a Devotion for 13 July 2022 Anno Domini
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
The sum measure of a man resides in his heart for where the heart is, there shall be the treasure also. If the heart is the Temple of God, the man’s steps will be guided thereby. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” (Proverbs 23:7) But man and woman were created in the very image and likeness of God. But that image was marred in Eden by our first parents.
Still, man bears some points of likeness to God’s image even if corrupted and fallen in nature. But man retains a being of a triune nature. He possesses one physical body, one soul, and one spirit – and yet he is one being. This triune nature, similar to the Trinity of God but corrupt, has been summed up as follows:
“Every man lives in a three-story house. The lower story is the part underground. There he eats and drinks. This is his physical nature. Many men never leave the basement. There they live, and there they die, never entering the stories that lie above. The second rises above the first. From its windows the outlook is wider, the light in it is more abundant, and the air purer. This is man’s intellectual department. Some go up into the second story often, and, though they do not abandon the basement, they use it mostly only for eating. Then there is the third story. This is the highest. Here the air, the sunlight, the outlook are at their best. This is the spiritual realm. Few rise into it. In too many cases dust and cobwebs are the sole occupants of what should be the choicest part of the house. The wise man, while he does not abandon the basement or the second story, loves the third story best of all, and there spends much of his time.” F.E. MARSH, Pearls, Points, and Parables; Gospel Publishing Company, 1905.
There is definite contrast between the three natures of man mentioned above. The body of man was created from the dust of the earth and delicately formed by the very hand of God. But the completed body lacked life and animus. So, God breathed the breath of life into man’s lifeless body, and he became a living soul. “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.” (Genesis 2:7) The mind of man (soul) controls all parts of his physical being – both voluntary functions as well as the involuntary functions of the heart and digestive system. In this sense, man varies very little from the animals of God’s Creation. When man dies, he returns to the dust of the earth like unto all others of the animal kingdom.
But man has an imperishable spirit which remains in eternity depending upon his disposition in God – Heaven or Hell. The spirit does not die. “For 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. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12) At the moment of death, the spirit does not perish with the body but returns to God. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
It is our heart that is the arbiter of our home in God, or damnation in Hell: “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)
I like the analogy made by Marsh. We have all experienced the basics of the basement. It is a necessary starting place, but to remain therein will result in a life that remains dead to the Spirit. It can become filled with every dark thought and deed. Some may, for a time, ascend the stairway to the second floor and are lightly enamored by the higher things of Heaven, but more frequently succumb to the devil’s gravity and descend to the basement existence. His intellect alone cannot hold him in a higher place. In fact, it can even lead to his downfall if motivated to the wrong cause. It is the highest level to which the Holy Spirit calls the elect. They will neither fall nor pine for the former state. On which floor do you spend your time?