Once a week, Mark and I are blessed with a visit from the 21-year-old son of one of our closest neighbors and friends. Cole is a curious young man with an intelligent mind, and one of the areas that he devotes lots of "think time" to is his relationship with God.
Most of the time, he just shows up on his day off and joins Mark in the studio for enthusiastic discussions on their shared faith ... I don't even know he's been here. But the other day, I was doing some computer work at my desk in the studio when Cole arrived. This time he had a very interesting concept that he was trying to understand. If I can boil it down to a simple sentence, he was trying to figure out the interaction between his human spirit and God -- when it is deposited in us; when it begins to connect with God; if it is separate from our spirit that is seated with Christ when we're born again; and what happens to it when our physical body dies.
Whew! I'm not sure I know very many adult Christians who have contemplated that big of a theological puzzle. [Notice that I didn't say "mature" Christians, because I don't think age is the determination factor in the maturity of our faith]. Anyway, Cole and I engaged in a lengthy discussion that made me aware that I need to be able to explain my understanding of the phenomenon of the human spirit to anyone who asks. I believe his questions were legitimate, and the answers should certainly be comprehended by all Christians. After all, our union with Christ is a fundamental doctrine across all denominations of the Christian faith, and we should be able to explain "how it all works". So, here's my attempt at clarification, as I understand it ...
That answers Cole's first question. When we are formed in the womb, God deposits a spirit in us. Now comes his second question ... when is that spirit aware of God and begin connecting to Him? The only way I knew to explain my theological theory was this way.... until we are born again, our human spirit is dormant. It is a part of us, but yet to be "made alive" (Romans 8:10). Until that divine moment, people live out of their body [flesh] and soul.
At this moment, I want to digress for just a second. It has been my observation, through the Deliverance and Inner Healing Ministry to which God has called me and Mark, that a lot of Christians, even though their spirits have been awakened and regenerated, still live out of their soul (their mind, will and emotions). If one remains attached to his natural, physical self, he cannot discern spiritual concepts or spiritual attacks. That is why so many Christians are being oppressed by the Enemy.
As the Body of Christ, it is imperative that we Christians learn to live from our spirit [which is the connection point with God], rather than living and behaving from our own deliberations and thoughts; our own likes and dislikes; and our own self-determined stands of right and wrong. We must learn to question, examine, and apply what the Holy Spirit reveals about all things in this life.
So, to answer Cole's second question, our spirit begins connecting to God the moment we are born again. It is activated and able to talk to God, hear from God, see in the spirit, and receive dreams and visions. But how does that coincide with Cole's third question, which is proposed by reading Ephesians 2:5-6, which says that even when we were [spiritually] dead and separated from Him because of our sins, God made us [spiritually] alive together with Christ. And He raised us up together with Him [when we believed], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, [because we are] in Christ Jesus. There's our answer! It is at this point that we are fully united with Christ. We are in our physical body, but have an activated spirit [that comes when we accept Christ as our Savior], and our spirit now has access to the throne where Jesus is seated. We are joined together with Him, fully able to communicate with Him, and able to act out of a divine consciousness. Our spirit is now able to transcend spiritual dimensions to be in contact with Jesus. I believe this is what Paul is talking about when he writes in Ephesians 4:13 ... until we all experience the fullness of what it means to know the Son of God, and finally we become one perfect man with the full dimensions of spiritual maturity and fully developed in the abundance of Christ.
Now, to Cole's last question, which may be where I find the most disparity in the belief systems of Christians. First of all, as I have stated before, [and which is backed up by 1 Thessalonians 5:23] our soul and spirit are two different parts of us. However, I am astounded by the number of Church doctrines that teach that when we die, the soul goes to be with God. That is not what the Bible teaches. Ecclesiastes 12:7 says, And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. So the spirit that was deposited in us at conception, will return back to God, because it belongs to God. Yes, we will have a resurrected body, like Jesus's glorious body. Our soul will cease to exist because it is attached to the physical part of us. REMEMBER: our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. We are sown as a natural body with a brain (mind) capable of feeling (emotions) and making decisions (will), but raised as a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44). So I do not believe we will have these same physical bodies that our spirits inhabit now. Our citizenship will then be in Heaven, rather than this world, and we will be in perfect unity with our Creator, spirit to Spirit.
I hope that I was able to answer Cole's questions, so that he can commune with God and get more revelation on this fascinating concept. I can't wait to see the questions he will bring with him next time. And you may not agree with my theology, but that's okay. If this post serves to invite you to dig deeper into the mysteries of God through His Word and revelations from the Holy Spirit, then I am happy with that response. You don't have to agree with me ... just keep the curious and committed mindset of my friend Cole to know the Lord more and He will be glorified.
James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form