In both flesh and spirit, let us cleanse ourselves from all the impurities of sin

Pastor Jeff Struecker

I want to talk about the human constitution. I’m not talking about your stomach right now. I’m talking about how you put these two things together.

The concept of a body and a soul is not that difficult to understand until you start asking questions about how these two things work together. And when you start asking questions like that, it gets complex quickly because medical doctors can’t examine the soul. There is no MRI or X-ray that you can do to see a human soul, and the theologians and brilliant biblical scholars can’t tell you exactly how the body and the soul connect.

What we’re talking about is a challenge today. It’s a challenge that I know you can handle when the great thinkers started to ask questions about God creating a creature in the garden and then breathing into his nostrils. The breath of life and Adam becoming a living soul and not just Adam, but every human being. Great minds started asking questions about how do these two things work together?

Is the body just like a bucket that carries the soul around and has no use and no good to God? Is the soul the only thing that matters?

Many people have distorted the Bible to make it sound like the body is bad while the soul is good. So whatever you do with your body, it’s always going to be bad; it can never honor God. I think those people are wrong.

Some have started asking questions about the body and the soul and saying, ” Well, if the body matters to God and the soul matters to God, does that mean that your body is good, naturally good?

When God created in the garden of Eden, what he made was good. He even said it is very good. Then one chapter later in Genesis, chapter three, sin entered into the equation, and here’s what I need you to hear.

When humans sinned for the first time, it affected us: body and soul. Our bodies were affected. Even Eve had to suffer painful childbearing.

Adam would have to work by the sweat of his brow to make ends meet for his family. Their bodies were impacted, but their soul was immediately impacted. Their soul feared God.

Both your body and your soul were impacted when humans sinned. It means my soul, your soul, my body, your body is still being impacted by sin. The verse of scripture that I want us to memorize as a church this week comes from II Corinthians 7:1.

Memory Verse

Allow me to point to things out about this verse. Did you notice that it’s asking us to be holy in the flesh and the spirit? It’s not asking us only to do good things. Still, it’s asking for us to be good and holy on the inside, meaning our heart and our actions, our attitudes, even our desires, those things are supposed to be cleaned up, that’s the spirit part of you, and then the actions themselves become clean, that’s the flesh part of you.

Second Corinthians is challenging us to live holy lives. You can’t do this by yourself. I can’t do it by myself, but the spirit of God at work, inside his people being cleaned up both flesh and spirit.

The next word in that verse that I want you to think about is the word completion. I think what the writer of this passage is saying is when your flesh and your spirit are being cleaned, you’re becoming completely clean.

Whereas if you’re only working on your thoughts, that’s the spirit kind of language. If you’re only working on your actions, that’s the flesh kind of language.

The Bible challenges us to be clean and pure, both spirit and flesh, and I feel the same way you do. I can’t do that on my own. God, I need your help. And he says, sure you do. Of course, you do. And I’m going to help you. In fact, Jesus says this language, I’m going to send a helper who will help you live out this verse.

Now I have a challenge for us. If you are a parent with your children, would you have the courage and the vulnerability to answer this question? If you’re with your friends or a child, would you be willing to answer? 2 Corinthians 7 is challenging us to be cleansed. Both spirit and body our spirit and flesh. Here’s the question that I want you to answer honestly.

A Challenge

If so, would you surrender that thing to Jesus, our Messiah? And would you allow him to cleanse that this week?