Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, Pauls prayer (inner man: the human spirit), part 14.

Class Outline:

Thursday April 2, 2020


[Article posted today by Steve Deace]

It took almost 20 years before the first polio vaccine trials and Jonas Salk injecting his own family with it to prove its integrity to America. After years of trying, science gave up on a vaccine for the first and less vicious SARS. We've had to evolve flu vaccines several times since the first one in the 1930s.


Translation: if you're waiting for a SARS-2 #coronavirus vaccine before resuming normal life, grab a Snickers. You're going to be here for awhile.


I know progressivism is the spirit of the age we're in. And many of our countrymen have been indoctrinated to believe government-contrived Utopia is achievable. This progressivism starts from the desired outcome first, under the assumption the ideal solution can always be had. Especially if it requires making those who don't agree with you suffer on the way to achieving it.


After all, ye can be like God.


But the reality of this fallen world is the worst horrors have been unleashed seeking Utopia. There are no perfect solutions East of Eden. We even had to permit an Iron Curtain to stop the Iron Cross. The law of unintended consequences always comes into play.


At some point we have to assume the risk of mortality, and weigh the overall societal cost of lost freedoms and a Great Depression. The generations that saw hundreds of thousands killed/paralyzed by polio, understood this. And yet they managed to industrialize America, win two world wars, and defeat their own Great Depression while still seeking a cure. Even the president they elected more times than any other, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, rallied the nation while confined to a wheelchair because of the polio virus.


So why are we so stricken with panic in our time, shutting down our entire way of life on unreliable and contradictory data, despite the technological advantages we have over them?


Because ours is a godless society, so we are afraid of our own mortality. Deep down we know we are not ready to meet our Maker after denying Him for so long. Therefore, we wait for our secular Messiah, government, to deliver us from that day. Or at least hold it off for as long as possible.


Divorced from our Creator, we lack purpose and meaning to our lives. At best they become a collection of experiences. At worst we're a survival rate, just marking time.


But we were made for so much more. Saved for so much more. The generations before us, despite their mistakes, at least understood this meta truth. And it propelled them, despite their errors and shortcomings, to pass on to us the greatest civilization the world has ever known.


We have responded by handing over our freedoms, shuttering our churches, and bankrupting our economy at the first real sign of existential fear. The kind of existential fear they defeated, but we seem stubbornly determined to surrender to. [end article]



C) Inner man.


Both the Spirit and Christ are working within. What does God tell us of the inner man? (soul, spirit, heart, mind, and flesh)


Soul in the NT: natural life of the body, immaterial part of man, disembodied man, personality, sentient part, will, purpose, appetite, individuals, inward man. [Vine’s Dictionary]


Spirit: wind (primarily), breath. Figuratively as emotion, desire, mental, and moral qualities.


JOB 33:4

“The Spirit of God has made me,

And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”


All of our bodies have come from the same place - the dust of the ground. The cells that multiplied in the womb to become a human body and born from that womb have all come from the same place. Our bodies are made of what our mother and father had got from their mother and father and so on through all ancestry, combining what they ate and drank, and all going back to a common ancestor, really Noah, and before him, Adam. We could see ourselves as something more than individuals, but as a community, like a tree, or maybe more appropriately, a fungus.


Some have taken this truth and projected it into universalism, and they believe that we are all on our way to being absorbed back in to the collective source. While this idea has some truth in it, it falls far short of the truth. When a drop of water is absorbed into the sea it loses all identity, and God tells us that this will not happen. We will each keep our identity. We will be resurrected people. What He does tell us is that we are all destined to be a part of one body, and in fact all believers are now a part of that body, the body of Christ that is the fulness of Him, EPH 1:23.


The universalists neglect the other aspect of man that is not material. This is our subject, the immaterial part of man, the inner man. Yet, the inner man of each of us also has a common source, as our bodies do - God breathes life into every man.


Elihu, speaking in Job 33, is a born sinner. Did God breath into him a fallen inner life? It is questions like these that lead us away from scripture into the realm of theology. This is what is needed to help us understand difficult questions, but we must remember that though our theology may help us understand some difficult things, we must always return to the Bible.


We can confidently say that the life God gives us is stained by the original sin of Adam; that “in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive,” 1CO 15:22. So we are born dead, but God breathes into us life and Christ gives us new life.


The details can lead us to things that God doesn’t answer. However, what we know is plain and clear. God gave us a body through the earth, through Adam, and God gave us a life, or inner man, immaterial man, by His breath into each of us. The body and the life are corrupted through the sin of Adam, passed down to each of us medially through our parents.


The Bible states that man is born into this world as an enemy of God, a sinner, a son of disobedience, yet God breathed into every body a living inner life.


The sin nature, or inner flesh, has corrupted and perverted God’s original creation. What should be understanding is blindness, darkness, reprobate, and ignorant. What should be a good conscience is insensitive, stupefied, and polluted. What should be an obedient will is enmity, hatred, hardness, aversion, obstinacy, and bondage.


You wonder why the people of the world react to the latest corona-virus? There you have it. It is a fallen world containing billions of corrupted and perverted lives.


Our inner man must change and drastically.


And though we are differentiating our study of the inner man into the categories of soul, spirit, heart, mind, and flesh, we must remember that man is not inwardly composed of water tight compartments where only one part of him might be ruined or blessed while the others remain unaffected. As one commentator writes, “Man’s nature all of a piece, and that which affects it at all affects it altogether. When the conscience is violated by disobedience to the will of God, the moral understanding is darkened, and the will is enfeebled. We are not constructed of water-tight compartments, one of which might be ruined with the others remain intact; what touches us for harm, with a corrupting, depraving touch, at a single point, has effects throughout our nature.”


For good or bad, our entire nature is affected by our contact with the sphere of sin or the sphere of God.


All of us are entered into life and that life has the same source - God. God doesn’t speak of life as something given as a prize to whom He wishes, though He does give it, but as something that is Him. He alone is life, the rest of us are created.


That which is created is not the same as the creator. God did not make other Gods. He made men and gave them life, immaterial, inner life through His own breath, unlike that which is given to animals, and plants, and bugs. Man, fallen man, can dream, he can imagine, he can love, he can feel compassion, sorrow, grief, etc., which are all things that only God can do. Every man has life, and through the fall, that life is depraved. This does not mean that every individual is as bad as he can be, but that the depravity which sin has produced in human nature extends to the whole of it.


Paul calls the life we’re born with natural as opposed to spiritual, and God promises through the apostle, that for the believer, that which is natural will become spiritual, 1Co 15.


Jesus is the Son of God, but He is not created. The Bible says that He is begotten. Begotten means that He is of the same type as the Begetter. A man begets a child and the child is a human fully. God uses the same language and tells us that the Son is begotten.


But with our finite mind, when we think of begetting we immediately think of a beginning or birth. But God never had a beginning or a birth, so He says, and if Jesus is the exact image, then neither did He; and that is exactly what the New Testament tells us. It says that He is eternal, that He is the Creator of all things, and before all things.


Therefore, begotten leads us to understand that Father and Son are the only way that is close enough in human language to describe them. People have come up with all kinds of ways to try and describe the Trinity and they always use created things; a clover, an egg, a rainbow, etc. but they all are terribly insufficient and always break down at some critical point. We always return to the Bible, and there we again find that God does the best job at describing Himself.


Now, when we become born again we were baptized into union with Christ, meaning that we were immersed in Christ, and so, immersed in His life.


GAL 3:26-29

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.