(137)Thesis:Sanctification of the "spirit" actually involves the alteration, by God's Spirit, of its "values" and "beliefs" in specific regard to the Satanic impetus to be exalted so that they come into harmony with the Love and Truth of God.
Introduction:According to Paul, there are three specific areas of human existence that are in significant need of "sanctification". The "need" is created by the Plan of God to create, establish, and perpetuate a Kingdom of Joy. The underlying principle is that the participants in that eternal kingdom must have learned in this life, at the heart level, the values and beliefs that absolutely dominate both motives and actions in all situations as they develop so that they will never violate the Kingdom of Joy in any way at any time. According to Jesus, the only way to eternally perpetuate a kingdom is to keep it from ever being "divided against itself".
The specific areas are listed by Paul in the order of "spirit, soul, and body".
This evening we are going to look into the first in this order: the "sanctification" of the "spirit".
I. Our First Task: The "Dividing Asunder of Soul and Spirit" (Hebrews 4:12).
A. Two major mistakes have already been made in theological circles.
1. The first is the dismissal of any real, or significant, difference between soul and spirit and turning the issue into merely "material and immaterial".
a. This creates an effective "fog of war" so that the targets are difficult to identify and the impact can be extraordinarily disastrous (nebulous understanding undercuts precision of love and/or faith).
b. This directly challenges 1 Thessalonians as both the container of 5:23 and the producer of enduring, vibrant "hope".
2. The second is reversing the actual impact of soul and spirit so that the "soul" is declared (at least by Girdlestone) to be "the animating principle of the body".
a. This is directly contradictory to both Genesis 2 and James 2 where it is the "spirit" that gives "animation" to the body.
b. This creates the kind of confusion that is endemic to misunderstanding issues at their most basic level.
B. Paul's theology of the "spirit" begins at the reality that God's provision for "sanctification" is the indwelling of the body by the Spirit of God ("This only would I learn of you; received ye the Spirit...: Galatians 3:2).
1. The "only" indicates an extremely fundamental level of the issue; it is the "only" truth needed to bring clarity.
a. As an "only" truth, the question is: To what is this the "only" thing that needs to be clear?
b. The answer is that Paul's is definitively dealing with "methodology" in respect to both justification and sanctification.
c. The reception of the Spirit of God is the event in time when everything changes in a human being's relationship to/with God.
2. There would be no need of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit if the human spirit was not seriously incapacitated in some way.
a. This "incapacity" is extremely critical for in both Romans 8:10 and Ephesians 2:1 Paul declares the deadness of human beings possessing an active human spirit.
b. The issue of "deadness" is not incapacity of function or cessation of existence; it is the incapacity of achievement of any/every godly objective.
C. Thus, we conclude that the "spirit" is the actual animating element of the body and the soul is something else (which we will eventually get to, but not in this study).
II. Our Second Task: Identifying the Specific Area of "Need" Regarding the "Sanctification" of the "Spirit".
A. As the animating element of the body, all behavior derives, ultimately, from the "spirit's" decision to "animate" in a given direction.
B. Since overt behavior is really the bottom line in any "Kingdom function" (as long as no unrighteousness is accomplished, no harm is done), the issue(s) of the "spirit" has/have to do with the driving unction for any activity.
1. To discover what this may be for the "spirit", we have to have a basis for answering the question: What addresses the "spirit's" decision to "animate"?
a. This basis is most easily discerned by the Satanic methodology of "temptation" because God's main adversary is clearly going to attempt to "oppose" by "diverting" the basis for decision making.
b. All of the temptation/solution texts of the Scriptures contain attacks upon, and promises made regarding, man as a "body", "soul", and "spirit".
2. The "discovery" is not hard: the "temptations" identify "flesh", "eyes", and "arrogance".
a. The "spirit's" area, then, is "arrogance".
b. 1 John 2:16 uses the phrase "the arrogance of functional capacity" (translated "the pride of life").
3. John's summary of "all that is in the world" is extremely illuminating in that "the arrogance of functional capacity" directs us to two major issues that address the "spirit" in all of its "decisions to animate".
a. The first issue is the proactive goal: to be exalted in the opinions of others by reason of one's abilities to accomplish goals.
b. The second issue is the protective goal: to keep from being humiliated in the opinions of other by reason of one's inabilities to accomplish goals.
c. The outcome of such proactive/protective goals is invariably two-fold.
1) "Boasting" out of a sense of superiority.
2) Deliberate attempts to conceal any contradiction(s) to that "superiority".
C. Thus, any "sanctification" that is to occur will have to address this desire to be exalted in the opinions of others.
1. On the Spirit's side of the issue there is His work of convincing us of the Love of the God of the Peace for us without consideration of our "abilities" so that we have only one opinion that is important.
2. On the human side of the issue there is the deliberate commitment to "do nothing out of vainglory" (Philippians 2:3) and "Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another" (Galatians 5:26).