Spiritual Transformation Demystified

God exists in three different forms simultaneously (the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) (Deuteronomy 6:4. John 17:21.Luke 3:22).  Mankind was created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26,27); consequently, we have three parts: the spirit, the soul, and the body (1 Thessalonians 5:23. Genesis 2:7). God is the Father of all spirits (Hebrews 12:9).  Therefore, when we were conceived, God gave us a spirit that was alive. “Alive” means a spirit that could go into God’s presence.

The Apostle Paul, who wrote the book of Romans, refers to when his spirit, which was given to him by God at conception, died later in life (Romans 7:9,10).  Remember that spiritual death is separation from God, not ceasing to exist.  Spiritual death means you cannot go into His presence, and when you leave the physical body, you must be incarcerated in Hell (1) (Matthew 10:28. Luke 16:20-31).  Again, we are all born with a spirit that is alive unto God, but when we understand that sin leads to death (the law of sin and death) and choose to sin anyway – we separate our spirit from God (i.e., we die spiritually) (5). Unfortunately, all of us who have full use of our minds will do this before we die physically, resulting in the death of our spirit and subsequent separation from God our Father (Romans 3:23. Psalms 53:3).

Furthermore, being born with a spirit that is alive unto God is why mentally challenged and young children – both of which never understand the law of sin leading to death – can still go to Heaven when they die physically.  They have never died spiritually; therefore, they are alive spiritually unto God (i.e., they have a spirit that can go into God’s presence) (6).

However, when we have chosen to separate from God via sin, we need a new spirit to bring us back in fellowship with Him (Ezekiel 36:26). The GOoD news is Jesus died on the cross at Calvary so that we could freely have a new spirit by just believing and submitting to His Lordship! (1) (Romans 10:9,10)  Consequently, we are given a new spirit when born again.  This new spirit is not immature but a perfect spirit (Hebrews 12:23).

Again, our new or reborn spirit is perfect and indeed must be to serve its intended purpose – to be the Most Holy Place of the New Testament!  Remember that the Most Holy Place (1) was where God dwelt on Earth in the Old Testament. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit (1) comes to live in our reborn spirit located within our physical body (Romans 8:9).  The Holy Spirit is so holy that even His name reflects this attribute.  Consequently, it would be impossible for Him to reside in a less-than-perfect spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). God the Holy Spirit within us that causes us to walk in His Word (Ezekiel 36:27) (7). 

Another thing that we are given in the new birth besides a new spirit is a new spiritual heart. Realize the heart and the spirit of a person are not the same things.  I refer here to the spiritual heart and not the physical blood pump.  The words for heart and spirit are different in the Greek of the New Testament and the Hebrew of the Old Testament.  Furthermore, the Word of God is the only way to examine the differences between the soul and the spirit of a person.  We find the spiritual heart upon dividing the soul and spirit for studying (Hebrews 4:12). Realize we are given a new spirit, and the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Christ – Romans 8:9) comes to live within us (Ezekiel 36:26,27). I believe that this mystery has been hidden to be revealed to those that are seeking to really KNOW God and not just know about Him and that we discover these truths with the help of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-16. Proverbs 25:2. Ephesians 3:3-5.2 Peter 3:15,16. John 3:10)

The spiritual heart is the soil or incubator of our thoughts and intents (motives) and is what science calls the subconscious mind (Mark 4:15).  It is the hidden person, inner person, or real you (1 Peter 3:4).  You can fool people with your soul, but your heart reflects who you are in reality. Remember, God looks at the heart because it is the real you (1 Samuel 16:7).

However, a persons’ spiritual heart is affected by what we give attention to with the soul (Proverbs 23:7. Matthew 6:21).  A person’s soul is the center of our mind, emotions, and will.  The words we say from our soul via our body go into our spiritual heart for good or bad (James 1:26).  Furthermore, whatever you think about is stored or treasured in your spiritual heart (Matthew 12:34).  When these thoughts become predominant in your spiritual heart, your behavior changes.  These dominant thoughts then manifest themselves as our intents or motives.

Furthermore, we understand spiritual truths with our spiritual hearts (Matthew 13:15).  We believe with our spiritual heart, not with the soul (Romans 10:10). Our spiritual heart is the soil for the Word of God (Matthew 13:19).  A tender heart is like good soil, and a hard heart is like rocky soil. However, we can break up or plow the soil of our hearts by prayer (Hosea 10:12).  That is why those who spend much time in prayer understand much about the Word.  They are spending time preparing the soil of their heart for the seed of the Word (Jeremiah 4:3. Hosea 10:12).

During the new birth, God takes away our hard spiritual heart and gives us a new spiritual heart that is tender unto Him.  However, God does not give us a new soul in the new birth.  Therefore, if we do not discipline ourselves (1) to renew the part of our soul (1) called the mind to His Word (1) (Romans 12:2), then our old reprobate thoughts will harden this new and tender spiritual heart, making it similar to before we were born again (i.e., conformed to this world rather than transformed to the WORD Himself – Romans 12:2). However, a hardened spiritual heart cannot affect a new and perfect spirit. (3)

This hardening of a new spiritual heart happens to many Christians and is why they backslide to the point that the church might question if they were ever born again? (1). Furthermore, some think that these hardhearted individuals have lost or rather given away their salvation when in reality, it is just that they have hardened their new spiritual hearts.  I believe we will be humbled when we see many joining us in Heaven that we have written off.  Our God abounds in grace, mercy-love, and compassion and is not looking for perfect performance but instead progress! Even as a parent applauds every baby step a little one makes – so much more does our Father in Heaven (Luke 15:10).

Consequently, we must, by the Holy Spirit, study the Word and allow it to save (deliver) our souls (Philippians 2:12).  This is the only way to keep our hearts pure and thus sensitive to God (Proverbs 4:23. James 4:8). 

Again, a person is a spirit, has a soul, and lives in a physical body.  The human brain is the bridge between a person’s soul and body.  If the brain is healthy, it provides a two-way flow of information between the physical world and our soul.  If our brain is damaged (e.g., hardening of the arteries, stroke, concussion, etc.), we may be unable to transfer information from the physical world to our soul and vice-versa.  For example, have you ever known someone who had a stroke who could not talk to you due to the stroke but still recognized you? I have known some who could sing the information to you after a stroke but could not communicate it with normal conversation. (2)

Spirit, Soul, and Body

Play the video above for a graphical presentation of our Spirit, Soul, and Body dynamics, including the spiritual heart. (2)

Furthermore, what the brain is to the body and soul, the spiritual heart is to the soul and spirit.  The spiritual heart is the bridge between the soul and the spirit of man.  If our spiritual heart is healthy, the Holy Spirit, who came into our spirit at the new birth, can fill our spiritual hearts. The Holy Spirit desires to fill our reborn spiritual hearts with the love of God (Romans 5:5).  To be filled with God’s love is to be filled with God because He is love (1 John 4:16). That is, God does not just love you – He is love Himself! (2)

This filling of our hearts with God after the new birth is what many have referred to as the second experience.  However, we do not get more of God (1) when He fills our heart, but rather, He gets more of us!  Unlike the one-time experience of the new birth, the filling of our spiritual heart is something that can be done many, many times – thank you, Jesus! 

However, when our words and thoughts harden our hearts (similar to hardening the arteries of our brain by eating the wrong foods), God cannot fill us or not fill us much.  Sadly, then, the world cannot see Christ in our lives.  That is because the Holy Spirit is limited in flowing from our spirit, our heart, our soul, our brain, and our body. (2) God desires us to have pure spiritual hearts so that the Holy Spirit within us can flow like a river through us to meet the needs of others (John 7:38,39. 1 Thessalonians 3:12,13).

GOoD news!  Jesus came in the power of the Holy Spirit to heal those with broken spiritual hearts (Luke 4:18,19). Furthermore, our new spiritual hearts can be enlarged to hold an ever-increasing amount of God (Psalms 119:32. Ephesians 3:14-19).  This is because the spiritual heart is the part of a person made new but not fully mature when we are born again (Matthew 9:17).


During the new birth, we are given three things: a new perfect spirit, a new but immature spiritual heart, and the Holy Spirit tabernacles within our new spirit.  However, we are expected to submit to the Holy Spirit to renew our minds (salvation of our souls) through His Word and for Him to initially fill our spiritual heart and for subsequent fillings of our spiritual heart.

Application Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I have hardened my heart; consequently, the world is not seeing Christ in me, and I am bringing reproach to your great name.  You paid the price for me at Calvary by conquering sin and all of its effects.  I thank you that your Word of my redemption is the same today as when you first spoke it upon Jesus’ resurrection.  I thank you now for a heart tender towards you, a heart that has been made whole.  Please fill my heart, Holy Spirit, to overflowing.  Let your rivers of living waters flow out of me so that this lost world may know You are in me, and I am in you – that we are one so that the world will know that you sent Jesus!

Discipleship for Maturing Christians

(Security, Wholeness, Success)

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)

(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) To have an animated aid to understanding the connection of the spirit, spiritual heart, soul, brain, and body. Left-click to download the file and left-click to advance through it. I recommend it as a picture is worth at least a thousand words.

(3) In Romans 12:2, The Word for “transformed” in Greek (metamorphoo {met-am-or-fo’-o}) could be described as the change a caterpillar makes when turning into a beautiful butterfly.

(4) Deuteronomy 6:4 states that God is one, and John 17:21 says that the Father and Son are “in” each other. However, Luke 3:22 and Acts 7:55,56 describe them as existing in three different persons and places simultaneously. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 describes them as having different functions. So how do we reconcile this seeming difference? Unfortunately, we have mental models or paradigms that help us understand God that are oversimplified and incomplete. For example, Neil Bohr’s oversimplified model of the atom with electrons existing in discreet fixed orbits can be used to explain many things that we observe at the atomic level. However, this model is inaccurate by quantum mechanics, leading to the atom’s more recent electron cloud model. In my mental model, I see God as three distinct persons who are so united in purpose and thought that although they exist separately, they also live as one being. Similar to water, it can exist separately as a solid (ice), liquid (water), and gas (water vapor) simultaneously at the triple point (0.01 °C,  4.56 mm Hg) yet is still one because these are all different states or forms of water.  

(5) Our mental models limit us. While Psalms 51:5 states that we are born in sin, it cannot mean that our spirits are fallen at conception (Romans 9:10-12). That is, how can God, who is Zoe (i.e., everlasting life) Himself, create a fallen spirit at conception? (Hebrews 12:9. James 1:17) In my mental model, the fallen nature of Adam is passed to our children via the male’s DNA (hence one reason for the virgin birth of our savior Jesus Christ) and due to the legal rights Satan obtained by Adam’s fall (1) over those that have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. This means to me that we are predisposed to sin, and if we have attained the mental ability to know the difference between right and wrong and choose wrong, we join our spirit with that of Satan (Romans 5:12,13. Ephesians 2:2) and thus die spiritually to God (i.e., we are then separated from God). Furthermore, while there was one sin that separated Adam and all of his descendants from God, many sins occur daily. A person does not fall anew when we sin, but instead, we enter into the fall of Adam. Similarly, Jesus does not get crucified again when we accept Him as our personal Savior and Lord, but rather we enter into His all-sufficient victory on the cross where He paid the price for Adam’s “sin” of rebellion (John 16:8,9), which subsumed all past, present, and future sins (1) of the human race (1 John 2:2).

(6) Can a human go to Heaven without being born again? Elijah (2 Kings 2:11) and Enoch (Genesis 5:24. Hebrews 11:5) did. Let us be precise – Jesus said no one can come to God the Heavenly Father except by Him (John 14:6). Jesus did not say that no one could come to Heaven except by Him. In fact, Satan went to Heaven on several occasions without being born again (Job 1:6,7. Job 2:1,2). I do not pretend to have all the answers or know how we are processed when arriving in Heaven. However, I believe that those who do not have the mental ability to choose right and wrong or choose Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior while on Earth in a human body (Deuteronomy 1:39. Matthew 18:1-4. Psalms 116:6. Job 3:16-19) when they die, will meet Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:8) in a part of Heaven called Paradise (i.e., the Garden of Eden (1)) because they are innocent similar to Adam and Eve before the fall. However, they cannot go into God the Father’s presence at this time because they have never accepted Jesus as personal Lord and Savior while in a human body (John 14:6. Luke 10:22). Furthermore, this means that they are not part of the Kingdom of God (John 3:5). Perhaps they will return to live on Earth in a non-glorified human body during the 1000 year reign of Jesus on Earth and will then get the opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord or rebel (Revelation 20)? Nevertheless, the Bible is clear that if we have the mental ability to choose Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior (1) yet refuse, then we will go to Hell upon our death (1) and ultimately spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (John 3:16-18. Luke 16:19-31. Revelation 20:15).

(7) The Holy Spirit (1) is given to those born again as a free gift; however, I do not believe that we immediately give Him all of ourselves. We learn to give Him all of ourselves through obedience (Acts 5:32), resulting in sanctification. Furthermore, while the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given as He wills, I have found that He does not manifest the gifts very long to those not growing in His fruit (Galatians 5:22,23). We do not have to earn anything, but we have a part to play in cooperating with God (James 2:14-26).

Lastly, I am blessed that we are approaching these differing views with the motive of building one another up and not tearing each other down (Proverbs 27:17. Acts 18:24-28. Acts 17:11).

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God, that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home.