In the first lesson of discipleship, we showed the new convert that he is now a child of God with all of the privileges of son-ship available to him since God is now his Father. In this lesson, we are going to show him what happened to him spiritually on the inside when he got saved.
To understand this lesson, it is important that we start by describing how men were made so that we can understand what happens when we get saved.
When God made us, he created us in his image. He said in Gen 1:26, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Since God is three persons, he made us with three parts. According to Gen 2:7, we are made of the dust of the ground [that’s our body], the breath of life [that’s our spirit], and a living soul [that’s our soul, of course]. Our souls match God the Father, our spirits match the Holy Spirit and our bodies match Jesus Christ. Notice that Paul said in 1 Thes 5:23, “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” See the three parts.
After God made Adam, he commanded him not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and said, “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” [Gen 2:17]. Well, Adam ate; but when he did, he did not die physically THAT DAY [Gen 3:6]. Notice that he lived 800 years after he begat Seth and he begat Seth after he ate the fruit [Gen 5:3].
Well, if Adam did not die physically until centuries after disobeying God, and yet God said that he would die THE DAY he ate the fruit, what died? It wasn’t his body. It wasn’t his soul. Notice that Jesus warned his disciples to “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” [Matt 10:28]. So, our souls and bodies would have to be alive for them to be destroyed in hell. Therefore, the part that died had to be his spirit.
Since Adam’s spirit is the part that died, then all of his offspring become spiritually dead since their spirits die, as well. Look carefully at Eph 2:1 and Lk 9:60. These are references to men who are physically alive but spiritually dead just like Adam was. Apparently, children are born with a live spirit, but when they sin against God their spirits die just like Adam’s did. In Rom 7:7-9, Paul writes of being alive without the law. But after the commandment came, he died. Well, he couldn’t have died physically; he had to have died spiritually. So, if a child dies before he has knowledge of the law [Deut 1:39, Rom 4:15, 5:13], then he goes to heaven because his spirit hasn’t died yet [Lk 18:16]. But if he dies after he has knowledge of the law and he doesn’t get saved, he will go to hell because he is dead spiritually.
Once a man’s spirit dies, he must be born again in order to have spiritual life. That’s why the Lord told Nicodemus, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh (his physical birth in the likeness of Adam); and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (his spiritual birth to bring his spirit to life again). Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again,” [Jn 3:6-7]. Our spirits were dead before we got saved and they came to life when we got saved.
As you can see from these scriptures, there is absolutely no way a man will ever have spiritual life apart from a spiritual birth. As he was incapable of giving himself physical life through any action of his own, so he is incapable of giving himself spiritual life through any action of his own (including water baptism, church membership, good works, etc). He can only have spiritual life as a gift of God [Rom 6:23] given to him by the Holy Spirit of God when he receives Jesus Christ [Jn1:12, 13].