Soul Reflection


The Message paraphrase of Galatians 5:19-21 is graphic in nature when speaking of the evil of our soul. Eugene Peterson puts it this way, “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; (20) trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; (21) the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.”

Have you ever wondered why people come to faith in Christ and keep on sinning? The reason is the soul of the person is not yet sanctified. The soul, in Hebrew, has many meanings; soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion, that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man, living being, living being (with life in the blood), the man himself, self, person or individual, seat of the appetites, seat of emotions and passions, activity of mind, dubious, activity of the will, and activity of the character. Paul, in Galatians chapter 5, lists these emotions or the sinful nature’s actions which line up with the definition of the word.




In John 3:2-7, Jesus says to Nicodemus, “The same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him. (3) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born anew.”


Our initial salvation experience is the salvation of our spirit. Sin and death leave, renewed life and peace enter. We have dealt with the spirit within us, how do we deal with our soul? Paul says in Philippians 2:12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” He is speaking of dealing with our souls. Peter says in his letter to the dispersion 1:9, “Recieving the end of your faith, the salvation of your soul.”

Furthermore, Hebrews 4:12 says this, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”


Jesus is coming back for a set-apart bride. A bride that is holy, pure, and clean. He will not return for an adulterous, immoral, dirty bride. We have to deal with our soul through prayer and repentance. Pastor Henry Wright of Pleasant Valley Church in Thomaston Georgia writes of 8 R’s to Freedom. I highly recommend ordering a copy of his book “A More Excellent Way” for yourself and going through it. The 8 R’s to freedom are below:


  1. Recognize
  2. Responsibility
  3. Repent
  4. Renounce
  5. Remove it
  6. Resist
  7. Rejoice
  8. Restore

I am currently going through this book and am discovering a lot of change that needs to take place in myself. This book assists the believer in the process of sanctification to becoming more like Christ. There are countless testimonies in the back of the book and I suspect more online.


2 Responses to Soul Reflection

  1. Matt, I was wondering if you could spell out, in more theological detail with appeal to more scripture, the difference between spirit and soul. While I agree that they seem separate, I understood that the reason Christians still sin is because while their spirit has been save, life in the flesh prohibits them from embracing all that this salvation has to offer (Rom 6:11-14; Rom 7:14-25 off the top of my head). I didn’t think it was because there was something about me (my spirit) that wasn’t yet saved, something that somehow, works would take care of. Perhaps you could make the distinction between spirit and soul a little more clear?

    On an entirely different note, I’d love to hear your interpretion of Colossians 2:13-23.

  2. Maureen Driedger says:

    Sounds like a good book, Matt! Peter, you might want to check out for one of the most scholarly treatments of Colossians I have seen. Go to the sidebar topic entitled “Biblical Research” click on it & scroll down till you get to the article entitled “Does Colossians 2:16 Do Away with Sabbath Celebrations?” The article is much broader than the title indicates as it deals w/ the cultural/social context of Colossians in attempting to answer the specific question raised in the title….It also references another article based on recent research at Qumran which you might find interesting. It is under the sidebar heading entitled “Articles & Archives” & the article you’re looking for is “Angels & the Thirteen Sabbath Songs”. I know you were talking to Matt, but both of you might find this particular exegesis interesting! Blessings! MEd

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