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The Tripartite Being

Now may God himself, the God of peace, make you pure, belonging only to him. May your whole self—spirit, soul, and body—be kept safe and without fault when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23, NCV

Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image and likeness. And let them rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the tame animals, over all the earth, and over all the small crawling animals on the earth.’ So God created human beings in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female. ~ Genesis 1:26-27, NCV



Whether we are men or women, boys or girls, each one of us is a three-in-one person. In other words, we reflect the tripartite nature of our Creator God, who is the quintessential Trinity.

Concerning our tripartite nature, each one of us has a BODY (external, physical layer responsive to humans’ touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing); a SOUL (inner, non-physical layer responsive to humans’ thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, affections, desires, emotions, memory, intellect, imagination, will, conscience), and a SPIRIT (innermost, non-physical layer, before the Fall and after regeneration, responsive to God’s Grace, Word, Faith, Love, Prayer, Forgiveness, Discipline, Correction, Repentance, Hope, Holy Spirit, Illumination, Sanctification, Glorification). Without a doubt, each one of  us has a physical part, which is our BODY, and two non-physical parts: our SOUL and our SPIRIT. 

Now, contrary to some popular opinions, the biblical Scriptures do differentiate between mankind’s living SOUL and mankind’s central SPIRIT. According to biblical Scriptures, mankind became a living SOUL after God breathed the breath of life (His Holy Spirit) into Adam, the first man (cf. Genesis 2:7). However, after Adam’s Fall, every human being’s non-physical central SPIRIT is spiritually dead, yet because of God’s Holiness, Love and Grace, He establishes a way to interact with mankind’s non-physical central SPIRIT, especially when God wants to influence, regenerate, redeem, justify, inspire, correct, discipline, teach, sanctify, and/or glorify a human being (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12).

Then too, based on the Babylonian Talmud, rabbinical tradition teaches that God created souls AND spirits. Rabbinical tradition also teaches that the “unborn” souls and spirits, that is, those souls and spirits that are waiting for God to unite them for the first time with their earthly bodies, live in the seventh heaven (Araboth). Lastly, rabbinical tradition teaches that the righteous souls and spirits that have been separated from their bodies also live in the seventh heaven (cf. Babylonian Talmud Chagigah 12b).

Now because too many people believe that mankind is only a physical being, and because too many people believe in the more popular bipartite view of body and spirit (a view in which the soul and spirit are understood to be the same thing), mankind, as a whole, only will be able to understand fully the triune God (see Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14), after each one of us better understands this Divine Truth: We are triune beings who, according to biblical Scripture, have been created in God’s Three In One image (cf. Genesis 1:26, NCV). More important, in order for us to understand fully the Christian doctrine of immortality, meaning the endless/eternal conscious existence of the human SOUL (see Romans 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54; 2 Timothy 1:10), we first must understand fully mankind’s tripartite nature.

Just as Almighty God Himself is a Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), each one of us also is a Trinity (Body, Soul, and Spirit). Of mankind’s three distinctive parts, God has the strongest affinity for mankind’s unregenerate SPIRIT. Every human being is born with a sin nature; mankind is born in bondage to sin and, thus, every unsaved person is out of fellowship with God. Because, mankind’s old sin nature is worldly, the BODY, SOUL and SPIRIT are habitually selfish, greedy, and proud. The apostle John agrees, because he writes:

These are the ways of the world: wanting to please our sinful selves, wanting the sinful things we see, and being too proud of what we have. None of these come from the Father, but all of them come from the world. (1 John 2:16, NCV) 

In other words, because mankind’s unregenerate SPIRIT is spiritually dead to God’s Divine Truths, the gates to every lost SOUL’s affections, desires, and faculties (intellect, wisdom, common sense, conscience, etc.) are not turned toward God. Consequently, everything that can tempt a human being’s lost SOUL and influence what he or she thinks, does, and/or says will enter into a lost SOUL through the BODY’s five unchecked “gateways”: eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and fingers and hands.

For the abovementioned reasons, before mankind’s unregenerate SPIRIT can receive God’s spiritual Truths  about an eternal life with God and about everything that would make the natural man and woman, boy and girl, an overcomer in this world (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 5:4), God first has to regenerate mankind’s SPIRIT. Once the SPIRIT is born again from above (cf. John 3:6-8), this SPIRIT then is able to receive God’s spiritual Truths and is able to convince the BODY to die daily while convincing the SOUL to be spiritually renewed daily (cf. Romans 12:1-2).

More important, because a person’s regenerated SPIRIT affects the BODY’s five senses and the SOUL’s affections, desires, and faculties (intellect, wisdom, common sense, conscience, etc.), the now Holy Spirit illuminated born-again SPIRIT is able to check whatever comes through the BODY’s five gateways so that the SOUL ends up surrendering its affections, desires, and faculties to God’s affections, desires and faculties. The point here is that the Holy Spirit’s most important goal is not only to make a believer’s BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT one (make all three parts immortal), just like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are One (all three Persons are eternal); but also the Holy Spirit’s job is to make every imperfect (unholy) BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT holy (perfect), like the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are HOLY (perfect)—like each of the three Persons of the Trinity is identified as being HOLY! This call to Holiness is the ONENESS reality Christ Jesus prays for in John 17:21.

For the above-stated reasons, Christ Jesus prays:

Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me. ~ John 17:21, NCV

It should be noted here that there is no way that human beings ever could be in GOD, in Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, if one of human beings’ three parts (Body, Soul, and Spirit) is not HOLY. Moreover, there can be no doubt that this threefold perfection (holiness) is what the apostle Paul means when he writes:

Now may God himself, the God of peace, make you pure, belonging only to him. May your whole self—spirit, soul, and body—be kept safe and without fault when our Lord Jesus Christ comes. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:23, NCV

Thus, for Christ Jesus as well as for apostle Paul, the bottom line is: Holiness is the Oneness reality of the triune God’s nature. For sure, God’s Holiness character is fundamentally essential to His identity—essential to knowing who God really is. So because His innermost nature is Holiness, God’s Holy disposition is without a doubt the main reason why both the unity and the diversity of the triune God hold together. Put differently, Holiness is the true essence of God, for Holiness not only is the name of God but also Holiness is most characteristic of His nature. God’s Holiness, thus, defines or strengthens all of His godly attributes. For these reasons, where godly Oneness is concerned, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are indivisible (inseparable), because they are perfectly joined together, having the exact same mindset, judgment, AND holiness (character or disposition or nature).

Furthermore, it is God Himself who calls us to Holiness, for the purpose of sharing in God’s Holiness character. Not only does the Scripture confirm that God graciously invites us to “…share in God’s nature…” (2 Peter 1:4, NCV), but also, as mentioned earlier, this sharing in God’s Holiness is the ONENESS reality that Christ Jesus prays for in John 17:21. That’s why, as God’s Holy Spirit takes each one of us through God’s progressive sanctification, or the process by which we obtain God’s kind of Holiness, so that we also will have the same kind of Oneness that is in THE Trinity, we can rest assured that our wholly sanctified (fully pure and fully Holy nature) not only means our SPIRIT and SOUL are perfected but also means God has fulfilled the promised transformation that gives us our glorified BODY’s.

In other words, the work of the sanctifying Holy Spirit is to make each born again, saved, and justified believer a Kingdom of God resident who, like Christ Jesus, epitomizes the indivisible (inseparable) Oneness reality. In view of that, just as each of the three Persons of the Trinity is identified as being HOLY, eventually each of our three distinctive parts (BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT) also will be identified as being HOLY. Consequently, each believer’s BODY, SOUL, and SPIRIT will be perfectly joined together with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and THEY ALL will have the exact same mindset, judgment, AND holiness (character or disposition or nature). AMEN!