For those of you who've been around my blog for any length of time, you're aware that Aaron and I and many of our friends have benefitted immensely from the ministry of City Church International in Hong Kong. We've often listened to the preaching and teaching of Rob and Glenda Rufus, Ryan and Kylie Rufus, and others from their church and various other places from around the world. And you might remember me linking to a free book online at their website by Ryan Rufus called "Do Christians Still Have a Sinful Nature?", a book I still very highly recommend to anyone who hasn't read it already.
Well, in a recent mp3 from CCI, Ryan tells of a prophetic dream (Regeneration Dec. 30 2007 )he had and one thing that became clear to him was that teaching on grace empowered sanctification was to be a major part of his ministry. I was so excited to hear that in light of some things I've been struggling through myself that I e-mailed him and asked if he'd be interested in writing anything for me to post on my blog. I got more than I hoped for! He's started writing a new book called "Sanctification by Grace" and has forwarded me a rough draft of the first chapter with permission to post as much as I like. So you're all in for a treat! Here's the first part (all emphasis mine):
Chapter 1: The trinity of man.
'I am a spirit, I live in a body and I have a soul.'
Before we talk about sanctification it's important to understand the three part nature of man because sanctification affects all three parts. If we don't understand them then we'll struggle to understand how certain scriptures apply to each part and sanctification will become confusing. You may think it's weird that I've started here, but this is foundational to understanding true sanctification, trust me. I believe this is one of the most important studies a Christian can do. Revelation on this subject will transform your life. So let's look at the trinity of man. (I'm going to take it from a real basic level so forgive me if it insults your intelligence please.)
Every human being is made up of 3 parts:
Spirit, soul and body. (scripture)
All Christians, I'm sure, are aware of their body. But many are unaware of their spirit and soul or at least the difference between them. But the word of God declares that it can divide between the two (Heb 4: 12).
Now there are also 3 realms know to man:
The physical realm, spiritual realm and the mental realm.
We all exist in these realms but how do we have access to them? Well with our bodies we access the physical realm. That happens through our 5 physical senses. Sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. With our spirits we access the spiritual realm. God is Spirit and we have been created in His likeness-spirit beings. Those who worship God must worship in 'spirit' and in truth. And with our soul or our mind we have access to the mental realm. Our mind has to do with our will, our intellect and our thoughts.
See, you are not just the hunk of flesh and bones that everyone else sees. You are much more than that. In fact that is just one part of you. And in fact that is just your earth suit. Even though it's the part that everyone knows you by, it is actually the least part of you! The most accurate and helpful way to look at this is to say:
'I am a spirit, I live in a body and I have a soul'.
You are a spirit, you live in a body and you have a soul!
You are a spirit, you live in a body, but you are not that body. It is your earth suit! If it died, you wouldn't die. The real you, which is your spirit, wouldn't die, it would go on to be with the Lord. (scripture). If you are born again then you will never die! That is your flesh may die, but you, the real you, your spirit, cannot die! It just goes instantly to be with the Lord.
Now how does salvation affect each one of those parts of us?
Salvation happened instantly in your spirit, is happening in your soul/mind and will one day happen in your body. (Scripture)
It has happened, is happening and will happen. It has happened in your spirit which is the most important thing. The fact that it happened in your spirit means that it is happening in your mind now and will happen in your body when we go to be with the Lord. It doesn't have to happen in your body and mind in order for it to happen in your spirit. It happened in your spirit first and because of that it is happening in your body and mind now.
-Salvation was instant in our spirit and made us alive with Christ. That's when we instantly received every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm (Eph 1). That's when our spirit was seated in heavenly places with Christ (Eph 2), hidden in Christ (Col 3), became a co-heir with Christ (Eph2). Our spirit was born again (Titus 2). Our spirit became a new creation at the point of salvation (2 Cor 5:17). Our spirits were born again.
-Nothing changed in our mind or our body. We didn't receive a new mind or a new body. It stayed exactly the same. We still have all the same memories in our minds and even the same thinking (accept for the fact that we believe in Jesus as our savior). That's why Romans 12, 2 tells us we need to renew our minds. We also still have all the same urges and appetites in our bodies. That's why Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. It's foolish to think that salvation changed the desires of our bodies and/or the thought processes and memories of our minds. It didn't.
Salvation changed the inner man and it's the inner man that needs to take control over the body and the mind and lead it into righteousness! It's the inner man that offers the body as a sacrifice. It's the inner man that subjects the mind to a renewing through the word of God. You can see how your inner man needs to be the one in control, otherwise your body will just naturally want to follow its appetites and your mind will continue to stay worldly and lead you into worldly thoughts and actions.
Now, God did something with your spirit/inner man- he expects you now (by that new spirit/inner man) to do something with your body and your mind.
Romans 12:1, 2
It wasn't your responsibility to do something with your spirit. That's the whole point, we couldn't. It could only be God! It was God's responsibility to do something with your inner man.
Now it's your responsibility to do something with your body and mind- not His! (Yes we surrender to Him and partner with him, but we can't give him control unless we are first in control.) That's why 'we' offer our bodies and 'we' renew our minds.
I want to talk about walking in the spirit and how we do that but first, let's talk about our heavenly eternal position and our earthly current condition:
When we were saved, what parts of us came into our eternal position and what parts of us remained in and become our current condition?
Well our spirit came into instant eternal position in Christ. (Hidden in Christ, anchored in Christ, seated with Christ, united with Christ etc). That can never be reversed or changed. If it could, it's like saying Jesus can be crucified twice which is absolutely impossible. Why? Simply because it's impossible for Jesus to die again.
Our position speaks about our spiritual position. Our spirits are with us currently now in our bodies and yet they are hidden in Christ in heavenly places as well. Try getting your mind around that! (Col 3)
Our body and our mind remained in their same condition which has become our current earthly condition. Our eternal position is not subject to change but our current condition is definitely subject to change.
Our eternal position cannot be influenced by our current condition. But our current condition can be influenced by our eternal position! That's what this whole book is about!!!
To be continued...