My friend Frank and I are now going through I Peter. This is our read-the-same-chapter-every-day-for-a-week online Bible study which I’ve described here. We’re making great progress going through the epistles of the New Testament. But the following passage from I Peter really got me thinking:
Please forgive my underlining and bolding and changing colors, but these two verses kind of hit me between the eyes. And they help me not to be so surprised when the world looks at me funny and thinks I need medication or a lengthy stay in a mental hospital. Let’s continue our study of these two verses:
I. We Love What We Do Not See!
But others SAW Him — and used empirical language to describe their experience. We are to “walk by faith and not by sight,” but this doesn’t mean that our faith isn’t established on the facts!
We noticed a second truth in this text and it was that —
II. We Believe in Him! (v. 8)
We are not gullible to believe in Him! And there are so many benefits to belief in Christ (survey the gospel of John for a fascinating study!).
We then continued our study by noticing —
III. We Are Filled with an Inexpressible and Glorious Joy (v. 8)
Someone has said that “the mentally and emotionally healthy are those that have learned when to say Yes, when to say No, and when to say Whoopee!” (Willard S. Krabill, M.D.). If there is no contagious joy with the believer, something is wrong and someone needs to get filled.
Let’s conclude our study of these two amazing verses by seeing that —
IV. We Are Receiving the End Result of Our Faith — the Salvation of Our Souls (v. 9)
What is the conclusion, the pay-off if you will, of our faith in Christ? The salvation of our souls! There are other biblical texts that indicate that our salvation is not just of our souls (as we’ll see below), but here Peter’s emphasis is on that surviving-beyond-death aspect of our humanity.
Is salvation of our souls alone? Some believe that the body is the prison house of the soul (which is not a biblical concept). However, Scripture teaches that our natural body is to be resurrected and changed into an immortal body fit for eternity (I Cor. 15:35-58). In fact, our bodily resurrection is referred to as “the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:23-24).
Some Christians hold to the idea that we are three parts: body, soul, and spirit (trichotomy). Others (like myself) see the Bible as teaching dichotomy (that the terms “soul” and “spirit” are sometimes used interchangeably). I believe this is what I call a “distinctive” area of belief (in other words, there can be legitimate disagreement between believers without either falling into false teaching). I Thessalonians 5:23 does say, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As one writer puts it, man is a unified being divisible into two aspects, material and immaterial. “In the Bible these aspects are variously termed, body and soul [e.g., Matt. 10:28], body and mind [e.g., Rom. 12:1-2], body and spirit [e.g., 1 Cor. 7:34; James 2:26], flesh and spirit [e.g., 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 7:1], flesh and heart [e.g., Rom. 2:28-29], and, of course, the outer man and inner man [e.g., 2 Cor. 4:16]. Human beings, though they were created to live in the physical world, are also capable of existing in the spiritual realm as disembodied souls or spirits [e.g., Heb. 12:23; Rev. 6:9-11]. See the article “Body, Soul, and Spirit: Monism, Dichotomy, or Trichotomy?” found at https://www.equip.org/perspectives/body-soul-and-spirit-monism-dichotomy-or-trichotomy/
One writer says, “The problem with trichotomy is that the words “soul” and “spirit” are used interchangeably throughout Scripture. Jesus says that his soul is troubled (Jn. 12:27), but a few verses later, we read that he became “troubled in spirit” (Jn. 13:21). Likewise, Jesus mother says, “My soul exalts the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Lk. 1:46-47). Moreover, dead believers can either be called “spirits” (Heb. 12:23) or “souls” (Rev. 6:9; 20:4). At death, either the “soul” departs the body (Gen. 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21; Isa. 53:12; Lk. 12:20) or the “spirit” departs (Lk. 23:46; Eccl. 12:7; Jn. 19:30; Acts 7:59). The “spirit” knows an individual (1 Cor. 2:11); therefore, the soul and spirit perform the same function. (see http://www.evidenceunseen.com/theology/anthropology/trichotomy-or-dichotomy/)
Conclusion: From our brief study of I Peter 1:8-9 we’ve seen that we are to love Him whom we do not presently see, are to believe in the One who is not visible to us right now, and that both those responses are to fill us with unbelievable joy! The bottom line is the salvation of our souls — and we should not be surprised if the world thinks us weird! God doesn’t!