When you were saved, it was your spirit that became a new creation – not your body!
Most of us are very familiar with the verse:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV)
The moment you were placed in Christ, you became one spirit with Him. You became a new creation, yet nothing changed on the outside – it was an inward transformation! This took place in your spirit, which is part of the inner man, not the person you see in the mirror every morning.
You consist of three parts: spirit, soul and body. First, you are a spirit being. When your body eventually dies, your spirit will leave your body. If you are a believer, your spirit will go to Heaven, but your body will remain on earth and be buried. Your spirit is the real you!
Your spirit also has a soul. Your soul consists of your mind, will and emotions. It is the part of you that makes up your personality. When you were saved, your spirit became a new creation, but your soul and body remained the same. This means your spirit has been sanctified, but not your soul or your body. This is why you need to bring your soul and body into line with what has taken place in your spirit. Does that make sense to you?
The Apostle Paul put it this way:
“Now may the God of peace sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit has already sanctified your spirit, but He is now working on your soul and your body to bring them into line with what He has done in your inner man. This is why you need to be sanctified completely! You need to set your mind, which is a part of your soul, on the Holy Spirit, so that the desires of your flesh do not rule over the desires of your spirit.
Each one of us has experienced this inner conflict since the day we were saved. We feel in our spirits that the Holy Spirit wants us to go one way, but our flesh desires to go in a different direction. The Apostle Paul expressed it this way:
“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Galatians 5:17 NKJV)
Once we have been saved, our spirit is always willing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is our flesh that gets us into trouble. Jesus explained this, when He said:
“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41 NKJV)
When we spend time in prayer, and commune with God, our spirit is able to tune into the Holy Spirit and discern what He wants us to do. This also happens as we meditate on God’s Word, for the Holy Spirit always leads us in line with the Word of God. Many times He speaks speaks to us and leads us through the understanding of God’s Word. This is why we need to immerse ourselves in the Bible every day!
The flesh is weak. It is not able to resist the temptations that the devil sends our way. The enemy always tries to tempt us by appealing to our flesh – the things we see, hear, smell, taste and touch. This is why we need to train our spirits, in line with God’s Word, to resist the devil so that he will flee from us in the time of temptation. The Apostle James wrote:
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NKJV)
Notice that we do not ask God to resist the devil, for we have the authority to do it ourselves. We need to resist the devil in the name of Jesus, so that he will flee from us!
The lusts or desires of the flesh are always contrary to the desires of the Holy Spirit. If we learn to set our minds on the Holy Spirit, and learn to walk according to His desires, then we will never yield to the flesh. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16 NKJV)
This is the secret to being sanctified completely: that our soul and body are lined up with what the God has done in our spirit. We cannot do this in our own strength, but we must rely upon the Lord to help us do it in His strength.
You are holy, dear saint!
P.S: This week we really dug into the meat of God’s Word. If all of this seems new and strange to you, take your time reading through these Scriptures. Let the Holy Spirit be your teacher!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]