THE THREE WORLDS OF THE BIBLE
The Bible speaks of three distinct worlds, which every Christian should be aware of and should understand:
1. The World of Men (John 3:16-17)
This is the entire human race created in the Image of God and for whom Christ has died, and is subdivided into two categories:
a. The Lost
This is the overwhelming majority of the human race, who are not born-again. The Christian is commanded by the Lord to bring the Gospel to them.
b. The Saved
This is a small minority of the human race who are truly born-again. The Christian is commanded by the Lord to build them up in the Faith, teaching them the whole counsel of God, both by walk and by talk.
2.The World of Sin (I John 2:15-17)
This is the godless world of organized evil oriented against God and designed to entice the Christian to fall into sin. It is referred to in the Bible as worldliness. It appeals to the Christian in three distinct forms:
a. The Lust of the Eyes
The temptation to live life for this world, rather than for eternity. It includes temporal things that the eye delights in, through the channel of the mind.
b. The Lust of the Flesh
Worldly ambitions & selfish aims that the heart desires, physical appetites which lead to the expression of base things. To live a lifestyle dominated by the senses. Using natural appetites to contradict a Divine purpose.
c. The Pride of Life
Pride in one’s own possessions or any other “status symbol.” To show off making other people look small. The attempt to impress others with one’s own non-existent importance. Living above one’s own financial means.
3. The World of Creation (Psalms 19:1-6)
This is the world of created things, visible and invisible. They were created for man to enjoy, not to abuse. The Christian is to use it with the end goal of glorifying the Lord God for the wonderful works of His mighty Creative Word.
THE SPIRIT-FLESH MODEL FOR LIVING & COUNSELING
The Bible’s Spirit-Flesh Model recognizes and heavily relies upon the role of the Holy Spirit in bringing about the spiritual healing to the maladjusted Christian. It requires a strict adherence to the concepts and the principles of the Word of God. However, the Medical Model & the Moral Model do not see any role for the Holy Spirit in arriving at a solution to the problem; therefore, they continue to fail in bringing about true solutions or in offering effective preventive measures. Here belies the wisdom of the Biblical Counselor, in adhering to the Bible’s Spirit-Flesh Model. In the Biblical Counseling Process, the Counselor is an instrument in the hands of the Holy Spirit to bring about genuine solutions to the problems the counselee is experiencing. Therefore, the Word of God & Prayer are the major tools for solutions in Biblical Counseling. Also, Biblical concepts and Bible principles, when consistently & accurately are adopted by the Christian & are applied to his daily living, they are most preventive against possible future spiritual problems.
Although he cannot attain to perfect holiness, the Christian must take serious steps toward a daily Spirit-filled life of holiness! Therefore, the Biblical Counselor rejects both the secular Medical Model & the Moral Model. Instead, he adopts and proposes the Spirit-Flesh Model, teaching that spiritual problems are caused by guilt feelings resulting from sinful attitudes and from behavior in violation of the written Word of God. While the Flesh is present in every human being, the born-again Christian also has the Holy Spirit within himself. Thus, in the born-again Christian’s life, the Flesh is constantly warring against the Spirit; and the Spirit is continually warring against the Flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). The victory is given finally to the side the Christian decides or chooses to follow — either walking after the Flesh or walking in the Spirit.
However, the Christian is commanded to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ [positive emphasis], and make no provision for the flesh [negative emphasis] in regard to its lusts.” The Flesh is “the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” Consequently, “I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.” Therefore, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Obviously, the born-again Christian must be constantly aware of the fact that the indwelling old self, the flesh, is still within him and that “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” Indeed, “the flesh is weak,” and it “profits nothing,”“for the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
Thus, the born-again Christian’s archenemy is the Flesh within — an inherited, built-in, sin-desiring system seeking to be translated into practical realities. Thus, what is commonly known as addiction in psychology, is the Bible’s concept of bondage to sin (2 Peter 2:19). Accordingly, the Biblical Counselor asserts that the individual is indeed responsible for his own problems, when he gives in to the Flesh and its desires, thereby violating the written Word of God. On the other side, the Lord God works to bring healing in repentant men who trust in the Lord Jesus for forgiveness and restoration. The victorious Christian life is that of a Christian who works daily on crucifying the Flesh (1 Corinthians 9:27), denying it its immoral affections and the evil lusts thereof — this is the negative emphasis (Galatians 5:24; cf. Luke 9:23); and he is careful to follow the dictates of the written Word of God — this is the positive emphasis (Galatians 5:16).
While the Flesh is the immediate source of the born-again Christian’s temptations to sin, the World is the contributing source, and Satan is the ultimate source. The Christian’s victory over the Flesh springs from the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, His substitutionary death and His bodily resurrection. Because of the Lord Jesus Christ’s permanent victory over the Flesh, Satan, the World, and Death, neither one of them has a stranglehold on the truly born-again Christian. The Son of God has made him free indeed! He is capable of choosing not to walk after the Flesh, not to give in to worldly living, and not to adopt the philosophy, values, methods and principles of Satan. Instead, he can choose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ victoriously.
However, the Flesh must be kept constantly under control, allowing the Holy Spirit to control the thoughts and the actions of the individual Christian. Otherwise, there can be an eruption of corruption coming from the Flesh, at the most unexpected times (Galatians 5:16). “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Obviously, a mind set on the Flesh is a mind hostile and displeasing to the Lord God. It is a life of death in trespasses and sins. In contrast, a mind set on walking in the Spirit, in submission to the Word of God, is a mind of love and friendship toward God. It is a life of holiness pleasing to the Lord and it leads the Christian to God’s perfect peace & abundant living. However, while the born-again Christian no longer is in the Flesh, it is possible for him to walk after the Flesh.
In addition, the New Testament repeatedly and clearly contrasts the spiritual Christian and the fleshly Christian (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:12-14), each adopting and living by a distinct worldview. Satan uses the world of sin to appeal to the person over the natural bridge of human carnality. Consequently, the fleshly individual views the world of men through his naturally built-in prism of jealousy, strife and divisions (1 Corinthians 3:3). The fleshly individual looks upon the world of sin with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the Flesh, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). The fleshly individual beholds the world of creation serving and worshiping the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25). Indeed, the Flesh keeps operating within the Christian, until his physical death, frequently presenting him with temptations to sin.
Likewise, the New Testament repeatedly contrasts the Flesh with the Holy Spirit, who indwells the born-again Christian since the point of his regeneration. Right from its outset, this permanent indwelling produced within the genuine Christian a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), the new nature, the new man, the spiritual man, the inward man (Ephesians 4:24; 1 Corinthians 2:15; Romans 7:22), with a new worldview. In contrast to Satan’s work, the Holy Spirit reaches out to the person over the supernatural bridge of Christian spirituality.
Consequently, the spiritual individual views the world of men through the newly built-in (at time of regeneration) prism of love, compassion and concern for their eternal salvation and their spiritual development, bringing the whole counsel of God to all men (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15). The spiritual individual interacts with the world of sin by obedience to the Word of God (James 1:22), rejecting the world’s enticements and condemning its sinful appeals. The spiritual individual enthusiastically responds to the world of creation by thoroughly enjoying God’s great Creation (Psalms 19:1), and using it to bring all glory to the Lord God. The Holy Spirit keeps indwelling the Christian forever, daily guiding and strengthening him into obedience to God. The Biblical Counselor’s task is to motivate and to guide every one of his counselees into becoming a spiritual individual growing onto the wonderful likeness of the moral glory of the Savior.
Dr. Habib J. Khoury, M.A., Th.D.
& LITERATURE CENTER
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THE SPHERE OF THE FLESH
Seeks to Serve Unrighteousness
(Old Self Reigns)
False Gospel — emphasizes personal merits (Gal. 1:6-10);
Emotions (Feelings) Oriented — pleasure seeking, feeling good syndrome, impulsive behavior
(Rom. 7:21-25; James 1:8);
Doubt-Dominant — negative outlook & attitudes (John 6:63);
Rebellion against God’s Word — disobedience to God,
rebellion against human authority
(I Sam. 15:22-23; Isa. 1:19-20; Rom. 13:1-7; I Pet. 2:13-21; 3:1);
Bitterness — hate, malice, revenge, strife, enmity (Rom. 12:19-20);
Impurity— lust, fornication, sensuality, guile, false
Dissatisfaction — love of money, love of things, anxiety;
Pride — exaggerated self-importance, boastful,
assumes authority above God’s Word;
Self-centeredness — miser, envy, jealousy, dissension
hording (Rom 2:8);
Outbursts of Anger — lack of discipline & no patience (II Tim. 3:1-4);
Fantasy — wild imagination, fiction, television model;
Idolatry — greed, deification of the creature, devotion to certain creature(s) more than to the Creator
(Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5; I Pet. 4:3);
Sensual Music — rhythm, throbbing beat dominant;
concepts, philosophies & attitudes forbidden by God;
Temporal High — alcohol, drugs, wild activities,
Worldliness — Bible-forbidden passions & desires
embedded in certain practices — dancing, gambling, pornography, mixed gender swimming, living above
one’s own financial means (I John 2:5-17).
THE SPHERE OF THE SPIRIT
Seeks to Serve Righteousness
(Old Self Crucified)
True Gospel — emphasizes Christ’s merits
(Rom. 5:1-2, 21; 6:23);
Mind (Reason) Oriented — seeking after truth & wisdom, principled behavior
(Eph. 4:24; I Cor. 2:14-16; Rom. 13:14);
Faith-Dominant — positive outlook & attitudes
(Heb. 11; Mark 11:22);
Obedience to God’s Word — pleasing to the Lord God,
a lifestyle conformed to God’s Word
(I Pet. 1:22; Rom. 6:17);
Forgiveness — love, peace-making, genuine friendship (Mat. 6:12-15; Eph. 4:32; Col.3:12-17);
Purity — doctrinal, moral & ethical conformity to the Holy Scriptures
(Mat.5:8; I Tim. 1:5; 3:9; 5:22);
Contentment — love of truth & wisdom, peace within
(I Tim. 6:6-10; Phil. 4:11-12);
Humility — self-denial, daily crucifying the Flesh
( Luke 9:23-27; Rom. 6:11-14; Gal. 2:20; 5:24);
Self-giving — goodness, kindness, gentle, generosity
Self-control — discipline, patience, fairness
(Gal. 5:22-24; II Pet. 1:6);
Reality — objectivity, servanthood, loving people;
Love of God — glorifying the Creator, Christ-centered, devotion to God’s Word;
Uplifting Music — melody, balance dominant concepts, philosophies & attitudes sanctioned in God’s Word;
Joy in the Lord — gratitude, thanksgiving, praise,
feeding on the Word of God
(Psa. 118:24; 119:103, 105, 162);
Dedication — Self-sacrifice for the Kingdom of God — talents & resources invested wisely in the faithful proclamation of the whole counsel of God (Rom. 12:1-2).