A total transformation has taken place on the inside of every person who has been born again. You can see that in many places in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17 being the cornerstone Scripture in that direction:
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
This verse is saying that the Lord has totally changed you once you came into Christ. It doesn’t say that all things are becoming new or that they have the potential of becoming new. It rather says in the past tense that all things HAVE BECOME new. If you don’t understand the concept of spirit, soul, and body, you are instantly setting yourself up for confusion, frustration, and ultimately, unbelief. That happens because you can tell by process of elimination this is not talking about your physical body. If you were fat before you got saved, you will still be fat after you get saved. Your body didn’t instantly pass away and neither all things have become new with it. This is pretty obvious for everybody. The Scripture reveals in 1 Corinthians 15 that the corruptible must put on the incorruptible and this mortal body must put on the immortal one. This passage in 1 Corinthians 15 refers to your physical body. Jesus died for the salvation of your body as well, and there is a time coming, in the future, when you are going to receive a glorified body. But at this moment, your body hasn’t been saved or renewed. It has been purchased, but not yet redeemed. It’s like Groupon coupons. You purchase them, but then you have to redeem them later on. You don’t really want those vouchers, you only keep them so that you can later on redeem them and take advantage of the things you have purchased through them. Your body has been purchased. Your glorified body has already been purchased through the death of the Lord Jesus, but you are still waiting for the redemption of the purchaser’s possession. The body has been purchased, the payment has been made, but you still have a corrupted body and you are waiting on an immortal incorruptible body.
Your soul – with its mind, will, emotions, and conscience – is also not the part of you that got saved. There is a lot of confusion on this because you will hear people often say: “Well, man, I am a soul winner. I came to see a soul saved.” In the New Testament, there are only two places talking about souls’ salvation (James 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:9), and those are not talking about the born-again experience. For instance, if a person is discouraged and in her soulish realm – in her emotions – she feels defeated and discouraged, but then she gets into the Word of God and begins to believe, she receives the peace and the joy of the Lord. This is soul salvation. But when it comes to being born again, your soul is not the part that gets saved. Our soul can be changed to the degree that we renew our mind, resulting in a change of our attitude and values by the Word of God, but salvation hasn’t already happened completely. The soul is being saved, it’s in the process of happening, and it’s contingent upon us renewing our mind. So, you can see that your soul is not part of what has passed away and of the things that have become new. If you were depressed before you got saved, you will still be depressed after you get saved, unless you begin to believe the Word of God and change the way your soul thinks. That certainly can happen and it should happen, but it doesn’t happen automatically. Let me state it this way: if you didn’t know math before you got saved, then you won’t instantly know math after you get saved. Old things, like lack of knowledge, didn’t pass away, and all things in your soul realm didn’t become new instantly.
The soul is not changed instantly, but it’s in the process of changing. And yet, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that if any person is in Christ, she is right now, in the present tense, here on earth, a new creation. This is a fact, it’s the reality, it’s not a promise. The literal translation from Greek of the expression “new creation” is “a new species of being that never existed before.” It’s talking about a total transformation. Old things have passed away – past tense -, all things have become new. It doesn’t say they will pass away in the future if we struggle enough or pray and fast enough. This Scripture is describing a change that takes place through the new birth, which is not still in process, but it’s already done. It’s an accomplished fact, a done deal. So, by process of elimination you can see that it’s not your body and it’s not your soul either that is being changed in this way. That leaves your spirit.
You are made up of three parts: spirit, soul, and body. Your spirit is always for God; it’s already created in the likeness and the image of God. It has everything that God has. Then you have your soul and your body, as well. If your soul gets in agreement with your spirit, then there are two against one. Those two parts in agreement will dominate the third part – the physical body. The physical body will then experience the life, victory, and power that is in your spirit. But, if your soul goes in agreement with the physical body and it’s dominated by what it can see, taste, hear, smell or feel, then it will stop the life that is in your spirit from ever manifesting itself into the physical realm. Your soul needs to perceive and align itself with what has taken place on the inside of you, meaning in your spirit, so that your spirit can flow through your soul to get into your body and then into the physical world.
Here is a functional diagram that depicts the spirit, soul, and body as three concentric circles. This diagram is an effort to better illustrate the relationship between spirit, soul, and body.
The outer circle is your body. It’s the part you can see and fill. Then in the second inner circle you have a part that can’t be seen but can be felt. That’s your soul. Notice how your soul touches both your body and spirit. Your spirit is the third inner circle. Although it’s the center of who you are, it can’t be seen or felt.
Most people don’t recognize the fact that their spirit is the core of their being. They function primarily out of the soulish part of them, believing that what they think and feel is reality. To them, something is just not “real” if it can’t be perceived through their five natural senses. Attempting to be “honest,” they search their physical, emotional, and mental realms for God’s power. If they can’t perceive the power at those levels, then they conclude that they must not have it. They may perceive their souls to be the core of who they are, but God’s Word says differently. Your spirit is the real you!
James 2:26 (NKJV)
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
The diagram of three rings in a row like a chain also illustrates the lack of a direct link between the spirit and the body. That’s why everything that comes out from your spirit into your body must go through your mental-emotional part.
With the pipes diagram below, one side of the pipe represents your spirit and the other your body. Your soul acts as a valve in between the two. When you open the valve, what’s in your spirit can flow through your soul to your body. Depending upon how open it is, the flow of life can be just a trickle, a small stream, or rivers (John 7:38). When the valve is closed, the flow from spirit to body shuts off. That’s a great illustration of how a born-again believer functions!
The spirit is encapsulated inside the soul and it doesn’t have direct access to the physical body. It has to go through the soul. Romans 8:11 says that the same Spirit and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead already indwells every born-again believer. But if your mind is closed to this truth and it doesn’t embrace it, that resurrection life cannot flow through you. If what you see in the spiritual mirror doesn’t become more real to your mind than what you see in the physical realm, then it’s possible for this resurrection life that is in your spirit to be completely shut off and made of no effect, just like you would shut the valve to a pipe. You can get to a point where you are totally dominated by what you feel and you say: “But I feel sick, my body hurts. The doctor says I am dying. Here is my medical record.” And if those things dominate you, then even though you have the raising-from-the-dead life of God in your spirit, your soul can shut off that power, so that not one drop of God’s life-giving power ever touches your physical body. And you can die sick having the resurrection life of God on the inside of you. It would be like dying of thirst while leaning against a well full of life-giving water! And of course you can apply that to every area of your life. You can have depression, you can have anger and bitterness in you when the whole time in your spirit there is love, joy, and peace. So the critical part in releasing the resurrection life is your soul.
Your spirit is always for God, always like God, and it has everything in it that God has. Your body is really neither good nor bad; it’s not moral or immoral; it’s amoral. Your body doesn’t really dictate or control anything. Your soul is the one controlling what happens to your body. Your spirit is always for God, while your body is going to go with the flow. If the soul doesn’t influence it, then your body is going to go by just what it sees, tastes, hears, smells, or feels. On one hand, if you get your soul in agreement with your spirit, then it’s two entities fighting alongside against the physical one and the life of God that is in your spirit will manifest itself in your physical body much quicker and easier. It will produce healing, deliverance, victory, and power. On the other hand, if your soul gets in agreement with what your physical body senses to the point that you cannot believe anything that you cannot perceive with your five senses, then you will shut off the life of God that is in your spirit. It’s sad to say this, but this is where a large number of Christians are. And the major reason for this state of things is because most Christians don’t have a functional working revelation of spirit, soul, and body. They really don’t understand that a radical change has already happened in their spirit and they are not fully aware of who they are in Christ, thinking that if they cannot see, taste, hear, smell, or feel something, then it’s not real. Their intention is not to be liars or hypocrites by ignoring their senses; they are just trying to be real and honest. They search their physical and emotional realms and if they cannot perceive in some way the power of God with their five senses, then they think: “Well, it’s not here.” But the truth is that if you have made Jesus your Lord, there was a change that took place inside of you. You became a brand new you. Old things passed away, all things have become new. And this is the beginning place of victory in your relationship with the Lord. I cannot overstate enough how important this understanding is. What this did for me is that it transformed my life and my thinking, because I have also experienced from time to time the power of God at my physical and emotional levels like you probably did too. But after the emotion of that power wore off, I thought that it was gone. I knew that God was real and all the things that He promised were real, but I didn’t think that they were in me. And because of that, I went through periods of frustration, desperation, and discouragement, not because of sin, but because of the desire to live for God and experience His best. I felt like I could not get there. This happens a lot with many Christians that experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit at one time, they receive the power, and then because they don’t feel anything in their bodies anymore, they believe it’s gone, or that they have to wait and pray again for it, or that they have to sanctify themselves and fast to get it. But all the while, the power is there, it just needs to be stirred up and activated, by mind renewal, worship, and praying in tongues.
In your born-again spirit, you already have all the power of God. It’s just a matter of releasing what you have, not going and trying to get something from God. This concept revolutionized my life and I hope it will do the same for your life.
This is exactly what happened at the moment of salvation, which will further emphasize my point: when I confessed Jesus as my Lord, I was instantly changed and my spirit became totally brand new. My spirit is not in the process of changing, it’s not growing up, and it’s not maturing. In my spirit, I am totally changed and complete and the rest of the Christian life it’s not learning how to get from God, but it’s rather learning how to release the life that He has already placed in me instantaneously through that new birth. What a radical truth! Let’s read Philemon 1:6 where it says the following:
Philemon 6 (NKJV)
6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
The word “sharing” in this verse means to release and to transfer. So the release of your faith becomes effective (or active, effectual), or faith begins to work and to be productive when you start acknowledging every good thing that is in you in Christ Jesus. Paul didn’t say that your faith begins to work by getting a new anointing from God, a double portion, or from getting more of God. Those are concepts that you’ll hear often, but the truth is that’s not a New Testament reality. You’ll hear people say things like, ”In the Old Testament, Elisha had a double portion of what Elijah had. This is the double portion night. Come on, people, we’re going to pray for you to get twice as much from God.” That is an Old Testament principle. Elijah and Elisha were not born again, they didn’t have the Holy Spirit in them without measure and the fullness of God in them like we do. They had the Spirit over them in small portions and for a short time. That’s why Elisha could have twice as much as Elijah. But in the New Testament the Scripture says in John 1:16 that:
John 1:16 (NKJV)
16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
Moreover, Colossians 2:9-10 says that we are complete in Him in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead:
Colossians 2:9–10 (NKJV)
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and power.
Then John 3:34 and John 20:21 say the following:
John 3:34 (NKJV)
34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God doesn’t give the Spirit by measure.
John 20:21 (NKJV)
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
In the same way God sent His Son Jesus having the Spirit without measure, He sent us. In the New Testament, you don’t get just a little bit of God and somebody else has a little bit more of God. The truth is that every born-again believer became totally brand new, old things passed away, and all things became new. In our spirit, we are identical to one another, we all received the same measure of faith, we all received the same power, the same wisdom, and the same ability. Our spirits are all identical to the Lord Jesus Christ in every way.
1 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV)
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
Your spirit has become one spirit with the Lord. Your spirit is not in the process of growing and becoming better. You’ve already have everything. The way your faith becomes effectual in your Christian life is by acknowledging the good things that God has given you in your spirit. Even that word “acknowledge” is important. You cannot acknowledge something that is not a reality. You can only acknowledge things that already exist. Your faith begins to work when you acknowledge, when you recognize that all of these great things already exist in you in Christ Jesus.
Again, most people have the concept that God can do anything. Christians who received salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, believe they have access to God and that through their prayers God can release His power to them. But they believe it’s conditional on a lot of things: holiness, prayer, fasting, study of the Word, etc. They believe something along these lines: “Even though God has that power and it’s available to us, it’s conditional on us doing a lot of things to have it come to us.” Those doubts and conditions keep them from really experiencing the power of God. We believe that God has the power, but we don’t believe that it’s already in us. We believe that it’s out there and we have to do things to obtain it or earn it. But when I start believing that it’s already a reality in my spirit, it will be easier for me to flow and release God’s life. At the moment of salvation, God put His same power and anointing, His victory, His joy, and His peace in me. His everything is already in me in abundance. And the only reason it doesn’t manifest itself in my emotions or my physical body is not because God didn’t give it to me, but because of an un-renewed mind. I am still looking in the physical mirror instead of looking in the spiritual mirror of the Word.
One third of your salvation is already complete. Your spirit is as saved, as sanctified, as holy, as empowered, as it will ever be throughout all eternity. You will get a new body, and your soul will be fully renewed, but your spirit will not improve in any way. Your current spirit will accompany you throughout eternity. Your soul and body are in the process of change and at the second coming of the Lord, your body and soul will be completely changed as well. All three will be perfect at that time. But right now, your spirit is as perfect and as complete as it will ever be and the rest of the Christian life is a process of renewing your mind. And as you do that, the physical body will experience the benefits too.
Let’s read Ephesians 4:20-24 and see how is this new spirit created at the new birth:
Ephesians 4:20–24 (NKJV)
20 But you haven’t so learned Christ,
21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Verse 24 says to put on the new man (that new birth, the spirit part of you) which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Did you know that when you were born physically you didn’t start to exist and then ten years later you became a real person? You were already a person from the moment of inception. You were created that way. Likewise, when you got born again, you were created as the righteousness of God in Him. You were created righteous and truly holy. This is not pride, but confidence and faith in what God said, and that is ultimately true humility: agreeing with what God said about you and not having your own better opinion based on how you feel.
Most Christians have this concept that they are becoming righteous in time and that they are getting holier by the day, but what they refer to is their actions and their behavior. They are looking on the outward physical realm. And it’s true that Christians vary in their actions, vary in the degree of morality that they live outwardly. But in their spirit, they were created righteous and truly holy. And this is so vital. John 4:24 says this:
John 4:24 (NKJV)
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
This verse didn’t say that you might worship in spirit and truth or that you should worship that way because that it’s preferable. No, it said that you must worship Him in spirit and truth. Why is that? Because when you get born again, your spirit is completely changed and is instantly recreated righteous. If you don’t understand this and approach God based on how you’re acting in your physical body and on how your thought life is at that moment, you are not worthy to come into His presence, even at your very best performance. You are still falling short of doing everything that you should. Even when you are at your best state emotionally and you’ve been seeking God, you still have negative thoughts and things in your mind that are impure and God is holy. So how can a holy God fellowship with unholy people? Even at your very best, you still fall short of God’s standards and perfection. When you put your faith in Jesus and become born again, your spirit becomes a brand new creature that is righteous and holy and able to fellowship with God and worship a holy God. You are as pure and as holy in your spirit as Jesus is, because it’s His righteousness that has been given unto you. In 1 Corinthians 1:30 it says:
1 Corinthians 1:30 (NKJV)
30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—
Jesus has become our righteousness. Praise God! What a radical truth! When a person says, “All my righteousness is as filthy rags,” that’s a quotation from Isaiah 64:6. It’s true that in the Old Testament, your righteousness was as filthy rags, but you’re not in the Old Testament anymore. The Old Testament people were not born again, they didn’t have a new spirit that was created in righteousness and true holiness. Regardless of how good they lived in their physical body and their soulish mind, they still came short of the glory of God as it said in Romans 3:23. All of us have. So if you’re just looking at the physical, natural outward part of you, all of your righteousness is like a filthy rag. That’s true. But when you get born again, you are no longer just physical and you are no longer short of the glory of God. The glory that Jesus had, He has given it to us (John 17:22). This is the whole point I am trying to get across. In the spirit, you are a brand new person, a new species that never existed before. For a New-Testament believer to say that his or her righteousness is like filthy rags, is no longer accurate. It’s not the present truth. In a sense, it would be like calling Jesus a filthy rag, because Jesus has become your righteousness.
Now it’s true that in your physical realm you need to improve in your actions, emotions and thoughts in holiness, but in that realm you are always in a process, you will never arrive. You just head into that direction. But in the spirit, you are not in a process of becoming righteous, you were already created righteous and truly holy. And since God is a spirit (John 4:24) and He looks at your spirit and relates to you based on your spirit’s status, this is the reason that you must worship Him in spirit and in truth. You must believe the realities about your spirit and the truth about your spirit revealed in the Word when you approach God. That’s the only way God can accept you.
According to John 1:12-13, the new creation is born of God Himself and not of blood or flesh. That can happen only at the spirit level:
John 1:12–13 (NKJV)
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Then in 1 John 4:17 the Bible says:
1 John 4:17 (NKJV)
17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.
Notice that this passage didn’t say that as He is, so are we going to be in the next world, but so are we in this world. If you look into a physical mirror, you might see wrinkles, baldness, bulges and all kinds of things and then start wondering: “Am I really like Jesus is?” You know Jesus is not like that. Then you search your emotional realm and find out that you have depression, discouragement, anger and bitterness. If you look just at your emotional realm and try to reconcile that with 1 John 4:17, you’ll probably come to a place where you will say: “The Bible is so hard to understand, and I just can’t understand what it means. Anybody can tell by just looking at me that I am not as Jesus is.” So you move into unbelief and let your senses continue to dominate you. But if you understand spirit, soul, and body and understand that this is your spirit that is talking about, this is the only way that you can be as Jesus is right now in this world.
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