(139)Thesis:The sanctification of the soul is focused upon both the one relationship that is critical and the multiple areas of fear that make us liable in temptation.
Introduction:In our study of the sanctification of the spirit we noted that the main issues of "spirit" are issues of recognition for accomplishment and our potent aversion to humiliation. In order for us to be "sanctified in spirit" the Spirit must overrule our own spirit's lust/aversion complex by generating in our minds the reality of the love of God.
This evening we are turning our attention to the sanctification of the soul.
I. The Nature of the Soul.
A. We have already seen that the "soul" is both a real physical aspect of our bodies and an important metaphor for our understanding of our part in God's created relational universe.
B. The significant aspects of the metaphor.
1. The metaphor focuses upon the soul's characteristic passivity.
a. The physical nephesh is limited to two major characteristics in terms of its ability to "take action".
1) In the first place, the nephesh is most fundamentally a "reactor" to all that is imposed upon it by the active aspects of creation.
a) We live in a cause and effect universe on both levels (material and relational).
b) As such we are inevitably going to be caught up in the actions of "actors" (God, Satan, angels, demons, and other beings of "spirit" who are capable of initiating actions) and the reactions that their actions set into motion.
c) As deductions from the physical nephesh for our understanding of the metaphor, we have all five of the physical senses in play, four of which have their "setting" in the nephesh (sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch).
d) From this I draw two major deductions.
i. The "soul" is the most fundamental aspect of the absolute "me".
ii. The "soul" is most reactionary at the "voice" level, responding to what the senses feed it with either sounds of aversion or acceptance.
2) In the second place, the most "active" aspect of the nephesh is its ability to influence the "spirit" to initiate actions by the various types of speech available to it, most dominate being screeching and praise.
a) The human spirit is not impervious to these two dominate sounds because it has its own "values" of two and that means it can be influenced.
b) God's Spirit is not impervious to these dominate sounds in terms of prayer and praise.
b. The metaphorical nephesh, being the "essential person", is thus identified as a "creature" (passively subjected to God) and an "influencer" of the "spirit/Spirit" through its vocal abilities.
2. The metaphor enables us to seek out the "areas of danger" in the face of temptation and in the face of God's activities of "sanctification".
a. Most predominantly, the major area of temptation/need for sanctification is the "eyes" as a metaphor for "understanding" and "anticipation".
1) The "eyes" are designed to empower the "brain" to draw conclusions and initiate actions.
a) The "problem" with "eyes" is the deceptive powers of the adversary and their inability to "understand" the significance of what they "see".
b) The biblical injunction is to keep the "focus" of the "eyes" upon the biblical revelation of "Jesus", strongly implying that the "eyes" are to be used to "see" what God has said.
2) With the soul's need for "sanctification", we can deduce that we are "temptable" in respect to what we think we "see" as, most fundamentally, "anticipation".
a) The "soul", being passive, has its greatest weakness in "fear" of what it thinks it sees as a coming event of disaster.
b) Thus, the "soul" is most temptable in its frantic search for a "spirit" that can protect it from what is coming.
c) Biblically, the major temptation is the "replacement" theology of putting material wealth into God's place as "Protector".
b. Then, the other functions of the soul (hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling) fall into their own "categories of suggestion" regarding the needs of the soul.
1) He that hath ears, let him hear (Matthew 1:15).
2) O taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
3) Whenever I am afraid I will trust in the Lord (Psalm 56:3; 56:11; 112:7 and Isaiah 12:2).
4) Hold the Truth fast (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Timothy 1:13).
5) We are a sweet savor for God to all around us (2 Corinthians 2:15).
A. The real "me" is a creature in need of a Guide and Protector.