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Before you read: This article is part of a larger series that builds on itself from the foundation up, with each study building on the last. If something in this article does not make sense to you or if you believe it to be incorrect please be sure you have read over the entire course before passing your final judgment. Also be sure to visit this page’s FAQ And Objections Page
When a person repents of their sin and begins to follow Jesus something amazing happens. That person becomes a born again Christian. Did you know the Bible only mentions being “born again” in those terms 3 times? The first two times is when Jesus tells Nicodemus “you must be born again.” The third is in 1 Peter Chapter 1.
But what is a born again Christian? Nicodemus didn’t understand it. Many others still don’t understand it. To them, it is just some kind of obscure riddle. But being born again is part of what means to be “saved.”
9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.
If you have been following along in this course then you will know that until a child comes to the age of accountability (which is different for all people) that child has no guilt of sin. This is why Paul could say that he PERSONALLY was alive without the law once.
But when we learn the real difference between right and wrong we become accountable for our sins. A child may not tell the truth when you ask them who stole the cookies out of the cookie jar, but they don’t yet understand what sin really is. They only know that you said not to get a cookie and they did it anyway. They have no understanding of guilt, … they know it was wrong, but they don’t fully understand what sin is all about.
But then when the child grows old enough they begin to understand the concept of guilt. They begin to feel remorse for sin. This is because they have reached that age where they know that they are accountable for their own actions. They are no longer innocent. And thus Paul says sin revived and he died.
Now obviously Paul wasn’t talking about a physical death of the body. In another unit, we have explained that death isn’t the non-existence of something. It is the decay of something. Here is the link if you would like to read about that: What Does The Bible Say About Death
The death Paul speaks of is the decay of the soul.
1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
So when the Bible is speaking of a person that we would say is alive as being a dead man it is talking about the decay of his soul into deeper and deeper sin. We are all “dead in trespasses and sins.”
So if our soul is dead, … who can give life to it?
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That word quickened means “spring to life.” That’s what being born again means. It means while our souls are dead in sin God comes along and quickens us (springs us to life). Death has no power over our souls. We are no longer dead in sins. We no longer decay into deeper and deeper sin. Our souls are now a new creation, full of life.
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
I love the word operation used in verse 12. It’s like God has done a type of surgery on our souls. The great physician has somehow brought us to life. But how?
Verse 11 says that we are circumcised. It says this type of circumcision is the “putting off of the body of sins of the flesh.” This is the surgery God has performed. He separated us from our flesh. Meaning the flesh is no longer who we really are. He did this through forgiving us of all trespasses and by paying our debt of death at the cross.
We will talk more about that separation between flesh and spirit in a later unit. For now, though, let’s continue here.
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Just as Adam was formed from the dust he had no life in him at first. He was “dead” in a manner of speaking. But when God breathed into Adam he became a living soul.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
So we see here that when a person is “born again” it is because God, in the form of the Holy Ghost, breathes life into our souls. This is also called regeneration. He renews us as though we were new creations which had never sinned.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
It would also be good for me to give you a little more information about the difference between the words ghost, spirit, and soul.
The words ghost and spirit in Hebrew are actually the same word. That word is “Ruach.” The definition of “ruach” is wind, breath, mind, and spirit. Thus it is translated as these words by the KJV. The KJV also uses the word ghost. There IS a reason and a difference for this.
The “ruach” is what makes us “alive.” In short, the spirit (ruach) is the “life force” which can either be in or out of a bodily form. It is invisible, but active, like the wind (as it is compared to in the Bible). It is the consciousness, or mind (the very essence), of a person. It is what makes them live and breathe.
The same word is used for ghost. Thus, a ghost is also the “life force” of a person. It is also the consciousness, or mind (the very essence) of a person. Why did the KJV use two different words then? It uses the words “Holy Ghost” as well as “Holy Spirit.”
In Hebrew, it is one word that signifies a few different things. In English, there are MULTIPLE words that signify EACH of those different things. So to give the proper translation you would use the word that best fit’s the meaning.
Here are the English definitions:
Spirit – 1. the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul. 2. those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period. (Note: In English, we use the word spirit as well as soul to sometimes mean the same thing, the Hebrew word for soul can also be Nephesh, which is different from ruach.)
Ghost – 1. the soul of a dead person, a disembodied spirit imagined, usually as a vague, shadowy or evanescent form, as wandering among or haunting living persons. 2. the principle of life; soul; spirit. 3. (sometimes initial capital letter) a spiritual being. (Note Again: In English, we use the word spirit as well as soul to sometimes mean the same thing, the Hebrew word for soul can also be Nephesh, which is different from ruach.)
This is why we see the KJV use the two words. It is translated as “spirit” when it is in a body, and it is called “ghost” when it is out of a body. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is the ghost of a dead person. It is just a spirit with no body. Either way, it is still the same “life force, breath, or essence” of a person.
So the Holy Spirit is the breath and life of God, found either within a person’s body or outside of their body. But the Holy Ghost is the breath and life of God ONLY on the outside of a person’s body.
When you see the Bible say someone was filled with the Holy Ghost it is saying that the Spirit of God surrounded them on the outside, and then entered their bodies. After that, you would see it referred to as the Holy Spirit inside of them, since it was now IN them.
The word for soul in the Hebrew is also “Nephesh.” This word also means: soul, breath, spirit, mind, life, person, creature, and so on. (basically, it means “living being”).
If a body has a soul then that means it is a living being (the soul animates the body). So what this boils down to is that the breath of God gives you life. That consciousness is because the soul is aware.
Those are the differences between soul, ghost, and spirit. Now you will be able to understand why they mean basically the same things. They just have different words to describe them in English based on what aspect you are describing. The differences are a matter of location. The spirit can be either in or out of the body. And, the soul is the spirit of the body giving it animation. A ghost is only a spirit, or soul, that has no body.
You are a human being with your own soul/spirit. When you are “dead in sins” it means your soul is in a state of decay. The very essence of who you are is ruled by sin and continually follows sin on the path to hell. It’s a downhill road!
But when the Holy Ghost moves in it makes your soul alive again. It removes the guilt of sin and gives you the power to walk uphill instead of down. It brings you to life! You are born again! And now you have a “new heart” as it were. Your spirit and the spirit of God now dwell together within you.
Since the Holy Spirit is within you and breathing life into your soul, you are under His protection from death. Again, I’m speaking of the second death, which is the death of the soul and not the body.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
The Spirit of God and our spirit abide together. Each one is separate and yet together. Just as a husband and wife are one unit, yet 2 different people. He has us SEALED! He’s got us COVERED! As long as He lives in us, breathing life into us, then we are alive, born again, and on our way to glory!
Now, I’m sure something has crossed your mind. Will He ever depart from me? Can I be unsealed, uncovered? If this all happens when I repent then what if I turn back to sin? And, the biggest question of all, … if all of this is done in my soul then what is going on with my body (the flesh part)?
Those questions will be answered in the next few units. Hang on! We have A LOT to cover!
Continue To Unit 3:4c – Why Do I Still Sin If I Am Saved OR
Return To Christianity 101 Unit 3 – Repentance and Salvation
May 30, 2016 at 6:42 pm | | 1 comment
brothers of Love