Friday, March 12, 2010

The "Spiritual Man"

Wednesday we saw in this scripture written by Paul, that there are three types of "Man". The Natural Man who is unsaved, the Spiritual Man who is born-again, and the Fleshly Man, who is saved, but living "according to the flesh"; someone who is not "walking in the Spirit".

Version: NAS

1 Corinthians 2:14-3:3
14. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15. But he who is (a) spiritual (man) appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. 16. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1Cor 3:1. And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. 2. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able [to receive it]. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3. for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

Last post we looked at the "Natural Person", a person who has not met Jesus Christ through salvation. Today we'll look at the "Spiritual Person", a born-again brother or sister in Christ.  

(click image to enlarge)

The Spiritual Man also has a spirit, soul, and body, like the Natural Man, but he has been mightily transformed at salvation.  At conversion his spirit became united with God's Spirit. The spiritual life which resulted from this union with God is characterized by forgiveness of sin, acceptance in God's family and the realization of personal worth. Take a person who feels alone, insecure in their identity, and is deep in sin: in a moment they can be transformed.

Illustration by Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ

The soul the the Natural Man who is directed by his own choosing and even at times directed by demonic influence, can be miraculously transformed into a person who is hearing and listening to the Holy Spirit. His mind becomes renewed and transformed by prayer, Bible Study, and submission to God. The Spiritual Man's emotions are reflected by peace and joy instead of turmoil and fear. He is free to choose to walk according to the Spirit, not forced to walk in the "flesh". As a person chooses to walk by the Spirit of God his life brings forth the fruit of the Spirit.

Illustration by Bill Bright, Campus Crusade for Christ

Galatians 5:22-23
22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

"The body of the Spiritual person has also been transformed. It is now the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit and is being offered (daily) as a living sacrifice of worship and service to God."

1Corinthians 6:19-20
19. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20. For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Romans 12:1-2
1. I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship. 2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

"The flesh, conditioned to live independently from God under the old self, is still present in the spiritual person. But he responsibly crucifies the flesh and its desires daily as he considers himself dead to sin."

Romans 8:6-8
6. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7. because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able [to do so]; 8. and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

I had been a Christian for 38 years but I still wasn't "there" yet. I knew I was going to Heaven, I knew I trusted Jesus as my Savior, but I still had a mind that dwelt on the wrong kinds of thoughts. My mouth, words, and actions were not consistent with Jesus', and I still did not exhibit the fruit of the Spirit on a daily basis. I was no where near "crucifying the deeds of the flesh".

So we can see that this diagram of the Spiritual Person is an "ideal". It's the model of maturity toward which we are all moving and growing.

2 Peter 1:3
seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

Isn't it wonderful to know that whatever it is that we need to mature and grow in Jesus, resulting in "walking by the Spirit" is available to us? Most of us live somewhere between the ideal Spiritual Man and living a life that is more like the Natural Man. We may not be where we want to be, but we're not where we started. The road of "sanctification" can take our whole lifetime.

Tomorrow we will look at the "Fleshly Man". Hope you all are still with me in this. It seems like a lot of textbook facts and thinking, but it all comes together. I really love the logical and almost scientific way at looking at this.
I really appreciate your comments everyone. It's such an encouragement to me. No matter how many times I study this God always gives me something new.

love to you all,


  1. Good morning Debra. I have had a couple of busy weeks but I have tried to stop in. My struggle in this area happens at work. I had a year off when we moved and I did not have this feeling of not being fruitful. But after going back to work I feel less than spiritual. I fall into those work ethics that just are not where I should be and I feel restfulness about them. It is only a 25 hour a week job but it still seems to effect me. Husband had to take a small pay cut during this bad economy and I need to stay put for now.

  2. Hi Debra
    Don't you just love Romans! Paul has such a down to earth application of our life in Christ. Such a good teaching, Debra.

  3. Debra-
    I'm here.
    Picture me sitting in a classroom nodding and thinking but not feeling ready to speak???
    I'm here.

  4. It's wonderful teaching have much God given wisdom...thanks for sharing....praying your weekend is a blessed one....

  5. I'm listening, learning, and believing. Practice makes perfect...wish my son would not bring home chocolate. Love ya!

  6. I believe that we do have to die daily to our flesh.I say a dead man can not feel anything so should we be to sin.We should be dead to sin and alive unto rightousness.Thank God for the Spirit.We should praqtice walking in the Spirit so w2e dont fulfill the lust of the flesh.

  7. I wish to thank you for your study on the difference between the carnal, spiritual, and natural man. Clear and to the point, and bible-centered. God bless you and your staff on helping build up the Body of Christ, and bring such a needed and many times misunderstood subject. Once again thank you and God bless your teaching ministry.

  8. Can you please send by email me the code for this script or please let me know in insight concerning this script?
    The power of love


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