We mentioned in the earlier chapters that God created Man in His Image ie. endowed him with the full capacity, natural and spiritual, to be changed from glory to glory, even into the Likeness of God.
Now, when Adam and Eve fell, God took away their privilege of fellowship with Him. They were thus not able to approach and walk in His presence anymore. In essence, they lost their chance to grow in relationship with God as their Father.
When Christ Jesus came, He restored back to us, as His disciples, the Spirit of Sonship after we are born again. He restituted everything back to us concerning our wellbeing in God the Father.
Through the Son, we are able to approach the Father.
2 Cor 3:16-18 [NIV]
16But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Three Compartments of Man
Now let’s look at how God created man ie. the constitution of man.
Gen 2:7 [NIV]
7the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
In this verse, it is explicitly stated that there are three steps in the working of God when He created Man.
The Body or Flesh of Man: Formed of dust, the flesh or physical part of a human being. It should not be understood literally as a pile of dirt as some would joke about it. No, rather it is of such delicate design that only the Almighty knows how to use water (over 65% in an adult male, 60% in a female) and some chemicals and minerals to create an organic living being like us.
The Spirit or Breath of Life: The spiritual part of a human being. This breath is no other breath than the very breath of God, which is a life-giving spirit. God the Father planted the seed of Sonship in Adam and Eve when He created them.
A privilege of fellowship with God the Father, that Man would be taught by Him. This is a privilege granted to no other creation. It was lost when Man sinned but restored by Christ Jesus, the Son of God, as prophesied by Jeremiah.
Jer. 31:31-34 [NIV]
31“The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
This is also what John the Apostle speaks of, that when those who are born of God have the right to be children of God.
Now, what God breathed into Man is the human spirit, who is to be the dwelling place for His Spirit. the Spirit of Sonship, the promise and power of eternal life in Him.
This is what Paul speaks of, that those born of God are sealed by the Holy Spirit, as a deposit towards the fulfillment of God’s promise given through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is no other than the sealing of the eternal covenant with us as a beneficiary as mentioned by the author of Hebrews. (We will expound on this more in later chapters.) He guarantees what is to come, even the fullness of the Life of God and His glory.
It is the essence of a life of faith in Christ Jesus, who dwells in those who are born from above. He becomes the substance of their faith, even “the hope of glory”, through which the grace or power of God for eternal life becomes available, even in this age. Let took at some explanation of this.
The human spirit and the Spirit of God are closely linked with moral character and moral attributes. God will give His people a new spirit so they will follow His decrees and laws (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26).
God’s Spirit will rest on His people, transforming them (Isa. 59:21).
|The Lord preserves those who have heavy spirits and broken hearts (Ps. 34:18; Isa. 65:14).
The human spirit is sometimes depicted as the seat of emotion, the mind, and the will. In a song of praise, Isaiah asserted that the spirit desires the Lord (Isa. 26:9; Job 7:11).
The spirit imparts wisdom for understanding (Ex. 28:3; Deut. 34:9); and carrying out one’s responsibilities.
David prayed for a willing spirit to aid him (Ex. 35:21; Ps. 51:10).
The spirit made flesh alive and is the life force of living humans and animals. The Lord makes the spirits of people that give them life (Zech. 12:1).
This spirit is from God and leaves at death (Gen. 6:3; Ps. 78:39; Eccl. 3:21).
The spirit is pictured as giving animation, agitation, or liveliness; the Queen of Sheba was overcome in her spirit when she saw the splendors of Solomon’s world (1 Kgs. 10:5). Not to have any spirit is to lose all courage; the Amorite kings had no spirit in them when they learned how Israel had crossed the Jordan. To be short of spirit is to be despondent or impatient (Eccl. 6:9).
The word also describes the breath of a human being or the natural wind that blows.
—Baker, W. (2003, c2002). The complete word study dictionary : Old Testament (1040). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
The Soul: Now, in Hebrew, this word also means breath, the inner being with its thoughts and emotions. Much lies in the difference between a man\’s soul and a man\’s “spirit” . As some put it, soul is a self-consciousness, while spirit is a God-consciousness. Soul is the natural faculty and capacity of the natural man in relation to our five senses, mind and heart that was gifted by God for Man to experience the visible or natural world; while spirit is the spiritual faculty and capacity of the spiritual man in relation to our spiritual senses, mind and heart (compatible to the natural ones) that was gifted by God to experience the invisible or spiritual world.
We will discuss more of the details of natural world and spiritual world or reality in the coming chapters. A preview, the natural world is governed by natural laws or principles which balance around a natural order. While the spiritual world is more complicated as it includes more than the eternal realm of God, but also the angelic realm in the heavenly places. There are three heavens in existence as of this age, which can be compared to the three courts in the Temple and the three compartments of Man. With this in mind, we will now begin to discuss a very intriguing topic: Sanctification.
The Work of Sanctification
1 Thess 5:23 [NIV]
23May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
To sanctify something is to cleanse something. This work is often translated into other terms in the Bible as we mentioned before such as transformation, the renewal of the mind by the Holy Spirit, purification as in the example of gold, baptisms of water, fire and the Holy Spirit, the testing and proving of our faith, sufferings in Christ, etc. These are the terms used emphasizing a certain aspect of the same thing.
Simply put, sanctification is the process of a believer of Christ being transformed into the likeness of God and brought into the governance of the Lord Jesus.
To offer a simple description : it is a process or a work wrought by the Holy Spirit, of all perfections – beginning in the inner most being of a man which is his spirit, proceeding to the soul, and finally to the body. This reality that is initiated and accomplished within us is foreshadowed by the temple in the Old Testament which was made up of the Holy of Holies, the Inner Court, and the Outer Court. (Please refer to the OT where the requirements of one to enter into the Temple of God and the way in which the priests cleanse the Temple are illustrated, to see this in detail.) It will manifest itself as a spiritual reality with discernible and substantial changes after it flows from the inner most part of the man, to His soul and to his body. The Spirit will sanctify the man through and through in order to make him pure and blameless before the Lord.
This process can take a lifetime. It many times is compared to the process through which gold is refined by fire, as the dross and the impurities are burned away in order to produce pure gold. Actually, we should know that God honored gold above all other metals, because He created it with the purpose to show how a man is sanctified and thus proved and set apart as holy. Anything that does not fall into this process of sanctification will be burned away so that only the pure and holy will remain.
By the same token, we can say that sanctification is the process of producing the fullness of Christ in us. It will bring about the Mind of Christ in a man. A man is mature in God’s sight when he has the Mind of Christ and this certainly takes time.
It is designed to be so. The Father ordained this to be the integral part of a son’s life, through which he would perfect him into the life of Christ, even the pattern or standard He intended to show us Himself in all truth and grace. The Son is the exact representation or reflection of the Father.
It begins with learning to be governed by the Holy Spirit. This is done through the process of yielding to the leading of the Spirit and His governance on our part. An infant does not reflect the character of the Father in the beginning. However, over time as he matures as a son he will be able to reflect the Character of the Father. As you become acquainted with the ways of the Spirit, the Father and the Son will be revealed. To progress in this, the key is that your life must first come into order with the ways of the Spirit, and then the Glory of God will come as He approves our righteousness in Christ Jesus.
The Glory of God has substance and weight. When the heart is right and truly desires the Lord, the Spirit will come to rest upon us in His Glory, thus we become in reality the dwelling place of God. The Spirit does not yield to the interests or ways of man and will also bring about discipline in order to produce the necessary result for sanctification, even our holiness in Christ. This is done in love and is used to train the Son into all righteousness.
Also, the Glory of God is invisible and the Lord can\’t wait to pour His Glory into us for He desires, even longs, to do so. We are the vessels for His Glory. This begins with laying the firm foundation of Christ Jesus in our spiritual life. Secondly, we must be put into order, like the house of God, for the Glory to come. We are brought into this divine order for the purpose of being established in the Lord and not moved by external things. Our spirit, soul, and body must come into the order and governance of the Spirit of the Lord, even the Law of eternal life in Christ. Just as in visible ways the temple had to be built and completed after the pattern given by God for the Glory to fill in, so we must be built according to the order of the Lord for the Glory to fill in us as well in invisible ways. We are the workmanship of God, not only living stones in the temple of the Lord in which His Spirit dwells, even the very temple of God in a sense.
Paul put it in this way:
Col 2:6-10 [NIV]
6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
Three Compartments of Man
Zech 12:1 [NIV]
This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares:
Eccl. 12:7 [NIV]
7and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Isa 59:21 [NIV]
21“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.
Ezek 37:5 [NIV]
5This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.
John 17:16-19 [NIV]
16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Acts 26:18 [NIV]
18to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Eph 5:26-27 [NIV]
26(Christ) to make her (the Church) holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Heb 9:13-14 [NIV]
13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!