Your spirit-man is instantaneously transformed from death to life, the moment you believe on the Lord Jesus, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17).
The context of ‘all things’ in this scripture is not your physical body or soul, but your spirit-man on the inside of you. However, as you meditate on God’s Word, your body and soul will be positively impacted. The spirit, soul and body are interlinked, each having an impact on the other.
The salvation of your spirit-man is a one-time affair, and you gain access to Heaven by choosing to believe on the Son of God. Religious people often use the terms ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ synonymously, but they are not the same. The spirit and soul are separate and distinct. Hebrews 4:12 says:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Notice the soul and spirit are mentioned separately in this passage for a reason. For years, Kenneth E. Hagin discussed with notable scholars and ministers whether or not the soul and spirit were the same. Many of them would reply they were. Yet the distinction between soul and spirit is one of the defining revelations of Hagin’s ministry and a crucial one.
The Book of James offers further insight:
“Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures…Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jam 1:18, 21).
The engrafted word is able to save our souls
Notice only the ‘engrafted’ word is able to save our soul. An engrafted word is one which has been memorized or taken to heart, in order to be acted upon. Remember, the Apostle James is talking to believers in Christ. We must be doers of the word, not just hearers only. The Epistles were letters written to the Church, not the unsaved
James stressed that our ‘soul’ needs to be saved, yet his audience were already saved! From this we can ascertain, the salvation of our soul (which constitutes our mind, will and emotions) is a process, not a one-time affair. So, let me ask you again, ‘is your soul saved?’ (It’s a trick question).
We are all a work in progress, meaning our mind, will and emotions are slowly being conformed to the image of Christ. This transformation can also be called, ‘spiritual maturity’. Those who exhibit maturity display the fruits of the Spirit in their lives (Gal 5:22-23).
There’s an old saying, ‘fruits are grown and gifts are given’. Jesus said, “You shall know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16). Our fruit or character identifies us as believers in Christ, not our gifts or talents. If we prophesy the house down but at the same time act like a jerk, our witness will be compromised.
Our goal is to be conformed to Christ’s image
Let’s consider Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” The goal of a Christian is not just to be ‘saved’, but to be conformed to the image of Christ in every facet of our being. The Lord will not leave us alone regarding this matter. He wants us to positively influence those around us, by sharing God’s love as people of humility and integrity.
We accomplish this by meditating on God’s word, so our thoughts, words and behavior align with His will. This is in addition to our assured salvation. You can get ‘saved’, remain a baby, stay in diapers and go on to be with the Lord if you want to, but that will not help your witness here on earth. Every one of us is called to spiritual maturity.
The moment our spirit is ‘born again’, a transformation commences to align our soul with Christ’s image. How does this transformation take place? By renewing our mind, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2).
Our discernment increases as our mind is renewed by God’s word
Did you notice in the prior passage, that as our mind is renewed, we are able to discern the will of God? Consequently, we can better determine God’s, good, acceptable and perfect will, as we undergo this transformational process, by meditating on His Word. Knowing God’s word puts us in a better position to discern His best life choices for us. The renewing of our mind takes time, and our soul often requires restoration if there’s been wounding down the years.
If you’ve had some struggles with unforgiveness, offense, bitterness, worry, anxiety etc., then your soul might need some reclamation. If you’ve been abused or hurt through the actions of others, your soul condition may require healing. Guess what, God promises to restore your soul too (Psalm 23:3)!
The Gospels reveal ‘the cares of this world’ and ‘burdens of life’ can detrimentally influence our soul if we’re not careful. Yet, Jesus made it clear, that if we take His yoke upon ourselves, we will find rest for our souls (Matt 11:29). God promises rest and restoration for our weary soul, as we meditate on His word and cooperate with the process of our soul’s transformation.
In conclusion, our spirit-man is instantaneously recreated from death to life, the moment we’re ‘born-again.’ The soul however is being restored and renewed on an ongoing basis. No-one has reached a point where they can say ‘my soul is fully saved’; but it’s being worked on, until the very day we leave this earth.
I challenge you to pick a scriptural passage which stands out to you, and meditate over it, again and again. This process will engraft God’s word to your soul, so it will be readily available, in a time of testing or temptation.
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Author – Carl G. M. Joseph