LEARN TO EXERCISE THE SENSES OF YOUR SOUL IN GODLINESS

James 1:21 – Putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.

In his letter to the church, James helps us understand that salvation is not a matter of simply believing, but that we must participate in salvation’s application to our soul in our daily walk. It is impossible to save one’s self through human effort. Through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, one can apply salvation’s provision daily.

There are areas of the soul which I call “the senses of the soul” that need to be washed, cleansed, and surrendered to Christ each day. The soul is to become dependent on the work of God’s grace that took place in our spirit man when we were “born again.” It is by grace through faith our life is lived in the Spirit (see Ephesians 2:8). The five senses that were once fully controlled through the natural man and influenced by the world are: reason, imagination, affection, memory, and conscience. 

First is our reasoning. “Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8). Jesus knew in His spirit man how the religious leaders were thinking about the healing of a crippled man through Jesus’ words, “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). They determined in their minds that Jesus was “blaspheming” because only God can forgive sins. The Holy Spirit wants to lead us to “reason” by God’s word and not from our natural thinking. Their reasoning was rooted in their evil hearts which affected how they viewed the ministry of Jesus.

Second, is our “imagination.” “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-6 KJV). The King James uses the word “imagination” while other translations use the word “speculations.” Jesus wants to help bring this strong area of our soul under the control of His word by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is in the realm of our imaginations or speculations that the enemy of our souls works. He causes us to doubt God and trust our own natural thoughts. The further one studies the realm of reasoning and imagination of the mind, one becomes aware of the direct relationship these two areas have on each other. Tomorrow, we will examine the remaining three senses of our soul.

Father, I ask for the work of Your Holy Spirit to be activated in my reasoning and my imaginations so that You may have control in both of these major areas of my soul. I pray that my thoughts would be made captive to Christ.

EXERCISING THE SENSES OF MY SPIRIT

Romans 8:5 – Those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

Paul describes two categories of people, those of the flesh and those of the Spirit. The believers are to set their minds on the things that concern the Spirit of God. Today, we will consider five specific areas the Spirit of the Lord wants to develop in our spirit. Each of the five is a characteristic of God’s nature. Faith, love, peace, joy, reverential fear, and true worship are in us because of the new birth. Each one provides a basis for everything else the Holy Spirit accomplishes in our life.

Faith is an attribute of God’s heart, not simply a mind-set. Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22). A close look at this verse reveals that the original language should be translated “have the faith of God.” This kind of faith is given to the believer through the Holy Spirit. God’s faith is made alive through the new birth and resides in our spirit. Faith is: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 KJV). The hope spoken of in this verse means a “sure expectation.”

There are many types of love known to man. The most important is “the love of God”. His love is placed in our spirit in the “new birth.” As we set our mind on the love of God, it changes how we relate to people. God’s will is that His love dominates our thoughts and practices.

Peace is what the Lord made possible in the work of salvation. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). It is the peace of God that keeps our hearts and minds from being distracted and confused.

Joy comes out of peace. Many experience happiness, but not joy. Happiness changes with the circumstances, but Spirit-filled joy is a result of walking in God’s love and peace. I find very few people that exercise godly joy. One reason is that their minds are not fixed on the love of God, but their own selfish needs or wants.

True worship flows from faith built on hope, love, peace, and joy. We worship God to celebrate all He has done for us. At times, we offer “the sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15). We sacrifice our selfish desires and the works of our flesh on His altar. The evidence of our worship is seen in “doing good and sharing, with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).

Father, thank You for giving to me Your nature. Let these senses grow and develop in my spirit. I ask for the Holy Spirit to empower my thinking and my actions through the senses of my spirit.

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.  

THREE-FOLD PURPOSE OF GOD’S WILL

Hebrews 11:40 – God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

What an amazing statement the writer of Hebrews makes as he sums up this chapter! This chapter is known as “The honor roll of the faithful.” None of those listed in the honor roll of the faithful experienced the full purpose of God. His full purpose could only be experienced in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. The faithful of the Old Testament were those waiting in upper Sheol for the Son of God to come and release them to the promise of perfection. The “better” spoken of in this verse is the Lord Jesus Christ, who we receive through the Spirit. 

The Spirit of God spoke of Christ throughout the Old Testament. The Spirit created the Holy One in the womb of Mary. The Holy Spirit revealed the Father through the earthly ministry of our Lord. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to suffer and die for our sins. It was the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the grave. Along with Jesus, many Old Testament saints arose from the dead and testified to many in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:52-53).

Salvation is complete in the Lord Jesus Christ. He has provided deliverance for our spirit, soul, and body. “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). “How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Hebrews 2:3-4).

The triune God who revealed Himself to man as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit made it possible for every person to enter into His life and become part of the divine community in perfect unity with His threefold nature. In the beginning, man was perfect. Sin destroyed the unity in our nature. The work of salvation is to heal the brokenness of our life and restore us in Christ to God’s original plan.

Father, I thank You for Your salvation, so rich and so free. I thank You for making it possible for my spirit, soul, and body to be healed and restored through Your Son and my Lord. Holy Spirit, continue the process in my life that leads me to Your perfect will.