Being Fully Human: Lesson 2

Our Lords Physical Redemption Equals a Physical Salvation

Last week, we learned the Hebrew term for “soul” [nephesh] or “spirit” [ruach] refers to the whole person as a living being.  Human beings live as souls—we do not “have” souls.  This association is so close we even find nephesh being used to refer to someone who died.

In Numbers 6:6, God instructs those who made a Nazarite vow, “He must not go near a dead body [nephesh] during the time he consecrates himself to the Lord.”  The body is so central to an understanding of the nephesh that it can even be used the describe the body after death.


Soul in the New Testament

The New Testament is written in Greek and so uses the word psuche for the “soul.”  However, like in the Old Testament, most of the time, “soul” refers to the physical life of the whole person.  Here, we only look at a few example of its usage in Matthew.

When Herod earlier tried to kill Jesus, he had sought the psuche the Jesus.

An angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life [psuche] are dead.” [Matthew 2:19-20]

Jesus later teaches:

“Don’t worry about your life [psuche], what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body [soma], what you will wear.  Isn’t life [psuche] more than food and the body [soma] more than clothing?” [Matthew 6:25]

  • How does Jesus link the soul and body?


At this point, it’s hard to imagine any life without the body and soul existing as the unity which God, in the beginning, created.  However, Jesus also makes a distinction between them.

Matthew 10:28, 39:

“Don’t fear those who kill the body [soma] but are not able to kill the soul [psuche]; rather, fear him who can destroy both soul [psuche] and body [soma] in hell….  The one who finds his life [psuche] will lose it, and the one who loses his life [psuche] because of me will find it.”

  • What does Jesus decouple in vs. 28?


  • What, however, is never mentioned on its own?


What Jesus implies is that life involves the body—but is something more than just the body.  What Jesus doesn’t reveal here is what “life” without a body will be like.  What is clear is this: life comes from God and can only be destroyed by Him.  Though Jesus reveals life can survive without a body, His use of body and soul as synonyms means the soul (life) living without the body is not normative.

Our redemption coming through the Offspring of a woman is significant.  For only by becoming a physical human does God save us.  So, although the soul can survive without the body, the act of redemption requiring a physical body means a bodiless existence will not be our full salvation.


The Necessity for Jesus to Die a Physical Death

Sin introduced physical decay, disease, and death into human life and all life on earth.  Consequently, the human race is in a physical death spiral.  “Sin entered the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12).  The entire creation is in a death spiral, along with all humanity.  Everything is wearing down and wearing out: “The creation was subjected to futility” (Romans 8:20).

Jesus did for humanity what we could not do for ourselves: live a holy life with perfect faith in God, which needed to be done physically since the Fall into sin was physical.  “For since death came through a man [Adam physically sinning], the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man [Jesus physically rising from the dead].  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

At the cross, God the Father judged all our sins by placing it on His innocent Son and judged Him in the place of all.  On the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  He was suffering the consequences of sin for us all.  After his eternal suffering was complete, He said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).  He died and was buried.

  • Romans 5:9: Since we have now been justified by [Jesus’] blood, how much more will we be saved from wrath through him!
  • Ephesians 1:7: In [Jesus], we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of God’s grace.
  • What from Jesus justifies and redeems us?


The physicality of our salvation, Jesus’ sacrificed blood and Him physically dying, implies our salvation will not be complete until manifested physically in us.


Jesus Death Saves Us from Eternal Death

John 3:36: The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.

Romans 2:5-6: Because of your hardened and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment is revealed.  He will repay each one according to his works.

Romans 5:9: Since we have now been justified by [Jesus’] blood, how much more will we be saved through him from wrath.

1 Corinthians 15:17: if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

  • The focus on Jesus dying to save us is to prevent what?


Jesus Resurrection 

Event Matthew Mark Luke John
On Sunday, women find Jesus’ tomb to be empty 28:2-8 16:1-8 24:1-11 20:1-2, 11-13
Peter and John run to Jesus’ tomb 24:12 20:2-10
Jesus appears to the women 28:9-10 16:9-11 20:14-18
The guards report back to the authorities 28:22-15
Jesus appears to two disciples on the way to Emmaus 16:12-13 24:13-35
Jesus appears to His disciples on Sunday evening 24:36-43 20:19-23
Jesus appears a week later to His Apostles 20:24-29
Jesus appears to the Eleven 16:14-18
Jesus appears to the Eleven on a mountain in Galilee (The Apostolic Mandate) 28:16-20
Jesus’ last words and His Ascension 16:19-20 24:44-53


Jesus Resurrection to Eternal Life Saves Us for Eternal Life

John 3:36: The one who believes in the Son has eternal life [saved for], but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him [saved from].

John 5:24: [Jesus speaking,] “I assure you: Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life [saved for] and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. [saved from]”

Romans 8:2: Through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life [saved for] has set you free from the law of sin and death [saved from].

  • What are we saved from and what are we saved for?


Romans 8:38-39: For I am convinced that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, nor anything above, below, or in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God [saved for] that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:13-15:

In Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. In his flesh, he made of no effect the law consisting of commands and expressed in regulations, so that he might create in himself one new man [saved for] from the two, resulting in peace.

  • What does “one new man” describe what this union will be like in Christ?


Romans 4:25: [Jesus] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

  • How does Paul separate Jesus’ work of death and resurrection?


  • Since Jesus’ death paid for our sins, what will this mean for us after we die?


  • Since Jesus’ resurrection was for our justification, what will not take place until our bodies rise from the dead?


Jesus Ascension

Read Acts 1:9-11

  • What does Jesus returning, in the same way, tell us about how He will return?


Read 1 Corinthians 15:50-52

  • What cannot inherit the kingdom of God? Why?


  • Though fallen, corrupted bodies cannot inherit God’s kingdom, what can?


Link to the next Lesson.