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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Man's High Prospect and Destiny # 3

"What is Man?" 

The Position as in the Word of God, A Comparison

The phrase "the hidden man" is but one expression used in connection with this subject. But let it be seen at once to discriminate between the "inner" and the "outward" man in a different sense from what is meant apart from the Scriptures. It is not the discrimination of the psychologists or philosophers as such, whether they be ancient or modern, pagan or Christian. For them the "inward man" is the soul and the "outward man" the body. Not so in the Word of God. There the "inward" or "hidden" man is the spirit, and the "outward" man the soul or body, either or both. These two terms or designations are respectively synonymous with "spiritual man," and these two are capable of being divided asunder by the sword of the Spirit - the Word of God. It is as dangerous to make one what God calls two as it is to put asunder what God makes one. The only oneness of the three - spirit, soul, and body - is that they compose or comprise one man. The literal translation of 1 Thessalonians 5:23 is, "your whole person," or "your whole man," or "the whole of you, spirit, soul, and body;" and three distinct words in the Greek are used, as elsewhere. The Spirit of God does not use words at random, just for variety's sake. Basic spiritual principles are involved in words used by God. The very word "natural," as applied to man, as we know, is the Greek word "psukikos," the Anglicized form of which is psychical. "Spiritual" is the adjective of "spirit," and "soulish" or "soulical" the adjective of "soul." In James 3:15, "sensual" is used, but "soulical" is more accurate, and it is interesting and significant to note in passing, that in that Scripture there are two descriptions of wisdom.

Man Unique in Creation

That which makes man unique in the whole realm of creation is not that he is or has a soul, but that he has a spirit and a soul; and it may be that the union in one person of soul and spirit makes him unique beyond this creation in the whole universe. God is Spirit. Angels are spirits. There are many passages in the Scriptures which indicate the difference between the inner "I" of the spirit and the outer "I" of the soul. For instance, Paul says: "My spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful" (1 Corinthians 14:14). Then, in 1 Corinthians 2:14, he says that 'the natural (soulical) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God ... and he cannot know them because they are spiritually discerned," or, "are discerned by the spiritual (the spirit ones)." This distinction is very marked in Paul's recounting of the reception of his special revelation:

"I will come to ... revelations of the Lord. I (the outward man)knew a man in Christ (the inner man) above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I (the outer man) cannot tell ... God knoweth;) such an once (the inner man) caught up to the third heaven. And I (the outer man) knew such a man (the inner man) "whether in the body or out of the body, I (the outer man) cannot tell: God knoweth;) how that he (the inner man) was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man (the outer man) to utter. Of such an once (the inner man) will I (the outer man) glory: yet of myself I (the outer man) will not glory." (2 Corinthians 12:1-5).

Here, in passing, we note that, unless the Lord gives the gift of utterance, the things revealed to the spirit cannot be expressed by the outer man. In another place the Apostle asked for the prayers of the Lord's people that he might have "utterance" to speak the mystery.

Many other instances might be given, such as "I delight in the law of God after the "inward man," and Romans 7 as a whole.

Then we draw attention to the following:

"I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicuq ... for they refreshed my spirit." (1 Corinthians 16:17, 18). 

"The Spirit Himself beareth witness, with our spirit." (Romans 8:16).

"To deliver such a one unto satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 5:5).

"...that she may be holy both in body and in spirit." (1 Corinthians 7:34).

In the New Testament there are very many occurrences of both "soul" and "spirit," and inasmuch as our present and first purpose is to distinguish between these, or to note that they are distinguished by the Word of God, we must define a general rule by which they are divided. This general division can be marked in this way; the soul (often translated "life") relates to man in his own conscious life herein this world; his good or evil; his power to do, to achieve, to enjoy, to profit, to know and acquire what is of this world, and to live as a responsible, self-conscious being, answering to God for himself and his life, and so taking account of his life as to include the reality of a Divinely intended higher destiny and intention than just to live to himself and for the brief span of this life. The soul can be affected by and responsive to something higher, but its immediate relationship is not with God. Such relationship is indirect and secondary.

The spirit is that by which - given the necessary "renewing" - man is directly related to things Divine. He is thereby constituted to be capable of relationship with spiritual beings and spiritual things. This is a broad and general rule, and if some passages seem to contradict it, the difficulty will usually disappear if we remember the proviso that, on the one hand, God holds man responsible as an intelligent, self-conscious being who can at least choose and seek; and, on the other hand, when the spirit has been renewed and brought into living touch with God, the soul is affected thereby, and both receives from God and gives to God by way of the spirit. All this will be dealt with much more fully as we go on.

A passage from Paul's letter to the Corinthians might well and aptly be cited here:

"Things which eye saw not, and ear heard not, and which entered no into the heart of man, whatsoever things God prepared for them that love him. But unto us God revealed them through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of the Man, which is in Him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. But we received ... the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things ... of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-12).

Each kingdom is governed by and limited to its own nature. A beast and a man cannot go far in mutual intercourse. What is a Handel oratorio to a dog?

So far we have but been paving the way for our real business, and now we must come immediately to grips with it. But may we repeat, before commencing a new chapter, that ours is not academic or technical undertaking. For this we have neither ability nor inclination. We are burdened with a great desire to see a real change in the spiritual condition which exists today, and our object is wholly spiritual, and for God's pleasure and satisfaction in His people.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4 - "Man Now Another Species than God Created")

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