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To Perish or not to Perish    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

This is a discourse on the difference between soul and spirit, as described in the Scriptures. The requirements for salvation of each are different, and must be understood separately to properly understand the Bible. The warning about perishing in the Scriptures always refers to the soul or the body, and never the spirit.

All of the warnings in Scripture are warnings to spiritually regenerated people.  This includes all of the warnings about dying or perishing.  This is a difficult concept for Christians to understand due to the false paradigms resulting from misinformation disseminated by many of the Churches.  The primary reason for this misinformation is the failure of preachers and teachers to understand the difference between soul and spirit. 

Man is a tripartite being created in the image of the Living God, Who is a Trinity.  The idea that the soul and the spirit of man are one and the same is no more true than the idea that God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are the same.  God exists in Three Persons in union and so does man.  The spirit of man is that which was born of God in man.  The regenerated spirit of the Christian is alive and in perfect submission to the Holy Spirit.  It can never perish any more than God the Father can perish.  The spirit of man is analogous to God the Father as far as man being created in the image of God.  The spirit of a Christian is born of or comes from God, so it can never sin.  The following Scriptures are referring to this new spirit nature that is born of God:

(1 Pet 1:23 KJV)  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  

(1 John 2:29 KJV)  If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.  

(1 John 3:9 KJV)  Whosoever (i.e., whatsoever) is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

(1 John 4:7 KJV)  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  

(1 John 5:1 KJV)  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.  

(1 John 5:4 KJV)  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  

(1 John 5:18 KJV)  We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.  

As stated above, the spirit of the Christian can never perish.  Consequently, the spirit of the Christian is eternally secure, and it would be absurd for the Word of God to warn us about a condition that cannot possibly happen.  

In a similar vein, the spirit of the unregenerate person is already dead, so it can never perish or die either, since it is already dead.  The only way for a spiritually dead person to be made alive is for the Holy Spirit to regenerate that person.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate people, and it is not by the will of man that this happens:  

(John 1:12 KJV)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

(John 1:13 KJV)  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  

Telling unregenerate people that they have just got to get born again spiritually is about as meaningless as going to the morgue and attempting to convince one of the cadavers to exercise his will to come alive and stand up and walk.  

To place this in perspective, we must understand that we come into contact with numerous people.  These people are either spiritually alive or spiritually dead, and we do not know the living from the dead in most cases, and we are even deceived in some cases where we think we do know.  The Holy Spirit is constantly regenerating people spiritually, and we do not know when this happens or to whom it happens.  We think this happens when a person has a spiritual experience, repents of his sin and starts following the Lord as a disciple.  The truth is that this person may have been spiritually regenerated as a child, and has just now been brought to repentance.  The fact remains that we do not know for sure when or who is spiritually regenerated.  There are tares in the Church who pretend and act just like Christians, but the fact is they are spiritually dead.  

Every human being whether he is spiritually dead or spiritually alive is a soul.  The soul is our identity as a person.  It is our will, emotions, personality, desires, intellect, and everything we are as a person.  At birth, in addition to being spiritually dead, we have a depraved soul or life that follows the old fallen nature.  There is no one more selfish or self-centered than the newborn babe.  Everyone is born into sin so the soul, life or person is in a fallen state.  Consequently, when a person is born again spiritually, his soul or life is still in a depraved or fallen state, just as the body is still in a fallen or depraved state.  When we are born again spiritually our body continues to age, and it will eventually die since it has not been redeemed.  

The same is true for our souls.  The soul of the person who has been born again spiritually is still in a fallen state, and it is controlled by the old fallen nature that is still in the born-again individual.  It is necessary that the soul be renewed in accordance with the desires and wishes of our new spirit nature.  Now here is where the will of the spiritually regenerated man comes into play.  Until a man is born again spiritually, his will is in bondage to the old spirit nature, which is in a fallen or depraved state.  This means his soul is in bondage to the old spirit nature, and he cannot extricate himself from this bondage.  Once the Holy Spirit regenerates a person spiritually, the will is also released from bondage, and this person can choose to follow Christ.  This means that the Christian has the freedom of choice to follow the old soulical nature that is still within him, or he can follow the new spirit nature that has been born in him. The decision to follow this new spirit nature is called repentance, which requires dying to the old self (i.e., soul) and rising again in newness of life (i.e., a new soul or life that follows Christ). Water baptism is a picture of dying to the old soul or old life, and rising again in a new soul or new life. Thus, the commandment to the newly spirit-regenerated person is "Repent and be Baptized." The order in Scripture is always believe, repent, and be baptized.  Spiritual regeneration and the resulting belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior is by grace and grace alone.  It is the gift of God, and no man can claim credit.  Repentance and Baptism are works and our success in doing this in our Christian lives will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Our lives or souls will either come through the testing fire intact or they will perish or be destroyed.  The following passage of Scripture depicts this judgment by fire:  

(1 Cor 3:9 KJV)  For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

(1 Cor 3:10 KJV)  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

(1 Cor 3:11 KJV)  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(1 Cor 3:12 KJV)  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

(1 Cor 3:13 KJV)  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

(1 Cor 3:14 KJV)  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

(1 Cor 3:15 KJV)  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself (i.e., the same one) shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

(1 Cor 3:16 KJV)  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

(1 Cor 3:17 KJV)  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.  

I would like to state at this point that millions of Christians are totally confused on this point as to whether a person has the ability or freedom of will to follow or choose Christ.  This is the argument between the Calvinists and the Arminians, the Freewill Baptists and the Hardshell or Primitive Baptists, Spurgeon and the Wesley’s, and the original doctrine of the Southern Baptists as opposed to the Methodists and present day Southern Baptists.  There is an element of truth in the doctrine of all of these groups of Christians, but there is also a great deal of error in all of their teachings.  This error is due to a misunderstanding of the difference between the soul and the spirit of man, and the fact that the Bible is written to the people of God.  Consequently, all warnings in Scripture pertain to the souls of spiritually regenerated people, and not to the unregenerate.  Therefore, all warnings about perishing pertain to the souls of the regenerate, and not the spirits of the unregenerate.  Likewise, all warnings about destruction and death are to the regenerate, and not the unregenerate.  Even the Scriptures used by Christians to persuade people to “get born again” are for people who are already born again.  

Since the idea that a Christian’s soul can perish is foreign to most, we will begin with some clear Scriptures that should be easily understood, and progress to the Scriptures that will be difficult for Christians to understand because of the existing paradigms, mental sets or models that Christians have already established in their minds.  This simply means that once a Christian has understood a Scripture one particular way, it is more difficult for him to see the real meaning of the Scripture, than if he had never understood the Scripture at all.  

An important concept to understand before we commence with the Scriptures on the perishing of the soul is the concept that the souls of all Christians must perish at some point in time.  We can either choose to lose our souls now, or we can wait until the Judgment Seat of Christ and lose them then.  However, there are severe consequences for waiting until the Judgment Seat of Christ.  Jesus Himself addressed this concept in the following Scripture:  

(Mat 16:24 KJV)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  

Please note that Jesus is talking to His disciples.  The warning that Jesus is about to give is for the regenerate.  He states that they must deny or utterly disown themselves, and that they must take up the cross and follow Him.  The self is the soul, and Jesus is telling His disciples that they must reject the soul or person that they are, and to follow or to come into union with Him.  This means that they are to live in the same way as He lives.  The only way they can do this is to kill the old self, which is the soul, and to live the life of Christ.  Numerous other Scriptures tell us how to do this.  The cross is an instrument of death, and we are to kill our old self or soul.  He is telling us to kill the old person or nature that is in us, and to allow Christ to live His life in us.  If we do this now, the new souls or persons that we are when we get to the Judgment Seat of Christ will not perish or die, and we will receive great reward.  This is the essence of the following verses:  

(Mat 16:25 KJV)  For whosoever will save his life (soul) shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life (soul) for my sake shall find it.

If the regenerate person continues as the same person, life or soul that he now is, then his life, soul or person will be lost when he gets to the Judgment Seat of Christ.  However, if the person is willing to reject the soul or person he now is by crucifying this old flesh nature, then the new person he becomes as a result of allowing Christ to live in him will not be lost at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The word for “lose” in both instances in the above verse is the Greek word for destroy or perish.  Simply stated, this verse states that the soul or life of a regenerate person must either perish now, or it will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(Mat 16:26 KJV)  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  

Jesus continues His explanation of the salvation or loss of the soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  It is important to understand that the Judgment Seat of Christ is not for the purpose of determining who enters into heaven.  It is for the purpose of judging the lives or souls of Christians for the purpose of reward or chastisement.  In this verse, Jesus states that the Christian who lives according to the old self or soul will “lose his own soul” when the time for judgment comes.  Jesus then makes the point through the use of a rhetorical question that there is no profit for a person to gain the wealth of the whole world and lose his own soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  He then brings it down to a more realistic situation and asks what a man will give up or lose to save his own soul.  Esau gave up his soul or inheritance for a bowl of stew.  Reuben gave up his soul or inheritance for sensual pleasure with his father’s concubine.  The parallel passage in Mark 8:36-38 is even more tragic.  

(Mark 8:36-38 KJV)  (36) For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (37) Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (38) Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.  

Many Christians will lose their souls (i.e., perish) at the Judgment Seat of Christ simply because they were ashamed to be associated with Christ and His Words.  These are the ones described in Rev. 21:8 as being fearful to exercise their faith.  They are Christians, but they are too embarrassed to speak up for Christ or the Word of God.  

(Mat 16:27 KJV)  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.  

This summation verse shows that the whole passage pertains to rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and not whether a person goes to heaven or hell.  

Now that we have seen that it is regenerated people whose souls will perish, and this simply means that they will change from people of a depraved character and state into a people of a different state.  The following passage of Scripture confirms that the current heavens and earth will also perish, or be changed or transformed from one state of being under the curse to a state of redemption and freedom from the curse.  This verse also gives us the Biblical definition of perish.  It means to be changed from one state into another state.  

(Heb 1:8-12 KJV)  (8) But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (9) Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (10) And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: (11) They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; (12) And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed (i.e.,transformed or made different): but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.  

The above verse helps us to understand that the Biblical definition of the word perish means to be transformed.  Thus, the person who has been spiritually regenerated must allow his soul to be transformed into a person who is controlled by the Holy Spirit.  The following passage of Scripture speaks of this transformation:  

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV)  (1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  

Our body is what is used to manifest or display our lives.  Our souls or lives are lived in our bodies, and other people know what we are as persons by the actions of our bodies.  What comes out of our mouths in the form of speech manifests that which is in our hearts or minds.  The work that we do is manifested by our hands, and our walk in the flesh or the spirit is manifested by our legs and our feet.  Our bodies are the mediums through which we live our lives.  The soul of a person is reflected in the actions of the body.  Consequently, when we present our bodies as a living sacrifice, we are losing our souls, and our selves are transformed by the renewing of our minds.  The mind is one aspect of the soul.  Paul is explaining how we must devote our bodies to the service of the Lord in order to save our souls at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  If we do this now in our Christian life, then our souls will not perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  On the other hand, if we do not do this now, our souls will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and we will experience the death of the soul.  

Please remember that the spirits of regenerates can never die or perish, and the spirits of unregenerates are already dead, so the death or perishing of the spirit is never addressed in Scripture as a future event.  The Scriptures only address the perishing or death of the body or the soul.  It must also be remembered that the Greek word for perishing also means destruction.  The following Scriptures confirm that destruction only pertains to the soul and the body:  

(Mat 10:28 ASV)  And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  

In this verse Jesus is addressing his disciples and he tells his disciples not to fear Satan and his emissaries who are able to destroy the body, but they should fear God, who is able to destroy both body and soul in the Lake of Fire.  Thus, Jesus is warning spiritually regenerated people that they need to fear the destruction of their souls in the Lake of Fire.  The loss of the soul in the Lake of Fire is confirmed in this same passage just a few verses down as follows:  

(Mat 10:37-39 ASV)  (37) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (38) And he that doth not take his cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. (39) He that findeth his life (i.e., soul) shall lose it; and he that loseth his life (soul) for my sake shall find it.  

(Mat 5:28-30 ASV)  (28) but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (29) And if thy right eye causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body be cast into hell. (30) And if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not thy whole body go into hell.  

In this Scripture, Jesus is using figurative language related to the body as the instrument acting on behalf of the soul, life or personality.  The right eye is the dominant eye and it determines the input into the mind, which is one aspect of the soul.  The eye has been described as the window to the soul.  The right hand is the dominant member of the body that pictures the works that a believer performs.  In this figurative parallel between the body and the soul, the failure of the mind to be renewed because of the input through the eye into the mind, the works performed by the hand does not profit the believer.  The end result is the whole body, as representative of the soul, is cast into or destroyed by the Lake of Fire.  This whole dissertation by Jesus on the works that believers should perform after the new birth experience is summed up in verse 46 as follows:  

(Mat 5:46 ASV)  For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?  

This summation verse confirms that Jesus is addressing the judgment of the works of believers for the purpose of rewards, and not the eternal destiny of their spirits.    

To Perish Or Not To Perish (Part II)  

We have been talking about the Scriptural warnings about perishing or being destroyed, and how this warning pertains to either the soul or the physical body of man.  It is not speaking of the spirit of man, and it has nothing to do with entering into heaven or hell.  To perish or not to perish is in reference to believers, and it pertains to the loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  The only people who will be at the Judgment Seat of Christ are Christians.  

We will now continue with some Scriptures that are clearly in reference to believers perishing, and then go on to some more difficult ones that are thought by most to be in reference to unregenerates. 

(1 Cor 8:11 KJV)  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  

This verse is in reference to a strong believer causing a weaker Christian to stumble and perish.  Please note that this weaker brother is a brother and that Christ died for him.  He is a Christian as confirmed in the following verse:  

(1 Cor 8:12 KJV)  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  

This verse reiterates the fact that this person is a brother, and he can perish because of his weakness in the faith.  

The following passage of Scripture is addressing the perishing of our soul now so the life of Jesus may be manifested in us.  

(2 Cor 4:8 KJV)  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

(2 Cor 4:9 KJV)  Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

(2 Cor 4:10 KJV)  Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  

The above verses portray the persecution of Christians and the dying of self in these Christians so that the life of Christ might be made manifest in our bodies.  This is confirmation of the truth that our spirits are saved by the death of Christ, but our souls are saved by our dying to self and allowing Christ to live his life in us.  Please note the conditional phrase “might be made manifest”.  

(2 Cor 4:11 KJV)  For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.  

This verse repeats the thought that we who are living the life of Christ must continue to die to the old nature.  If we are successful in this death of the old self, then the life of Jesus is made manifest in our bodies of flesh.  The conditional “might be made” is repeated for emphasis.  The dying to self and living the life of Christ is not a certainty, even though we have been saved spiritually.  

(2 Cor 4:12 KJV)  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

(2 Cor 4:13 KJV)  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;

(2 Cor 4:14 KJV)  Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

(2 Cor 4:15 KJV)  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  

This passage continues the exhortation to die to self so that when we are resurrected, the abundant grace or divine influence upon our hearts might result in the worship of many people superabounding (redound) to the glory of God.  

(2 Cor 4:16 KJV)  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  

The summation of this passage is that our dying (perishing) to the outward man (i.e., the old man or flesh nature) must take place in order for the “inward man” to be renewed day by day.  All of this passage is in reference to the losing of the old soul or old man, so the new soul or new man will be manifested and saved at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(2 Cor 4:17 KJV)  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  

The end result of our work of dying to self is the receipt of a superabundance of glory for the eternal age.  Simply put, our bearing of light affliction now will result in a superabundance of glory for the ages.  This light affliction is to allow our old man to perish so the new man in us will result in a superabundance of glory to God.  As a consequence, we will share in this glory that Jesus will receive. 

The Death of the Soul  

The Scriptures use another word for the perishing of the soul, and that word is the Greek word thanatos, which is translated death.  Jesus Himself ties the word thanatos with the soul in the following Scripture:  

(Mark 14:34 KJV)  And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.  

In this verse Jesus is employing hyperbole—a figure of speech—to make a point that his soul was in such anguish that it was near unto death, but Jesus establishes that the soul can die or perish.  The word thanatos (i.e., death) is most often employed in connection with the death of the body, but it is sometimes used in connection with the death of the soul as in the above instance.  The following Scriptures pertain to the death, or perishing of the soul, and they are in reference to Christians, as the context of the verses establish.  

(John 8:51 KJV)  Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.  

Jesus is stating here that the believer who keeps His Word will never experience the death of the soul.  Please note that keeping the Word of Jesus is works, and it is works that will keep the soul from dying.  This statement by Jesus confused the Jews, cause they were thinking in terms of the body dying. This would be ludicrous, since everyone will die physically—if the Rapture does not occur first—whether one keeps the sayings of Jesus or not.  

(Rom 6:3 KJV)  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

(Rom 6:4 KJV)  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

(Rom 6:5 KJV)  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  

The use of death in each of these three verses pertains to the death of the soul.  This passage of Scripture is referring to the death of self in order for Christ to live His life through us.  The Christian’s soul must perish now in order to have his soul saved at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

The following verse very clearly warns Christians against the possibility of soul death if they serve sin in their lives:  

(Rom 6:16 KJV)  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  

If the Christian obeys the sin nature in his life, he will suffer soul death.  If he is an obedient Christian, he will experience righteousness of character, and his soul will not die.  

(Rom 6:21 KJV)  What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is  death.  

This verse also speaks of soul death as the end of living a life in accordance with the sin nature.  The fruit of such a lifestyle is the death of the soul.  

(Rom 6:23 KJV)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

This verse also reiterates that the payment for a life of sin is the death of the soul.  The Christian has a choice to make.  He can live in accordance with the old nature and die, or he can live his life in accordance with the life of Christ, and he will attain unto or lay hold onto eternal life.  Eternal life pertains to the soul and not the spirit.  

The fruit of death is also shown in the following verses:  

(Rom 7:4 KJV)  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.

(Rom 7:5 KJV)  For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.  

Please note that these verses are warnings to Christians about bringing forth fruit unto death, and the death is the soul, and not the body or the spirit.  

In the following verse, Paul even uses himself as an example where sin can work death in him:  

(Rom 7:13 KJV)  Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.  

The following Scripture provides the option that a Christian has in that he can be carnally minded or spiritually minded, but the result is either death or life, and this death or life is in reference to the soul.  

(Rom 8:5 KJV)  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

(Rom 8:6 KJV)  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is  life and peace.  

An accurate paraphrase of the above passage is as follows:  

(Rom 8:5-6 LMV)  For Christians that live according to the flesh nature that is within them do strive after the things that this flesh nature desires, but Christians that live according to the spirit nature that is within them strive after the things that the spirit nature desires.  For to be thinking on things of the flesh nature will result in the death of the soul, but to be thinking on things of the spirit nature will result in the salvation of the soul and a tranquil state of mind.  

(Rom 8:7 KJV)  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  

Because the mind that is set on fleshly things is in opposition to God, for it does not obey the commandments of God, for it is incapable of obeying God.  

(Rom 8:8 KJV)  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  

So Christians that live according to their flesh nature cannot please God.  

(Rom 8:9 KJV)  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  

But ye Christians are not living according to the flesh nature—but the spirit nature—if the Holy Spirit is actively living in your life.  Now if any Christian does not have the mind of Christ, he is not one with Christ.  

(Rom 8:10 KJV)  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  

But if Christ is living His life in you, your body is dead because of sin, but your spirit produces life (i.e., soul life) because of Righteousness.  

(Rom 8:11 KJV)  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.  

But if the Spirit of God that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and active in you, then God will also make your mortal bodies alive by this same Spirit that is alive and active in you. (Remember that the body is that which manifests soul life).  

(Rom 8:12 KJV)  Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.  

Therefore, Christian brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh nature to live according to the flesh nature. (Many Christians do live according to this flesh nature, but they do not have to live according to it.)  

(Rom 8:13 KJV)  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  

For if you live according to the old flesh nature within you, then your soul will die (i.e., perish), but if you through the power of the Holy Spirit put to death the deeds of the body (i.e., kill the soul or die to self), then your soul will live and not perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(Rom 8:14 KJV)  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  

For those who are guided by the Holy Spirit in their lives, they are the mature sons (i.e., huios) of God, and not the immature children (i.e., teknon) of God.  

We will look at two additional verses in James that speak of the death or perishing of the souls of Christians.  

(James 1:15 KJV)  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  

This verse is addressing the Christian who allows lust to spring up in his life, and this lust brings forth sin.  If this sin is allowed to grow to maturity in this person, it will in the end cause the soul of this Christian to die or perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(James 5:19 KJV)  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;

(James 5:20 KJV)  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.  

Verse 19 above is needed to confirm that this is a Christian who is caught away into sin.  If another Christian brings him back into the correct path, then that Christian who brought him back saved his soul from death.  This one passage establishes without doubt that a Christian can perish or die at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and this death is of the soul or life, and not the spirit.  The spirit nature within the Christian can never die or perish, but the soul or life of a Christian can perish.  If a Christian’s soul perishes at the Judgment Seat of Christ, this results in the loss of reward and glory in the coming kingdom.  The Christian will still be in heaven, but without any authority in the kingdom.  

To Perish Or Not To Perish (Part 3)  
Eternal Life—The Opposite of Perishing  

The phrase eternal life  is probably the most misunderstood phrase in all of Scripture.  It comes from the Greek words aionios zoe  or zoe aionios, and these Greek phrases are translated in the Scriptures as eternal life, life eternal, or everlasting life.  The phrase is used 44 times in the New Testament, and it has the same meaning every time that it is used.  Tradition has given several meanings to the phrase, but the most common meaning is that the person who has eternal life will go to heaven, and not hell, when he dies.  Part of the traditional meaning holds that all Christians have eternal life, and they will never perish.  The primary Scripture for this traditional belief is John 3:16 as follows:

(John 3:16 KJV)  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should  not perish, but have everlasting life (i.e., aionios zoe, or eternal life).  

It is important to note that the “should” is conditional.  The Christian should not perish, but he might.  The word “believeth” is pisteuo, and the second definition of this Greek word is to entrust one’s spiritual well-being to Christ.  This is more than believing and accepting that Jesus died for our sins.  It means to allow Christ to live in us.  This is works.  Eternal life requires works, and the Scriptures confirm this many times, but it must be remembered that “eternal life” and “going to heaven” are not the same thing.  

As is true with most of the traditional interpretations of Scripture, the traditional understanding of the definition of eternal life is grossly in error.  First, it should be made clear that a Christian is someone who has been regenerated spiritually.  The Christian’s spirit has been made alive by the work of the Holy Spirit.  Repentance was not a requirement for this regeneration to take place.  It was the Holy Spirit’s work, and the individual had nothing to do with it.  Repentance is a work that a person can perform after he has been spiritually regenerated.  

When a person is spiritually regenerated, he is given the gift of faith, and he believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.  This simply means that the person believes that Jesus’ death on the cross was the payment for that person’s sin.  In addition, it means that this individual will most certainly be in heaven, and when he is in heaven, he will be like Jesus Christ.  This means that he will be a perfect individual who will be sinless, perfect and complete.  This individual will be in perfect health with a perfect body, and he will be totally and completely obedient to God.  He will be totally controlled by his new spirit nature, which was born of God when he was spiritually regenerated.  This is the final state of all Christians, but there is more.  There is much more than most Christians realize.  

It is very important for the reader to see the final state of all Christians.  The following Scripture is true:  

(Phil 1:6 KJV)  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:  

All of these things that represent the final state of the Christian are wonderful, but they are not part of the Biblical promise of eternal life.  Eternal life pertains to the soul of man, and not to his spirit.  Eternal life also pertains to the Christian’s behavior, and the rewards for that behavior.  It does not mean going to heaven, and it does not mean having a conscious existence forever.  Every person, saved and unsaved, will have a conscious existence forever, either in heaven or hell.  

The opposite meaning of eternal life in the Scriptures is to perish.  Since eternal life pertains to the soul and not the spirit, to perish also has reference to the soul of man and not the spirit.  It should be remembered that the soul is the life of a person.  It is his will, character, personality, intellect, and emotions.  It is who the person is as an individual.  All Biblical references to eternal life pertain to this person and his life, and not to his spirit, which is perfect since it comes from or is born of God. 

Since eternal life and perishing pertain to the soul, it should not be difficult to understand that all Christians will either have eternal life at the Judgment Seat of Christ or they will perish.  The truth is that many Christians will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  This truth will now be shown from the Scriptures.  

As with all Scriptural terms, we must seek the definition of these terms in the Bible.  The definition of eternal life is clearly and unequivocally given in the following Scripture:  

(Rom 2:7 KJV)  To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:  

In this Scripture, “eternal life” is in apposition to the phrase “glory and honour and immortality.”  In other words, “glory and honor and immortality” is the Biblical definition of eternal life.  This Scripture further confirms that eternal life is something that the Christian seeks after “by patient continuance in well doing.”  This is work.  

Glory, honor and immortality are the reward for living a life that is under the control of the Holy Spirit.  Eternal life is something that the believer strives for in his life.  It is attained by being filled with the spirit, and sowing to our spirit nature rather than our flesh nature.  This is confirmed in the following Scripture:  

(Gal 6:8 KJV)  For he (i.e., the Christian) that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (i.e., destruction); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (i.e., eternal life or aiones zoe).  

A quick reference to the context of the above verse confirms that the writer is warning Christians.  Only Christians have the ability to sow to their spirit natures.  The Christian who sows to his flesh nature instead of his spirit nature shall reap corruption.  The transliterated Greek word for corruption is phthora, and it means that the Christian who sows to his flesh nature will be destroyed, or that he will perish.  The person who sows to his flesh nature will lose his soul since he will be totally changed by Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and he will be a totally different person.  He will not receive glory, honor or immortality.  He will not share in the inheritance of Jesus Christ, and he will not be honored in the kingdom.  The person he was will cease to exist (i.e., perish), and he will not have immortality.  He will still be in heaven, and he will still be made perfect, but he will lose all of his rewards.  He will not receive a position in the kingdom of Jesus Christ.  Since the individual did not attain to glory, honor, and immortality, he will not have eternal life in the kingdom.  

The following are a few Scriptures that further define the meaning of eternal life in the Scriptures:  

(1 Tim 6:12 KJV)  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  

This Scripture confirms that eternal life is something that we attain to by fighting the good fight of faith in order to lay hold on eternal life.  Fighting is working.  This Scripture confirms that eternal life is according to works.  

(1 Tim 6:18-19 KJV)  That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; (19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  

This Scripture confirms that if we do good works and store up for ourselves a good foundation, we will attain to eternal life.  The only way we can lay up a good foundation is to have Jesus Christ live his life through us.  The only good foundation is that one built upon the Rock (Luke 6:48-49).  “The time to come” is the Judgment Seat of Christ.  This Scripture confirms that eternal life is according to works.  

(Titus 1:2 KJV)  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;  

This Scripture confirms that eternal life is something we hope for.  It is not certain as it depends upon our good works that are done in the power of the Spirit.  

(Titus 3:7 KJV)  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  

This Scripture confirms that it is Christians (i.e., those justified by his grace) that have the hope of the inheritance, and the inheritance is the hope of eternal life.  As a Christian, we should be made heirs, but we might not be made heirs if we are disobedient.  This Scripture reiterates the fact that eternal life is a hope, and not a certainty for the Christian.  The following Scripture also confirms that just because we are heirs of God does not mean that we will actually receive the inheritance:  

(Rom 8:16-18 KJV)  (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  (18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  

All Christians are heirs of God, and we may be joint-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with him.  This Scripture also confirms that Christians who suffer with Christ may be also glorified with him.  It should be remembered from above that being glorified with Christ is part of the definition of receiving eternal life in Romans 2:7.  

The following Scripture passage explains eternal life in detail, but it must be read and studied in context, since the summation verse 23 is used as a proof text for spiritual rebirth.  The passage is actually addressed to Christians exhorting them to be faithful, so they will attain unto eternal life.  The whole passage will be addressed verse by verse in order to follow through with the purpose of the whole passage, which is to cause the ones being addressed to crucify the old flesh nature and allow Christ to live in them.  If these Christians are able to do this, then the end result will be eternal life.  If they are not able to do this, then they will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(Rom 5:20 KJV)  Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  

When God’s moral precepts were given, transgression increased since man was now violating the law.  He was doing the same thing before the law was given, but there was no law to violate.  Example:  A 15 year-old who drove a car before a license was required was not breaking the law.  When the drivers license law was made, the 15 year-old was then transgressing the law.  

Grace is the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life.  When sin abounded, God’s divine influence superabounded.  

(Rom 5:21 KJV)  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by (i.e., through) Jesus Christ our Lord.  

The reign of sin in a person’s life leads unto death.  This is the death of the soul and not the body, and it pertains to the Christian.  That is who Paul is addressing, so it would be foolish for him to be warning them about something that could not happen to them.  

Since sin in the life of the Christian causes death of the soul, Paul states that it is possible for the divine influence of God to change this end result of the death of the soul into righteousness and eternal life.  This comes about through grace or the divine influence of God on our life.  This divine influence causes us to live righteously, and we do this through Jesus Christ who lives His life through us.  

(Rom 6:1 KJV)  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  

Should we continue in sin so we can receive more divine influence?  Paul is asking a rhetorical question to make a point.  The following verses address the point.  

(Rom 6:2 KJV)  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  

The answer to Paul’s rhetorical question is absolutely not.  If we have died to our old natures, then how can we continue in sin.  It is the old nature that causes us to sin.  The new spirit nature does not sin and cannot commit sin (1 John 3:9).  

(Rom 6:3 KJV)  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  

Paul is addressing Christians, and he makes the point that not all Christians have been baptized into the death of Christ.  Paul is talking about the Christians who have repented, which water baptism is a picture of this repentance or death unto the old nature.  Even though baptism is an act that pictures our death unto the old self, actually dying to the old self is an hour-by-hour minute-by-minute continuous action that we must perform.  

(Rom 6:4 KJV)  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  

If we have died to our old selves, and we were serious about this death, then we should also walk in newness of life.  This walking in newness of life is the salvation of the soul, and it is the eternal life that this passage of Scripture is addressing.  The Greek word aionios zoe (eternal life) is used twice in this passage in Rom. 5:21 and Rom 6:22.  

(Rom 6:5 KJV)  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness  of his  resurrection:  

Paul is saying that if we have really died to the old self, then our lives will reflect the life of Jesus Christ.  The “if” is very big since many Christians do not crucify the old nature.  Crucifying the old nature is a lot of work, and it is very painful.  It requires suffering on the part of the Christian.  

(Rom 6:6 KJV)  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might  be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  

Paul calls the old nature the “old man” and he states that crucifying the old man is able to destroy the “body of sin.”  The “body of sin” is that which is in us (i.e., the old nature) that causes us to sin.  The Greek word for body here means that which casts the shadow rather than the shadow itself.  In other words we crucify the old man to destroy that which is in us that causes us to sin.  This is more than just getting cleansed from our sin.  It means that we don’t sin when we have crucified the old man.  Of course, we still sin since we are never 100% in crucifying the old nature, but it is a progressive spiritual growth where we sin less and less.  The ironic part of this is even though we sin less and less, the more we have Christ living is us, the more we will discern the depravity of the old nature that lives within us, and we are humbled more and more by this spiritual growth.  This is why the Christian who sees himself as being a wonderful Christian is probably not doing so well in his spiritual walk with the Lord, and the Christian who agonizes over his sin is probably very spiritual in his walk with the Lord.  

(Rom 6:7 KJV)  For he that is dead is freed from sin.  

The Christian who has died to his old nature is no longer a slave to this old nature, and he is no longer subject to doing what this old nature wants to do.  “He that is dead” would be the Christian who has purposed in his heart to serve the Lord with all of his heart, mind and soul.  He sins less and less as he grows spiritually, and he constantly calls upon the Lord to cleanse him from the sins that he does commit.  It is because of this continuous cleansing action by the Lord that a Christian can walk spotless and blameless before the Lord.  It is the attitude of the heart that matters.  

(Rom 6:8 KJV)  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  

Paul states here that if we have died to self, then we can live a new life that is in union with Christ (i.e., “live with him”).  It is the same as the following Scripture:  

(Col 1:27 KJV)  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

(Col 1:28 KJV)  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

(Col 1:29 KJV)  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.  

Christ in us is the hope of glory.  This glory is the glory received with the laying hold on eternal life.  All Christians are “in Christ,” but not all Christians have “Christ in them.”  

(Rom 6:9 KJV)  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  

Paul is using the analogy of Christ who has been raised from the dead and he will die no more.  If the Christian has died to self and Christ lives in him, then he will not perish or die at the judgment seat of Christ.  The analogy pertains to the soul or life and not the spirit that was regenerated in us when we were born again spiritually.  There is a big “if” in the previous verse (Rom 6:8).  The majority of Christians do not die to the old self even though they have been born again or regenerated spiritually.  

(Rom 6:10 KJV)  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  

This passage is using Christ as an example to follow for the Christians being addressed.  It states that Christ became sin and died, but now He lives, and He lives as God.  

(Rom 6:11 KJV)  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

These Christians are told to do likewise.  They are to reckon, consider or judge themselves as dead to their old sinful nature, and to live for God by allowing Jesus Christ to live His life through them.  This is a work that these Christians must do.  It is not something that happens automatically.  
(Rom 6:12 KJV)  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  

These Christians are exhorted not to let sin reign in their bodies.  He tells them not to yield to the lusts in their bodies.  Christians are tempted by the same lusts that tempt the unsaved person, but Christians do not have to yield to these lusts.  The unsaved person has no choice.  If sin could not reign in these Christians lives, then Paul would not be exhorting them to prevent it from happening.  

(Rom 6:13 KJV)  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  

These Christians are exhorted to not yield the members of their bodies as instruments of unrighteousness.  Instead, they are to yield their bodies unto God as instruments of righteousness.  A Christian has the choice in this matter.  He can either live a life of unrighteousness or he can live a life of righteousness.  As a spiritually alive individual, he can have power over sin, but he must choose to exercise this power by crucifying the old flesh nature, and allowing the new spirit nature to take control.  The person who has not been spiritually regenerated does not have the new spirit nature from God, and it is impossible for him to live in righteousness.  

(Rom 6:14 KJV)  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  

The Christian who has been spiritually regenerated under grace does not have to be dominated by sin.  The law has been fulfilled by the death of Jesus in atoning for sin, so the law has no control over the Christian.  

(Rom 6:15 KJV)  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.  

Since the law has been fulfilled by Jesus, does this give the Christian the freedom to sin without consequence.  Absolutely not!  The following verse gives the consequence of sinning by those Christians who have been born again under grace.  

(Rom 6:16 KJV)  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  

Paul is still addressing Christians, and he states that if these Christians yield themselves to sin, then they are the servants of sin, and they will die (i.e., perish).  They may also choose to be obedient unto righteousness, which also has a consequence, which is eternal life or glory, honor, and immortality (i.e., soul salvation).  

(Rom 6:17 KJV)  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  

Paul is thankful to God that these Christians he is addressing were servants of sin, but they have now “obeyed from the heart” the doctrine that they had been taught.  It is important to note that these Christians had not only believed in Jesus Christ, but they had become obedient to Biblical doctrine.  They cannot become obedient to Biblical doctrine until they learn what this doctrine is.  A Christian must study the Bible to become obedient to it.  Most Christians today do not study their Bibles.  They pick and choose certain verses that pertain to faithful Christians, and take them out of context to apply them to all Christians..  For example, most Christians take this passage of Romans and say that all Christians have died to self.  This is simply not true.  

(Rom 6:18 KJV)  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.  

By becoming obedient to Biblical doctrine, these Christians had been made free from sin, and had become servants of righteousness.  They had become faithful Christians, by studying the Bible and obeying it.  This is confirmed as being the method to save the soul in the following verse:  

(James 1:21 KJV)  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 

(James 1:21 ASV 1901) Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

(Rom 6:19 KJV)  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.  

Paul continues to exhort them to yield themselves as servants to righteousness just as they had yielded themselves as servants to uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity.  If they do this, they will continue in righteousness unto holiness or sanctification, or soul salvation.  If Christians could not yield themselves to unrighteousness, then Paul would not be warning them against doing it.  

(Rom 6:20 KJV)  For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 

When they were servants to sin, they had no righteousness.  This is true of numerous Christians today.  They have been born again spiritually, but they are servants to sin.  They have not the  righteousness or righteous character that this passage is addressing, and they are not progressing in sanctification or holiness.  They do have the imputed righteousness of Christ, but the practical righteousness in the life of the Christian has not yet been realized.  If they continue without this practical righteousness, they will perish at the judgment seat of Christ, and the practical righteousness will then be established in them by Christ.  Unfortunately, they will have lost the glory, honor and immortality that define eternal life.  This is confirmed in verse 22 below.  

(Rom 6:21 KJV)  What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.  

Paul says that when they were servants to sin, they did not have any fruit.  The fruit is in reference to the fruit of the spirit.  The end for those Christians who are servants to sin is death.  This is the destruction or the perishing of the soul that the Bible warns Christians about.  

(Rom 6:22 KJV)  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (i.e., eternal life).  

This verse confirms that the Christian must not only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, but he must be made free from sin by becoming servants of God.  This results in fruit bearing unto holiness, and the end result is eternal life (i.e., aiones zoe or everlasting life).  

(Rom 6:23 KJV)  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Paul sums up the discourse by saying that the wages of sin for the Christian is death (i.e., destruction or perishing), but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Thus, eternal life is realized by the life of Jesus Christ living in the Christian, who has yielded himself as a servant of God.  The Christian is spiritually saved when he believes in the atoning death of Jesus Christ.  He attains unto eternal life by the life of Christ.  Our spirits are saved by the death of Christ, but our souls are saved by the life of Christ.  Soul salvation and eternal life are one and the same.  Spirit salvation is the same as the new birth experience.  Spirit salvation depends strictly upon the grace of God.  Soul salvation depends upon the Christian’s life after he is born again spiritually.  Soul salvation is a gift from God through His Son Jesus Christ, but the Christian must lay hold onto it by how he lives his life.  

Verse 23 is a warning to Christians and not to the unsaved as so many people think.  Eternal life is something that the Christian must lay hold onto, and it does not happen automatically.