Note - I am NOT saying this is 100% without question exact doctrine. I do think it has a lot of merit, some good potential for learning, and good for discussion.
Information from various sources, including C Miclaus and L Mize
Intro: The Word of God speaks about the salvation of man in three tenses: past, present, and future. Christians have been saved; Christians are being saved; and Christians will be saved. In Ephesians 2:8,9 of the Holy Bible, salvation is described as being a past, completed act. 1 Corinthians 1:18 states that salvation is a present, continuous work; and in Hebrews 1:14, salvation is an inherited possession for the future:
We already know from the Bible that in order to have access to Heaven/New Jerusalem, a person must be saved. Now, usually, when we say that a person was saved, we mean that person accepted Christ into his life. Now, let me say that even though you were saved (at a specific time and place), you are still in the process of salvation. Your spirit is saved, but some other parts of you are not yet saved. The Bible says: "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) Yes, that is true, your soul is not saved yet!
Salvation takes place in three times: past, present and future. You were saved (that is your spirit) when you admitted you are a sinner and accepted Jesus as your personal Savor; that was in the past. You are in the process of salvation, now, in the present (salvation of the soul). And, you will be saved in the future, when God will completely take away sin from you (that is your body).
You might say, well, I think my soul is saved. I want to ask you to reconsider that. All those bad thoughts about your neighbor, wife, husband, parents, somebody from the church – do they come out of a saved soul??? I don't think so! When you hate somebody – is that the proof of a saved soul? Is everything that your mind thinks and your heart feels proof of salvation? Not in my case, at least! John, the apostle, says in 1 John 3:9, that "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Well, you say, 'I am saved', 'I am a child of God', but the Bible says what is born of God cannot sin.
Do you sin? I do. What does that mean? Before answering, let me tell you that in this particular verse, John is referring to our spirit. Our spirit that was born from God cannot sin. And that is so true, your spirit and mine cannot sin. Why? Because it was born from God. It is His seed – and His seed cannot sin. In order to see what is not saved yet, just think of the sources of sin in yourself. One of them is your soul. Loving in a way we're not supposed to, hating others – just show us how sinful our soul is. And if something is sinful, that something needs salvation, it needs to be changed by God.
The Bible calls the salvation of the soul, sanctification. To sanctify means to make something that is sinful into a saint; it means to be "set apart" for God, for His service. This is the process through which the believer is gradually set away from sin, and becomes more and more dedicated to the standard of God's righteousness. Titus 2:14 makes that so clear: "Who gave himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." This process takes place every day, every moment, until God will decide to move us to His glory.
In the Bible, we see three different aspects of sanctification:
1. The instantly sanctification is the position the believer receives in front of God the moment he accepts Jesus through faith. 1 Corinthians 6:11: "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." This is you position before God.
2. Progressive sanctification is the process of a man growing in righteousness; it is what "takes us ever higher" and "releases us ever more from under the power of sin." 2 Corinthians 7:1b: "…let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." The New Testament doesn't have any shortcut to sanctification; it only encourages us to just dedicate to the old-fashioned but honored reading of the Bible and to meditate, pray, worship, [yield/submit to God's will] and self-discipline ourselves. This is your spiritual growth.
3. The final sanctification will happen only in heaven when God will completely remove sin from us. 1 John 3:2b: "…and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when HE shall appear, we shall be like HIM; for we shall see HIM as HE is." This is your eternal state.
We are at no. 2. Our soul is in the process of salvation, of being sanctified. The Bible says: "Be ye holy".
The salvation of the soul is probably the most misunderstood concept in Christianity today. This may sound incredible, since virtually every church-going Christian thinks that his understanding of soul salvation is correct, but only a handful of Christians has bothered to check out the Scriptures to see what soul salvation really means. It matters not what preachers say about soul salvation, if the Scriptures say something different. Spirit and soul are not the same in the Bible. The following Scripture clearly establishes that soul and spirit are not the same:
1 Th 5:23 (KJV) And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It...helps to confirm that spirit salvation differs from soul salvation. Spirit salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ plus nothing. The following Scripture about Paul and Silas confirms this:
Acts 16:30-31 (KJV) (30) And (the Philippian jailer) brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Spirit salvation is very simple. One simply believes that Jesus Christ died for his sins. One can do nothing to earn this salvation. It is a gift from God, and the Holy Spirit even provides the faith. However, the Scriptures go into great detail regarding soul salvation, which should occur after spirit salvation.
The Scriptures are also clear that effort or striving is necessary for soul salvation. The following Scripture confirms this:
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.
This Scripture is addressing believers and it states that a believer can save his soul by getting rid of sin in his life and studying and obeying the inspired scriptures. This requirement differs from Acts 16:30-31. Spirit salvation and soul salvation are not the same.
The difference between spirit salvation and soul salvation is the difference between grace and works. The spirit is saved by faith in Jesus Christ, while the soul is saved by faithfulness to Jesus Christ. Soul salvation does not determine whether a person enters heaven, but it does determine his reward in heaven. Some Christians will enter heaven with no reward because of unfaithfulness to Jesus. The following Scripture confirms this:
1 Cor 3:13-15 (KJV) (13) 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. (14) If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
The following Scripture also confirms that soul salvation is the result of works:
1 Pet 1:7-9 (KJV) (7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (8) Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (9) Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
This Scripture is addressed to believers who have faith that has matured, and when tested at the return of Jesus, will be found to be as precious as gold resulting in praise, honor and glory from the Lord Jesus Christ. This results in the saving of their souls or reward for being faithful.
In the following Scripture, Jesus explains the requirement for soul salvation:
Mat 16:24-27 (KJV) (24) 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. (25) For whosoever will save his life (psuche) shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life (psuche) for my sake shall find it. (26) For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (psuche)? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul (psuche)? (27) 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.
Please note that the Greek word for life and soul is the same word psuche throughout this passage of Scripture. Jesus is telling His disciples about soul salvation and how it determines their reward for successfully crucifying the old flesh nature. This passage of Scripture clearly establishes that soul salvation is according to works.
Spirit and soul are not the same. The soul is what a person is in regard to his character or his person. It is possible for a person to be totally changed as a person and in character. The reason for this is that the soul is a person's mind, emotions, intellect, will and heart. It is what kind of person he is in life. This is why the Greek word psuche is alternately translated as life or soul.
It is possible for a person to lose his soul in this life and be a totally different person. This happens when a person lives according to his new spirit nature, which never sins (1 John 3:9), instead of his old flesh nature, which can do nothing good. Therefore, the Christian who loses his soul in order to save it is the faithful, spiritual Christian who will receive a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ when the Christian's works will be tried by fire. The souls of Christians who continued to live according to their old flesh nature will be lost (i.e., THE SOULS will perish or be destroyed), and they will receive no reward. Their spirits—which are born of God—will still be saved, and they will still receive a redeemed body. The redeemed body will live in complete submission to the spirit, so the soul (i.e., personality, character and mind) of these believers will be totally different in heaven. Their souls will perish, but they will be completely and totally redeemed.
There will be Christians who will be disqualified as the Bride of Christ, and they will lose their inheritance as a coheir with Jesus Christ. They will still be in heaven, and they will be totally forgiven for all their sins. Christians who had lived their lives as gluttons will no longer be gluttons. Christians who had lived lives as busybodies and gossips will no longer be that way. Christians who were liars will no longer be liars. Christians who were pharisaical and self-righteous will no longer be that way.
In like manner, Christians who participated in drunkenness will no longer be drunkards. Christians who committed homosexual acts will no longer be homosexual. Christians who were adulterers will no longer be adulterers. Christians caught up in seeking after wealth and material possessions will no longer be worldly minded. All of these Christians will have lost their souls, but they will have new souls. Simply stated, their lives will be totally different, but they will have no positions of honor and glory in the reign of Jesus Christ.
End of part 1