Dear Reader, have you ever wondered why God wants the spirit of a saved man returned to him in heaven … the example being Stephen saying “… Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59).

I mean … does God just say “It’s I gave it … it’s mine and I want it back?”

Does God put it in a cupboard named “Used spirits” along with the millions of others?

Does God need it back to give it an overhaul before he sends it back down to earth to be inserted into another baby … you know … like a 60’s Cadillac with new tyres, carburettor and spark plugs … and so on?

Isn’t the fact that a saved man’s soul has been saved … with eternal security … THE only important thing to be concerned about?

Maybe the following will help?

Paul ends his epistles with a “grace be with you” … or a variation thereof (Romans 16:24; 2 Corinthians 13:14 and so on).

In particular, Paul says three times “grace be with your spiritGalatians 6:18; (2 Timothy 4:22;  Philemon 1:25) … with the spirit of a man being part of the trifold nature of a man … being body, soul and spirit

“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.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

We note that Paul emphasizes that the “whole spirit” be preserved … but not the “whole soul” or the “whole body” … as the end result of the last two are predetermined … the soul is already saved, and the body simply rots.

However the CONDITION of a man’s spirit is not preset, fixed or settled throughout his life … and indeed at death.

Dear Reader, ever heard the phrase “Keep your spirits up!” “Don’t get depressed” and so on … this is what Paul prays that the Spirit of God will do to those he writes to.

Have you ever met people with a depressed spirit … a troubled spirit (Job 21:4) … they whine and whinge … in fact … can be beset by all manner of works of the flesh … with vanity and vexation (Job 21:4; 32:2; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Galatians 5:19-21).

Now after a man gets saved, he is given a new spirit … his spirit is born again (John 3:6; Galatians 4:29) by the Spirit of God … such that a man can now exercise the nine fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace and so on (Galatians 5:22)

That is when a man’s spirit becomes born again … he is given a fresh start to enact godly behaviours … he now has an excellent spirit (Proverbs 27:7) to cultivate wisdom, knowledge and joy and so on (Ecclesiastes 2:26).

But during his life a saved man can be depressed or troubled in his spirit (Job 21:4) …  and be beset with vanity and vexation (Job 21:4;32:2; Ecclesiastes 2:26).

In other words, the level of his spirit goes up and down like a yo-yo … not being full of the nine fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) all the time.

Now when Christ, God himself in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), is on the cross, he has no hesitation in commending his spirit to God the Father (Luke 23:46), as the CONDITION of his spirit is perfect … and always has been all his life on earth … it’s 100% tip top … a ten-out-of-ten … he can’t cram anymore of the nine fruit of the Spirit into his cup … passed with flying colours … my spirit is pure and sinless!

Note: To commend something is to fully endorse it … worthy of approbation and praise.  

But when Stephen is at the point of death … this is not so, and he can only ask God to receive his spirit (Acts 7:59) … only offering his imperfect and sinful man’s spirit to God.   

Question: So what does the old testament scripture of “…  the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7) really mean?

Answer: Exactly what it says … it goes back to God. 

Why? So God can inspect the CONDITION of the spirit for judgment … for rewards  (1 Corinthians 3:13, 15).

Harley Hitchcock
July 2024

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