Spiritual or Carnal?

            “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NKJV).  In the opening chapters of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians a distinction is made between the natural man and the spiritual man.  Human beings are of the flesh; they are described as living “souls” (Gen. 2:7); they have a fleshly existence.  Some of the Corinthians were of the flesh, natural, or carnal.  This describes their attitudes about preachers, the gospel, and each other.  They were spiritual beings; that aspect of their nature did not change.  They were acting, though, in ways that contravened their true spiritual calling as the church of God (1 Corinthians 1:2).

            While we sometimes describe man as a two-fold being, consisting of body (flesh) and soul (spirit or spiritual nature), some passages teach a three-fold aspect of man.   One such passage is 1 Thessalonians  5:23:  “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Another is Luke 10:27: “So he answered and said," 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'"  Heart, soul, strength, and mind, all describe essential elements of man’s basic nature.  Can distinctions be made, though, about this identification of man’s nature?  The heart of man would refer to his emotional makeup; but, can you separate the heart from the soul or spirit of man?  Does soul refer to one’s physical being?  It can be used that way. Here, though, “strength” seems to indicate man’s physical being.  The mind of man refers to his intellect; man is obligated to do his best in thinking about and studying God’s word.

            "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  (Matthew 16:26).  Many explain that soul equals life; some Bible versions use the word life rather than soul.  But life would not be one’s physical life; clearly, we are going to die physically (Heb. 9:27).  Life would refer to man’s spiritual being, his interest or lack of the same about spiritual matters.  The point is one of comparison.  No one will gain everything; even if he did, all that he gained would not compare to his soul or spirit—the part of man that is made in God’s image and that survives this life.

            The body will die; one day it will be resurrected.  This will be a glorious body.  It will be a glorious day as body and soul (or, spirit) reunite for eternity.