The title of this Bible study may surprise you or intrigue you. We will consider the importance of knowing what we are, how man is a vessel to contain God, and what the three parts of man are.
All along, we will use illustrations to help us understand. We hope that you open yourself to the Lord and pray and fellowship with others over this material. May God reveal to us more from His word, what we are.
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When we find out what we are, we see ourselves as if for the first time and know why we are made the way we are made. This affects how we feel from day to day, how we think, and it greatly affects our future. The Bible is God’s word and one function of the word of God is that it is like a mirror, showing us — us. Let us explore a couple of the amazing revelations in the Bible about what we are.
Having the Image of God Showing that we are Vessels to Contain God
Genesis 1:26a And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness
The Bible says that we are made in the image of God and with His likeness. What does it mean for something to be made in the image and according to the likeness of something else? It is worthwhile to consider. An illustration may help. A glove is made in the image of a hand. This makes it so that a hand can slide easily into the glove and occupy the glove. A glove on the table without a hand in it, no matter how beautiful it might be, is useless. Furthermore, if you wanted to show somebody a hand, you might show them a glove. This would be good for describing the hand to some extent. However, only the hand is the reality. Without the hand, the purpose of the glove is meaningless. The glove made in the image of the hand is the container, the vessel for the hand.
In this illustration of the glove, which one are we, the glove or the hand? Which one is God?
Let us read a passage from the book of Romans in the Bible, Romans Chapter 9:
21 Or does not the potter have authority over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor? 22 And what if God, wishing to demonstrate His wrath and make His power known, endured with much long-suffering vessels of wrath fitted for destruction, 23 In order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He had before prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom He has also called, not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles? – Romans 9:21-24
To fulfill His eternal plan, God made man as a vessel. A vessel is a container, like a bottle, to carry some content. The beverages at a grocery store come in bottles. We are God’s bottles. We are God’s vessels!
What is your favorite drink?
What do you feel like when you see a bottle of that drink, but the bottle is empty?
What requirements must be met for a bottle to receive and contain your favorite drink?
Man – a “tripartite” vessel
God created us as vessels to contain Him. However, we are not simple vessels, but vessels of three parts. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Can you find the three parts in this verse? They are spirit, soul and body. So, we call man a “tripartite” vessel or being.
The first part of man is the body, the physical part. The body contacts and receives the things of the physical realm. We read using our eyes and listen to music using our ears, etc. Through our physical body, we can live on the earth.
The second part of man is the soul. The soul contacts and receives the things of the psychological realm. It has three parts or organs: your mind, your emotion and your will. As you are trying to understand the lectures and do your homework, you are using the organ of your mind. You love your families and your friends. You may get excited about passing an exam. This is your emotion being stirred up. And as you determine to join this bible study to find out more about God and man, you are using your will to make a decision. In addition to those daily experiences, God has His purpose in creating the soul.
The following short quotation summarizes the usefulness of our soul: “The soul is the part of man created by God for us to know Him, love Him and turn to Him so we can be saturated with God and express Him.” (Lesson Book, Level 1: Salvation—God’s Full Salvation, published by Living Stream Ministry)
The third part of man is the spirit. It is the deepest part of man. In the Bible, the spirit was called by different names. Ephesians 3:16 says “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man.” Here the human spirit is referred to as “the inner man”. 1 Peter 3:4 says “But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptible adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is very costly in the sight of God.” In this verse, the spirit is called “the hidden man of the heart”.
Did you realize that in addition to the body and soul, we have this part in us called the spirit? It is one of the most important revelations in the entire Bible. Why is the human spirit so important? Man was created because of the desire of God’s heart and for His eternal purpose. Furthermore, God wants to contact man and would like man to contact Him and to receive Him. In other words, God wants to impart His life into man.
Ephesians 5:18 says “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in spirit”. We contact the physical world through our body and the psychological world through our soul. The spirit is the organ we use to contact God and to receive God’s life into us! Hallelujah! Because we have a human spirit, we do not have to be independent or isolated from God. This spirit is in each one of us, so we can all contact God and receive God into us.
As you exercise your body to keep it healthy and as you are in college to train your mind with a lot of knowledge, you have to always remember: In order to fulfill God’s purpose, the spirit needs to be exercised regularly to contact God, to receive God and to contain God.
How about you? What is your experience? Take some time to share with one another how you exercise your spirit to contact God.
Finally, can you answer this question: What does the Bible reveal concerning what we are?
If you have the time, we encourage you to read another post that has a razor sharp focus on the human spirit: The Tripartite Man and the Exercise of our Spirit