Tag Archives: Mind

Who I Am and What it Means

I am a brand new person; not a forgiven sinner (as seen on bumper stickers) but a heavenly saint.

  1. Naturally (which a Christian is not – Romans 8:9) a person is self-ish (which is the basic human problem and the root of all sin).  And since no one is satisfied with himself the way he is naturally (physically, etc.) we all tend to have a poor self-image.  The only answer is not psyching oneself up (“I’m OK, you’re OK”), nor even making changes in what we are or aren’t, but becoming a brand new person, somebody different.
  2. In order to effect this, all that we are “by nature” has to die, be buried, and forgotten. (Matthew 10:38, 16:24)  The Bible says that happened to us when Christ died on the cross (Romans 6, Col. 3).  Christ was not simply our substitute, who died for us; we died with Him.  It is up to us to believe that and practice it. (Romans 6:11, Col 2:20)  He that would “save” his life will lose it….etc.  He cannot be two persons, one old and one new.  The Christian is only one person; he does not have two natures, like a Jekyll and Hyde.
  3. In place of our “old man” (like a kernel of corn that dies, or a graft on a stump, even baby in a womb) a new self is born.  (John 3, Matt. 18:3)  It began – just as we all “began” physically in Adam – when Christ came out of the tomb, a new man, Second Adam.  It starts – is born – individually when we become Christians.  It is Christ himself in us, the very Spirit that animated Him.  We are Christ-ians!  (Col. 1:27, Romans 8:10)
  4. This new person, the new”you”, is perfect (can Christ be anything else?).  (I John 3)  That is why Christians are called “saints” in the Bible; it is what they are, now.  The new “you” is immortal; eternal life does not begin when we die, but at re-generation. (John 3:36, I John 3 :14)
  5. How then do we explain the “dualism” in a Christian, his sin?  A Christian consists of three “parts” (like the Old Testament temple, even the triune God).  In this way he is a true human being, a real reflection of God; an unbeliever is just body-soul, a refined animal, whose “spirit” is empty like the Holy of Holies in Herod’s temple.  (Matt. 7:23, I Peter 2:10, II Peter 2:12)  The Christian’s spirit is God’s very Spirit (Ezekiel 36:27), the Spirit of Christ; his soul (mind, will, emotions) is “sanctified” gradually by that perfect Spirit (Gal. 5:16–); his body also is bettered because of its controlling Spirit, but is made up of corruptible elements in order to fit its earthly environment, and perfect Spirit.  (I Cor. 15)  A Christian is satisfied with his present body – insofar as it cannot be improved – , knowing it is perfect for its present purposes.
  6. The “struggle” that a Christian has, then, is not a war with himself (the worst kind there is), but what the Bible calls the “flesh” (including soul as well as body).  These “motions of the flesh” are like the “knee-jerks” of a corpse, or coasting of a “dead” auto.  They are not “you” (Romans 7:17).  Romans 7 is not a description of normal Christian life, but the struggles of a moral unbeliever, or carnal Christian trying to improve in his own strength.

What are the results of all this?

  1.  I am a new person NOW (not in some uncertain future).  Cannan in the Bible is not a picture of heaven (and Jordan of death) but a condition of rest and possession that we ought to enjoy right now.
  2. Total forgiveness; sins of future as well as past (don’t have to ask for forgiveness; thank God for it).  God even says he forgets all our sins. (Isaiah 38:17, 43:25, Jer. 31:33, Hebrews 8:12, 10:17)  We must too.  (Hebrews 9:14; 10:2, 22; I John 3:20; Phil. 3:13)  Satan cannot rob us of our salvation, but he can and does rob us of our assurance, which is almost as bad.
  3. We do not have to fear a future judgment.  (Romans 5:1; 8:1,33,34)  If we already died with Christ, we have been judged and all sin paid for.  (John 5:24; 3:18; I John 2:28, 4:17; Hebrew 9:28) Our old sinful self, dead and gone, will not even appear at the Judgment; just the new perfect “you”.  Matthew 25 and John 3:21 indicate that final “judgment” for the Christian is an awards-assembly! (Also see Psalms 26, 43)
  4. We do not even have to fear death!  The old “us” died with Christ already, once and for all.  Eternal life began at conversion.  What we call death is a painless doorway out of an evil world.  True, our bodies die, but that is only an exchange for a new one; good riddance.  (John 11:25; 5:24; 8:51;  I Cor. 5:14;  I John 3:14;  Romans 8:23;  II Cor. 5:1-8; 4:16)
  5. We have the power and ability not to sin; it is a cop-out to say we have to.  (I Cor. 10:11;  Hebrews 2:14;  I John 2:13, 3:8, 4:4, 5:4;  II Cor. 2:14;  Romans 8:37)
  6. We have the ability to live perfect lives.  (I This 5:23;  Hebrews 13:21;  Eph 3:20;  I Cor 1:30;  Eph 2:10;  Phil 1:6, 2:13)  What God commands, He expects and enables. (Matt 5:48;  II Peter 1:3,9;  1:15,16;  I This 4:3;  I John 2:1)  Paul made self an example!  (I Cor. 4:16, 11:1;  Phil. 3:17; II Thes 3:7)

The Means of Realizing this Security

  1. One must want it.  Unbelievably, there are many Christians who do not want it; they prefer selfness (false humility, etc.).  We must be willing.  Eph 3:20.  This requires open-ness, readiness to change.
  2. We must simply ask; God wants nothing more than to give it.  (Luke 11:13, Matt 7:11)
  3. Abandon all self-effort.  We are especially weak here, thinking that once we are Christians, we must “work out our own salvation”, forgetting Phil. 2:13.  Christian life is not one of gratitude, but Christ’s life in us.  So: we are not to ask that God give us love, etc., but that He be our love, wisdom, joy, truth.  Sanctification is not we growing in grace, but more of Christ in us.  (Phil 3:10, 14)
  4. Have the very mind of Christ, so as to know the will of God and God Himself.  (Phil 2:5;  I Cor 2:16;  Romans 12:2)  The way to achieve this is by saturating oneself with Scripture, which is God’s mind on paper; think like God!
  5. Rejoice always!  God operates via the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3.  Note context.)  Jesus did; Paul did.  (Eph 5:20;  Phil 4:4, 6;  Col. 3:15;  I Thes. 5:16,18;  Phil 1:18;  Col 1:24;  II Cor 6:10; 12:9,10.)

A Biblical Psycho-Theology of the “New Man in Christ” (Part I)

new man in christ

Editor’s Note:  This is a two-part series based on the diagram above.  The first part centers on Interpretation, while the second focuses on Implementation.  

1.  The outer circle represents the human body.  The arrows are the countless impressions that we receive (good and bad) from our environment (people, food, books, etc.) and our responses to them, both positive and negative.

2.  The middle circle represents the human soul, comprising (popularly) the mind, emotions, and will. This circle is demarked from the body by a broken line because the body and soul are an inseparable unity in which they influence each other so much (psychosomatic) that it is hard to tell where one begins and the other lets off.  (Cf. brain/mind)  Our environment, which includes Satan, reaches our soul through our body, which is one reason, amongst others, that the Bible speaks of our soul as well as our body as “flesh” (see Rms 7:18; Gal. 5:16).

3.  The innermost circle represents the redeemed human spirit, which is nothing less than God, or Christ himself, in his Spirit.  This is the plain meaning of the expression, “Christ in you” or we “in Christ” (150 times in the New Testament) and I Cor. 6:17.  The size of the circle is not significant; our spirit not only fills our entire body but reaches far outside of it (by means of telescopes, TV, memory, imagination, and prayer).  The arrows indicate that the sprit influences both the soul and thus the body and our environment – other people, etc.

The distinction between soul and body is not as clear in the Old Testament as in the New Testament (and more than the Trinity – in whose likeness man is triad) for the same reason, namely, the Holy Spirit had not yet in those days “been given” (John 7:39), that is, made his home in human “hearts”.  In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was very active, but always on the outside of human beings, coming and going.  In the New Testament the Holy Spirit became “the Spirit of Christ”, indwelt Christ fully, who pours him(self) into us like a funnel, permanently.  (Acts 2:33)  That there is a distinction between soul and spirit is evident from I Thess. 5:23 and Hebs 4:12.  (Note contrast too between thoughts and attitudes.)  This latter text demonstrates two important facts; many “good” deeds are not spiritual (emanating from faith), but are simply soulish, destined for destruction.  On the other hand, the sins of a Christian can be disowned (Romans 7:17,20) as “motions of the flesh”, knee jerks of our old, dead-an-buried “nature” and not the products of our new self, the fruit of the Spirit, Christ in us.

A scriptural theology of regeneration (new birth) and sanctification is impossible without a distinction between soul and spirit.  The Bible says plainly that a Christian is not just simply a converted, changed, forgiven person, but a brand new one (II Cor. 5:17) twice-born (John 3:3).  We know that his soul is not replaced; he sins in thought, word, and deed, and yet the Bible speaks of him as actually perfect (not just theoretically), a partaker of the divine nature.  In short, at conversion we receive a heart-transplant, a brand-new spirit (Ezek 36:26,27) which, in turn, sanctifies gradually our soul (Jeremiah and Hebs 8:10; 10:16).  At the same time, we must not think of a Christian as having two selves, two egos; he is but a single (new) person.  His old self was crucified with Christ, and “pronounced dead” at his conversion.  The “civil war” that Paul describes in Romans 7 is between a person’s head, which tells him one thing, and his will, which does something different.  The solution to that terrible fix, as Paul says, is to have a new, perfect, permanent, victorious Spirit who rules and controls both body and soul, our thinking as well as our feelings and doing.  Any “struggle” or warfare  that a Christian has is not intra-soul (which can drive to suicide) but between his powerful Spirit (who is God, remember?) and the left-overs, grave-clothes of sin in his soul.  In such an unequal contest, there is no “game”, no real battle.  “If God be for us…” – no opposition!  All this is represented in the sketch above by the arrows that emanate from the spirit, while none (repeat, none) invade it from without.  Only God has access to it.  It is immune, impregnable, invulnerable to all else,  (It is God/Christ, who can neither sin nor be tempted – nor tempts anybody else;  “the Evil One ‘has nothing’ (no point of contact) in me”, said Jesus.  “He that is born of God cannot sin.”

The “spirit” of an unbeliever is a “God-shaped” vacuum.  It is dead, empty.  Satan occupies it in varying degree (cf. Judas and Legion) and times (Matt 12:43-45).  For the rest, he is like a ship without a rudder, his deeds determined alternately by his head, then his feelings (mostly), external circumstances and other people.  An illustration of this is the Old Testament tabernacle, in which the Holy of Holies (representing God) was off-limits even to his chosen people (until Jesus tore the barrier and escorted us in), and for the last 500 years of the Old Testament was EMPTY!  The countless laws of the Old Testament, not the “believers” hearts, are what kept them in line, until Christ.  The unbeliever is in a class with the animals (who are said to have “souls” as well as man).

*The cross represents the fact that victory, self-rule by the Spirit, is only through the cross, just as Christ “ruled” himself and destroyed Satan via the cross, and we become victors by dying to self.  (The Bible uses the word “cross” more often us to us than it does to Christ!) (Cf Mark 8:34; Gal 6:14)