Understanding the principle of Spirit, Soul and Body, is the key to understanding how a believer can be 100% righteous all of the time. The Bible clearly says we have all three:
1 Thes 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. (NKJV)
We ARE a spirit, we HAVE a soul, and we LIVE IN a body. This is very contrary to the worldly belief that we only have a body and mind (mind = soul). Let’s briefly look at each one.
When we are born again, our spirit becomes alive to God. Previously our spirit was in a dormant, dead state towards God, but alive to sin (we were IN sin):
Eph 2: 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, (He) made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). (NKJV)
When we put our faith in Jesus, this old sinful nature is crucified (and buried) into death with Christ:
Rom 6: 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him (NKJV)
Col 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (NKJV)
Now our spirit becomes alive to God:
Rom 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)
And here is the most amazing part: The moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ, our born-again spirit is created just as righteous as Jesus, perfectly holy and glorious, and has the very nature of Jesus Christ itself! The Father made Jesus to be sin in our place, so we could receive His righteousness as a free gift!
2 Cor 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV)
Our reborn spirit is sometimes also called the “new man” or “inward man”:
Eph 4:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (NKJV, emphasis added)
This part of us can never change; it is made righteous for ever!
In Part 2 and Part 3 of this series about Spirit, Soul and Body, we will take a look at what happens to the Body and Soul at the moment of Salvation.