The soul and the spirit need to remain separate in the formation of our worldview and theology. Only the Word of God can make the separating cut revealing the distinction between these two components of our life. Theologies and doctrines formed by human logic in the realm of the soul without examination by Scripture have entered the Church throughout history as subtle invaders resembling a Trojan horse. These errors can unpack “lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:14).
Contained in our soul are our emotions, will, and mind. It is that part of our being that gives us personhood, bringing animation and distinction to our lives. The spirit part of our life was created to house truth, and that truth is assigned to inform our soul how to respond to life, not the other way around. A mature believer is someone who has brought all the components of their soul in submission to their spirit. It is in our spirit where the Word establishes itself to begin the renewal process of our mind. Paul spoke about this in his letter to the church in Rome, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”(Romans 12:2).
The writer of Hebrews tells us that Scripture plays an active and incisive role in this renewing process, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God” (Hebrews 4:12-13). The narrow distance between soul and spirit can only be sliced by the edge of truth, not the wide and diverse opinions found in human logic. Without the Word actively at work in our lives cutting through the stuff of life, we will eventually succumb to the lesser influence of an undisciplined soul and the errors that will accompany that influence.
Be careful to not allow a blending of soul and spirit to create a hybrid faith. From that blending have come deceptions throughout Church history crafted to appeal to a mind that is not under the renewing discipleship of the Word and the guiding influence of the Spirit.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:23).