Body, Soul, and Spirit
1 Thessalonians 5:23
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…

An ancient philosopher once called the human frame "a harmony of bones," and a beautiful cathedral may be well called a harmony of stones. Following the same train of thought in a wider application, I might point out to you how man in his entire composite structure of body and soul and spirit was designed by his Creator to be, as it were, a living instrument of diverse chords attuned to one perfect harmony. How should I describe the relations to each other of these factors of our human fabric? Should I call the body the sheath of the soul, and the soul the sheath of the spirit? Or the body the organ of the soul, and the soul the organ of the spirit? Or the first the utterance of the second, and the second the expression of the third? What is the body for? Not for intemperance, incontinence, greed; "the body is for the Lord." He is its Builder and Redeemer: doubly Owner of it and twice Proprietor, first by creation and then by redemption. If, then, we would live to the Lord, let us keep our bodies in temperance, soberness, and chastity. But what did I say — let us keep the body in order? Why, the body is the organ of the soul; the soul rules it with a will, uses it with a will, bids it walk with feet, touch with hand, taste with tongue, speak with mouth, see with eyes. To keep the body in order, then, we must keep the soul in order — filling it with good desires, pure motives, wise counsels, noble aims and aspirations. Yes, but what is to keep the soul in order? Why, the soul itself is controlled by that of which it is the organ and the expression, even by the spirit. So, then, let each of us fill our highest nature, even the spirit, with good desires, pure motives, noble aspirations, lofty thoughts of God and heaven. But can we? Is a man's ego or self outside a man that he should pour into his own spirit good desires, as he would pour water into a cistern? A man's ego is inside the man, whether it be seated in the soul, or in the spirit, or in both. For behind the body is its ruler and director, the soul, behind the soul is its ruler the spirit: but behind the spirit of man is what? Is there no superior? Why, yes; some unseen power there is, that plays the part of King David to the harp, and makes the music of the instrument; that suggests, inspires, persuades, drawing to virtue or tempting to vice — an evil power drawing to evil, a good power to good. If God's Spirit penetrate, intensify, illuminate man's spirit and through that reach the soul, and bend the will submissive to good, until the man subdue his own flesh to his own spirit, that man, by faith in Christ, shall save his soul alive. But if, alas! the reverse of this — if the love of the world, the lust of the eye, the pride of life should smother, stifle, quench the nobler aspiration after holiness and happiness — such a man, if he resist to the end the strivings of the Holy Ghost in the domain of his own spirit, shall, in the words of our Lord, "lose his own soul — his own self. We are fearfully and wonderfully made: our triple organism is a mystery, but our double destiny is a certainty. There is to life eternal a dread alternative. There is the one way to heaven before us, and Jesus Christ is this one Way; and there is another way leading to hell. Powers of evil and powers of good surround us: the angels of God attend upon us for our well-being, the angels of Satan hover about us, tempting us to our ruin. Environed by this conflict in the air between good and evil, we must be loyal to our Master, true to our only Saviour, stedfast in prayer and watching, doing our duty in our several stations, keeping our garments unspotted of the flesh: ever using the sacramental means of grace in the Holy Supper; and so, and only so, the Spirit of Christ, which flows through the mystical veins of His Divine humanity, shall fill with its goodness and gentleness, its purity and charity, our own spirits, through them controlling our souls and bodies. For in God's propriety of order, the body is the tabernacle of the soul, the soul is the temple of the human spirit, and the human spirit is the sanctuary of the Holy Ghost.

(Canon T. S. Evans, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

WEB: May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Body, Soul and Spirit Sanctified
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