“. . . receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1:21
Last week we began our journey into the mystery of The Salvation of the Soul. If you haven’t yet read that article, please find it here.
This week we’re going to delve more into what the Word of God actually has to say about the salvation of the soul. We’ve got a lot of scriptures to cover, so please follow along closely. Let’s start with Philippians 2:12:
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
What? you say. I thought we were already saved. Nah, maybe this was written to nonbelievers . . .
But nope. We don’t have to read the whole book to know that this particular verse is being directed to Christians. He’s calling his readers, “my beloved.” This wouldn’t be a phrase spoken to unbelievers. And yet, he is instructing them to “work out your own salvation.”
And here’s another one:
“Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9
Wait! But we are already saved! What more is there to work out? And yet, here’s this:
“For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:14
Okay, hold on! How can we be perfected forever, yet still be “being sanctified”?
Well, let’s begin to look at this more closely. In the scripture above, the phrase, “being sanctified,” comes from the Greek word, “hagiazō,” which generally means to be separated, consecrated, and purified (see the definitions here). But the grammatical tense for the verb here is aorist, which denotes a continuing action.
So sanctification is a continual process. And really, if you look at it, aren’t we sanctifying ourselves continually to the Lord as we live our daily lives? Each day we press more into Him, and learn, and grow in our Christian walk. This, itself, is an act of us continually “being sanctified.”
Who of us, came into the things of God and simply stayed in the same place? Is it even possible to stay in the same place when you’re truly in communion with the God of Creation? No, our lives are a constant of motion, change, and growth. Such is the Christian walk. No, we were not wholly sanctified when we came in, but we are continually being sanctified each day.
So what, then, did happen when we received Jesus, Yeshua ha Mashiach, as our savior? Again, let’s let the scriptures lead us.
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6 (the Greek word for heart here is kardia)
And there’s also:
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Ephesians 1:13
“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'” John 3:5
“But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” 1 Corinthians 6:17
So when speaking regarding what we, in the Church, have come to know as “being saved,” or “salvation,” the scriptures specifically reference the spirit.
You know Romans 12:2, right? That scripture that talks about renewing your mind? “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God?” Well, renew your mind to this – your soul is not your spirit.
Yep, I said it!!
The Greek word in the New Testament, translated as “soul” is the Greek word, “psychē” which designates: the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our “heart,” soul etc.).
However, the word translated as “spirit” is the word “neuma,” which means: the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated.
So what the scriptures are showing us is that there is a finished Spirit-Salvation, if you will. Yet they’re also showing us that there is a continuing work of the salvation of the soul.
Now, if you weren’t already convinced that when the Scriptures speak of the soul and spirit they’re speaking about two different things, here are additional witnesses:
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5;23
“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.” Hebrews 4:12
And now let’s go back to the definition of soul as “the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions.” Doesn’t this definition of the soul sound very much like what the scriptures speak about when referring to that something called our “flesh”?
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17
And though the “flesh” contains much more in it’s definition, it would include the soul. Yet the obvious statement here is that there is an inner conflict with which every believer is challenged. And I believe that conflict is in the seat of our souls.
Isn’t it high time we dealt with that conflict and got our souls saved?
I’m glad you agree. Next week, we’re going to begin focusing on how we might go about doing just that.