Words that End with -Gate
Corruption is a notoriously hard thing to track. The issue being that it is intentionally kept as quiet as possible. Which leads to a lot of speculation as to what is truly under the surface. Over the past 50 years, Americans have learned to trust their government less and less as they watch different scandals come into light. Wikipedia has actually compiled a list of all the scandals since 1974 that have been nicknamed after Watergate, and while that list is by no means comprehensive, it consists of over a 150 different instances. Yet, despite all of that, America actually ranks in the top ten least corrupt nations on earth. Living here, I know that we are far from perfect, but that just makes me wonder what it is like to live in countries worse than ours.
Corruption is prevalent, and it has been ever since the fall of man. While we do bear the image of God in our minds, bodies, and spirits, these things, being part of sinful humanity, have been corrupted in our fallenness, and what was once meant to be a stamp of God on us, is now the three major channels through which sin flows into our lives. The sin of the mind, the sin of the flesh, and the sin of the heart. That is why it is so important that we follow God with all our mind, body, and soul. To let God into only one portion is to only allow God to sanctify one-third of us. If we want all of God, then we need to give Him all of us.
When I first came into my relationship with Christ, I only allowed Him into my mind. I knew that Christ was my savior, but I never experienced what it meant to be saved. I wanted all the knowledge and wisdom the Bible could give me, but I wanted nothing to do the bodily and spiritual side of it (spiritual as in relating to the spirit, not spiritual as in relating to God). I was the very picture of what Paul meant when he said, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Corinthians 8:1 BSB) As a result, my spirit and body were overrun with sin, and after just a little pressure from the outside world, I crumbled, as only one-third of me was supported. You may know all about life boats and how they float, but the knowledge isn’t going to be what saves you when you’re drowning.
The mind is ultimately the head of the body and the spirit, and so it is the only portion of us that can commit the only unforgivable sin, condemning the body and the spirit along with it. The sin of unbelief. Those that choose to reject God do so first with the mind, and then with the rest of them. They go from not believing what they have heard about Him, to walking away from Him, to hardening their hearts against Him. But those that do accept Christ, do so first with the mind. In order to accept Christ as our savior and redeemer, we first must know who He is and what He did, and so, our salvation first enters through the mind and then permeates the rest of us. This passage is speaking about believing people with unbelieving spouses, but I think the principle is applicable here:
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. (1 Corinthians 7:12-14 NIV)
So it is first the mind, or the soul, that makes the decision to surrender to Christ and is thus sanctified, but then, out of proximity, it begins to sanctify the body and spirit. We begin to act out our faith physically, doing things that God would desire with our bodies, and spiritually (relating to the spirit), rejoicing in the Lord and finding our delight in Him instead of the world.
Before we come to Christ, we are normally dominated by the body and its sins. Those are the sins of the flesh. When we think about what sin is, these are the ones that immediately come to mind: thou shall not murder, thou shall not commit adultery, thou shall not bear false witness, etc. They are tangible and take place in the physical world. We can not stand up to the lusts of the flesh without Christ because the body is what has dominion over us. But when we choose to surrender our lives to Christ, we stop deferring to the body and start deferring to God.
It is not just in salvation that God begins His work in the soul but in all things. God never sets us on a path by physically forcing us to move in one direction or another. He, instead, plants an idea in the soul that moves us to action. He encourages us mentally to follow the things He has placed in us, and so His will is first planted in the mind, but then springs up through the body and spirit.
Sin of the spirit is a little harder to define, as it is immaterial, just as the spirit is. Sins of the spirit have to do with our emotions, motives, and heart. The sins of the flesh are physical manifestations of sins of the spirit. We act, and especially speak, out of what the heart is full of (Luke 6:45), and as it is full wickedness, so we act evilly (Jeremiah 17:9). Wrong motives are the reason why everything we do apart from Christ, no matter how good it may appear, is actually evil. When we don’t do something with the motive to glorify God, we do it to glorify ourselves, which makes our act totally useless.
This is why it is so important that we do not stop at just letting Christ be Lord over part of us. He needs to be Lord through and through, and we need to give Him dominion over all. It is not until that point that He can begin to transform all of us, mentally, physically, and spiritually. That must be the trade off. All of us, for all of Christ. But, personally, I would say that is a pretty good deal.
With the love and abundant grace that comes through Christ,
“With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the mystery of His will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”
Ephesians 1:9-10 NIV