In this post, I must make an exception to my own rule, and that is…I hardly ever read the Bible known as The Message. Although as a teacher, I encourage others to check out various translations of the Bible and compare them, because often they can help bring clarity. Last night as I was watching TV, my spirit interrupted (being led by the Holy Spirit) and spoke to me intuitively. Christians usually like to say, “God spoke to me”, which could well be true. However, and I speak for myself and myself alone, the Holy Spirit is in communion (koinōnia) with my spirit. Anyways, I was led to read these verses below from The Message. This is the account of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well:
John 4: 21-23 “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming—it has, in fact, come—when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. 23-24 “It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. GOD IS SHEER BEING ITSELF—SPIRIT. Those who worship him must do it out of THEIR VERY BEING, THEIR SPIRITS, THEIR TRUE SELVES, in adoration.”
You are a spirit, you have a soul, and you live in a body. Eugene Peterson, the translator of The Message, hit that nail on the head that time. The way he put is staggering; GOD IS SHEER BEING ITSELF—SPIRIT. We’ve read the King James and other versions which simply say “God is a Spirit”, upper case S, and in reference to His worshipers (human being) lower case s. In The Message, Mr. Peterson’s translation, which is really a paraphrased version, says we must worship God “out of THEIR VERY BEING, THEIR SPIRITS, THEIR TRUE SELVES”. The Church has focused rigorously on who we are in Christ, what we have in Christ, and what we are in Christ. I am extremely thankful for those men and woman who have humbled themselves before our LORD and received the gift of revelation knowledge in these areas. Nevertheless, many of us have not taken a close look at exactly what we are as human beings, inside and out. Let us look at The LORD’S conversation with good old Nicodemus from The Message:
John 3: 1-2 There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.” 3 Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.” 4 “How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?” 5-6 Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit. 7-8 “So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”
Of course, our bodies are not born again, we will one day have glorified bodies, made in the likeness of Christ glorious body (Rom. 8:29; 1st Cor. 15:50-57; 2nd Pet. 1:4; 1st John 3:2-3). Nor are our souls born again; our souls are comprised of mind, intellect, personality, will, and emotions. In addition, of course, there are several subroutines going on in the background constantly, such as breathing, the blinking of our eyes, and our unconscious mind (where dreams occur). The word soul in the Greek New Testament is ‘psuche’. This is where we get the word psychic or psychology (workings of the mind). According to Rom. 12: 1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Concerning our bodies, the Apostle Paul said in 1st Cor. 9: 26 “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Simply put, while we inhabit this earthly tent, we are responsible for the discipline of these bodies. We are also responsible for the renewing of our minds. If not for repetition, we wouldn’t have learned most of what we know. Our souls and bodies are not born again. However, that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit (The Holy Spirit) is spirit (the human spirit). I will leave you with this for now.