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Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Inner Man of the Heart

"The Believer's Sphere of Life and Base of Operations

There is no subject more vital in relation to fullness of life and effectiveness of service in Christ than this that we are now to consider. It embraces all the practical meanings and out workings of the redemptive purposes of God in and through the Cross of Christ.

The phrase "The Inner Man" is not infrequently used in the Word of God, and, as we shall see, is but one expression used in connection with a theme of extensive range. But here at once let it be seen as that which first of all discriminates between the "inner" and the "outward" man. This discrimination in the Scriptures, however, is not that made by the psychologists or philosophers as such, whether they be ancient or modern, pagan or Christian. These recognize but mind and matter: for them the "inner man" is the soul, and the "outward" man the body. Not so in the Word of God. There the "inner man" is the spirit, and the "outward man" the soul and the body, either or both. There two terms of designations are respectively synonymous with "natural man" and "spiritual man", and these two are put asunder by the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12). It is just as dangerous to yoke together what God puts asunder as it is to put asunder "what God hath joined together," and in this particular matter more chaos, paralysis, and defeat are due to the confusing of these two than ever shall be able to measure in this life.

The only oneness of the three, spirit, soul, and body, is in 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 Greek words are used, as elsewhere. The Word of God does not use words at random, just for variety's sake. Basic spiritual laws are involved in its words. The very word "natural" as applied to man, as we know, is the Greek word "psuckekos," the Anglecised form of which is psychical. "Spiritual" is the adjective of "spirit", and "soulish" is the adjective of "soul." In James 3:15, "sensual" is used but "soulish" is more accurate, and it is interesting and significant to note in passing that these two descriptions are given to "wisdom."

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 it may be that uniting in one personality of soul and spirit makes him unique beyond this creation, in the whole universe. Soul is never spoken of in relation to God as God. Angels are spirits. Christ did not pour out His spirit, but His soul unto death; His Spirit He handed back to the Father of spirits. It is hardly necessary to describe the soul here, although we want to help from the very foundations.

What a great - and in most people - almost complete, place and dominance is held by feelings and emotions. On the one hand, fear, grief, pity, curiosity, pleasure, pride, admiration, shame, surprise, love, regret, remorse, excitement, etc. Or in another direction; imagination, apprehensiveness, fancy, doubt, introspection, superstition, analysis, reasonings, investigation, etc. Or in the third direction, desires; for possession, knowledge, power, influence, position, praise, society, liberty, etc. And still in another direction; determination, reliance, courage, independence, endurance, impulse, caprice, indecision, obstinacy, etc. These all in their respective directions representing the emotional, the intellectual, the volitional (will), are the components of the soul. Now consider how much of this has its place in Christian life and service, from the first step in relation to the gospel through all the course of Christian activity. It is here that we ask for patience in pursuing the subject when we make the tremendous affirmation that all this - the sum total of human feeling, reasoning, and willing may be placed to the account of the matter of salvation, either for ourselves or for others, and yet be utterly unprofitable and of NO account.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

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