Dispensationalists believe in rightly dividing the body, soul, and spirit. However, some verses combine body and soul or soul and spirit.
What is the soul?
The soul in the following verse sounds like the body.
Leviticus 5:2 “Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.”
The soul can eat animal sacrifices.
Leviticus 7:18 “ And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings be eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, neither shall it be imputed unto him that offereth it: it shall be an abomination, and the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity.”
It is like the soul is stuck to the body. The soul bows down, and the body is in the ground.
Isaiah 51:23 “But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; which have said to thy soul, Bow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over.”
This is how dispensationalists manage to resolve this conundrum through spiritual circumcision.
What is spiritual circumcision?
Our souls are stuck to our bodies. But what God did through spiritual circumcision, He caused a division and a dividing line around the soul at the moment of salvation. So, the soul is in the body, but not of the body.
It’s like having an ice tray. The ice becomes part of the tray. But when we break it apart, the ice cubes are now in the tray but not of the tray.
Spiritual circumcision is not the same as physical circumcision, which was commanded as a Jewish circumcision.
What is the meaning of circumcision (spiritual)?
Colossians 2:11 “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:”
Spiritual circumcision is described as a process where God does not circumcise using hands but separates the whole body from “ye.” The soul is “ye.” The real “ye” when you die is the soul, which goes to heaven or hell.
With the action that Jesus did on the cross, it separates the soul from the physical body. No matter what the body does or what sinful nature is within the flesh, it does not contaminate the soul. This is a powerful verse for eternal salvation.
Similar to spiritual baptism, spiritual circumcision takes place at the point of a sinner getting saved in the Lord Jesus Christ. These are two things that take place as a sinner walks in the newness of life and inherits eternal life. They also now have the power to flee their sinful life although they will remain with their body of flesh until the point of rapture or death.
The death in the following verses talks about the death of the soul in sin. The passage proves two things:
- The soul and body were used interchangeably, which meant that the soul was stuck to the body.
- The Old Testament saints’ salvation was by faith and works because they needed to keep the statutes and not sin.
Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
Ezekiel 18:20-22 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.”
The Jehovah Witnesses may be really happy that the soul and body are stuck together since it supports their theory of soul sleep.
The Body may be Killed, but the Soul Saved
Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
There is a big difference between the body and the soul, as the Bible differentiates that the body may be killed, but the soul saved.
In the Pauline epistles, we see that two natures are existing in a saved believer at the same time.
Romans 7:15-17 “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”
That is important evidence of the spiritual circumcision that helps explain a separation between the fleshy and spiritual nature because of the circumcision and division that God performed on a saved believer.