifies the flesh and exalts the ego, is either the negative or the positive and ignores God altogether. The negative way of holiness is by “quitting this” or “don’t do that,” and many spend their entire time trying to force others to quit or not to do this or that. The positive way is by “doing this and that.” God’s way finds man passive, with God taking the initiative and bringing to pass that which He requires of man. Man, by gazing into a mirror-the Word of God (II Cor. 3:18) – particularly the Prophetic Word (II Pet.l:19)-IS BEING CHANGED into the same image of the Lord from glory to glory, even as BY THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10b). That of which our Lord spoke, taught, planned and instructed was the coming Kingdom and His personal reign over the earth for a thousand years (Acts 1:3). Gazing at length into and dwelling deeply in the Prophetic Word, hoping, praying, longing, waiting, watching, loving and witnessing to the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven to rule and reign, is God’s appointed way of holiness for His children. “He that hath this hope in HIM, purifieth himself even as He is pure”(I John 3:3).
CHRISTIANS FOR THE LAST DAYS
In II Timothy 2, the Spirit of the Lord informs the Christian how to live for and serve the Lord in the last days. He gives a seven-fold description or seven qualities that should characterize the Christian in the days of apostasy as he awaits the coming of the Lord. 1. In verse 1, He calls the Christian a son, with the admonition to be strong in the grace of the Lord. If a Christian can always remember that he is a child of God and strive to conduct himself accordingly, he will have no difficulty in living a life pleasing to God his Father.
2. In verse 3, the Christian is likened unto a soldier; and one can almost let his imagination run riot here as he draws an analogy between a good soldier and a good Christian: (a) He enlists for the duration, (b) wears the uniform of his company, (c) allows neither family ties nor business associations to interfere with his service, (d) conducts himself in a way to honor his flag and his country, and (e) remembers that he is not his own but must be submissive to his captain.
3. In verse 5, the Christian is compared to an athlete. The expression “strive for the mastery” implies that he is a wrestler, and no wrestler wins the match unless he strives according to the rules. Often wrestlers are disqualified when they ignore the rules, and a Christian will not receive a crown unless he too lives according to the rules. One of the saddest prospects for many Christians is that they will be disqualified for a crown even though they are saved.
4. In verse 6, a Christian is likened unto a farmer and as such is reminded that much patience is required. The farmer plants and then waits and waits for the harvest. He also rejoices in and partakes of the harvest; likewise, a Christian will sow the seed, another will water, and God will give the increase; but there are days and sometimes months between the time of sowing and the time of reaping.
5. In verse 15, the Christian is called a workman. This particular workman must be a skilled artisan. As a carpenter, a tailor, or whatever type of laborer, he is to cut straight. Incompetent workmen who cannot cut straight produce a work unacceptable because it is inferior. A Christian is a workman laboring with the Word of God, and unless he rightly divides the Word he will be producing a work that will not be pleasing nor acceptable to his heavenly Father. One of the easiest ways to begin rightly dividing the Word is to remember that in the Word of God there are several divisions of the human race. One division is Jew, Gentile and Church. Be careful not to confuse the message to one with the message to one of the others. Another division is on the basis of the lost and the saved, with the saved being divided into two groups – faithful and unfaithful. Another way of rightly dividing the Word is to give heed to the teaching of the different dispensations inaugurated by the Lord. The great division in Christendom today has been caused by honest, earnest and sincere teachers who have failed to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
6. In verse 20, Christians are likened to vessels in a great house, some of gold and some of silver. Because of a life pleasing to the Lord they are vessels unto honor and glory. Other vessels in this same house are of wood and earth, but because of failure to honor and glorify the Lord in this life, they become vessels to dishonor in that great house.
7. In verse 24, a Christian is called a servant, “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price,” and it is the Lord who has bought us, and His we are. A servant is to be obedient, tractable, gentle, faithful and diligent. In the light of these seven characterizations, study the second chapter of II Timothy and let the Lord speak to your heart.
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE
Since the days of Calvin and Arminius, there has been a constant debate in regard to the standing of Christians who sin. Calvin rightly contended that salvation is by grace, and nothing can destroy the believer’s relationship with the Lord. Arminius and his followers, noting many Scriptures which speak of a sinning Christian being called into a personal accounting because of his sins, err in attributing to the sinning Christian a loss of his salvation. Calvin and his followers have gone to one extreme in teaching that a Christian is not accountable for his sins because they are all under the blood, and that it makes no difference how one lives. The Arminians have gone to the other extreme and damned to hell any Christian who sins. These two current systems of theology have caused many thoughtful Christians to ask the question: Is there any difference between a God-fearing, Christhonoring, Spirit-led Christian, and one who is carnally-minded, worldly-ambitious and self-pleasiiig?
Some have gone so far away from the Scripture as to contend that if an individual sins after his confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, this is evidence that he has not been saved. Such contention is not true because I Cor. 3:12-15, Eph. 2:8-9, and other similar passages, teach conclusively that works do not enter into salvation and that it is possible for an individual to be saved and not have a single good work to his credit.
The Word of God teaches that there is a difference between Christians. The designation in the Word of God reveals a three-fold classification of mankind: The unsaved, called the natural man, and the saved, which are divided into two groups-the spiritual and the carnal. There is no gainsaying this fact. The carnal man is a Christian dominated by his carnal life, but that he is a Christian is unequivocally set forth in I Cor. 3:1-4. We can dig back into the Old Testamant for a classic example: Abraham, representative of the spiritual Christian, and Lot, representing the carnal Christian. Were it not for the statement in II Pet. 2:7, 8, we would not know by the life he lived that Lot was a saved man. He was saved, but all of his works were destroyed.
One of the most poignant truths in the Word of God is that Christians must render an account unto the Lord for the deeds done in the flesh. This is such a replusive doctrine to many Christians that often the one proclaiming this truth loses friends. But God’s truth must be proclaimed whether man receives it or not. II Cor. 5:10, shows the place of judgment of the Christian’s works and reveals the terror of the Lord against those who have been found wanting in the way of a consecrated life. By direct statement, parable, type and symbol, the Holy Spirit has set forth in the Word from Genesis to Revelation the truth that faithful Christians will be rewarded and unfaithful Christians shall suffer loss. For instance, consider briefly Luke 19:11-27. Here our Lord shows that in the days of His absence His business has been committed into the hands of His servants. When He returns, the servants shall be called before Him to render an account of their faithfulness. One is given authority over ten cities during the millennial reign; another is given authority over five cities, while the unfaithful one has no authority whatsoever during the Kingdom; however, the fact remains that he is a servant of the Lord and his salvation is secure, though there is no place of reigning which would give him honor and glory. Those who refuse to accept the Lord are brought before Him and slain in His presence. David’s experience in the wilderness reveals that many of the men associated with him, because of their faithfulness to him in his exile, were given places of honor when he established his kingdom. Many others, because of their unfaithfulness, though still in his kingdom, had no place of rulership.
Our reigning with the Lord is contingent upon our suffering with Him. Read II Tim. 2:12 and Matt. 20: 20-23. You will note in the latter portion of these verses that the position in the Kingdom is up to the Father and it is on the basis of works.
In conclusion, forget not this truth: Salvation is by grace, and rewards are on the basis of works. The thousand-year reign of Christ is a period of time in which rewards to the faithful will be manifest as well as loss and suffering to the unfaithful.
DOERS of the WORD
The book of James has long been an enigma to Bible commentators as well as teachers. Trying to reconcile justification by works, according to the epistle of James, with justification by faith, according to the epistle to the Romans, has left more than one Bible student hopelessly perplexed. Martin Luther, in seeking to emphasize justification by faith, declared the epistle of James to be “an epistle of straw” and said that it had no place in the canon of the Scripture.
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:19-22). Here we see that there is a connection between the saving of the soul and the doing of the Word. Because of a failure to distinguish between body, soul and spirit, there is utter confusion in attempts to interpret Scriptures dealing with the salvation of the soul. The,: salvation of the spirit has to do with eternal life as a gift of God. The salvation of the soul has to do with the life of a Christian from the day of his salvation until the end of the time of his responsibility (which terminates either in death or the rapture), which life results in rewards or loss of rewards – to be manifested during the coming reign of our Lord over the earth for a thousand years.
I believe the key to the book of James lies in the expressions salvation of the soul (James 1:21) and saving a soul from death (James 5:19, 20). James is expounding upon the life one lives after he is saved, and such a life is dependent upon good works if one is to receive rewards. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:26, 27). Paul in Romans is treating of eternal life, which is a believer’s present possession by virtue of his faith apart from works. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Here in Matt. 7:21, occupying a position of sovereignty in the kingdom of the heavens (the Millennial reign of the Lord over the earth) is dependent upon doing the will of the Father after one has been saved. To call Jesus “Lord, Lord” is impossible except one has the Spirit of the Lord indwelling him (I Cor. 12:3). Therefore, we know that the ones to whom the Lord addresses Himself in Matt. 7:21 are saved. But having eternal life does not guarantee one a place of sovereignty in the kingdom of our Lord, that being granted only to those who do the will of the Father.
James, in chapter 1, verses 21 and 22, tells us that it is not sufficient to be a hearer of the Word (have eternal life), but one must also be a doer of the Word (possess good works) if he is to save his soul, that is, if he is to save his life as a Christian and have rewards which will be manifested at the appearing of our Lord and will prevail during His reign. When one is a hearer of the Word, he becomes a Christian. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Good works come from doing and these good works earn the doers commensurate rewards. In the light of I Cor. 3:14, 15 we learn that it is possible for one to be saved, to be a possessor of eternal life which can never be lost, and yet have no good works to his credit.
Throughout the New Testament the expression salvation of the soul has to do entirely with the saving of the life of a Christian so that he will not appear before the Lord empty handed and have all his works destroyed by fire, though he himself shall have eternal life and shall never perish. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
I believe that once an individual sees that Romans treats of the salvation of the spirit (which has to do with eternal life) and that James treats of the salvation of the soul (which has to do with Christian living and subsequent rewards), such a one will not try to reconcile the books of Romans and James as meaning the same thing but will accept the fact that they treat of different subjects entirely and there is no conflict at all.
James 1:22: “But be ye doers of the word (Christian living), and not hearers only” (Possessors of eternal life). James says not only to become a Christian through hearing the Word but to become a faithful Christian by doing the will of the Lord.
SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY
“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” (I Thess. 5:23).
Because so many people equate spirit and soul-making man a dichotomous being, which is according to the theory of evolution, rather than a trichotomous being, according to the Scripture- I thought it well to set forth some of the teachings of the Bible pertaining to the threefold being of man.
In Gen. 1:26a the word translated God is Elohim, which is plural, and in Hebrew means three or more. In Matt. 28:19 we have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Matt. 3:13-17 we have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are ample other passages of Scripture which confirm the truth of the Trinity of the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Since Elohim is a Trinity, for man to be created in the image and likeness of Elohim, he too must be a trinity. Since Jesus is Elohim manifest in the flesh, and since the whole Godhead dwells in Him bodily, and since He was made in the likeness of His creature (however, apart from sin), then He too must be a trinity, like man.
It is in I Thess. 5:23 that the Spirit of God brings out the truth of man’s threefold being, spirit, soul and body; also Heb. 4:12 distinguishes between soul and spirit. We would naturally expect spirit, soul and body in the Lord Jesus Christ to be distinguished. That is exactly what the Scripture teaches. When Jesus yielded up His spirit on Calvary’s cross, His spirit went into heaven to God the Father (Luke 23:46). See also the same experience at the time of the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:59). Eccl. 12:7 also tells us that the spirit returns unto God who gave it.
At the time of our Lord’s death His soul went down into Paradise, which is the restful part or the place of the redeemed in Sheol (Hebrew), or Hades (Greek), which was in the lower part of the earth where our Lord and the thief on the cross went, also where Lazarus and the rich man went, the rich man being in the part of the lost, whereas Lazarus was in the part housing the saved. See Acts 2:27, where the word hell should be translated “Sheol” in the Old Testament and “Hades” in the New Testament; see also Eph. 4:9, 10.
At the time of the resurrection and, a little later, the ascension of our Lord, it would seem that Paradise and its inhabitants were transferred from Ithe lower regions of the earth into the third heaven. See again Eph. 4:8-10 and then note carefully II Cor. 12:1-4, where Paul reveals that since the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, Paradise is in the third heaven.
The body of our Lord at the time of His death was placed in Joseph’s tomb and there remained until the morning of the resurrection. Because His body was a sinless body it did not and could not see corruption. All other bodies, like that of Job, returned to the dust (Gen. 3:19; Job 10:9; 19:25-27; Eccl. 12:7). Note also in John 11:39 that the body of Lazarus was in the process of returning to the dust.
Please note carefully from the above Scriptures that at the time of our Lord’s death His spirit went to be with God the Father, His soul went into the Paradise side of Sheol or Hades, and His body went into the tomb in Joseph’s garden.
I would also like to call your attention to the fact that in the temptation of our Lord, being tempted in all points like as we are, He was tempted in spirit, soul and body. In Matt. 4:1-4 He was tempted in His body to turn stones into bread to satisfy bodily hunger. In vv. 5-7 His soul was tempted to make a great display before man of His supernatural power by hurling Himself into space from the pinnacle of the temple. In vv. 8-10 He was tempted in His spirit to worship Satan rather than God.
Man too suffers from the threefold temptation to his spirit, soul and body. In man’s spirit he is God-conscious; in his soul he is self-conscious; in his body he is sense-conscious. Man is not a simple being but a compound being of three constituent parts, spirit, soul and body; and Paul’s prayer for man was that he might in his entirety be sanctified in the day of the Lord.
What is a soulish or natural man? He is one who is dominated by his soul. He is ruled by his own personal feelings, his own emotions, his own affections, his own passions, his own desires, his own likes and dislikes, his own will. Such a one is a soulish or natural man and he is unable to understand spiritual things because spiritual truths are spiritually discerned and the soulish man does not have spiritual discernment. His spirit must be born from above to have such discernment.
What is a spiritual man? A spiritual man is one who is controlled by the Holy Spirit of God, acting through the man’s own spirit according to the Word of God. The spiritual man controls his own feelings, his own emotions, his own desires, his own likes and dislikes, and his own will, whereas the soulish or natural man is under the control of his emotions, desires, passions, appetites, etc. I Cor. 2:14 expresses this truth very clearly: “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,” Here the natural man is the soulish man or the one who is under control of his soul rather than his spirit being dominated by the Holy Spirit.
I Cor. 2:14 and 3:1 reveal three classes of men. First is the Natural or Soulish man-one who has not been born from above. Second, is the Carnal man-one who has been born again but is still a babe in Christ, being under the soulish impulses and not in submission to the Holy Spirit of God. Third is the Spiritual man-one who has been born from above and whose body and soul are controlled by the Holy Spirit of God working through man’s spirit. The Holy Spirit of God does not present truth to our souls or bodies; that is, to our brain, reason, senses or intellect, but directly to our spirits.
Please note the following quotations from Expository Values in Thessalonians, by Dr. Harold J. Ockenga, former president of Fuller Theological Seminary, in referring to I Cor. 2:14. “The soulish or natural man is contrasted to the spiritual man. The spirit of man holds communication with the unseen and is the seat of his God-consciousness. The soul is the seat of all affections, impulses, and is man’s man-consciousness. The body links man to the material world and is the seat and instrument of his outward deeds and is the seat of his world-consciousness. Sanctification involves the whole man as is evinced by the words ‘holy,’ ‘whole,’ ‘blameless.'”
Dr. A. B. Simpson in his book, The Holy Spirit, says, “The predominate characteristic of the natural or soulish man is expressed by the word ‘soul,’ just as the predominate characteristic of the new man in the New Testament is expressed by the word ‘spirit.’ The soul represents the intellectual and emotional elements that constitute man. The spirit represents the higher and the divine life which links us directly to God and enables us to know and to come into relationship with divine things.”
Dr. R. C. H. Lenski in his Commentary on Hebrews says, “The soul (psuche) is the seat of the thoughts, emotions, feelings, desires, volitions and actions pertaining to our earthly and bodily existence. The spirit (pneuma) is the immaterial part of our being that was created and breathed into us by the breath of God and is therefore the real seat of all His gracious operations in regenerating and renewing us. In the unregenerate the soul (psuche) rules and the spirit (pneuma) is enslaved. In the regenerate this is reversed and the spirit (pneuma) is enthroned and the soul (psuche) is enslaved. Thus no longer are we ruled by our natural, earthly, sensual soul (psuche) but by our spiritual self (pneuma).”
Robert Govett in his Commentary on Hebrews says, “Scripture distinguishes between the three parts of man-‘spirit, soul and body.’ The soul is the seat of the instincts and passions which we possess in common with animals. The spirit is the deeper and more immaterial portion with which we serve God. That animals have souls, see a correct translation of Gen. 1:20, 21, 30; Rev. 8:9; 16:3.” (In these Scripture references soul is translated either “life” or “living.”) The Scriptures can distinguish and separate the soul from the spirit.
A study of the three words, spirit, soul and body, in good lexicons will be very valuable. In the Hebrew the word for soul is nephesh, and in the King James translation is indiscriminately translated “life” and/or “soul.” In the Greek the word for soul is psuche and it also in the the King James is translated indiscriminately “life” and/or “soul.” In Latin the word soul comes from the word anima, or that which animates the body, and is usually translated “life.” In Lev. 17:11 we learn that the soul or the life, nephesh, is in the blood; hence the soul is that which gives life to our physical organization. This is true of animals as well.
The thought which stimulated my interest in the study of spirit, soul and body came to mind in the study of I Pet. 1:9 where, in speaking of those who had already been saved spiritually, he mentions the end or a possible result of their being saved ‘as the salvation of their souls, which manifestly were not saved, though their spirits had been saved. I encountered the same truth in James 1:21 where he speaks of the possibility of the salvation of the souls of those who had already been begotten from above.
Further study in the Word of God revealed to me that the moment individuals accept Christ as Saviour their spirits are born from above, they are saved eternally (see John 3:5, 14-16, also vv. 18 and 36). Romans 8:23 presents the truth that our bodies are not redeemed until the time of the resurrection and translation.
The question next arises concerning the salvation of the soul. Peter, in the first chapter of his first Epistle makes the salvation of the soul (the natural life) dependent upon faithfulness after one’s spirit has been saved. James! 1:21 makes the salvation of the soul dependent upon laying aside the old I man and putting on the new man. Paul equates the salvation of the soul I with winning rewards (see I Cor. 3:12-15). Also II Tim. 2:12, along with! Rom. 8:16-17, makes the salvation of the soul depend upon suffering and I perseverance. The life that one lives after he is saved is what we might call the soul-life.
So many Christians today, while being deeply appreciative of the eternal security of the believer, vainly imagine that it makes no difference how they live. They seem to think that all Christians will rule and reign with the Lord, despite the fact that innumerable Scriptures attest the fact that positions of sovereignty in the coming kingdom of our Lord are determined by obedience, faithfulness, suffering and perseverance. The spirit is saved at the time of the new birth, the body redeemed at the time of the rapture and translation, but the salvation of the soul or the life of man is something dependent upon and determined by the individual himself as he seeks, follows and surrenders to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
To encourage Christians to live for the Lord after their salvation, the Lord has offered many rewards, including sovereignty over as many as ten cities. Despise not our Lord’s offer of rewards, but strive diligently to attain to a place of honor in His coming kingdom. See Phil. 3:13, 14.
“And the very God of peace santify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess. 5:23).
In Heb. 4:12 we also read, “”. . . dividing asunder of soul and spirit.” These verses along with others call to our attention that man is a triunity. God is a Triunity-God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and of necessity man must be a triunity. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Man was formed from the dust of the ground; God breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Here again is the tripartite nature of man. In salvation, or in the study of salvation, we learn that each of these three parts of man is subject to salvation at different times and in varying aspects:
1. The salvation of the spirit. When man sinned in the Garden of Eden he died (Gen. 2:17). Since his body continued to live and his soul continued to live, it was his spirit which died; and the death of the spirit in an individual is separation from God. The Bible speaks of a person who is living and is un. saved as being dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1). When he is saved he is spoken of as having been quickened, or passing from death unto life (John 5:24; I John 3:14), Other Scriptures confirm the fact that when one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, he receives life (John 3:15, 16, 36). The truth expressed in the above quoted Scriptures brings to our attention that the new birth which takes place the moment one believes, and the spirit of man comes to life under the begetting power of the Word of God. In the language most commonly used, man is saved, This phase of salvation is eternal, irrevocable, indestructible, and it cannot be altered under any circumstances or conditions (Rom. 8:38, 39).
2. The salvation of the body. This does not take place at the time that the spirit is saved, but at a later date. The body has been purchased and the price was the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 6:19, 20). The down payment on this purchase has been made, but the body awaits its redemption (Eph. 1:13, 14). While the body continues in this purchased yet unredeemed condition, there is the conflict between the flesh and the spirit (Gal. 5:17-21). This conflict is possible only in Christians. The one whose spirit is not born from above cannot do anything to please God. His very nature leads him only and always into things contrary to the will of God. “0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death”(Rom. 7:24)? Here is the cry of a saved spirit in the unredeemed body calling for help and for deliverance.
When does salvation come to the body? The body is not redeemed until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15:51-57). The unredeemed bodies of the Christians who have died are in the graves corrupting. These bodies must be raised and must put on incorruption. The saints who are living at the return of the Lord will be caught up and their mortal bodies will become immortal. Then and only then do we have the salvation of the body, (See Phil. 3:20, 21; I John 3:2.)
3. The salvation of the soul. The Scripture definition of soul is the English word life with all of its implications. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11). The word translated life in this verse is nephesh in the Hebrew. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach. The literal translation, therefore, is “the soul is in the blood,” Jesus, then, poured out His soul for the atonement of souls (Isa. 53:12). The soul being in the blood is at once seen to be the animating principle of the body of flesh, When a man is born from above and has the Spirit of God dwelling in him, the body then is torn betwix and between, The soul, which is of the natural man and is in the blood, pulls man toward the world and the things of the world. At the same time the born-again spirit of man pulls him toward God and the things of God. This is the great conflict described so graphically in Gal. 5:16-26.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt.16:25-27). The Greek word psuche (soul) is used four times. In verse 25 it is translated life. In verse 26 it is translated soul. Either is correct, but it should be translated all four times the same way. The Lord here is speaking to His disciples (verse 21). The life, or soul, which can be saved or lost, has to do with the rewards that Jesus will bring with Him. (See verse 27.) I Pet. 1:9 speaks of the salvation of the soul when Jesus returns. Matt. 16:25-27 speaks of a soul being lost when Jesus returns. Luke 12:16-21 tells of a soul being lost when Jesus returns because it had been lived for self and not for God. Incidentally, verse 21 makes it clear that the rich, young fool was saved because an unsaved person cannot be rich toward God as was possible for this wealthy farmer. I Cor. 3:15 tells of a man losing something because his life had not been lived for the Lord. The word here, translated loss, is exactly the same word in Matt. 16:26 translated lose, that is, lose his soul.
The only conclusion to which one can come is that the loss which a man sustains in I Cor. 3:15 and in Matt. 16:26, is the soul; that is, to lose one’s soul is to lose the rewards that will be brought by our Lord when He returns. These rewards are to be for the faithful and are to be enjoyed during the Millennial reign of Christ. Therefore, the salvation of the soul is something which is dependent upon man as he labors under the power of the Spirit of God.
“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (II Pet. 1:10). A brother can make his calling and election sure by living in such a manner that his soul, or life, may be saved. “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). It is the salvation of the soul, or the life, that is worked out with fear and trembling.
One of the tragedies of today is the fact that because of the ignorance of the Word of God, many people will go into His presence at His appearing with born-again spirits and redeemed bodies, but lives (or souls) forfeited because they did not live for the Lord.
Again, referring to I Cor. 3:11-15, it is stated explicitely and emphatically that a person can be saved for eternity but have no good works (his life, or soul saved) for the Lord; and this will determine his place of service and honor during the Millennial reign of Christ. After the thousand-year reign of Christ, man (body, soul and spirit) redeemed and perfected, will enjoy the Lord forever.
Now, in order to help distinguish body, soul and spirit, consider the Triunity of our Lord. At His death, His spirit went to the Father (Luke 23:46). His body was placed in the tomb (John 19:38-42). His soul went into the paradise section of hades (Luke 23:43; Acts 2:27; Psa. 16:10-see marginal reference on hell, sheol, and hades). At the resurrection of Christ, His body, His soul and His Spirit were reunited.
THE SALVATION OF THE SOUL
“Now the just shall live by faith, but if he draw back MY SOUL shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them that draw back unto destruction but are of them that are faithful to the saving of the soul” (Heb.l0:38, 39).
The above is a literal translation from the original Greek, and your attention is called to some differences between it and the King James translation. The words “any man” have been introduced by the King James translators as the subject of “draw back,” but the “just man” is the subject. An unbeliever cannot draw back from living for the Lord, but a saved man can. An unbeliever cannot live for self and lose his rewards, but a saved man can. An unbeliever cannot appear at the judgment seat of Christ without any works of gold, silver or precious stones; suffer loss and be saved as though by fire, but a saved person can. The drawing back to destruction is not to eternal damnation but is to the loss of the soul which is so plainly revealed in Matt. 16:24-27.
When Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour comes for His own with His rewards, those who have chosen to lose their souls, or lives, for His sake shall receive rewards, but those who have chosen to save their lives, or souls, for themselves shall lose their rewards. The Christian cannot lose his salvation, but he can lose his rewards.
The saving of the soul is something future and is conditioned upon the behaviour of the individual himself. Eternal life is the gift of God and can NEVER be lost or forfeited; but the saving of the soul is distinctly set forth in the Bible, not as a gift, but as a reward to be earned by diligence, faithfulness and obedience to His commands.
Failure to distinguish between soul and spirit has caused many to err and make shipwreck of their faith-not that they are lost, but that they may experience the tragedy of having their spirits and bodies saved but their souls lost. Are not the soul and the spirit the same? By no means. The soul is the natural life of the man-the self life. It is the sum total of the experiences which pertain to the man himself-his own separate personality. It is the life he lives daily after he is saved. He can live for the Lord or he can live for the world, the flesh and the devil. Such a life can issue in rewards or losses. “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (l Pet.1:5). “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (l Pet. 1:9).
The salvation to be revealed in the end time is that of the soul, unto rewards. “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (l Pet. 1:17).
The fear of the Lord is to qualify and determine our walk. Paul said, “Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord (II Cor. 5:11) we persuade men to watch and be found faithful.” (This fear is manifest at the judgment seat of Christ.)
Peter says, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshy lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (I Pet. 2:11, 12).
Consider the awful plight of the following unfaithful servants. (They are servants of the Lord and not lost people):
1. One whose righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees (Matt. 5:20).
2. One who was at the wedding feast but had no wedding garment (Matt. 22:1-14).
3. The five who having oil in their lamps were careless and did not carry an extra supply (Matt. 25:1-13).
4. The one who appeared at the judgment seat of Christ but had done nothing for the Lord (Matt. 25:14-30).
5. That servant who knew his Master’s will but did it not (Luke 12:42-48).
6. Those who yield to works of the flesh instead of being led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:17-21).
Do not make the common and fatal mistake of confusing the Kingdom of the Heavens, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of His dear Son, the Kingdom of Light, and similar expressions with ETERNAL LIFE, for they are different. In all but a few exceptions all these expressions refer to and mean the Millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ; and all the above exhortations and warnings and promises pertain to Christians who now, in this lifetime, are granted an opportunity to qualify for a place in the Kingdom by being faithful and obedient.
The force of the above warnings is taken away by preachers and teachers who apply them to a group called “professors,” when they are plainly addressed to believers. We shudder to think of their responsibility at the judgment seat of Christ because they have encouraged and promoted laxity of life by teaching and encouraging Christians to disregard the multiplied warnings given by God as listed above.
“For yet a very little while indeed, the coming one will come and will not delay, but my just one by faith shall live; and if he should shrink back my soul does not delight in him. But we are not of those shrinking back into destruction; but of faith in order to a preservation of life” (the saving of the soul- King James) Heb. 10:37-39. (Emphatic Diaglott).
This particular passage of Scripture speaks of the saving of the soul. We also have the same expression in I Pet. 1:9; likewise James 1:21. It seems strange that it is necessary to call to a Christian’s attention that spirit and soul are not the same.
In I Thess. 5:23 the apostle Paul prays that the saints of Thessalonica might be wholly saved; that is, their spirits, their souls and their bodies. Heb. 4:12 describes the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit by the Word of God. The salvation of the spirit takes place immediately and for eternity the moment an individual receives the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour (J ohn 3:36). This verse emphasizes that belief produces present salvation for eternity, to use the words of John Wesley himself. The body is not redeemed or saved until the resurrection and translation (Rom. 8:23).
The Salvation of the soul entails rewards for a life saved or lived in obedience unto and for the honor and glory of the Lord. That a life can be lost, though spirit and body are saved, is manifested by the following Scriptures: I Cor.3:15, where a Christian is saved as through fire but suffers loss because his life was not lived unto the Lord; Rev. 16:15, which describes the possibility of a Christian losing his garments (wedding garments – the robe of righteousness which is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ can never be lost nor taken from us) if he is not watchful in keeping his garments. Rev. 3:11 speaks of the possibility of a Christian losing his crown, and if there is no crown there can be no reigning with the Lord. Matt. 25:28 tells of the loss of the talent by the one who did not use it and therefore does not enter into the joy of the Lord as He reigns. You will note in vs. 14 of that same chapter that this one-talent servant is called “his own.” In Luke 19:24 the servant of the Lord who did not use his pound forfeited the pound and therefore was not appointed to reign over any city or cities. The reigning over a city has nothing to do with salvation at all but with rewards for faithfulness.
Looking again to our original text, Heb. 10:37-39, we note that the one under discussion is the just one (the believer). We note also that if the just one (believer) draws back, the Lord’s soul has no pleasure in him. We also note in vs. 39 that the drawing back on the part of the just one (believer) is unto destruction. Since it cannot be the destruction of the spirit and has nothing to do with the body, it has to be the soul which is under discussion in these three verses.
We note in the closing part of vs. 39 that the just one can believe (be faithful) to the saving or salvation of his soul. One cannot draw back from salvation but one can draw back from the pilgrim life and live the carnal life as described by the Holy Spirit in I Cor. 3: 1-3; that is, he continues to be a babe all his life.
The key expression of the book of Hebrews is “Let us go on to perfection”; that is, let us go on to maturity, a full grown man in Christ, not feeding continually on milk but going on to the meat of the Word – the meat of the Word in Hebrews being the truth and teaching pertaining to the kingdom and the possibility of Christians ruling and reigning with the Lord. The sincere milk of the Word has to do with the simple gospel message which is able to make one wise unto salvation; whereas the meat of the Word will enable one to qualify for a place of sovereignty in the kingdom.
Please keep in mind that in the kingdom there will be sovereigns and there will be subjects, the sovereigns being those who have won crowns, the subjects being those who are saved as though by fire.
Everywhere in Scripture that the salvation of the soul is mentioned it is referred to as a future event and is conditioned upon the life of the individual. For instance, in Matt. 16:24-27 a literal translation would be that whosoever “wills” to save his life shall lose it and whosoever “wills” to lose his life for Christ’s sake shall find it. The saving of the life (soul) or the losing of the life (soul) is determined by the Christian’s willing it. The word man in vs. 24 is in italics, which reveals to us that it is not in the original text and the people under discussion are named by the Holy Spirit as being His disciples; so that the word man should be left out, and if one is to be supplied it would have to be disciples: “If any disciples will come after Me…”
As you read this entire passage you see that the result of the loss or saving of the soul has to do with the rewards mentioned in vs. 27. The word translated life twice in vs. 25 and soul twice in vs. 26 is the same word in the Greek (psuche). Eternal life is the gift of God and can never be lost, forfeited, given up or taken from one; whereas the saving of the soul is dependent on man. The salvation of the soul comes at the end of our Christian life rather than the beginning and one of the goals of faith in Jesus is the salvation of the soul or rewards (I Pet. 1:9).
In the above verse Peter writes of the “saving of the soul” to those who have already been begotten again (see vs. 3 of chapter 1). James writes in 1:21 of the saving of the souls of those who have already been begotten by the word of truth (vs. 18 of chapter 1). The new birth-being born from above-regeneration-is a past experience for all who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, whereas the saving of the life or soul, which results in rewards, is a future experience which will be determined by the issues of the judgment seat of Christ.
In Phil. 2:12 Christians are urged to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” By so doing they will guarantee unto themselves the salvation of their lives and receive rewards. In II Pet.l:l0 Christians are urged to give diligence to make their calling and election sure so that they will not stumble and lose their rewards but, according to vs. 11, will have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The salvation of the life (soul) of a Christian will guarantee unto such a one a place of sovereignty, honor, glory, with crowns and rewards in the kingdom of our Lord. The loss of one’s life (soul) as a Christian will not result in the banishment from the heavens but simply in making him to be a subject rather than a sovereign. For further study you might consider Luke 12:42-48 where we have the parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants of the Lord. The last word in vs. 46, unbeliever, is to be literally translated, unfaithful. Also see Luke 13:30; Luke 14:1-11.
My own personal conviction, born of study of the Word, observation and prayer, is that the most treacherous teaching of too many Bible teachers is that Christians can live any way they want to and still rule and reign with the Lord.
I SAW THE SOULS
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, 0 Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth. And white robes were given unto everyone of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Rev. 6:9-11).
This expression of John, “1 saw the souls,” calls our attention once again to the fact that according to the Word of God man consists of spirit, soul and body. According to Rev. 1:10; 4:2, John became in the spirit. Being transported to heaven in this spirit form he was able to see the souls of many of those beneath the altar. A careful study of the Scripture at the beginning of this article reveals a number of things relative to the soul.
1. Death does not end the existence of the soul.
2. The souls were visible.
3. The souls were conscious.
4. They remembered the past.
5. They knew the future would bring the vengeance of the Lord upon their eneInles.
6. They wondered at the seeming delay of the Lord in vengeance.
7. These souls cried out to the Lord.
8. They were given counsel and encouragement by God.
9. They received and wore white robes.
10. They had tangible bodies. All this, remember, is in view of the fact that their bodies had returned to the dust and their spirits were with God the Father. It might be well here to call to mind once again that at the death of our Lord, His spirit went to be with God the Father in the heavens, His soul went down into Hades and His body went into the tomb.
In I Sam. 28:7-25 we have the incident of King Saul’s seeking the woman that had a familiar spirit and who lived at En-dor. It was his desire to contact Samuel because of the extreme difficulty in which Saul was involved. You will notice in this experience:
1. Samuel’s soul came up from out of the earth (his spirit was with God the Father, and his body had gone back to the dust).
2. Samuel’s soul was seen and recognized by this woman.
3. She described him as an old man covered with a mantle.
4. Saul perceived (recognized and understood) that it was Samuel.
The conclusion to which we come is that the disembodied soul of Samuel had a form and garments corresponding to that which he had upon the earth and was recognizable by such.
Notice also Luke 16:19-31. Here in the experience of the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham, all three are manifest in their soul experience. 1. The rich man’s soul has a form.
2. He can feel the flames.
3. He desires water to cool his tongue.
4. Lazarus has fingers which the rich man thinks could touch his lips with water.
5. Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man all have eyes, ears, voices, because they see, hear and speak. We conclude then that these three manifest the fact that souls are tangible, posssessing form and characteristics which were theirs before death.
In II Cor. 12:1-4 Paul is in a condition which is much better than being in prison on earth but still not comparable to the final state. Paul could see and hear the things going on in heaven and was free from the gravitational pull of the earth which holds the natural man to the earth. In II Cor. 5:1-10 we learn:
1. While here on the earth we have a tent-house or body.
2. When we are separated from this tent-house our souls being in heaven are without adequate covering for eternity but do have a form and some sort of a covering.
3. There is a longing to not be found naked when the Lord returns, at which time we will be clothed with our heavenly house or body.
4.In between the time that we are absent from this present tent-house and the time we enter our heavenly house, our souls possess a tangible form comparable to that of Samuel, Abraham, Lazarus, the rich man and the souls underneath the altar.
The study of these particular passages of Scripture should be conclusive in establishing the fact that the soul is a definite part of the human being but distinguished from body and spirit. In I Thess. 5:23, Paul prays for the salvation of the spirit and the soul and the body. The Word teaches that the spirit of an individual is saved the moment he is born from above through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the body is saved at the time of the appearing of our Lord – the resurrection and translation of the saints, whereas the soul’s salvation is manifested at the judgment seat of Christ.
I conclude with Paul’s prayer as recorded in I Thess. 5:23: “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.”