DEVELOPING MY INNER MAN

Romans 7:22 – I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.

When the Scriptures speak of the “inner man,” they are referring to the human spirit which has been regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. Before the new birth, our human spirit was dead in its knowledge and relationship to God. It is simply our natural life which had its beginning in Adam. He lost his standing before God when he chose sin and death over obedience and life (Genesis 2-3). 

When one is “born again,” their human spirit is regenerated by the Holy Spirit. “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds in righteousness, but according to His mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7). We know by the Scriptures and through life experience that the soul of man is not born again of the Spirit. The soul is changed as one allows their spirit to take control and help change the thoughts of the mind. That is why Paul says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 KJV).

The inner man must be renewed “day by day.” The human spirit does not have life of its own, but its life comes by the “renewing of the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is resident in the believer because the Holy Spirit indwells the believer’s life, being joined with the believer’s spirit, or inner man or heart. All three terms are used interchangeably. “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17).

Paul, communicating with the church of Ephesus, tells them how he is praying. “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:16-21).

Father, I claim the prayer of Paul for my life. I am asking to be strengthened with power through Your Holy Spirit in my inner man, receiving the riches of Your grace. Renew my inner man daily that I might be faithful and do Your will throughout all my days on earth.

SALVATION BEGINS IN OUR SPIRIT

John 3:3 – Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

This is one of the most familiar Scriptures. During his 1976 presidential campaign President Carter made it a popular saying when he declared that he was born again and served as a Baptist Sunday school teacher. The phrase originated with Jesus when he was speaking to Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher. Nicodemus understood that Jesus must be from God. Because of the signs Jesus was performing such as healing and miracles. Nicodemus was trying to figure Jesus out through his intellect. Jesus gave Nicodemus a new paradigm to consider. Even though Nicodemus saw the signs, he had not truly seen the kingdom of God.

The kingdom of God in not an intellectual experience, it is a “spiritual birth.” Many today are still trying to get to God through their intellect, but that is impossible to do. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). As Jesus ministers to the woman at the well, He introduces her to this new paradigm of thinking. She thought that worship had to do with the location of worship. Jesus tells her that a new day is coming when the “true worshipers will worship in the spirit.”

The kingdom of God is in the Spirit. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:16-17). What powerful understanding Paul brings to the church in these passages. Salvation begins at the point of “His Spirit testifying to our spirit.” I remember in the eleventh grade at a Youth for Christ gathering, I said to God, “Tonight, when I leave this place I want eternity settled.” As I left the building, His Spirit testified to my spirit that I had eternal life. From that moment until now, I have never doubted my salvation in Christ. I have grown in the knowledge of my inheritance given to me from God. I know that I have an eternal inheritance with Christ.

I have known many blessings as a child of God, but I have also experienced sufferings with Him. Suffering begins in denying to self, submitting to the death of self and receiving His resurrected life daily as well as in the eternity to come. Nurture your spirit man with the Word of God, with prayer, and with the fellowship of like-minded people.

Father, I thank You for drawing me to Yourself and causing me to be born again. Help my spirit to grow and become strong in Christ. Teach me how to deny my fleshly appetites and hear Your Holy Spirit better. 

THREEFOLD SALVATION FOR HIS TRIUNE CREATION

2 Corinthians 1:10 – God delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.

As Paul writes to the church in Corinth, he is describing the comfort he knows even in times of affliction. The kind of affliction he is speaking of was “beyond his strength” (2 Corinthians 1:8). Paul says, “We had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). In verse 10, Paul reveals the threefold order of God’s salvation. First, God delivered us from “so great a death.” The great death is what the Scriptures call the “second death” (Revelation 20:6). We were dead in our “trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Through the blood of Christ, our sins have been forgiven and washed away, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us (Ephesians 1:7-8). Salvation begins in our spirit and is renewed and made alive in Christ daily.

Second, “God will deliver us.” Paul is speaking of the salvation we experience through our trust in God. We need His help on a daily basis. Sin is always there looming to trip us up in our daily walk. Afflictions in this life can discourage us from going forward with the Lord and His eternal purpose. The work of salvation was finished in the cross of Christ. Daily, the Holy Spirit is our helper to apply and walk out this salvation in personal victory. Our soul is challenged daily in our intellect and our emotions. Through our will, we can choose to trust God or we can choose not to. What God has begun in our spirit: faith in God, true worship, His love, peace and joy, He intends for us to experience daily in our soul.

Finally, we will experience the final part of our salvation at the Lord’s return. “This perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53). In the now, we can experience healing for our bodies. When God heals the physical, He is releasing eternal life in the now. There is coming a day when these bodies will be changed into the likeness of His glorious body. “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we all will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Father, I thank You for the provision of full salvation in my spirit, soul, and body. I trust You for Your life to be released daily to my being. My hope is in the promise of Your resurrected power, that one day I will be raised from the dead. Until that day, I trust You to keep me healthy and strong to serve Your eternal purpose on earth.  

TRIUNE MAN IS SEEN IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST

Psalm 16:10 – You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

The Psalmist David writes prophetically concerning Christ in Psalm 16. In Jesus’ sufferings and death we can clearly see the triune nature of man. When hanging on the cross, Jesus cried out to His Father saying, “Father into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). Just as Jesus is about to draw His last breath, He commits His spirit to God. Next, David’s prophetic words come to pass as His body is removed from the cross and laid in the tomb and Jesus’ soul descends into hell. The Hebrew word for hell is Sheol. There were two parts to Sheol, upper and lower. Both parts were described in Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). 

As Jesus’ soul descended into Sheol, He first preached the gospel to those who died during the Flood. He then took the keys of death and hell from Satan. Lastly, as Jesus arose, overcoming death and hell, He brought with Him all the dead that waited in upper Sheol, waiting for His Day. His whole spirit, soul, and body were united on the third day. When He revealed Himself to His apostles after His resurrection, they were afraid, thinking it was a spirit that had come into the room. Listen to what Jesus says to them, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).

Jesus was fully raised from the dead. His disciples could see and touch Him. Notice He pointed out His flesh and bones, but did not mention the blood. His blood was in heaven witnessing to our redemption and our pardon (Revelation 5:9-10). For the natural man, “the life is in the blood and God offers it on an altar for atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Jesus no longer needed to depend upon blood coursing through His veins for life. His life was now fully sustained by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. One day, we too, will know His full resurrection power as our bodies, along with all the saints, are raised from the dead. If we are alive when He comes back for His own, then we will be changed immediately (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).

Rejoice saints! You will live on with Him throughout eternity with your spirit, soul, and body. By the Holy Spirit we know His resurrected life even now, while awaiting that blessed day and His glorious return.

Father, as Jesus committed His spirit into Your hands on the cross, I too surrender and invite You to have complete control of my inner man. Because Jesus suffered in His soul and descended into hell on my behalf, I freely give You control of my soul. As Jesus’ body was raised from the dead, I am looking forward to the day of resurrection when death will have no more control over mankind.

CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. This verse of Scripture is packed with a lot of information. It reveals the eternal purpose of the one and only true God. He purposed that mankind be created in His image. Two...

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS

Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

We can rejoice always because of all the Lord has done for His children. He has given to the children of God His divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:3). Maturing in Christ is yielding to the Holy Spirit’s help in developing the nature of God in the believer. It is not trying to become a better person. We can never attain to God’s righteousness by our own effort. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we grow up into Christ.

As Paul writes to the Philippians he goes on to instruct, “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:5). Father God is gentle. The Lord Jesus is gentle. The Spirit of God is gentle. The gentleness of God has been placed in the believer’s spirit in the new birth. The Holy Spirit will help us exercise that gentleness in a world that attacks and can make us reactionary. Paul says “The Lord is near.” I believe that scripture can be understood in two ways.

First, the Lord is near in His coming for His own. In the first century, the Lord did come, not in the promised Second Coming, but in the promise of judgment on that generation (see Matthew 24:34). Second, He is near to be our helper. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). David writes, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). We can see God is the same in the Old or New Covenant.

Paul goes on to say, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). The real proof of trust in God is the absence of anxiety. Anxiety is controlled by a life given to prayer and supplication connected to gratitude. Not just coming to the Lord when we are in trouble, but a lifestyle of communication with our heavenly Father.  

The peace of God surpasses all our comprehension. The peace of God is what guards our hearts and our minds (see Philippians 4:7). That peace is rooted in Christ Jesus. Gentleness, absence of anxiety, peace of God, and a heart and mind that is protected comes to those who “rejoice in the Lord always.”

Father, I rejoice in You. Help me to learn how to rejoice always. No matter what is happening around me, I ask for the Holy Spirit to release gentleness and peace to my heart and mind in Jesus’ name.