In Genesis 4 when Cain slew Abel, the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.” (v. 4:10). Here the soul is described as the voice of Abel’s blood crying out as life was leaving the flesh. When the spirit of life departs from man, the soul departs with it. They are inseparable. The soul/spirit is what returns to God.
By John Arcovio
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As I stated in Chapter 1, the two spirits that are the most difficult to differentiate between are the human spirit and the Holy Spirit. The voice of the human spirit and voice of the Holy Spirit are separated by a very thin line. In time, all of us can learn to discern the voices of angels, demons, and the spirits of this age. Yet, the toughest will be discerning the difference between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. Our human spirit may even use King James English to try to establish authority. How many times have we heard a message in tongues that was from the human spirit prefaced by “Thus saith the Lord”?
The surest and most basic way of becoming skilled at distinguishing between the human spirit and the Spirit of God is by gaining a working knowledge of the written Word. This is one of the most powerful weapons the Lord has given the Discerning the Spirits of this End Time Apostolic Age church. In Matthew 4:1-10, when Jesus was being tempted by the enemy, He used this powerful weapon to defeat him. Three times He responded to the devil’s temptations with the words, “It is written” (see Three Warfare’s by John Arcovio). Paul brought this out in his letter to the Hebrews:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).i
The word “soul” in this verse is translated from the Greek word psuche (psoo-khay’), which means “life, affections, desires, mind, conscience, heart, or the breath of life.”ii The word “spirit” is translated from the Greek word pneuma (pnyoo’ -mah), which is widely accepted as referring to the Holy Ghost or the Spirit of God.
It is the written Word that determines the “dividing asunder” or “distinction” between the human spirit and the Spirit of God.
The inner life of a Christian is often a strange admixture of motivations, some genuinely spiritual and others completely human. To sort these out and expose what is of the Spirit and what is of the flesh requires a supernatural discerning agent such as the Word of God. If a person will saturate his mind and spirit (soul) with the Word of God on a daily basis, he will greatly increase his ability to distinguish the difference between the human spirit and the Spirit of God.
I believe this is what Paul meant when he wrote, “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) and instructed us to “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). He also said that we should let our minds be washed by the “water of the Word” (Ephesians 5:26). We bring our soul, or conscience, to a razor sharp edge of sensitivity to the voice of God through prayer, fasting, and meditation on the written Word.
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