Shared Sunday April 12, 2015
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise, Luke 23:43. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged 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.
Last, we ended with the understanding that in the hour that the forgiven thief and in the moment that he died (i.e. departed earth) he was with Christ in heaven, paradise. There was and there still is no mysterious delay, no season of suspense, no purgatory, between his cross and his crown. Beloved, in the day that you breathe your last, you go straight to Paradise. Philippians 1:23 says “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” This world is not our home; we’re just passing through!
Now in my last exhortation I wrote the following” “Christ Himself gave up His Spirit. After Christ died, it was His body that was buried in the tomb.” Then I said “However, His spirit/soul was never in the tomb.” Key: “Spirit/soul.”
What did I mean by “Spirit/soul”? Why didn’t I say “His Spirit” or “His Soul”? Well, there is a whole theological debate about the body, spirit and soul and it centers on whether as human beings we have two or three parts: body, soul, and spirit or just body and soul/spirit? This is the theological dichotomy or trichotomy issue: “di” is two and “tri,” three. And further, as you already know, Christianity is made up of various denominations, with some cults and fringe groups, etc trying to force their way into total recognition, so these and their teachings add to the body, spirit and soul confusion. What I am writing now represents what I hold to be what the bible teaches. This forum will not suffice but hopefully it clarifies key areas and also that you will get the message that I am trying to send.
Look at the human being. The body is the material (physical) with soul/spirit being the immaterial. The immaterial part of man, in addition to the soul and spirit, includes those other intangibles like the conscience, will, the intellect, etc. These, as evidenced in the Bible (for example, Jesus’ lesson on the Rich Man and Lazarus) exist far beyond the physical lifespan of the individual. There are four views of the body-soul/spirit discussion but we will look at the two that are pertinent to our study, dichotomy and trichotomy.
The dichotomist believes in the body but views the spirit as the part of the soul that connects with God. Hence for the dichotomist, the human being is body, soul/spirit. The trichotomist, on the other hand is of the view that man is body, soul and spirit. The difference, for the trichotomist is that the soul and spirit are distinct. To put it another way, the trichotomist sees the soul as the animal part of man and the spirit being the God focused part of man. Who or which is correct? And, does it affect your salvation which side or view you are on? Let me answer the last question first. No, your view does not mean that you are in sin and therefore headed for hell. The thief on the cross could not care less about dichotomy and trichotomy. He was interested in where he was headed that night for eternity, paradise.
Now look at the Bible; it has verses, which use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably. A few examples are, (Matthew 10:28; Luke 1:46, 47; Acts 2:31; 1 Corinthians 5:3; 6:20; 7:34; and 2 Peter 2:11). But then, the Bible has verses, which imply that there is a separation between the soul and spirit. Look at some examples: (Romans 8:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; and, the classic verse “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit…” found in Hebrews 4:12. At least two things rise out of this Hebrews 4:12 verse, that: (1) a dividing point exists between the soul and spirit, and (2) only God is able to discern this dividing point. Beloved, stay with me; do not get lost. TBC.
Proposed prayer: “Dear Father, as before, I ought not, I am not entering into subtle philosophical and theological debates and arguments about the spirit and soul. While You have told us to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth,” I stay satisfied with the knowledge that whether I believe in a dichotomy or trichotomy, the key thing for me is that I need to offer my “body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is my reasonable service,” until I see You face to face. Thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”