Discovering Your Identity
(Understanding the trichotomy of man)
A. Who created man?II. We should understand that man is a three dimensional being.1. God, the creator created man. "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Psalms 100:3).
2. The triune God (one God manifest in three persons) created man.a. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26). Note the plural pronoun "us" is used.B. How was man created?
b. "And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech" (Genesis 11:6-7). Note again the plural pronoun "us" is used.
c. "Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me" (Isaiah 48:16). In this prophecy the "I" is the Son, but it also speaks of the Lord GOD, and His Spirit. Isaiah 61:1 gives a similar account.
d. "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6). Here we see the Spirit, the Lord (Jesus), and the Father.
f. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). We are to baptize in the name of the Trinity (Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit).
g. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). Again, we see the three persons of the godhead.
h. "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen" (II Corinthians 13:14).
i. "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" (I John 5:7). The "Word" as defined by John in John 1:1ff is the Lord Jesus, the Son.1. Man's body was formed from the dust of the earth. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).C. What were some characteristics of man.
2. God breathed into man the breath of lives. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (the word is in the plural form = LIVES); and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). Man was to have a physical life, a soulish life, and a spiritual life.
3. Man became a whole person, "a living soul." He was a whole person having three parts: spirit, soul, and body.1. He was the only creature that was created by divine counsel. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26).
2. He was the last creature to be created on the last day of creation. (Genesis 1:24-31). Why? It was because everything else was created for man's benefit.
3. Man is the apex of God's creation. "For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?" (Deuteronomy 4:32). The context is that of man.
4. Man was to have dominion over all that God created.a. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26).5. Man was created distinctive from the animals.
b. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet" (Psalms 8:4-6). Note the word translated "angels" is the plural form for the word god, "elohim". It is normally translated "GOD", actually almost 2,000 times.a. "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" (Ecclesiastes 3:21). "All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds" (I Corinthians 15:39).6. Man was made for God's pleasure. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).
b. "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7). This refers to man. "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (II Corinthians 5:8).
7. Man was made in the image and likeness of God. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:26-27). This description is unique to man alone.
A. We can clearly see man a being defined as a trichotomy in Scripture.III. The Problem1. The revelation of Scripture. "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" (I Thessalonians 5:23). Here is the definition of man being a whole person: spirit, soul, and body. We should also remember that God sees us from the inside out.B. Man was made is the image of God.
2. Man is a spiritual being that has a soul and lives in a house of flesh.a. The "spirit" of man is for a relationship and fellowship with God who is a Spirit. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).
b. The "soul" is the "self" of man. It involves the mind, will, and emotions.(1). The mind involving memory, reasoning, and imagination.c. The "body" functions through the senses of seeing, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.
(2). The will is the volition of man where he makes decisions.
(3). The emotions is where man feels (example: joy, depression, anger, or fear).
d. The "conscience" (our belief system of what we believe to be true or false) lies between the spirit and soul.
e. The "cognizance" (associated with awareness, consciousness, and perception) lies between the soul and the body.1. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:26). "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:27).C. We can also see man as being a trichotomy in the nature of Jesus being both man and God.
2. The picture.
3. As God has three dimensions, so does man.1. Jesus is the Day Star or Morning Star. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (II Peter 1:19). "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16).D. Man was to become the temple of the Holy Spirit.
2. This is pictured in the Star of David. (God and man overlaid).
1. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Corinthians 6:19-20). "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (II Corinthians 6:16).E. The author of the book of Hebrews gives us a picture of man being the body.
2. We should note that the temple had three distinct parts: the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. Man also has three parts: spirit, soul, and body.
3. The picture.
and 1. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged 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" (Hebrews 4:12).F. Jesus himself gave us another picture of man as being a lamp.
3. We should note that there the distinction between the soul and the spirit is spiritually discerned. See again Hebrews 4:12. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14). This is the reason why secular psychology can not see a distinction.
3. This may also explain why the Old Testament does not emphasize the distinction. The rebirth did not occur until the New Testament. We should also realize that there is a principle of progressive revelation.1. "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16). (The word "candle" could better be translated "lamp." Also see Matthew 25:1-13).G. Jesus also give us a picture of through the illustration of the seed.
2. The vessel itself was made from clay as man is made from the dust of the earth.
3. The vessel had within it the wick, a fibrous material. This can be compared to the soul (with the inner weaving of the mind, will, and emotions).
4. The vessel is filled with air until the air is replaced by olive oil. Man has his spirit which in some sense is to be replaced with the Holy Spirit.
5. The vessel is to be filled with oil and we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The oil was to flow through the fibers of the wick to a point of ignition. The Holy Spirit is to flow through out mind will and emotions to a place of giving off the light of Christ.
1. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal" (John 12:24-25). In this passage. Jesus ties man back into the illustration of the seed. We should note that there are three basic parts to a seed.H. Are there any Old Testament references to distinguish between the three parts of man?
2. Man also has three parts: body, soul, and spirit.1. "My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God" (Psalms 84:2). Here we see three terms: the soul, the heart, and the flesh. The soul (nephesh) refers to "the self". The heart (labe) refers to "the inner man". The flesh (basar) refers to "the body."
2. "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5). Here the word "might" may allude to the body.
3. The Old Testament also gives some accounts of distinguishing between the soul and the spirit using the two words in the same sentence.a. "And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD" (I Samuel 1:15).4. The Old Testament also gives some examples of distinguishing between the heart (the inner being) and the soul. In the New Testament the "inner man" is the spirit-man. "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16).
b. "Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul" (Job 7:11).
c. "With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments [are] in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isaiah 26:9).1. "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29).5. Jesus himself experienced a three fold suffering. "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5). We should also note that the phrase "the chastisement of our peace was upon him" seems to be summary statement. We should also note that these may overlap.
2. "And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul" (II Chronicles 15:12).
1. Wounded for our transgressions =
2. Bruised for our iniquities =
3. With his stripes we are healed =
A. It all started in the Garden of Eden with Adam.IV. The Good News.1. When God finished creation, He declared it all to be good. "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31).B. We must understand that man today is faced with the same problem.
2. However, God gave man a strong warning. "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17). Literally the Hebrew is "in dying you shall die." In other words, God told Adam that if he disobeyed Him, the he would done on the inside and that death would also effect the soul and body.
3. We know from Scripture that Adam disobeyed God by eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6).
4. We also know that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden so that they would not eat of the Tree of Life. "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken" (Genesis 3:22-23).
5. However, we also see that Adam lived physically for a number of years after that. He lived physically to be 930 years old. Now again, remember that God said, "For in the day that thou eastest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17b). This did not mean that his spirit became nonexistent, but that it could no longer function in a relationship the God of life as it had previously. Adam was spiritually dead.1. We must understand that every child which comes to the age of knowing the difference between good and evil, will choose evil. It is a matter of fact. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). No one has done right in the eyes of God. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
2. We should also understand that the same consequence of spiritual death remains today as it did for Adam. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
3. We should also understand that those who are dead spiritually at the point of their physical death must also face the "second death" which is the lake of fire. "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Revelation 20:12-15).
A. The Good News is that God loved man so much that He sent Jesus, His Son, to live a perfect life that he might die on the cross for all of man's sin. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). The "him" is Jesus, the substitute for man's sin. Jesus also spent three days in "hades" (a place of torment) before he was raised from the dead. He suffered the full consequence for man's sin and overcame all the powers of darkness that he might offer to man eternal life. SEE:V. Your invitation.
B. However, for man to receive this wonderful gift of salvation, man must receive Jesus as his Lord (ruler, king, or boss). "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
C. When a person makes a faith commitment to Jesus as his Lord, God gives that person a new spiritual life that lasts for eternity. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Corinthians 15:22). "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" (John 10:28-29).
D. Ezekiel prophesied that God would put His Spirit within man. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).
F. Paul wrote of the fulfillment of the event of man becoming the temple of God. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19). He also told of man becoming an entirely new person in the spirit-man. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
A. The Scriptural basis. "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah" (Psalms 24:7-10).VI. A prayer for you if you have already committed your life to Jesus as your Lord.
B. This is a picture of the priests bringing the Ark of the Covenant, a type of Christ into the temple. The Ark was wood, overlaid with pure gold. The wood represented the humanity of Jesus, while the gold represented his deity. The gates to the Outer Court were to be opened so that the priests might carry the Ark through the Outer Court to the Holy Place. Then the doors to the Holy Place were opened to bring the Ark through the Holy Place to be placed behind the Veil in the Holy of Holies. Again, we see the three parts of the temple compared to the three parts of man: body, soul, and spirit.
C. The invitation to you today is to open the doors to your life to allow Jesus, the King, by his Spirit to come into your spirit and give you a new spiritual life.
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21). You will note that the prayer begins with the inner man (the spirit), moves to the filling of the heart (the soul), to the work of God through us (the body).VII. Understanding the Rebirth and Growth Process.
A. Before the fall of man.VII. Why is the understanding of the trichotomy important?1. Adam and Eve had fellowship with God in the Garden of Eden.B. When man fell because of sin.
2. Adam had the capacity to name all the animals.
3. Adam could care for the garden without the sweat of his brow.
body Man's spirit was alive and in control.1. Adam and Eve died on the inside. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).C. When the rebirth occurs.
2. They could no longer have a relationship or fellowship with God. " And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden" (Genesis 3:8).
3. "But the natural (soulish) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).
Man's spirit died and the soul and flesh became in control1. The Holy Spirit makes the spirit of man alive.D. The growth process.
2. The Holy Spirit brings about the "new birth."
3. "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1).
4. "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (I Peter2:2).
5. "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe" (Hebrews 5:13).
The baby / carnal Believer is made alive by the Holy Spirit in his spirit.
He receives Eternal Life, from the Father through Jesus the Son,
but the soul and flesh remain in control for the most part.1. The Growth process begins on the inside.E. The mature Believer:
2. "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive" (Ephesians 4:14).
3. "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one" (I John 2:12-14).
Man's spirit increases in strength, while the soul and flesh decrease as the individual begins to submit his daily life to God through prayer, the Word, obedience, and fellowship with other growing Believers.1. "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).
2. "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).
3. "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man" (I Corinthians 2:15).
body The mature Believer daily submits his soul and flesh to the rule
of the Holy Spirit who reigns in his spirit.
A. It gives further affirmation of the Creator being the Trinity.
B. It gives a fuller explanation of the creation of the whole person being in the image of God (three dimensions).
C. It gives an explanation of man being made like God, a spiritual being.
D. It give a better explanation of the penalty of death (from the inside out) (Genesis 2:17).
E. It gives a more complete explanation of the suffering of Christ for sin (Isaiah 53:5).
F. It gives the basis for explaining the various levels of salvation (spirit, soul, and body).
G. It gives a basis to explain why a person can be born of the Spirit, willfully sin in his will, and still remain a child of God and go to heaven.
H. It also explains how a person who is born of the Spirit can be inhabited by an evil spirit within his soul or body.
I. Finally, it should also guard us from judging others by looking at their soul from the outside while God looks on the inside at man's spirit.