3) THE BATTLE BETWEEN BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT
We all know of the end-time events which are taking place today such as wars and rumors of wars, pestilence, earthquakes, famine, even signs in the sun, moon and stars, causing great commotion and perplexity on the earth. All we need to do is read the newspaper, listen to the radio or watch the news on TV.
We are continuously overwhelmed by the many catastrophes that are taking place today, whether they are natural, such as tornadoes, floods, and droughts, the covid-19 Coronavirus or caused by the negligence of men such as traffic fatalities, airplane crashes, or fires.
We may consider them as commonplace throughout the ages. Such are not directly related to the personal battles we are involved in daily. Let me make it clear, we are not speaking about everybody else, just you and me.
Flesh Must Be Defeated
The apostle Paul confessed in Romans 7:15, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.” This clearly reveals the battle between body, soul and spirit. In verse 18 he said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” This statement exposes the truth about Paul, who did not think much about himself, but nevertheless was confronted with his own sinful nature.
He was fully conscious of the fact that the regenerated person within him was what really mattered. Paul continued, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me”(verses 19-20). He realized that the flesh can never fully submit to the Spirit, and as a result, he exclaimed, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (verse 24).
This verse makes it perfectly clear that we cannot serve God with our flesh. In other words, no matter how hard we try to please God, we will ultimately fail. Naturally the question should arise, “How can we serve God if it is impossible for us to please Him in our physical being?” We please God by serving Him in Spirit and in truth!
Worship In Spirit and Truth
When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He told her, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23). This was in response to the woman’s attempt to lead Jesus into an ecumenical discussion. But the Lord responded to her with the truth of the prophetic Word, and as a result, she had to confess, “… I perceive that thou art a prophet” (verse 19).
In an attempt to justify her comments, she said, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship” (verse 20). Jesus made it very clear that worship of God the Father outside of the truth was impossible.
He made it obvious that the Gentiles were in total darkness when He said, “Ye worship ye know not what…” (verse 22) and then emphasized that true worship can only come forth from the truth, … we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews” (verse 22).
The Two-Edged Sword
Furthermore, Hebrews 4:12 reveals the way to liberty in Christ through the Word, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Do you want to serve God? Then the Word of God, the most powerful and sharpest of all two-edged swords, must divide your soul and spirit.
We cannot worship God in the soul; the Word of God forbids it. Not only does the two-edged sword clearly divide the soul from the spirit but it is also the “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Only the Word of God will disclose to us what our thinking process is and will even expose the true intention of our hearts.
For that reason, it is urgent that we unconditionally agree with the Word of God. The moment we deviate from the written Word, we fall among the “robbers.” The end result is that no fruit will be created for the glory of the Lord Jesus.
The statement in Hebrews 4:12 also reveals the tragedy of the end-times that millions of believers serve the Lord in their souls, not in their spirits.
A person who bases his faith on the soul always depends on tangible circumstances. He is unsure and unstable in all of his ways and continuously needs supernatural guidance, which of course, is supplied by the powers of darkness. In addition, it nullifies the fundamental principle of the gospel of grace; we are to walk by faith, not by sight!
An even greater tragedy is the fact that many consider themselves Christians because they have had emotional experiences in their souls. In reality, their spirits are still dead in sins and trespasses. What a disaster it will be for those when Jesus comes and all who are not born again of the Spirit of God are left behind, despite the fact that they thought they had become new creatures in Christ.
Certain visible signs take place in the believer’s life which confirm and make obvious whether a person has in fact been born again of the Spirit of God. In his book, Seven Signs of a Born Again Person, Dr. Wim Malgo points out the following:
• A born again person knows that he is born again.
• The new life becomes visible.
• He has a spirit of prayer.
• He has a hunger for the Word of God.
• He will suffer much adversity.
• He has victory over temptations and sin.
• The truly born again person waits with joy and expectancy for the return of Christ.
If any of these signs are not a reality in your own life, then you must ask yourself a very serious question, “Am I really born again?”
The Lust Of The Flesh
The believer’s last battle consists of the continuous conflict between the Spirit and the flesh. To the Galatians, the apostle Paul wrote, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). In other words, we must have continuous victory over the works of the flesh through the Spirit. We are guaranteed of this in verse 16, “… Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
Fruit Of The Spirit
Contrasting the works of the flesh, we read about the fruit of the Spirit in the next verses, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law ” (verses 22-23).
Isn’t it significant that in the list of the fruits of the Spirit, there is no indication of the presence of pride, self-love, self-esteem, and other fallacious ideas that are being promoted in today’s false gospel movements?
Remember that only by the fruit of the Spirit will the Lord recognize us. It doesn’t matter how good we are, or what we have accomplished in our lives, or how much we have given to our churches, missions, or other benevolent organizations. Those things are good, but they will not count all that much when we stand before the Lord. He said, “… by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).
To successfully win the victory over our last battle, we must continue to keep the victory over our flesh at all times. When we walk in the Spirit, we are standing on the Word of God doing His will. As a result, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Let us conform ourselves to 1st Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
4) THE BATTLE AGAINST DECEPTION
We know from the Bible that sin entered into the world due to pride. Satan, the originator of sin, successfully deceived one-third of the angelic host, the animal world, and man, God’s crown created in His image.
The devil is the god of this world and rules supreme. He has a legitimate right to all the unsaved people on the earth.
The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Isaiah 64:6 confirms this indisputable fact with the words, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
To further prove this point and show that there are no exceptions to the rule, we read Romans 3:10, “… There is none righteous, no, not one.” Verse 12 confirms, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Praise God that He has made a way of escape. Only one Man has ever lived who was without sin; Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man who voluntarily sacrificed Himself on Calvary’s cross. He poured out His blood for the sin of all men so that anyone who comes to Him will receive forgiveness.
The only way of escape is through Him who said, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). There is no middle ground, for there is no other name given under Heaven by which man can be saved, and that name is Jesus.
(MAIN SOURCE: The Great Mystery of the Rapture – Arno Froese – 1999)