Not everyone agrees with Watchman Nee, a Chinese Christian who was martyred for his faith. He said that we are triune — like God. We have a body, a soul, and a spirit. For those who are lost in sin, the body dictates much to the soul, and the spirit is said to be dead.
His definitions: the body is obviously the physical part and much of our connection with the world around us because it houses ours senses. The soul is our intellect, emotions, and will. Much of life is governed by the soul in cahoots with the body. The unsaved person does what feels good, what seems rational, and what he wants to.
When Christ comes in, the power of His Spirit regenerates the human spirit. It is the part of us that accurately understands good and evil, that informs our conscience, and that is able to communicate with God. Without the body and soul, the last does not function as God intended. Without the last one, the first two are foggy at best.
Nee goes into much detail in his descriptions, yet I find the simplicity just given is helpful. I realize that once I became a new-born child of God, my awakened spirit began to govern my body and soul. That is, Jesus became my wisdom, feeds my emotions, and gives me a will to do His will. My life changed.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13)
Sin would make me powerless to work out what God has put in. However, by His Spirit and His Word Jesus Christ actively attacks sin, exposes and cleanses it. After all, He is my Savior, and saving me from sin is what He came to do.
This helps me better understand Romans 7 too. Paul says he wants to do the will of God, but he struggles: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)
Paul actively agrees with God’s will. He is not willfully opposed to it, but sin keeps him from functioning, from working out that salvation that God has worked it.
I know that struggle, but along with Chambers, agree there is only one solution: being stubborn and bent on sin is “blown up with dynamite, and the dynamite is obedience to the Holy Spirit.”
I’m to put off the old, the twisted self-centered fleshy nature and put on the new in which my total self now belongs to God. This is made possible because the Lord God lives in me and had taken my entire body, soul, and spirit to be His own.