Turning to the book of Ephesians is like zooming out as far as possible on Google maps.
The epistle is an absolute satellite view of God’s eternal purpose for the church. But you live day to day in the details of street view, negotiating intersections, cross-walks, and traffic lights. The zoomed out perspective helps orient you. It lets you see the beauty of a composite whole that is bigger than your struggles. Something all the time related to, but beforehand unimagined about, your plod across the contours of daily life. When you see this view, you begin to realize the shapes of continents- significant land masses that defy indifference. All of a sudden your search for direction is conceptually tied to this cosmic panorama.
Ephesians presents three “continents” to define our Christian world- the spirit of man, the economy of God, and the Body of Christ
While each of these is distinct, added together they form a connected whole in which your Christian life will take on new dimensions and greater meaning.
Every chapter of Ephesians reveals these three big items and their relation to God’s eternal purpose. The key item though is our spirit. This is the epicenter, origin, hotbed where everything starts.
Without the spirit, the experience of the Triune God collapses into doctrine and the reality of the Body of Christ degenerates into a social group.
The problem is there is widespread ignorance or disuse of the human spirit. So, what has recently impressed me is that every chapter of Ephesians also identifies areas of resistance to the exercise or engagement of our spirit. It’s a great study to do. But for now I just want to list out what I’ve found so far. Feel free to do your own digging.
Chapter 1: the rigors of time and space (v. 10) and ignorance and blindness (v. 17)
Chapter 2: culture and tradition (v. 15)
Chapter 3: the power of the soul (v. 16)
Chapter 4: the vanity of the mind (v. 17) and our former manner or life (v. 22)
Chapter 5: the intoxication of worldly enjoyment (v. 18)
Chapter 6: the opposition of spiritual forces (v. 12) and the tendency to not pray (v. 18)
Exactly! How does Paul conclude his second epistle to Timothy? I’m pretty sure it says “The Lord be with your spirit.” Is that what your Bible says? Could that be an indicator that we have a human spirit? Was Paul mentioning this as some kind of warm, fuzzy, metaphorical verbosity?
Probably not. This is quite a meaningful statement. I wholeheartedly agree with your statement about “widespread ignorance” related to our human spirit. I think this matter of man having a spirit really unlocks the book of Ephesians. We should definitely dig into this more…
The biblical data for at least using the word ‘spiritual’ or ‘spirit of man’ as a distinctive is definitely there. Of course then the question is, if the Holy Spirit inspired the authors of the Bible to use a distinct word for spirit and soul, then shouldn’t there be a distinct reality? If they are merely synonyms then certain verses become illogical if you were to replace one word with the other. Example- Jude 19, “These are those who make divisions, soulish, having no spirit.” Is this synonymous with saying, “spiritual, having no spirit”? I don’t think so.
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