BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

Lesson 8 - The Spirit of man

Many people claim that when the Bible speaks of the spirit of man, it simply refers to the air which he inhales and exhales during breathing. However, there are many references in the Scriptures to man’s spirit which make it clear that it is more than simply breath. What is man’s spirit? We will find as we examine the Bible that we are given a clear understanding of the matter.

It is very important that we have correct understanding concerning this issue. The Bible makes it clear that the spirit of God is related to God in a similar way to how man’s spirit is related to man. If we are to have a proper understanding of the identity of the spirit of God, then a good place to begin is by examining the spirit of man. After all we were made in the image of God.

“Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is “the express image” (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will. {PP 45.2}

Part 1: THE ORIGIN OF MAN

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.(Gen 2:7 KJV)

“In the creation of man was manifest the agency of a personal God. When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were set in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the faculties of the mind, all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Christ the Word, a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power.” {Ministry of Healing 415}

What is the breath of life? Job 32:8; Zech. 12:1

The same word translated as “breath” may also be translated as “spirit”. The idea that all God did was to start the process of breathing in order to bring man’s dead body to life is not supported by Scripture. When a man dies the reverse of creation takes place. According to Ecclesiastes 12:7 the body returns to the dust and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Is this referring merely to man’s breath? Ecclesiastes 21:3 states that man’s spirit goes upwards, while the spirit of the beast goes downwards. This statement would not make any sense if it were speaking merely of the air which we breathe.

How important is man’s spirit to his existence? James 2:26  

“If man is only a complicated breathing “body-machine” (as so many teach), where can be found the possibility of human freedom—man’s great need, his great hope? Does his sinfulness lie in his body or in another dimension, mind? What is the source of his failures which discourage him even in his attempts to reach the ideals he sets for himself! Is there no chance of “human perfectibility”? By what means can he be preserved as himself, his real identity, through death and translation, if he is now only a body with life forces (especially when in death this body, disintegrates, is eaten by worms!)? .... If. as some say. it is foolishness to think of a human spirit “dwelling” in a bodv of flesh, how do I understand the lesson taught so clearly by Paul that our bodies are temples for the indwelling of the Spirit of God? If it is impossible for two distinct “substances” of existence—the spiritual and the material—to contact each other, as some others claim, how can I be “touched” by the Spirit of God. as we teach?” – Human Spirit & Divine Spirit - p.5 by E. Edstrom

We usually judge people by outward appearances, but the real worth of a person is in the state of his spirit.

 

Part 2: MAN’S TRUE IDENTITY           

(Zec 12:1 KJV) The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.

It is very important to understand that the spirit of man, is really the inner person. The Bible makes this absolutely clear in 1 Corinthians 2:11For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” No man can know the thoughts that are in another man’s heart, unless those things are revealed to him. Paul writing to the Ephesians declares, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; (Eph 3:16)

What element of the Christian’s makeup will pass from this world to the next? 1 Cor. 4:4,5

“A character formed after the divine likeness is the only treasure that a man can take from this world to the next. I would urge the youth to regard every moment of time as golden. Do not waste it in indolence, do not spend it in folly, but use it in grasping higher treasures. Cultivate the thoughts and expand the soul by refusing to allow the mind to be filled with unimportant matters. Secure every advantage within your reach for strengthening the intellect. Do not rest satisfied with a low standard. Be not content until, by faithful endeavor, watchfulness, and earnest prayer, you have secured the wisdom that is from above. Thus you may gain an influence over other minds, which will enable you to lead them in the path of uprightness and holiness. This is your privilege.” {YI, August 17, 1899}

What common concern did both Stephen and Jesus have in the moment of death? Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59

“.... a person is really the “inner” life identity of a being, the character, the individuality, the real “I” of the one called, “God,” “man,” or “angel”. This PART of the WHOLE man is what I am calling his “spiritual nature.” Its constituents—the WILL, the MIND, and the HEART—are the authority, the intelligence, and affections that “make” him who HE really is as someone distinctly individual. This is his “person” that must unite with the “person” of Jesus to experience the “covering” of Christ’s life. (COL 312) At other times this often used word “person,” does mean the whole being of “God.” “man.” or “angel” -his personal spirit in union with and operating through his own distinct personal body, his “spiritual” presence as well as his “physical” presence.” - Human Spirit & Divine Spirit - p.4 by E. Edstrom

The human body is just a house for the personality or the spirit of man, the spirit is our true identity

Part 3: Unconverted man’s spiritual state

But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.   (1 Tim 5:6)

“God is the fountain of life, and we can have life only as we are in communion with Him. Separated from God, existence may be ours for a little time, but we do not possess life. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” 1 Timothy 5:6. Only through the surrender of our will to God is it possible for Him to impart life to us. Only by receiving His life through self-surrender is it possible, said Jesus, for these hidden sins, which I have pointed out, to be overcome.

It is possible that you may bury them in your hearts and conceal them from human eyes, but how will you stand in God’s presence?” – Thoughts from The Mount of Blessing p. 61

How did Jesus describe humanity’s fundamental problem? (Mat 15:17-20)

“Our improvement in moral purity depends on right thinking and right acting. “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man” (Matthew 15:11, 19, 20).

     Evil thoughts destroy the soul. The converting power of God changes the heart, refining and purifying the thoughts. Unless a determined effort is made to keep the thoughts centered on Christ, grace cannot reveal itself in the life. The mind must engage in the spiritual warfare. Every thought must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. All the habits must be brought under God’s control.—Lt 123 1904. – Mind, Character & Personality, Vol. 1 p.69

What is the reason why all man’s efforts to do good must fail, unless his spirit is joined to Christ? John 3:6

Nicodemus knew that Christ here referred to water baptism and the renewing of the heart by the Spirit of God. He was convinced that he was in the presence of the One whom John the Baptist had foretold.

.... No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Rom. 8:7; Matt. 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. – The Desire of Ages, 171-2}

Man is a two part being. Our bodies are degenerate and weak, but our real problem lies in the state of our spirits

Part 4: Conversion in the light of man’s spirit

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor 5:17)

“The religion that comes from God is the only religion that can lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the Divine Spirit. This will lead to watchfulness. It will purify the heart and renew the mind, and give us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship.” – Counsels on Diet & Foods, p. 37

The apostle showed that religion does not consist in rites and ceremonies, creeds and theories. If it did, the natural man could understand it by investigation, as he understands worldly things. Paul taught that religion is a practical, saving energy, a principle wholly from God, a personal experience of God’s renewing power upon the soul. – Acts of The Apostles, p. 451

How does Paul describe the change which takes place in our minds or spirits at conversion? Rom. 12:2; Eph. 2:1

   “But man cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change can be effected. The leaven—something wholly from without—must be put into the meal before the desired change can be wrought in it. So the grace of God must be received by the sinner before he can be fitted for the kingdom of glory. All the culture and education which the world can give will fail of making a degraded child of sin a child of heaven. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit.

As the leaven, when mingled with the meal, works from within outward, so it is by the renewing of the heart that the grace of God works to transform the life. No mere external change is sufficient to bring us into harmony with God. There are many who try to reform by correcting this or that bad habit, and they hope in this way to become Christians, but they are beginning in the wrong place. Our first work is with the heart. – Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 96-97

    

What marvelous privilege is granted to those who are converted? 1 Cor. 6:17; 1 Cor. 2:14-16

“Christ is to live in his human agents, and work through their faculties, and act through their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to his will, they must act with his spirit, that it may be no more they that live, but Christ that liveth in them. Jesus is seeking to impress upon them the thought that in giving his Holy Spirit he is giving to them the glory which the Father has given him...” Signs of The Times, October 3, 1892

True conversion means that I am in a very real sense joined to the very life of God.

Part 5: Man’s spirit in death

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Eccl 12:7

   “Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him.” {6BC 1093.2}

What is the state of man’s spirit in death?(Ps. 146:4)

“The doctrine of consciousness after death, of the spirits of the dead being in communion with the living, has no foundation in the Scriptures, and yet these theories are affirmed as truth. Through this false doctrine the way has been opened for the spirits of devils to deceive the people in representing themselves as the dead. Satanic agencies personate the dead and thus bring souls into captivity. Satan has a religion, he has a synagogue and devout worshipers. To swell the ranks of his devotees, he uses all manner of deception.—Undated Manuscript 66. {Ev 603.1}

What part do the dead play in the affairs of the living? (Eccl. 9:5,6,10)

“The Scriptures declare that “the dead know not anything.” Ecclesiastes 9:5. Their thoughts, their love, their hatred, have perished. The dead do not hold communion with the living. But true to his early cunning, Satan employs this device in order to gain control of minds.

Through spiritualism many of the sick, the bereaved, the curious, are communicating with evil spirits. All who venture to do this are on dangerous ground. The word of truth declares how God regards them. In ancient times He pronounced a stern judgment on a king who had sent for counsel to a heathen oracle: “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.” 2 Kings 1:3, 4. – Acts of The Apostles, p. 290

If we would know God it must be in this life. After we die it will be forever too late.

Part 6: the resurRection

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (1 Cor 15:42-44)

“Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. The wondrous works of God are a mystery to man. The spirit, the character of man, is returned to God, there to be preserved. In the resurrection every man will have his own character. God in His own time will call forth the dead, giving again the breath of life, and bidding the dry bones live. The same form will come forth, but it will be free from disease and every defect. It lives again bearing the same individuality of features, so that friend will recognize friend. There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him.” {6BC 1093.2}

In what way will resurrected people be just the same as when they died? (Isa 38:18)

“If you would be a saint in heaven you must first be a saint on earth. The traits of character you cherish in life will not be changed by death or by the resurrection. You will come up from the grave with the same disposition you manifested in your home and in society. Jesus does not change the character at His coming. The work of transformation must be done now. Our daily lives are determining our destiny. Defects of character must be repented of and overcome through the grace of Christ, and a symmetrical character must be formed while in this probationary state, that we may be fitted for the mansions above”.—13MR 82 (1891). {LDE 295.1}

“There are kings and generals who conquered nations, valiant men who never lost a battle, proud, ambitious warriors whose approach made kingdoms tremble. In death these experienced no change. As they come up from the grave, they resume the current of their thoughts just where it ceased. They are actuated by the same desire to conquer that ruled them when they fell.” {GC 664.1}

There will be no future probation in which to prepare for eternity. It is in this life that we are to put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness. This is our only opportunity to form characters for the home which Christ has made ready for those who obey His commandments. {COL 319.1}

We must in this life keep our minds on Christ, a mind that cherishes sins will not change at the resurrection.


Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Website: www.restorationministry.com

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