It may seem strange to think of something like salvation having an anatomy.
Salvation, in and of itself, really does not have a true anatomy. It does, however, affect our anatomy- our whole being of body, soul and spirit.
Anatomy is the study of the parts and internal workings of living organisms, especially as revealed by the dissection and separation of those parts.
What I am going to attempt to do is to dissect and separate all the parts that make us human beings- the parts that are seen and those that are unseen-and examine how each part works in relationship to the others.
Understanding these things help us to live a successful, Christ centered life and have a deeper appreciation for the gospel. It will also help you understand what happens to you when you get saved, or accept Christ as your Savior. You will have a better grasp of how your salvation affects all aspects of you, and how that brings about the change the bible calls sanctification.
We will learn how each of these three elements- the body, soul and spirit- are connected to one another so completely that you cannot separate them without causing a death.
Death, in its very essence, is separation.
I warn you that this is no quick study. But the investment will offer eternal rewards if you take the time to sow into your heart and mind the seeds of Truth revealed in the bible!
So without any further delay, let us go to the operating table to begin our dissection and examination process and reveal the anatomy of our salvation!
The very first thing that is vital to understand is that man was created to live in the realm of EARTH.
When God created Adam, He formed him from the dust, or the elements of the earth. He breathed into him the life force of the earth, which is the soul (Genesis 2:7). Adam was created as a being that was made to inhabit the earth and nowhere else.
The soul is the part of you that gives life to your physical body. But the soul is more than just life, it is a specific life, it is YOUR life. It is the part of you that makes up the essence of who you are as a person; your personality, your will and desires, your emotions, your intelligence, and your overall personal character. Your brain is a physical organ but your mind is the higher level thoughts that are birthed and processed there.
The bible says that your soul is identified in your blood.
Leviticus 17:14 says “For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life.”
The word translated life here literally means soul. Your soul is intrinsically connected to your blood, and your blood is a vital component to every cell in your body. Only life on earth has a soul. Only life of the earth has blood. Therefore, any life of the earth that has blood also has a soul. Any living creature with blood possesses a living soul.
Yes, this means animals have souls. But their souls are not equal to that of a man.
Man was created as the highest form of soul, created in the image of God to have dominion over all other life and creation of earth.
Your blood is your personal identifier. Your blood is specific to you. It carries in it your personal DNA which reveals not only that you are a human being, but also whose human you are; by exactly which parents you came from, and which parents they came from and so on. It can reveal which genetic defects or diseases you are likely to inherit from your parents. It can tell you which physical characteristic came from which parent (like red hair or blue eyes). Everything about you is handed down to you from your parents in your blood.
Your blood is the source of your life. It carries immunities and disease fighting elements in it. It carries your very breath in it (oxygen). That breath that God breathed into Adam on the day He created him gave him all that he needed to live and breathe and exist on the earth.
Then the LORD God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (souecame a living being (soul). Genesis 2:7
Every cell of your body is dependent upon the components supplied in your blood. Separated from it, your body would die.
Your physical body is the earthly house for your soul. It is also uniquely YOU having traits and characteristics passed down to you from your parents. It is the tangible part of your being. It is also your identifier in that you have a body that is uniquely yours; no other person on earth has a body exactly like yours.
It is a living organism that is animated, or brought to life, by your soul. When the soul separates from the body, it causes the body to die. The body then decays and returns to the dust that it was made from.
Your body can be viewed as a vehicle for your soul. It executes the commands that your mind wills it to do. If you are thirsty, your mind tells your body to get something to drink. It is also programmed to do things that your mind doesn’t consciously think about, such as breathe or digest food.
It is made up of matter and energy and was created to live in the realm of time and space. It is made OF the earth in order to exist ON the earth. It is made of matter and energy and is subject to the physical laws of the earth (such as gravity, relativity, thermal dynamics, etc.).
The body that we live in right now is considered temporary. The bible calls it a tabernacle or a tent (2Corinthians 5:1-4, 2 Peter 1:13-14). In our present state our bodies are not made to live forever, as those of us over 50 are well aware. Things start to wear out and break down. We get weaker as time passes.
In the same way that your house has doors that allow people and things to get inside, your body also has doors or “gateways” that allow access for things to enter into and affect your soul.
These gateways are your five senses.
The organs of your body that carry information into your mind and heart- the eyes, the ears, the skin, the mouth and the nose- are access points into your soul. Basically, every outward part of your body acts as a conduit to the innermost part of your being and can influence it either positively or negatively.
Your body and soul are so intrinsically connected that what happens to one innately affects the other. What you see, what you hear, what you touch, what you put in your mouth or in your nose- can have a very real consequence to your soul. Trauma and sickness, illicit drug and alcohol abuse, and sinful sexual behaviors are examples of things that you do with your body that can produce very wounding effects on the soul. And, in the same way, when one’s soul is wounded it can manifest in physical ways, such as a sickness of the body.
When we commit our bodies to sinful behaviors, we risk opening the doors of our “house” for demonic influence. It is an invitation for evil or unclean spirits to enter into your soul and set up strongholds in your life. They look for, and even create, opportunities for themselves to have a legal right to stake a claim in your “house”.
We can also open up the doors of our soul to sinful influence when we do not control our emotions. For example, when we give our hearts over to lustful thoughts, to anger and revenge, to covetous desires and feelings of discontent, we are providing opportunities for evil spirits to stake a claim in our lives. These are all desires of the fallen flesh. Some may argue that these feelings, especially the ones of the sexual kind, are natural. Yes, they are very natural. But your nature is broken and corrupt. Even without the influence of outside forces, we have an inherent bent towards the things that are sinful and hostile towards God. We have to act in ways that are contrary to our nature if we want to live free of sin and evil influence.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” Romans 6:12-13
This body and soul combination is what the bible often refers to as the “flesh”. Sometimes we think this just means the body, or your skin, but most of the time it is referring to the physical body and the soul. The bible tells us over and over that to live a life pleasing to God we cannot live our lives according to the flesh.
“…the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 6:7-8
As soul is the life force of earth, spirit is the life force of heaven. It is the life giving energy of the beings that belong to heavenly realm.
God is a Spirit (John 4:24). Celestial beings (like angels) are spiritual beings. Celestial beings do not have souls because they were not created to live in the realm of earth. They do not have physical bodies or blood.
They have bodies that were created to live in the supernatural realm. They have varying degrees of power, authority, function and glories. Spirit beings also have personalities, intelligence and a free will. They not bound by the natural laws of the earth but they can interact with the realm of earth. In order to exist in the heavenly realm, or have the ability to partake in the kingdom of heaven, you must be spirit (1Corinthians 15:50).
THE FIRST SON OF GOD
When God created Adam, He formed his body from the dust and breathed into him his earthly life of soul, but He also imparted unto him life in his spirit. Adam was God’s son. He was made complete and perfect in every way; alive in body, soul and spirit.
Adam was made in the image of God. This means that he was meant to represent or reflect God on earth, to rule and reign over the realm of earth as God ruled and reigned over the realm of heaven. As the Son of God he had authority over all creation. Adam could commune with God constantly, walking in His presence in perfect unbroken fellowship. The Spirit of God had a union with Adam’s spirit. In this way, the will of God was never a mystery to him.
But Adam was also created with a will of his own. He was not created to be a robot, simply operating in mechanical style to perform the will of His Creator.
No, God created Adam for fellowship, for community and for love. Love is not supposed to be mechanical or programmed. It must be exercised from a free will. For Adam to truly be created in the likeness of his Father, he had to have the freedom to choose and that meant that Adam had to have mastery over his own will.
Adam was God’s son. That is who he was.
But he was also granted the position as the ruler over the earth,
yet under the ultimate authority and sovereignty of God the Father. This means that Adam was subject to the laws established by God.
When Adam partook of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 3), he disobeyed the one law that God had set for him. He usurped the authority that God had granted him.
Instead of obeying the will of God, Adam listened to the voice of the serpent, his wife and his own lustful desires. He willfully trespassed on property God told him was off limits. He overstepped a boundary that God had established for him.
This is known as sin.
God had warned Adam and Eve that on the day they ate of the forbidden tree they would die. Genesis 2:16-17
And when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden a death did indeed occur. The Spirit of a perfect and Holy God could no longer dwell within them because of their sin. It had to separate from them, causing them to die spiritually.
Adam and Eve should have died physically that day also. In other words, their souls should also have been demanded of them. But God, in His mercy and grace, allowed a substitute to die in their place. A life was given as a substitute for their life. That innocent life covered their sinful ones just as its skin covered their nakedness. (Genesis 3:21)
It was a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ.
Because of that substitute, Adam and Eve were allowed to continue on in the earth alive, but their relationship to God had changed dramatically.
Because the Spirit of God has departed from Adam, Adam is no longer considered Gods son. I know this is hard for some people to understand, but scripturally, the only time someone is called the son or daughter of God is when they possess the Spirit of God. Adam, when he had the indwelling of the Spirit of God, he was the son of God. When he lost it, he became the son of the evil one (John 8:44, 1John 3:12). Adam was no longer alive spiritually. The curse of sin and death is attached to Adam and will be passed down to all his offspring (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 5:12).
Mankind has inherited this spiritual condition from Adam, since ultimately we are all his sons and daughters. We are born into this natural world alive in body and soul, but dead in spirit. We are born separated from God.
We HAVE a spirit, but it is without the heavenly life it was created for.
Thankfully, God made a Way for us to be BORN AGAIN of the Spirit!And friends, this is REALLY GOOD NEWS!
To understand how all of it works, we have to go back to the idea of the value of life being connected to the blood.
The Old Covenant (or the Law of Moses), established a way for man, through Israel, to enter into relationship with God, albeit in a diminished way. God set forth the terms (the 10 Commandments), that if men would follow them, God would dwell in their midst. Of course, men would not be able to follow them all completely because men are inherently sinful, so God also established a sacrificial system so that men’s sins could be dealt with effectively enough to keep them in good standing before Him and so that His Glory could dwell on the earth as a testimony to all mankind of His Power and Presence.
God allowed a substitute payment for the sins of men in the sacrificial death of an animal. The life of that animal, however, was not an equal payment. The life or souls of an animal are not equal in value or worth. But it was all that was available because the souls of mankind were corrupted by sin. The animal blood was at least innocent blood. So the blood, or life, of the sacrificial animal could act as a temporary covering until a man could be born that would offer His soul, or life, for the payment for the sins of men.
Jesus Christ was that man.
Christ came as a man, born into the realm of earth through a woman with a body of flesh and blood and a soul. As Jesus was conceived of the Holy Spirit, He was also the Son of God. He was the Son of God just as Adam was the first son of God. But even more than that, He existed as God long before He came to earth to be born of human flesh. John 1:1-18.
Jesus was born of a virgin, meaning he did not have Adam as His father, He was born without the curse of sin and death attached to Adam through his blood.
And Jesus did what Adam failed to do. Jesus never trespassed against God. He obeyed every commandment, every law and every directive from His Father. He not only obeyed the Law of Moses, but He fulfilled it. He never once acted according to His own will, but always obeyed the will of God through the Spirit that lived in Him. It was the very reason He came to earth, to do the will of His Father (John 4:34, 5:19, 5:30, 6:38).
In this way, He reversed the effect of Adams sin. He reversed the work of the devil (1 John 3:8).
Christ was sinless in both ways; without inherited sin and without committing an act of sin. Because He was without sin, the Spirit of God could come upon Him and remain (John 1:32). He and the Father were one (John 10:30), as Adam and the Father were before Adam’s fall.
Christ did what Adam failed to do. He came to regain what Adam lost.
When Christ died on that Cross, He died for every son and daughter of Adam. He took the penalty that is due us; both from the sin we inherited from our fallen earthly father and from the sin that we commit by willfully disobeying the laws of God.
He did for us what we could never do for ourselves.
He died for us, in our place; a man’s life in payment for the sins of men, an equal payment. The Old Covenant is finished, or completed. No more animal sacrifices need ever be made again. Christ fulfilled the Law of the First Covenant and established a New Covenant in His perfect blood; in His payment plan.
But there IS something that you do have to do. There is a work that you do need to perform.
You have to Believe it. You have to accept it Personally
In doing this you have to acknowledge two things. 1. Who you are. 2. Who Christ is.
You have to recognize that you are born as a son or daughter of Adam into sin, dead in spirit and eternally separated from God. It is not just an issue of what you have done (although it is also this) it is an issue of who you are. This heritage makes you bent toward sinfulness, naturally desirous of things that God detests. It is ingrained into your nature to lie, cheat, steal, and be disrespectful, selfish and proud. Sin reigns in your mortal body. No matter how hard you try, you can’t conquer it. You have bad habits, flaws in your character and do things you know are bad for you. You sin because you are a sinner. You have to come to a place that you recognize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.
Then you have to recognize that Christ is that Savior.
The next step is to humble yourself at the feet of Jesus and repent of your sinfulness. You acknowledge before Him who and what you are. If you are unwilling to do this very important step, you may as well save your breath. The first step in gaining eternal life and salvation from your sins in Jesus is repentance.
Once you have done this, you simply have to come to Him IN FAITH and ASK to receive Him as your Lord and Savior. The bible says that the only work you have to do to earn your eternal salvation is to BELIEVE (John 3:16,18, 36, 6:29). Yep, that’s it. No fancy rituals, no special ceremonies, absolutely nothing except believe that Christ is Who He says He is and believe that He did what needed done to make your life right before God on your behalf.
Putting all the pieces together
Now that we understand what the body, the soul and the spirit are, we need to understand how they affect each other when a person gets saved, or born again.
At the moment you ask by faith to receive Christ as your savior, the righteous blood of Jesus, or His LIFE, is applied to your life. It is as though your sin debt has been wiped clean. God now looks upon your life and sees the perfect, righteous life of Jesus instead.
GETTING A NEW SPIRIT
Because your sin is removed, the Spirit of God can come in and unite with your spirit! It can come into you and remain forever one with you, and in this way you are considered a new creation, alive in a way you have never been alive before! (2 Corinthians 5:17) And because you now possess the Spirit of God within you, you are once again considered the son or daughter of God (Romans 8:14-16). The Spirit of God has just brought eternal LIFE into your spirit. You have been BORN AGAIN. You have received what the bible calls salvation, you have been saved from eternal death.
TRANSFORMING YOUR SOUL
Your soul goes through the process the bible calls sanctification.
Before your spirit has any sort of life in it, there was no competition for the fallen soul. The spirit was sort of “absorbed” into the fallen nature of the soul and offered no resistance to the sin in your life. But now that there is a new, Holy Life living in you, there is a conflict. Now you have a resistance to the old, sinful, fallen flesh (or soul).
There is a reason we call the Spirit of God the “Holy Spirit”. It is not just a title or a name, it is also His function.
He comes to perform a work in you- to make you HOLY. To set you apart from the world and to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ.
You must understand that the flesh does not readily submit to this transformation. In fact, it will object wholeheartedly! (Galations 5:17) It will resist your attempts to submit to the will of the Holy Spirit. It has had its way for a very long time and it does not readily submit to a new master in the house!
But you have a choice to make: To walk (or live) according to the desires of the flesh (the sinful nature) or to walk according to the desires of the Spirit of God now living within you. (Galations 5:16-25)
Walking in the Spirit will lead you in obedience to the will of the Father, just as it did Jesus. Walking in the Spirit involves separating yourself from the demands and desires of the world and your old, sinful nature.
“For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.” Romans 6:19
Sometimes (most of the time) this involves suffering! We have to be willing to suffer the pains of “denying the flesh” in order to enjoy the rewards that Life in the Spirit produces. The rewards include having a rich and intimate relationship with your Father in heaven, overcoming sin and escaping the spiritual and physical wounding that comes with it.
You must nurture the Spirit within you. Praying and reading your bible feeds your Spirit. It is the food it needs to grow and develop and become strong against the pull of the flesh and the world.
Praying and spending time reading the Word is like spending time with Jesus. The Word of God and the Spirit of God work together to reveal the Person of Jesus Christ to you and in you. To neglect the Word and prayer is to neglect your relationship with Christ. To deny time with Christ is to deny yourself spiritual growth, strength and power.
As you grow in the Spirit, your flesh will become weaker. Certain sins in your life that you once found hard to get freedom from will eventually lose its grip on you. For some, this freedom and transformation comes quickly, for others it takes years. Sometimes this involves a process of evicting demonic squatters that think they have the right to territory in your soul. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to you so that you can recognize their influence in your life. Then, if necessary, deny them residency and demand that they get out! Shine the Light of God’s Glory in the dark recesses of your heart and mind.
Do not fear. Stand firm in your faith. He who is in you is GREATER than he who is in the world! And do not be concerned that if you fail and fall into sin again that you have lost your salvation. All you have to do is confess your sin and repent of it (meaning to turn away from it) and start again anew. Remember, the transforming process of sanctification takes time and diligence.
THE PROMISE OF A NEW BODY
As if this wasn’t enough, the new birth brings with it good news for your body also.
After Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind, He was resurrected by the Spirit with a new body! Because of this, we also can look forward to a new resurrected body that is fit and equipped to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body, it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy,We shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; Nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1Corinthians 15:42-44,48,49,50)
The bible says that when this happens, Death is swallowed up in victory! And God gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen! This is indeed great news!
TO SUM IT ALL UP
Can you believe this all started out as a simple anatomy lesson?
To be honest, it took me years to figure this out and only then by the grace and tutoring of the Holy Spirit. Once I understood how my body, soul and spirit all worked in relationship to each other it helped me to live a more successful Christian life. I was able to recognize the difference between the work Christ had done in my spirit and the work He was still doing in my soul. I was able to be to be more compassionate to others as I realized they were dealing with the effects of their own wounded souls.
It helped me to understand the whole gospel in ways I never had before; the virgin birth, the life of perfect obedience, His death on the cross, the resurrection and His ascension. In new ways I was able to appreciate the value of Christ’s blood and the power it had to wipe away my sins.
Understanding all of those things compelled me to worship Him in a deeper, more personal way.
And in the process of it all, I came to be healed of things I didn’t even know were broken. And friend, we are all broken in some way. That is the real beauty of it all. He comes to us in our weakness. He comes to restore us.
Christ came to redeem all the things that Adam lost. He reclaims our place and position in the kingdom of God as His sons and daughters, He restores our power and authority, He renews us to eternal life- whole and complete once again in body, soul and spirit.
Let all the earth praise Him for the Good things He has done!