by Nancy Missler
of Life Authors
The Big Question
Are we really willing to be sanctified body, soul and
spirit? Are we prepared for what that really means?
A dear friend of mine, a missionary in New Zealand,
wrote me a very provocative letter that I would like to share with you.
Itís about this very subject:
I read 1 Thessalonians 5:23 in my daily devotions this
morning and it really spoke to my heart. "And the very God of peace
sanctify you wholly; and I pray God you whole spirit and soul and body
be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
When we pray to be sanctified, are we really prepared
to face the standard of these verses? All of us take the term
"sanctification" much too lightly. Are we really prepared for what
sanctification will cost us? It will cost an intense narrowing of all
our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests
in God. Sanctification means an intense concentration on Godís point
of view. It means every power of our body,
soul, and spirit must be
chained and kept for Godís purposes only. Are we prepared for God to do
that in each of our lives? Are we prepared to separate ourselves to God,
even as Jesus did?
Sanctification means "being made one" with Jesus so
that the disposition that ruled Him (Godís Spirit), can also rule and
reign in us. Are we prepared for what that will cost us? It will cost us
everything that is not of God!
Dividing our Soul From Our Spirit
In order for our spirit to be sanctified, so that our
soulish ways are no longer entangled in our inward spiritual activities,
it must be set apart, made holy and separated from our soul. In other
words, there can be no mingling of our soul and spirit. Our greatest
problem is impurity. We have become a "dual" man. Our outward man (our
soul) continually affects our inward man (our spirit) and this cannot
be. Our inward man needs to be released in order to direct our outward
man. In other words, our spirit needs to be set free. The only way this
is possible is to divide and separate the two.
In order for this division and this separation to come
about, we must be able to "see" what God sees in us. Seeing is the first
step towards dealing. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that only the Word of God
can give us the revelation we need to see what God sees. Thus, the
method God uses to sanctify our spirits is by the revelation of His
Word, with the Holy Spirit as His agent. "...all things are naked and
opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:13)
In other words, to the degree that we allow Godís
Word and His Spirit to show us our "selves" is the degree to which our
spirit can be purified.
Only Godís Word can enable us to see what is of the
spirit and what is of the soul, what is carnal and what is spiritual,
what is natural and what is of God. Only God, through His Word, can
reveal the motives of our heart and enable us to see ourselves as we
truly are. Only He can expose, cut away and cleanse that which is
soulish from that which is spiritual. We are unable to do this for
ourselves. Thus, deliverance comes only when the light of Godís Word
helps us to see as God sees. And, the more of our soul we allow to be
stripped away from our spirit, the clearer we will be able to see.
Just Like Separating Joints and Marrow
Again Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the Word of God is
quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even
to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the
What this Scripture is saying is that our soul and
spirit together are analogous to our "bones," which consist of joints
and marrow. In order to divide our bones, they must be broken, dis-united
or separated. Godís Word is like His sword and He uses the power of
His sword to cut, pierce and divide our soul and spirit, just like you
would divide the joints and marrow of our bones.
Our soul can be considered analogous to our joints;
whereas, our spirit might be analogous to the marrow of our
bones. A joint is a place between two parts, just like our
soul is the place between our body and our spirit. A joint is where
the separation takes place; just as our soul is the place where the
separation of our spirit takes place. Marrow means the best part,
the innermost part or the essential part from which all of our strength,
vitality and life is derived. Itís the richest portion of our bones.
And itís the same with our
spirit. Our spirit is the best part, the richest, the most supreme part
of our makeup, because itís where God dwells. Only as our spirit (the
marrow) is separated away from our soul (the joint) can it be
sanctified, strengthened and the Life of God truly come forth.
To separate the joints means to "cut across the
bones." To divide the marrow from the joint means to "crack the bones"
or to "break the bones." There are only two things harder to divide than
the joints and marrow, and thatís our soul and
Remember, the priests of Solomonís Temple and how they
cut, divided and separated the parts of the sacrifice upon the wood.
The knives of the priests
penetrated to the innermost parts of the sacrifice, by dividing the
parts, as closely united as the joints and the marrow. And, this is
exactly what God must do with us. Godís Word must divide the closely
joined parts of our immaterial being (our soul) and penetrate even to
the innermost parts of our spirit. Only the Word of God can do this.
Only Godís Word can separate the self-centered things in our lives that
are not even perceptible to our own senses. Only the Word can lay our
soul open and bare before God.
The deeper God is allowed to go with His sword, the
deeper the cross can do its work. He must be allowed to expose even our
most private and secret thoughts and intentions.
Again, our basic problem is
impurity. God wants us to have a pure spirit, with no mingling of our
Once this occurs, our spirit will be free to direct
our soul and it will no longer act independently of our spiritís
leading. Every thought, emotion and desire will be governed by the
spiritís control. At that point, Godís Spirit will be free to
communicate directly with our spirit, show us His will and to lead us
into intimacy. "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatnessÖ."
This cutting, cracking and breaking of our soul,
however, requires our own willingness. We must come to the altar
and we must present our bodies as a living sacrifice. He
then does the cutting, the separating and the dividing. The deeper we
allow the light of His WordóHis Swordóto go, the more thoughts and
intents of our heart will be exposed and the quicker our spirit can be
The Word of God will reveal even our hidden
purposes and motives. God wants our will to be His will; our thoughts
and motives, His thoughts and motives; and our love, His Love. Godís
Word will even penetrate to the atoms, if need be, in order to
Godís whole purpose is to refine us so that our spirit
will not be influenced and affected by anything in our outward
man or in our circumstances. He doesnít want anything to be able
to "move us" from the peace and joy of His presenceófrom oneness of
He sanctifies our spirit and soul so
that He might reproduce Himself in us and we might begin to experience
His presence and His fulness, no matter where
we are and no matter what is going on in our lives.
Thus, the dark night of the spirit is a time where God
sets us apart (in His loving arms) to make us purified, holy and
consecrated. This night of faith darkens us on the soulish level, but it
sheds light to our spirit on another level. This night season becomes
our own Calvary. Something we must always keep in mind, however, is that
after Calvary there was the Resurrection!
Copyright 2006, Ankerberg Theological Research Institute