Is The Soul And The Spirit The Same Thing?
An early teaching of mine written in the year 2000.
Many believers today consider that the soul and the spirit are one in the same.
They don’t know what the difference is between them, and so are unable to accurately distinguish the voice of the Lord, that of the flesh, and even that of Satan! We as believers, will never move in the power of God unless our vision and plans are done in conformity to the voice of God being manifested by the Holy Spirit.
It is crucial for us to learn how to differentiate between our souls and our spirits, and even know that the two exist. Many Christians dangerously enough, don’t know the distinction.
In the original Greek New Testament this distinction is radical. Man’s spirit, or God The Holy Spirit, is defined as a pneuma. Our word pneumatic originates from this, and has to do with air or breath. The Meridian Webster dictionary defines pneumatic as something that is “moved or worked by air pressure”. Our spirit is the organ which God has given us to embrace, discern, and manifest the pneumatic or windy movements of the Holy Spirit. Our souls were never equipped for this function!! Our human spirit is the organ that is home to God’s Holy Spirit and is able to discern God’s voice.
John 4:24 God is a Spirit(pneuma): and they that worship him must worship him in spirit(pneuma) and in truth.
John 3:8 The wind(pneuma) bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.(pneumatos).
What is our soul then? The soul (psyche or psuche in the Greek) is the combination of faculties that consists of the mind, intellect, will, and emotions. The soul performs rational and intellectual functions.
The rational will never capture the wind! This is why we are unable to discern God with our souls alone.
As we shall see later on, it is also impossible for God to dwell in our souls. One of the reasons is that our souls are open to the attack and deception of the enemy. This occurs because quite often our decisions are based on feelings. God then, had to create an organ within us which is not affected either by our emotions or intellect; and the attack of the enemy mainly our human spirits. Let us see the distinction between the soul and the spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit(pneuma) and soul(psyche) and body(soma) be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Heb4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul (psyche) and spirit( pneumatos) , and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Natural versus the Spiritual Christian
As we begin tackling the issue of walking in the spirit it is vitally important that we understand that there are three types of people, and two types of believers.
There is the carnal, (sarkikos or fleshly) the natural,(psychikos; or psychological man: the man of the soul, or psyche) and the spiritual.(pneumatikos; or spiritual man: the man of the spirit, air, or breath) Believers are either natural and soulish Christians, or spiritual Christians.
God desires all of us to be “pneumatic Christians; who constantly discerning the windy breath of the Spirit of the living God.” Unfortunately most Christians function as natural, or “emotion and intellect” led people. Let us see the serious problems arising with these presuppositions
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal(sarkikois)even as unto babes in Christ.
1Cor 2:14 But the natural man(psychikos/ psychological) ( receiveth(to welcome with open arms) not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (to investigate, examine and decide something to give a decision).
15 But he that is spiritual(pneumatikos) judgeth ( He can examine, enquire into scrutinize and make a determination into) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Cor 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them( taking the lid off) unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth(sounds out like the sonar on a submarine) all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth (instinctively to know by discernment) the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
These verses explain to us that the only way for us to know instinctively the things of God is through our spirit. God only knows how many times, and sadly enough, have we put wheels to God’s visions and plans upon the whims of our intellect and reasoning. Now wonder our churches are so weak! Psychology will always leave us short. Discipleship programs without the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the presence of God will leave us in a terrible deficit.
The disciples of Jesus had been natural believers until the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The three painstaking years of discipleship with the Lord Jesus was not enough to make them become spiritual men until Pentecost came and the Holy Spirit was released. How much less can we do see people change unless we rely on the Holy Spirit!!
THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
2 Corinthians 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration( by much more) of righteousness exceed(abound) in glory.
10 For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.(“a throwing beyond” quality and quantity of glory).
11 For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.( the ministry of the Spirit is permanent)
The office of the Holy Spirit dwells or breathes in the glory of God.
This verse and those adjoining it, tell us that God will bless our Christian programs and ministries even if they are done outside the direct leading of the Holy Spirit. Yet, God will only bless them with a fleeting or passing glory.
Moses covered his face because the glory upon it was so transitory and brief. The things being done away are all works outside of the works of the Holy Spirit.
No matter how noble and well-intentioned they are, their effect and results shall not remain. What is done through the Holy Spirit, however affects all eternity, because its glory abides or remains.
The ministry of the Holy Spirit will always possess a glory that far surpasses anything that is done through any all of our well-intentioned efforts. Literally the Greek words pertain to glory that not only abounds in quantity but is a type of glory that works as that of a home run that is hit over the fence. The effects of being led by the Spirit far surpass anything that we can plan or device.
We have stopped short beloved! Many of us have made psychology, our programs, and committees our means and end. We understand with our minds, and plan with our intellects. The natural Christian will not welcome the things of the Spirit of God. Our Lord many times works through seemingly as irrational means as the blowing of the wind. Our souls quite the opposite work logically and rationally. This is precisely why much of our busy church activities at their end have reaped so little. Our heavenly groanings which cannot be uttered must be, “ Lord teach us how to walk in the Spirit!”