Three Groups of Humanity *

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:25

“There is an obvious difference in the character and quality of the daily life of Christians. This difference is acknowledged in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul, by the Spirit, has divided the whole human family into three groups:

  • The natural man who is unregenerate, or unchanged spiritually;

  • The carnal man who is a ‘babe in Christ’ and walks ‘as a man’;

  • The spiritual man

“These groups are classified by the Apostle according to their ability to understand and receive a certain body of Truth, which is of things revealed unto us by the [Holy] Spirit. Men are vitally different one from the other as regards the fact of the new birth and the life of power and blessing; but their classification is made evident by their attitude toward things revealed.

“Men are classified according to their ability to receivethe deep things of God’ (I Corinthians 2:10). Into these ‘deep things of God’ no unaided man can go. An unaided man may enter freely into the things of his fellow man because of ‘the spirit of man which is in him.’

“…divine revelation is transmitted to us in words which the Holy Spirit teaches, as the Apostle goes on to state: ‘Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Spirit teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual’ (I Corinthians 2:13). God’s Book is a Book of words and the very words which convey ‘man’s wisdom’ are used to convey things which ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man’ (I Corinthians 2:9).

“Nevertheless, unaided man cannot understand these ‘deep things of God,’ though couched in words most familiar to man, except as they are revealed by the Spirit. Just so, in coming to know these revealed things, progress is made only as one spiritual thing is compared with another spiritual thing. Spiritual things must be communicated by spiritual means. Apart from the Spirit there can be no spiritual understanding.”

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* He That is Spiritual, Chapter 1, by Lewis Sperry Chafer

 

Genuine and Balanced Spirituality*

 

“By the word genuine I mean biblical, for only in the Bible do we have truth that is indisputably reliable. For this reason, the Bible must be the guide and test for all or our experiences to the spiritual life, for biblical spirituality is the only genuine spirituality. The practical importance of this is simply that all experiences of the spiritual life must be tested by biblical truth, and if any experience, no matter how real it may have been, fails to pass that test, it must be discarded. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but it is the only road to genuine or biblical spirituality.

“A second key word is the word…balanced. There is nothing more devastating to the practice of spiritual living than an imbalance. One of my former teachers repeatedly reminded us that an imbalance in theology was the same as doctrinal insanity. The same applies to the realm of Christian living. Too much emphasis on the mystical may obscure the practicality of spiritual living…

In Ryrie’s introduction to the subject of spirituality, he comments on the word spiritual in the New Testament. “…(the word) has a rather wide range of uses, all of which are consistent with the basic idea pertaining to spirit.

  • Demonic hosts are called spirit beings as distinct from human beings (Ephesians 6:12);

  • The Mosaic Law is called spiritual (Romans 7:14);

  • The future resurrected body of the believer is termed a spiritual body in contrast to the natural, mortal body which he has until death (I Corinthians 15:44);

  • A rather large range of activities and relationships of the believer are called spiritual:

    1. The exercise of spiritual gifts bestowed on the believer by the Holy Spirit (Romans 1:11; I Corinthians 12:1; 14:1);

    2. The unity of all Christians likened to stones of a building called a spiritual house (I Peter 2:5);

    3. The Israelites’ manna in the desert is called spiritual food and Christ is called a spiritual “Rock” in the desert (I Corinthians 10:3-4);

    4. The Christian’s vocal praise to God is called songs, hymns, and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16);

    5. The believer’s mind is to be filled with spiritual wisdom (Colossians 1:9);

    6. The believer’s position in the heavenlies is blessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3);

  • The most distinctive use of the word spiritual in the New Testament is regarding the believer’s spiritual growth and maturing in his Christian life. To be truly spiritual, a person must experience the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit by giving him new life in Jesus Christ.” The Apostle Paul contrasts the spiritual man with the natural man (I Corinthians 2:14-15), who, having not the Holy Spirit, is an unregenerated individual (cf. Jude 19) lacking life—spiritual life.

The spiritual man and the natural man are worth explaining in subsequent posts.

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* Balancing the Christian Life, Chapter 1, by Charles Ryrie

 

Biblical Spirituality in 2022

This post begins a new study of Biblical Spirituality. Please check here from time to time for short installments on what the Bible says about being “spiritual” and how to live a spiritual life—the kind of life that God wants every Christian to live.

Living a God-honoring spiritual life is not easy. I heard the story of a boy who saved up to buy very expensive ice hockey skates—the kind worn by the pros. He learned that those expensive skates didn’t make him a better skater than he’d been with his old skates. The lesson is that you can have the best skates in the world, but if you reject instruction, regular training, and practice, you’ll be a mediocre hockey player.

God has given every believer the equipment we need to live godly spiritual life. (According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: II Peter 1:3.)  Like the kid who bought expensive skates, we also need to avail ourselves of instruction, training, and practice with the spiritual tools God gave us:

  • The indwelling Holy Spirit as our guide—if we will listen to Him.
  • Jesus Christ is with us every step of the way—we need to stay close to Him.
  • The Bible has timeless, practical instruction for daily living—if we read it and obey it.

So what is needed for us to use that treasure chest of equipment that God has given us?

Answers to that and other important questions are ahead in 2022!

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Recommended references:

He that is Spiritual by Lewis Sperry Chafer

Balancing the Christian Life by Charles Ryrie

The New Nature by Renald Showers