The Difference Between Soul and Spirit
The Difference between the soul and the spirit: Because the spirit and the soul are not separate but tightly knitted or braided around each other as are the ligaments, marrow and joints in our legs, it is difficult to discern the difference between the soul and the spirit. The soul is easiest to recognize because the concerns and needs of “self” are generally apparent. We recognize the “body” side of the soul because we can see the results through the activity of the natural frame. We can see selfishness, ambition, competition, and jealousy because the body, through material and natural things, will engage in scenarios that expose self striving.
However, where we fall short is in our ability to discern the soul from the spirit, which is also “flesh.” I am considering a gospel account of the words of the Lord when a funeral procession went by. He turned to his disciples and said, “let the dead bury the dead.” How can the dead bury the dead? What Jesus was actually saying is “let the spiritually dead bury the physically dead.”
The understanding is this. You can be alive in both your body and your soul, yet have a dead spirit. To be dead in spirit does not mean a lack of movement or activity. A dead spirit is one that is separated, alienated, and without God in the world. That is a dead spirit.
In fact, the spirit of the lost is quite active in the kingdom of darkness, but he or she is alienated from the kingdom of heaven. A dead spirit makes itself known through various nightmares and irrational fears, open to the hellish dark world of evil spirits ruled over by the Prince of darkness. When it is both active AND powerful, a “dead” spirit is capable of a variety of supernatural feats including but not limited to clairvoyance, clairaudience and astral travel or out of body experiences.
The Soul and Spirit in Salvation
When a lost or alienated person “accepts Jesus” and ask Jesus to “come into his or her heart, it can’t be the spirit who does so because remember that the spirit of that person is dead, alienated, and walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that works in those who are disobedient by the lust of their flesh.
In such a condition, the soul has to take over with its mind, emotions, and volition or will power. In the lost, the soul actively fulfills the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and the lost person has the nature of self consciousness.
So since a dead spirit cannot “accept God,” the soul takes over in its parts: mind, emotions and volition or will and says, “I accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and with my free will, I ask Him to come into my heart.” ”
Therein begins a religious ritual that imitates intimacy and relationship. The working of the enemy through the mind or ideas of man quenches the work of the Holy Ghost to quicken that person’s spirit. For the powers of darkness are keenly clever in working alongside of and simulating the born again experience.
When a person is REALLY born again, the soul takes a back seat. The Holy Ghost “quickens” the spirit through repentance. As defined by Paul to the Ephesians, to quicken means to be made alive. As Jesus Christ was raised from the dead physically or bodily, to be born again is to be raised from the dead spiritually. In other words, a dead spirit has been raised to becoming a vessel for the Holy Ghost.
Yet another fact to consider is that since the spirit does not have a will, volition is a choice or decision made only by the soul. What the spirit has is intuition and conscience. Paul revealed that the reason the spirit is raised from the dead is because “God is rich in mercy.” So the resurrection of the spirit begins in the intuition and conscience and then translated into understanding by the mind of the soul.
Consequently, when the soul “accepts Jesus,” the spirit remains dead but with great acting skills, the soul can religiously imitate the things of God. The fallen spirit of man, alienated and separated from God is sunk down into the soul so that the soul manifests as intellect or sensuality, often in both. In such cases, the soul reigns over both the spirit and the body. The way that the new life reaches the spirit is shown in the Lord’s own words: You must be born again. The Holy Ghost “breathes” where ever He chooses. This is not the decision of man but the will of God.
The believer who has been raised from the dead in the spirit to newness of like is born of the Spirit or “born again.” The Holy Ghost, who takes up a dwelling place in the reborn spirit, has given the believer a revelation of the Cross and the Lord’s resurrection. This revelation is first received in the spirit. As James indicates in his letter, the wisdom that is from above—from the Holy Spirit—is pure, peaceable, gentle, merciful—without any element of the life of the soul—opinions, self views, strife-jealousy. So when a person is born again, the spirit imparts understanding to the soul through the mind, will and the emotions.
What is happening among those who claim that “they accepted Jesus,” is that they have done so through the soul and therefore, their spirits have remained dead. The intellect of one whose spirit is dead is decidedly fallible and becomes the most dangerous of the soul’s gifts because God seekers use their minds, their emotions and their culturally trained opinions and perceptions to understand spiritual truths. The scriptures reveal that the soulish man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, because they can only be spiritually discerned.
So what must one do who has accepted Jesus and asked Him to come into his or her heart either once or several times? We must do what the Lord told us to do. If our right hand offends us, “cut it off.” Membership within a resurrection power group of PSM is the way to go!