Dearly beloved of God, may you know the fullness of your salvation in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit that works so powerfully within your whole man. For you have been made alive in the Spirit to be a holy temple, a fit habitation of the Spirit of God to dwell.
Last time I shared the importance of knowing who we are according to what the Bible says about us, and not according a limited philosophy of separate spirit, soul and body, because the reality of the Biblical paradigm is far greater than we realise. If we may understand the workings of God upon the human frame, then we can live accordingly to His will and His way. Understanding (through revelation) releases faith, because we have greater certainty and awareness of who we are and what God has done for us by the outworking of His Spirit. The opposite is also true, that when understanding is clouded in a shroud of mystery and there is no revelation of spiritual truth, it hinders our capacity to rise up with authority, because of uncertainty, fear and doubt. This I believe is very true when it comes to matters of our spirit, soul and body. These have often become very confused and muddled, so that we don’t have clarity on the roles they play, and therefore can’t co-operate fully with the Holy Spirit to bring us to maturity. So let me share with you some thoughts from the Word of God: we’ll begin in a passage familiar to every child of God.
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:1-6 NKJV
The context here is the necessity to be born again to see and enter the Kingdom of God, but the question we must ask is “what does it mean to be born again?” In giving an answer, we might quote from 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Or maybe Ephesians 2:5-6 “even when we were dead in our trespasses, (God) made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” These answers of course would both be true, but do we see our salvation and being born again purely as an act of grace upon our spirit, and not also our body or our soul? Looking closer at the encounter Nicodemus had, we see the emphasis is upon being born of the flesh and also born of the spirit. The flesh gives birth to flesh, the Spirit gives birth to spirit. It is the body which is being discussed here. That’s how Nicodemus understood it when he wondered how he could enter his mother’s womb a second time. But Nicodemus was still thinking in natural terms, and considering the impossibility of two separate births, but Jesus was saying your body has already been birthed in the natural, but it also needs to be birthed in the spiritual. So when we talk about being born again is it more than a transformation of our inner man? Is it not also a supernatural change that takes place in our body? I realise that may sound very different to how you think about being born again, so let’s look a couple more scriptures to make the point.
16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body [with her]? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit [with Him]. 18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1Co 6:16-20 NKJV
10 And if Christ [is] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin, but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life (quicken) to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Rom 8:10-11 NKJV
The Bible says that your body is dead because of sin, and yet also your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. How can this be? Can the Holy Spirit inhabit something which is dead because of sin? I do not think so! Rather the body must be brought to life. Since your body has natural life (or breath), the life we refer to here is spiritual life, the breath (Ruach) of God. Your body has been “quickened”, brought to life by the One who raised Christ from the dead. Notice it is the “mortal” body we are talking about here, it is not the “immortal/spiritual” body that you will receive at the resurrection, when your body will be transformed to be like His glorious body, but it is the body that you have now. This temporal body has been made alive in the spirit. Your “mortal” body has been redeemed by God to be a holy habitation for His Spirit. Now your body is not only born of the flesh but also of the Spirit. It has been given spiritual life, it is still a physical mortal body, but now it has spirit, it is not the same, it has been changed by the Spirit. It may look the same, it may feel the same, but it is not the same, it is temple of the Holy Spirit!
Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 1 Cor 6:13
Let us honour God therefore with our body, knowing that our bodies belong to Him. Let us realise that the physical body can contain spirit because it has been quickened. We can subject our physical bodies to be obedient to the Spirit, whether in sickness, deliverance, or any other area our bodies are to blessed by the redemptive power of the Cross, that works in all areas of our whole man.