Series: The Word Made Flesh
Sunday 28 August 2016 – Kobus Swart
Heb. 4:12 (Amplified); (2 Cor. 5:4); (2 Cor. 4:7); Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45-49, 52; Rom. 8:28; Matt. 10:26-28; Ps. 42:1-11; 3 John 1:2; Ps. 23:1-6; (Prov. 23:7); 1 Thess. 5:23; John 3:13.
God is looking for a place to rest, but He will only rest in a people who are in the Hebrews 4 rest. After all the verses on labouring to enter His rest, the next verse says that the Word is living and powerful and able to divide between soul and spirit. Why “divide”? When the Living Word is spoken, this is what should happen in the hearer. This word exposes, sifts and analyses, it judges the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Man consists of spirit, soul and body. In previous seasons the word ‘soul’/ ‘soulish’ had negative connotations and only the ‘spirit’ was important. To be soulish was looked down upon as being emotional and not very spiritual. The ‘spiritual’ person was regarded more highly. We must remember that spirit, soul and body have been created by God. We know that Paul describes the body as a tent (1 Cor. 5:4), and we have a treasure in this ‘clay pot’ (2 Cor. 4:7). When we die this body goes back to dust (Eccl. 3:20).
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (soul) (Gen. 2:7). William Hinn says the spirit is the power and the soul is the outlet. The spirit is the breath of God, the soul is the breathing. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Cor. 15:45-49). Jesus was the last Adam, but He is also called the second man. He became the first of a new humanity (Rom 8:29 Msg).
People in the world normally have three questions: 1) Where am I from? 2) Where am I going? 3) Who am I? These questions lead us to more questions and to the unspeakable mysteries of our existence. The fall of man in Eden was not a tragedy, nor a mistake, but a carefully designed plan in the infinite wisdom of God. God is always all-knowing. With God there are no mistakes, errors or unknowns, only purpose! (Cf Rom. 8:28). Nothing surprizes God, He sees everything from the finish-line. Another question people ask is “Will I be ready when I stand before the throne?” They think they may be asked: “How much did you earn?” “How many friends did you make?” “How much progress did you make in your career and how much did you achieve in life?” “How much influence did you have on people?” “How many books did you write?” “How many conversations did you start?” “How many members are in your church?” If you are from the Western mind-set you will welcome those questions, but these are not the questions God is going to ask. He will ask some surprizing questions like, “Have you become what you were created to be?” “Have you lived the life that was predestined for you to live in His master plan?” We must think differently from the world system.
Regarding those who do not receive the gospel of the kingdom, Jesus said, Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt. 10:26-28). The word ‘soul’ means the same in both the Old and New Testaments. What is the soul? The soul is associated with your mind, your life, self, emotions and specifically the heart. The ‘heart’ is not referring to the physical organ in the body; it is talking about you, your soul. Grasp the importance of your soul (Ps. 42:1-11). These words sound like the words of Jesus in Gethsemane: “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death!” (Matt 26:38).
I want to stress the importance of a healthy soul. The key is to have a soul that is not susceptible to wrong emotions, ups and downs, but strong in the Lord (3 John 1:2). “May you prosper and be in good health just as your soul prospers”. It means you are not susceptible to depression. It means you can handle cross currents and disappointments. We have not given enough attention to a prospering, healthy soul life. From the soul come emotions such as anxiety, greed, longing, passions. Your soul is reflected through the rest of your life.
As we become the Word, this is what should happen to us. For the Word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb. 4:12 – Amp). It is not simply about separating soul and spirit from each other. What the Living Word should be doing is exposing, sifting, analysing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. That is what the word is meant to do! So the word will penetrate deep inside the spirit and soul. If we do not allow the word to do that, we will continue with the same problems and battles.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul (Ps. 23:1-3). As a man thinks in his heart (not his mind), so is he (Prov. 23:7). How do we get to the place where we flow in the rhythms of God’s grace? It is the outflow of being in rest. Let Him restore our soul and bring healing to that part of us which includes feelings, emotions, our heart, our will, our life! That will give us access to that place of rest.
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23). The time is coming when this body will be redeemed and become immortal. We shall all be changed in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor. 15:52). Something is going to change. Jesus – the first of a new humanity – gave us glimpses of being on earth while being in heaven (John 3:13). Let us submit to the dealings of God in whatever way it comes. Do not stop loving God and believe that He knew what He was doing from the very outset.
May you prosper and be in health, just as your soul prospers!