New Potential

NEW POTENTIAL

Since its inception ten years ago, Stichting Promise has developed a vision which is of great importance to every one of us. Although physical therapy has always been the starting point for treatment, it quickly became clear that the healing process involved the whole person, body, soul, and spirit. Gradually, insight into the nature of man (men and women) as a created being and what he requires to fulfill God's purpose, grew and took shape. This study examines the relationship between spirit, soul, and body in the light of God's purpose. This vision is of course anchored in the Bible, the Word of God. The following passages serve as the starting point for our study: Romans 5:1-2; Romans 6:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:14-17.

The view which divides man into soul and body, though generally accepted by psychology, is insufficient from a biblical perspective. The Bible clearly speaks of spirit, soul, and body. In several passages, the Bible makes a clear disctinction between the soul and the spirit. Fellowship with God, who is Spirit, takes place in man's spirit (Rom 8:14-16). This fundamental, biblical truth is the starting point for the new way of life we will examine in this study.

"Faith in God" is a concept which has been watered down in the way we think and speak to a religious experience which people may have to a greater or lesser extent. This has undoubtedly, though unintentionally, led to experiences being used as measuring sticks for spirituality. Trusting the Word of God, however, is not primarily a matter of feelings. It has to do, rather, with the actual, functioning relationship which man may have with the eternal God. This fellowship does not merely involve the emotions; it encompasses the whole person, that is, spirit, soul, and body. It enables us to respond to the purpose and the mission for which God has created us (1 Thess 5:23-24). If we make this biblical truth our starting point, the passages from Romans and Corinthians listed above will shed more light on our discovery of the potential for becoming fully human which God made available to us in his Son Jesus Christ.

ROMANS 5:1-2

This passage states succinctly that man has peace with God through Jesus Christ. He made this peace possible by the sacrifice of his life, his flesh, and blood. This sacrifice is the starting point for our faith in God. Sin, and consequently, the sins we commit, is and are atoned for through this sacrifice. Now anyone who believes in this, that is, bases his life on this, has access to the eternal and holy God. Such a person may lay claim to grace. This grace is a new paradigm in which God is able to have fellowship with man, and man with God, his Creator. In this relationship, God will open up new, hitherto unknown possibilities for the pardoned--the "graced"-- individual. It is God who holds out these possibilities. This is the grace we stand on through faith.

Romans 6:1-4

This passage states that The Lord looks on the person who believes (as discussed above) as if he (or she) died with Jesus and rose again with Him--to walk in newness of life. The New Testament consistently uses the word "walk" as a noun or a verb to describe our life here on earth (Eph 4:17,22; Acts 9:31; 2Cor 5:7).

2 Corinthians 5:14-17

In the Bible, the position we have in Christ through grace in relation to God, is called: to be in Christ. This means that God does not take into account who and what we are by birth and by nature; He sees us in the light of the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ (which means the Anointed of the Lord). This is reiterated clearly in this passage. In verse 15 the word "for" is used four times, which may be confusing. If we replace this word with the phrase "on behalf of", the passage becomes clearer and easier to understand. Now verse 17 is shown to be a tremendous statement, because it explains that whoever is "in Christ" through faith, is considered a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come. If we simply accept these passages, so briefly discussed here, as from the Lord, we will begin to understand that because of this, our life here on earth has all kinds of new possibilities. Life-opportunities for body, soul, and spirit!

While we distinguish within man, in accordance with the Bible, the three function-areas of spirit, soul and body, in functioning and appearance he is a unified whole, of course. Psychologists, too, are deeply convinced of the influence which the different functions within a person exert on each other and on the person as a whole. It is useful, therefore, in view of these biblical truths, to examine what this means for us in practice in our daily life.

In his devotional about the daily christian life, Oswald Chambers writes: "The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, His recreating forces will begin to work" (July 1). The work of God is not an automatic process. It does not happen without our cooperation.

Many sincere christians are often too passive in their expectations about the christian walk. Partly because of their upbringing, they adopt an exaggerated attitude of expectation in the sense of: everything is God's to give. While this is true, the Lord has already fulfilled all conditions to be able to give, as we have seen in this brief study. Look, for example at the various people the Lord Jesus healed: "Stretch out your hand." The man did, and his hand was healed (Luke 6:10). To the paralytic man Jesus says, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home", and the man got up immediately (Luke 5:25).

In the same way, the working of God's power involves faith and obedience. Faith does not wait passively; rather, it accepts what God says in his Word and it goes from there. It means making God's Word a starting point for putting His possibilities into practice in our daily lives. That is when his recreating power begins to work in us. Sometimes it happens instantaneously, but usually it is a gradual, continuous process. Whoever truly believes and repents receives the Holy Spirit. This is the promise of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit is the power of God within us. We have to give this Spirit room to work through our spirit in our soul (psyche) and our body. This will bring balance to our entire being, that is, our whole life in spirit, soul, and body. It will always have a wholesome, cleansing, constructive effect on every area of our lives.

The theme of this study was: a new way of life. This new way is God working on us and in us. This work of God is possible on the basis of the grace we have gained access to, and in which we may stand in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Do not disappoint the Lord God and the Lord Jesus by rejecting this offer or by hindering this power through self-will or self-preservation.

Surrender, humility, and obedience are the key words which grant access to God's salvation. Salvation means rescue! The apostle Paul says:

"For this reason. . .we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will. . . . being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience" (Col 1:9,11).

J.C. Graaff

Translated by Mariette Brotnov


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Categorie: English Articles