“…the division of soul and spirit.”
When the Bible speaks of man in his tripartite being, the order is always spirit, soul and body. When men use these terms together, the order almost invariably is body, soul and spirit. Sin has turned God’s order upside down. Now man puts the body first, then the soul, and the spirit last of all.
The two non-material parts of man’s being are his spirit and his soul. The spirit enables him to have fellowship with God. The soul has to do with his emotions and passions. Although it is not possible for us to distinguish the spirit and soul in minute detail, we can and should learn to distinguish between what is spiritual and soulish.
What then is spiritual? Preaching that exalts Christ is. Prayer to God through Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit is. Service that is motivated by love to the Lord and empowered by the Spirit is. Worship that is in spirit and truth is.
And what is soulish? Preaching that draws attention to man, to his oratory, commanding presence or wit. Mechanical prayers with no real heart involvement but designed to make an impression on others. Service that is self-appointed, carried on for monetary reward, or employing carnal methods. Worship that revolves around visible, material aids rather than the unseen spiritual realities.
What does the Church of God have to do with consecrated buildings, stained glass windows, ecclesiastical vestments, honorific titles, candles, incense and all such trappings? Or, coming closer to home, what does the Church have to do with Madison Avenue promotional efforts, with fund raising for hire, with evangelistic gimmickry, with personality cults, with musical extravaganzas?
The advertising in the average Christian magazine is enough to show how soulish we have become.
Paul draws a distinction between service that is gold, silver, precious stones and that which is wood, hay and stubble. Everything that is spiritual will resist the fire of God’s discerning judgment. All that is soulish will go up in flames.