We need to understand man’s nature to understand our true identity in Christ. Man has three parts–body, soul and spirit.
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
The body relates to the natural, external world. The body is where we live. It includes the five senses: taste, feel, sound, touch and smell. Bill Gilliam calls it our “Earth Suit.” It’s the epidermis, or skin, that keeps everything inside from falling out. It also can help keep bad things from coming in. The body insulates us from both heat and cold. It is called our “flesh”. Besides insulating us, our flesh consumes food, air and water. It also allows our senses to perceive things that look, taste, feel, smell or sound good or things that aren’t so good. The body responds to stimuli from external sources.
We refer to our souls as our Personality. It’s what the world sees. Three different parts make up man’s soul. The soul is home to our mind, our heart and our will. Dr. Bill Gilliam in his book, Lifetime Guarantee, calls the mind (the brain) our “Thinker“. He refers to the will as our “Chooser“, and our emotions (our heart) as our “Feeler“.1
Our thinker, feeler and chooser work together to show the outside world our personality.
The Mind (Brain)
Stimuli outside the body encounter the skin and senses and send impulses to the brain. The brain makes a couple hundred decisions a second to decide how it will respond to the stimuli. Our brains identify the stimulus, determine whether it is good or bad, and then sends signals to the right parts of the body to either accept it, reject it, respond emotionally or fight to rid itself of the intruder.
The Heart (The Feeler)
In addition to a “THINKER”, Dr. Gillham says we also have a “FEELER”, representing our emotions. For instance, let’s say John breaks up with Jane and starts dating Jane’s best friend, Marsha. John sends Jane a text in the middle of math class notifying Jane of the news. Jane sees the words on her cell. The eyes send stimuli to her brain. Her brain processes the impulses then sends signals to Jane’s face and mouth and eyes and commands them to smile (her body’s response to the stimuli). Jane wanted to break up with John anyway. If Jane had liked John the brain could have sent impulses to her eyes and her lungs and her face muscles with the command to cry.
The Will (Chooser)
In addition to the mind and the heart the soul is home to our will. Our will is responsible for every decision we make. Outside influences can sway our will, by our mind, by Satan, by other people and by our emotions. We make snap decisions, wrong decisions, wise decisions, deliberate decisions, cautious decisions, inappropriate decisions, lustful decisions, et. al. One of the decisions we can make is to decide who will be making decisions. We can make decisions in our flesh, depending on our own resources. Or we can surrender our wills to God and wait on Him to guide us into the decisions He makes. God’s decisions will always be the best ones for us.
1. Lifetime Guarantee, pg. 53-71
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. Our spirit is the third part of man’s nature. Our spirit is the part of us that relates to God.
In 1 Corinthians 5:17, Paul teaches, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone; the new has come.” (NIV) The Amplified Bible puts it this way: “Therefore if any person is [in grafted] in Christ [the Messiah] he is a new creation [a new creature altogether]; the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!”
In Christ — As spirit beings, once we accept Christ as Lord and Savior we are in Him, our spirit is alive in Christ.
1 John 4:13 tells us, “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.
Galatians 3:26-28 teaches us, “You are all sons of God through faith (when we believe) in Jesus Christ, for all of you who were baptized into Christ (through our faith) have clothed yourselves with Christ. (We have put Christ on). There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 15:16 tells us, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?”
In John 14:23 Jesus teaches, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
Let’s look at two spiritual truths:
- God is a Spirit being. In Genesis 1:2 we read, “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. In John 4:24 Jesus teaches, “God is spirit.”
- Man is a spirit being living temporarily in a body. He is not a body that has a spirit. In Genesis 1: 26-27 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness (spirit)…’God created man in His own image, in the image of God (a Spirit) He created him; male and female He created them’ “
¹Lifetime Guarantee, by Bill Gillham; © 1987, published by Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Brentwood, Tennessee; pg. 57.
The Grace Life Conference Handbook, © 1993-2000 by the Association of Exchanged Life Ministries, www.aelm.org, is a resource for information published on this For His Glory blog series.