Three Compartments of Man
God created Man in His Image, and endowed him with the full capacity, natural and spiritual, to be changed from glory to glory – even into the Likeness of God. But 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. But when Christ Jesus came, He restored back to us, as His disciples, the Spirit of Sonship when we are born again, and He reinstated us in being 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.
Let’s look at the way God created 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 about how God created Man, three steps are explicitly mentioned.
1. The Body or Flesh of Man: Formed of dust. Ours is such a delicate design that only God could manage it: he used water – over 65% in an adult male, 60% in a female – and chemicals and minerals to create an amazing organic being like us.
2. The Spirit or Breath of Life: The spiritual part of a human being. This breath is the very breath of God – a life-giving spirit. God the Father planted the seed of Sonship in Adam and Eve when He created them. With this, a fellowship was made that God the Father would teach Man. But this promise was lost when Man sinned, and was then 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.”
God breathed the human spirit into Man. As such, Man is the dwelling place for His Spirit, the Spirit of Sonship, and the promise and power of eternal life in Him. Let’s look at some explanation of this word:
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.
3. The Soul: which in Hebrew means “breath” – the inner being with its thoughts and emotions. While soul is self-conscious, spirit is God-conscious. Soul is the natural faculty and capacity of natural man. It’s the five senses, the mind and heart given by God for Man to cope with the visible or natural world. On the other hand, the spirit is the spiritual faculty and capacity of the spiritual man. It’s our spiritual senses, mind and heart (compatible to the natural ones) given by God to cope with the invisible or spiritual world.
We’ll continue this discussion in the next post. So if you enjoyed this one, share it with someone.
This is _Part 1_ in the series Three Compartments of Man and the Work of Sanctification. To continue with this series, click on Pt 2. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series.
Photo credit: EOSXTi