Thursday March 12, 2020
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)
Tracking a number of verses in which the soul is mentioned, we noted that the soul can be hungry, thirsty, weary, loathing, grieved, loving, and dedicated. There are more we could look to, but I doubt that memorizing a list would do us much good. The point to take is that the soul is the subject of personal life.
The soul is the individual, and what the soul is at any given moment is what the person is, i.e. loving or loathing.
I also doubt that God is concerned that we attach our inward “what” to the noun “soul.” It is very clear that God wants us to be like Him, and that would involve the entire inner man. As we have said many times in the last two classes on this subject, clear differences between soul, spirit, and heart are not given in scripture. Quoting L.S. Chafer: “The distinction between soul and spirit is as incomprehensible as life itself, and the efforts of men to frame definitions must always be unsatisfactory.”
However, we won’t lump all of it together and call them all the same for the sake of simplicity. God uses the words heart, soul, and spirit many, many times, and we can assume that He is only trying to use synonyms to make our reading less tedious. There are subtle differences to the parts of our inner man and we will explore them.
It is clear that the inner man is by far the most important part of you. It is also clear that God tells us to take very good care of him/her.
Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, "Eat and drink!"
But his heart is not with you.
8 You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.
“Nephesh [soul] in man is the subject of personal life, whereof pneuma or ruach [spirit] is the principle.” [Cremer]
The soul is my identity at any given time. While it is true that in all times, I am me, the nuances of me manifest themselves. What motivates that particular me at that time is obviously connected to that me, but is another matter.
It is very fruitful to see what God tells us about our hearts, souls, spirits, and minds, as well as the inner flesh, for He is the only One who truly knows about it. As far as I can tell at this point, is that we will see the heart, soul, and spirit as identical most of the time, or at the least, overlapping. The subtle differences will not move us to over-characterization, but to help us understand how our inner man works.
Inner man: what I am, why I am, and how I am. All three have to exist together.
If we had to link each of these to the heart, soul, and spirit, we would have some success but soon find, when finished reading the almost 1,500 scriptures that God uses them in, that we might want to rethink our efforts.
A human personality has a will, intellect, sensibility (the ability to respond to ideas deeply and emotionally), and a conscience (the rule of standards). We could get fancy and attach them to what, why, and how as well as heart, soul, spirit, and mind. What I think is better is to come to understand that they all exist within you and me as gifts from God, and all of it, and I do mean all, are to be dedicated to God completely.
The entire inner man: what, why, how / heart, spirit, soul, mind / intellect, will, sensibility, and conscience - has to be completely devoted to God.
I read this morning about God telling Joshua that Jericho was to be put under the ban, meaning that every one in the city had to die (except for Rahab and her household), and every animal, and that all the goods were to go into God’s treasury. No man in Israel was to take anything. One man did and the whole people were under the curse of that one man. God shows us in this instance as well as in so many others in the Bible that nothing due Him is to be held back, and all that we are is due Him.
Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.
Sometimes we need simplicity and sometimes we need to go deeper. Sometimes it is good to look only at the inner man as a whole, and sometimes it is necessary to test the various parts of our inner man in order to find and correct anything that is acting broken.
We continue looking at the soul. If it is distinguished, it is usually seen as the subject of the person, his identity, his type.
The lusts of the flesh wage war against the soul.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.