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INTRODUCTION

There are many salvations that are mentioned in The Scriptures but the ultimate salvation is the salvation of the soul awaiting to be realized at the end of The Messianic Reign of Christ on the earth. The salvation of the soul occurs apart from and is different than the salvation of the spirit. The soul is not saved at the moment of belief into Christ, but it begins to be realized at The Judgment Seat of Christ that the end of our faith is the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ on the earth. There is a contrast in a Christian’s life that it was by faith he believed (past tense) and now he must continually believe (present tense) unto the saving of the soul (James 1:21-22). At the moment I believed my body was saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), in The Day of The Lord my spirit will be saved (1Corinthians 5:5), and at the end of my faith (servants still work until The Master stops working from His reign as King over all the earth) is where my soul is saved (1Peter 1:9). At this point you realize this is not traditional theology, but let each man diligently search the Word of God (2Timothy 2:15) for the basis of all truth. Can you really on your own verify within The Word of God the things you hold to be true? Or are they simply comfortable traditions we have grown to accept as true without question?

Understanding the salvation of the soul is the key to unlocking the great truths of The Parables, The Judgment Seat of Christ, and The Millennial Kingdom. It is unfortunate that The Reformation did not recover this along with the doctrine of election.  Martin Luther was used by God to reestablish justification by faith alone (passive faith, no works/repentance in view, simply believe that Jesus Christ is The Savior, your Paschal Lamb). However, Martin Luther did not see the salvation of the soul and as a result he wanted the book of James discarded from The Canon of Scripture as sifted straw. “The Reformers feared free grace and, as a result, did not take The Reformation far enough.  That is, their doctrine of the perseverance of the saints in holiness compromised the free grace of God.”[1] God has shown us throughout history that he has raised up men for his purposes so we would be drawn back to the truths in His Word. Let us not forget to go beyond church history and search The Scriptures for our doctrine.

THE TRICHOTOMY OF MAN

The salvation of the soul is not difficult to understand, however it is difficult to embrace without humbly seeing the need to adjust our theology. Some people have the problem of cognitive dissidence. They are so indoctrinated that they have become, without realizing it, creatures of habit. They immediately discount any truth in The Scriptures that is different from what they believe. The Scriptures speak plainly of God being a trinity without one scripture standing alone for us to know this truth. We know this to be true by gleaning from a collection of many Scriptures that enrich and build upon our understanding of our awesome Triune God (Deuteronomy 6:4 & Psalm 110:1) The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.  It is by comparing Scripture with Scripture that we come to know The Truth. Why is it then when we read a passage that states plainly that we have a spirit, soul, and body (1Thessolonians 5:23 & Hebrews 4:12) we reject this truth. Is not our Triune God our Creator in whom we are made in His image and in His likeness as a triune being (Genesis 1:26)? There are those who would contend that the soul and spirit are used in Scripture interchangeably to emphasize an attribute of our character within a particular passage of Scripture. This dichotomy view of man has merit in principle, but does not explain why they are used together in the same verse. The life/soul is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11-14). The words psuche (Greek) and nephesh (Hebrew) can be and are translated either life or soul throughout The Scriptures (Luke 14:26). Is my life my spirit? Is my spirit in the blood? Our spirit is the highest expression of who we are in our triune makeup. Man’s spirit was made to commune with God and effect a high calling on his life. When man fell in the garden, his spirit fell from innocence and communion with The Lord God. God restored man’s spirit by His Sovereign Grace through faith by The Blood of Jesus. It is from our spirit that The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth in The Word of God (Romans 8:16). Our spirit is the conduit through which God communicates His Word to transform our lives/souls for His desires and plans. The Word of God is the remedy that will give life and wisdom to the believer. It is through our spirit that The Holy Spirit administers The Word to our soul/life (1Corinthians 2:11-16). Do true worshippers worship God in life/soul and truth? No, God demands our best. It is only from our highest expression of who we are that we must worship Him (John 4:24). We must worship God in spirit and in truth.  Our spirit (controlled by The Holy Spirit) and our soul (controlled by our fleshly desires) war with each other for the control of the body (Romans 7:18-25). The believer’s body is the vehicle through which he shows evidence (works) of being spiritual or soulical (1Corinthians 3:1-3 & John 14:21).

EXAMINING MAN’S TRICHOTOMY

Man is a triune being having a spirit, soul, and body.  What then happened when we became born into The House of God (1Peter 4:17-18)? Was all of us (spirit, soul, and body) at that point saved?  God’s by His will not man’s will gave us the awesome gift by His Grace and Faith for us to believe Jesus is The Savior. When we believed we were placed in God’s eyes as always covered by The Blood of the finished work of Jesus. A person to become a child of God must have God’s Spirit breathed into him (John 1:12-13, Genesis 2:7). God made alive my dead spirit (Ephesians 2:1) to effect a change in my soul/life. God tells us that on the cross we were counted as dead through Christ’s death (Romans 7:4). God saw us in Christ when He paid our sin debt.  This is a past act existing in a present state that becomes realized the moment we believe (Romans 6:6-8).  No works can be added to receive or prove Christ’s finished work on Calvary. One simply either has faith (believes God’s Word) or he doesn’t. Unsaved man’s faith like his will is relative, he has neither in spiritual matters. God is Sovereign and does as He pleases disregarding the fairness of depraved man (Daniel 4:35). Unsaved man can for example by his own will choose his airline and place his faith in the pilot of the airline.  But, in the spiritual realm, it is only after God regenerates us that we have the freedom to choose God (Romans 3:11), just as we only have the faith to believe into Christ after The Son of God gives His faith to us (Galatians 2:20). Therefore unsaved man is not in view at all in the book of James, but rather a child of God. It is only a child of God who can choose not to continually believe (an unbelieving believer) that results in an unproductive life/soul of dead faith.

Did not Jesus speak of His people having a choice, but they would not (were not willing to) receive Him as their king? (Matthew. 23:37-39). God through The Holy Spirit dwells in us spiritually as His temple through our spirit. It is in our spirit we were justified by faith apart from works and sanctified (set apart) for His good works that we should walk in them. We walk in them as The Spirit of Christ directs our souls/lives to do God’s Will.

Our triune makeup is a pattern of The Tabernacle. We have only one way to come into the presence of a Holy God. We must have a sacrifice, which is Christ, who is our atonement. He imparts unto us salvation from eternal separation from God (passive faith). Now we must cleanse ourselves of our evil deeds (washing feet and hands) before we can begin to commune or abide with a Holy God.  He cleanses us by the washing of The Word to effect our soul/life salvation in the active faith arena (James 1:21, 4:8).  We must come through God’s propitiation of Christ for our initial salvation and then continually come to our propitiator (our Highpriest) for cleansing unto the salvation of our lives/souls.

It is by grace through faith that we have our initial salvation.  Because of what Christ did alone we have been saved by that passive faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). A believer must now begin to no longer live for himself (2Corinthians 5:14-15, Matthew 16:24-27).  Every believer is not at the same spiritual level (Ephesians 1:1, Romans 14:1-12).  All believers are not disciples for all do not consider after belief into Christ the cost of following Him (Luke 14:25-35). The body has been saved the moment you believed while your soul is being saved (1Corinthians 1:18) with fear and trembling through active faith (Philippians 2:12) that God will approve of your life/soul (1Corinthians 9:24-27). “A man cannot show, via works, the reality of his justification by grace through faith. If he could, then justification would cease to be by grace through faith (Romans 11:6)”.[2] The argument will come that although we are justified in the eyes of God (past tense) by grace through faith we are justified in the eyes of man by works (present tense).  This is the result of the problem of letting our preconceived ideas get in the way of what God has already said.

Why do we assume that each time we see the word salvation we think it refers to heaven and hell? James in his book couldn’t be any clearer than when he began by addressing believers and continued to address believers. His focus was on the salvation of the soul/life in the active faith arena. He exhorted believers in their trials and temptations to be obedient to God’s Word for the perfecting of their faith (James 1:2-4). James instructs us (believers) to receive with meekness the Implanted (already inborn in you) Word which is able to save your souls/lives. Is God’s Word implanted in the unbelieving?  Does not God tell us that His Word is alive and powerful dividing spirit, soul, and body (Hebrews 4:12)? God’s Word imparts continual life to the believer who takes of The Manna from Heaven as he studies to show himself approved (2Timothy 2:15). The Holy Spirit who once gave him life now through The Word continues to impart life to him to renew his mind to know God’s Will (Romans 12:1-2). The Word will then effect a change in his life unto the saving of the life/soul. It is clear however that some Christians do not partake of God’s Word in trust and obedience and hence live their lives in a spiritual stupor (Hebrews 5:8-14).

THE UNBELIEVING BELIEVER

There are those who would still continue to insist that a “true believer” will not habitually continue on sinning apart from coming to repentance or taken in death. John MacArthur addressed this problem as “cheap grace.” He believed that “salvation is being offered without the necessity of accepting Christ as both Savior and Lord at the point of saving faith.”[3] The result of MacArthur’s statement is that believers are now polarized to either the label of “lordship salvation” or “easy believism”. The problem again is the result of not understanding the separation of initial salvation from soul salvation. Works cannot be back-loaded to the gospel of grace through faith any more than they can be front-loaded. Shame on those who wave the banner of grace alone then add works for evidence of salvation. Our initial salvation was and is ALL of Jesus who gives us His Faith to believe and nothing needs to verify what Christ already verified on Calvary—He paid it all.  All of us by our nature come to The Scripture with some degree of bias toward our theology. However, we must stay true to the context and not play on words that would destroy what God has said.  The book of James began addressing the brethren (James 1:2), continued in chapter 2 again by addressing the brethren (James 2:1) and after the controversial 2:14 passage James again addresses the brethren. Stating that one cannot profit/benefit from faith without works requires one to have had an initial foundational investment (God’s Grace imparted to him). God’s Word is clear when it states that the believer has to maintain good works for they are profitable/beneficial unto men (Titus 3:8).

Jesus said to his disciples what does it profit/benefit a man (a believer) if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul/life (Matthew 16:24-27). Here some contend the disciples were not yet saved and Jesus was giving them a call to salvation.  If this is true consider the following: Jesus had said to his disciples another time “I will come again and receive you unto myself” (John 14:1-3 KJV); and can my works (denying myself) enter into God’s Grace to effect the initial salvation (passive faith) or negate The Words of Jesus?  The disciples believed into Jesus although they didn’t understand it all at the time they still had the faith of a mustard seed. Some still believe that the book of James makes reference to an unsaved man’s faith.

“The attempt to single out James 2:14 for specialized treatment carries its own refutation on its face. It must be classed as a truly desperate effort to support an insupportable interpretation.”[4] As mentioned earlier only the believer can have a dead (unproductive) faith (2Peter 1:5-8). None has faith to believe into Jesus in initial salvation—He gives you His faith to believe (Romans 3:10-11, Galatians 2:20). One of the reasons many do not see or refuse to see the differences in spirit and soul salvation is the question of can a believer live in habitual sin. Romans 7:19 tells us we still have the problem with our sin nature that habitually (Zodhiates Word Study #4238, page 1209) goes on sinning. The Greek root word for practice in this passage is the same root word used in 1John 3:8 (Zodhiates Word Study #4160).  I know I’m saved but, I also know I habitually live in sin by not loving God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Do we all not habitually sin in not loving God? Yet, we find other convenient visible works that we don’t practice to then associate only those with habitual sin.

Shame on those believers who become judge, jury and executioner of righteousness toward others’ habitual sin when we all have habitual sin in our lives.  Jesus said to have a heart of restoration not condemnation (Matthew 7:1-5, Galatians 6:1-5). No man has any knowledge of when God will bring repentance into a man’s life, and yet we want to then judge him while God The Potter is still working to mold His child. A person to be saved believes into Christ as Savior (initial salvation) and then continually believes, through active faith, into Christ as Lord of his life (soul salvation). The Lordship of Christ is not His Holy Deity but rather His Supreme Authority (Zodhiates Word Study; Sovereign/Master #1203; Lord #2962) over our souls/lives. Can an unbeliever dead in trespasses in sin deny The Lord? No, but a believer can because he is the only one in a position to deny The Lord’s Authority in his life (2Timothy 2:12).

Believers are the only ones who can fall away (an apostate) for they can stand away from what they have already believed (Hebrews 6:4-6 & 2Peter 2:1). Do we all not have our own secret sins that we deny The Sovereign Lord His rightful authority in those closets of our lives? O wretched man that I am! How true Paul’s words ring true to our hearts when our hearts are true to God through His Word. God already has a relationship with us just as a father to a child. Similar to a child’s relationship to his father the relationship is a past act existing in a present state (John 1:12-13). What God now desires is for us to have fellowship with Him (Hebrews 3:1-19, Revelation 3:20). Our actions do not validate our relationship with God but they do hinder our fellowship with Him (John 15:1-17). God wants us to be heirs and partakers with Him which requires our continual obedience (Hebrews 4:12-14 & Colossians. 1:21-23).

The Fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of The Living God (Hebrews 10:26-31). Believers must be careful to examine their motives and only inspect the fruit of ones doctrine not their actions (Matthew 7:15-20, 16:11-12). One who believes into Jesus is not guaranteed to live a certain way. The children of Israel were types for us to learn from their mistakes as God’s Children.  How much more should we under The Blood of Jesus, (as our Highpriest), to cleanse us of our sins live in holy conduct? The false prophets in Scripture are unbelieving believers who have gone into extreme opposition to live as apostates toward God (Philippians 3:16-19, 1Timothy 1:18-20, James 4:4). Remember Peter states in his second epistle that false prophets and teachers deny The Lord who has bought (past tense) them (2Peter 2:1-3). These are the same people mentioned in Jude 4 and Romans 1:25 who “turned/changed” and “exchanged” the Grace and Truth of God for fleshly desires. One must first posses that which is to be changed or exchanged which only a believer can possess The Grace and Truth of God! These apostates will bring on themselves swift destruction (2Peter 1 & 1Peter 4:15-19) compare Romans 8:1 with James 5:9.

 

CONCLUSION

The initial salvation was by grace through faith and justified by God through Christ’s finished work before God at the moment of belief into Jesus (Romans 4:2-3 & Ephesians 2:8-9). The soul is being saved by continually believing God through receiving the Implanted Word. It is justified through our works (those done through The Holy Spirit and not the flesh) before God at The Judgment Seat of Christ (James 2:21 & Luke 12:35-48). “For we must all appear before The Judgment Seat of Christ that every one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore The Terror of The Lord we persuade men….” (2Corinthians 5:10-11 KJV). We await our souls to be saved at the end of our faith (1Peter 1:3-9). We will be tried through fire and God will declare us to take a reward or suffer loss (1Corinthians 3:10-15). The inheritance, rewards, and abiding in Christ are all relative to the salvation of the soul. These are what are in view in The Parables of The Kingdom of The Heavens pointing to the issues surrounding Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe unto the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:38-39). “We are also certain that many, upon reading these verses will say, surely God is not talking to Christians, since Christians have everlasting life, and cannot lose their eternal life with Christ!”[5] This passage refers to the unbelieving believer suffering loss at The Judgment Seat and on through The Millennial Kingdom. Jesus said He will come and His reward will be with Him (Revelation 22:12-13). “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” (Matthew 10:28 Recovery Version). Please note with caution that Jesus was addressing His disciples (Matthew 5:1-2) when He stated “if thy right eye insnare thee, pluck it out, and throw it away: it is better for thee to lose one of thy members, than that thy whole body should be cast into Gehenna. And if thy right hand insnare thee, cut it off and throw it away: it is better for thee to lose one of thy members, than that thy whole body should be cast into Gehenna.” (Matthew 5:29-30). If a believer is in no danger of negative recompense, what is Jesus warning His disciples about? (Luke 12:47-48, 19:27, Revelation 22:12). God first mentioned Gehenna (the Valley of the Son of Hinnom) as a place of judgment for His children for the extreme disobedience of sacrificing their children in the fire (Jeremiah 7:30-33). Will a Christian who has sown time sparingly with The Lord here on earth reap an intimate fellowship with Him there in heaven as a bride to a husband? Let us press on toward our High Calling that we might gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-11). We must continually believe God faithfully throughout our lives to receive His fullest blessing yet out ahead (Hebrews 3:16-17, 4:9-11).                              Do you fear The Lord? (Proverbs 9:10, Psalm 103:11, Malachi 3:16).

[1] Joseph C. Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings (Hayesville, North Carolina: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1993) 13.

[2]Arlen L.Chitwood, Salvation of the Soul (Norman, Oklahoma: The Lamp Broadcast, Inc., 1991) 46.

[3] Joseph C.Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings (Hayesville, North Carolina: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1993) 8.

[4] Zane C.Hodges, The Epistle of James Proven Character Through Testing (Irving, Texas: Grace Evangelical Society, 1994) 60.

[5] Gary T.Whipple, Shock and Surprise! Beyond the Rapture The Great Mysteries of the Ages Revealed! ( Hayesville, North Carolina: Schoettle Publishing Co., 1992) 65.

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