Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).
Notice Peter, speaking to “saved” people, is telling them they are receiving (progressively – not past tense) the end of their faith – the salvation of their souls.
The Bible teaches that man is a three-part being: body, soul, and spirit. All three of these need to be sanctified. The first part that gets sanctified (or saved) is our spirits. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:23).
So what part of you got saved at your conversion? Your dead spirit got saved. That happens instantaneously when you get saved. Your soul, however, is going to require a lot of time to get progressively saved and filled with the Spirit. The spirit in Adam died when he and Eve sinned. They passed that sin nature on to the human race, which is why we all need to get saved. The Lord told Adam that if he ate from the forbidden tree, on that very same day he would die. However, Adam lived many years after he ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Some teach that he lost his physical life in a millennial day since the Bible teaches that a day with the Lord is 1000 years (See Ps. 90:4). The Scriptures do not teach he lost his physical life because he sinned; but rather as a result of that sin, they were not allowed to stay in the Garden of Eden and could not access the Tree of Life. The text makes it clear that the fruit from the Tree of Life would have enabled them to keep on living physically even after they had sinned. After they sinned, God said to them,
And the Lord God said, Now the man has become like one of us, having knowledge of good and evil; and now if he puts out his hand and takes of the fruit of the tree of life, he will go on living for ever (Gen 3:22 BBE).
We can see through this verse that they could have continued living forever, even after they had sinned, had they not been denied access to the Tree of Life. Therefore, it was his spirit that died on the very day he ate from the Tree of Knowledge.
When they sinned, they suddenly discovered they were naked; for their spirits provided them with some kind of clothing (presumably of light) that disappeared as soon as they sinned. The spirit is also likened to clothing in the New Testament.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Gal. 3:27).
Putting on Christ is just the first step. It is like the undergarment of linen which represents Christ’s righteousness. We still need to be further clothed with garments on top of that, which is the salvation of our souls.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life (2 Cor. 5:2-4).
Notice Paul is speaking about being “further clothed” after initial salvation so we will not be found naked or just in our undergarments. He is speaking to people who have already received the Spirit of Christ as the next verse states.
Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee (2 Cor. 5:5).
He is telling people who have already received the Spirit of Christ in their spirits that they need to be “further clothed.” That is, their souls still need to be saved. The Bible calls it “justification” when our “spirits” get saved as Christ is our example,
God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit (1 Tim. 3:16).
While the Scriptures refer to the spirit getting saved as “justification,” the process of the soul getting saved is referred to as “sanctification.”
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14 NKJV).
The word “holiness” in the NKJV is actually “the sanctification” with the definite article in the Greek text as the ASV translates it,
Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord.
“The sanctification” is the sanctification of the soul. It takes a lot of endurance to get the soul saved as it says in the Book of Hebrews.
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul (Heb. 10:36-39).
Thirdly, when our bodies get sanctified, we get our new bodies. This is referred to in Scripture as the “redemption” of the body, and often called “glorification” by theologians.
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body (Rom. 8:23).
When we get our new bodies, we will also have garments of light like Adam, Eve, and Jesus.
Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light (Matt. 17:1-2).
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light (Rom. 13:12).
Therefore, when churches tell people when they get saved that their souls have been saved, they tell them a partial lie. They become deceived of the fact that they still need to get their souls saved. I say partial lie because the word “soul” is used two ways in the Scriptures. One way simply means a person or life. However, it also has the technical meaning as that second part of man that is neither his spirit nor his body. The meaning must be determined by context. As well as the verses I have already quoted, we can see this meaning in the following verse, which clearly distinguishes between the spirit and the soul.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).
The fact that most people in the churches are not even aware that their souls need to be saved explains a lot about the present condition of the church. Although most have been justified by an imputed righteousness by the Spirit of Christ in their spirits, their souls still need to be sanctified.
The Word of God can sanctify us, but I find more and more Christians who do not even read their Bibles. For many, the only Scriptures they get is a simple sermon once a week.
And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth (John 17:19).
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:25-27).
Christians need the milk of the Bible to grow in order to handle the meat the Word (deeper teachings).
. . . as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2).
So feed on the Word of God that your spirit will not die of starvation and that you may eventually save your soul. For your spirit can die and you can lose your salvation if you don’t feed it. (See my blog on Once Saved, Always Saved?)
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21).
I saw a bumper sticker one time that said, “Saved from What?” That is no mystery in the Bible. For example, only two verses after the famous John 3:16 it says, speaking of the atoning work of Jesus,
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3:18).
John 3:16 has been quoted so often out of context that it has given many the false notion that God is only all-loving. However, the Bible teaches clearly He is also a God of jealousy, vengeance, justice, and wrath, who is to be greatly feared if you are wise. Those who believe are saved from the wrath of God in Hell. If God would send His son to die a horrible death on a cross to take our punishment, why would He not condemn anyone who spurned that great sacrifice?