1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV) — “May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.”
In the short time that I’ve been a Christian — I say that because 28 years out of 61 seems short — I’m quite certain the hardest thing for me to explain, but one of the easiest Christian concepts for me to grasp and understand, was the idea of a triune God. Three persons in one.
Like most, I didn’t understand that idea until I started reading the Bible. Allow me to gather several building blocks of Scriptural understanding.
Genesis 1:26a — “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.’”
So who is “our”?
Genesis 1:1-2 — “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” We have identified God and Spirit.
So let’s add a few more Scriptural building blocks.
In John 10:30, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.”
Quick reference back to Genesis 1:1-2 — Verse 1, “In the beginning God,” Verse 2, “and the Spirit of God was.” So we have further identified the presence of three in one, the triune God.
Let us continue to gather these building blocks of Scripture.
The next Biblical example of our triune God is at the baptism of Jesus in Luke 3:21-22 — “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as He was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”
The voice of the Father, the body of the Son and the presence of the Spirit.
So, when a triune God says, “let us make man in our image” and I look in the mirror, or I look at all the different types of people, genders and nationalities, I have to ask the obvious: “How can that be?”
Which leads me to our opening Scripture, which mentions whole spirit, soul and body … whole!
So, for me in my understanding, we don’t look like God, we’re like God; that is, we’re three in one — a triune person.
Using the biblical building blocks I’ve already set as a foundation, let us return to Genesis, chapter 2, verse 7 — “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
So, looking at ourselves as a triune being created in the image of our creator: the body is an easy piece to acknowledge. … We are in a visible bodily form. Separating our spirit from our soul takes a bit more searching and building blocks.
Having the building block from Genesis 2:7 — “Breathed into His nostrils the breath of life.” The Greek word translated into English is “pneuma,” which means “breath.”
Our soul is different from body and spirit.
The soul is our consciousness, our reasoning — the “me” I’ve always been. There’s a verse that stays with me; it’s Matthew 10:28 — “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Your soul is the “YOU” who will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) or the Great White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).
When a person dies, they expel their last breath on Earth. I personally believe that is your God-given breath of life — spirit — returning to the Creator who gave it.
The Body: Genesis 4:19 — “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken. For dust you are to dust you will return.”
This Sunday, May 23, 2021, is Pentecost.
Acts chapter 2 gives us the Scripture account of the New Testament event. To me, the key verses are Acts 2:2-4a — “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Upon reading this, I instantly reflect on Jesus in John 3:3 — “In reply Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.’”
Why the need to be born again? God told Adam in Genesis 2:17, “But you must not eat from the tree of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
If you continue to read that passage, they were physically alive but spiritually dead when they were expelled from the garden. Hence the need to be “born again,” or spirit filled. Each person needs a personal Pentecost.