Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

How Your Spirit, Soul, and Body Can Be Wholly Sanctified by God

spirit, soul, and body sanctified whollyThe Bible clearly reveals that God made us with three distinct parts—spirit, soul, and body.

In my post, “Is there a difference between the soul and the spirit?” I presented these three parts with a particular focus on  the difference between the spirit and soul.

A key verse on these three parts is 1 Thessalonians 5:23 which says,

“And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now we will go to consider how each of our three parts can be wholly sanctified by God.

First, God created us with a spirit, soul, and body for His eternal purpose:

Genesis 2:7 says,

“Jehovah formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.”

  • “Dust of the ground”— God formed man’s  body from the dust of the ground. With our body we contact all the things in the physical realm so that he could exist in the physical universe.
  • “Breath of life”— Then God breathed into his nostrils the “breath of life”  imparting a human spirit into man.  With our spirit we contact and receive God and are able to realize all the things in the spiritual realm.
  • “Living soul”— Finally, God made man  a living soul. Our soul is our psychological part, with our mind, emotion and will so that we can understand, like and choose.  In our soul we have our personality.

Second, Satan damaged our spirit, soul, and body through the fall:

Satan did not want God’s eternal purpose with man to be fulfilled and craftily deceived  man to disobey God’s command (Gen 3:1-7).

Man did not merely disobey God but received the poisonous element of Satan into him and was thus ruined in each of his three parts—body, soul and spirit:

  •  “dead in your offenses”— Through the fall, our God-contacting spirit was deadened—losing its function to contact God—Eph. 2:1.
  • “enemies in your mind”— Our soul, especially our mind, was contaminated and became at enmity with God—Col. 1:21.
  • “body of sin”— Our God-created body was ruined and became a body of sin and death unable to fulfill God’s purpose—Rom 6:6; 7:24.

Third, God sanctifies our spirit, soul and body in three steps of His complete salvation:

To “sanctify” means to make holy not only by being separated unto God in position, but also by being saturated in your disposition with the nature of God’s holiness—Rom. 6:19.

  • “Born of the Spirit is spirit”— Firstthrough regeneration, our deadened spirit is  enlivened and recovered to its function of contacting God; by the adding of the divine life with God’s holy nature our spirit is sanctified—John 3:6.
  • “Transformed by the renewing of the mind”— Second, in transformation, our contaminated soul, is metabolically renewed by the spreading of God’s Spirit from our spirit into our soul to saturate and transform our soul. In this way our soul is sanctified—Rom. 12:2.
  • Transfigure the body of our humiliation— Third, through transfiguration, our mortal body will be “conformed to the body of [Christ’s] glory.” In this way God will wholly sanctify our entire being—spirit, soul, and body with Himself—Phil 3:21.

How you can cooperate with God’s sanctifying of your spirit, soul and body

 God’s way to recover us for His purpose is from the inside out.

 First, receive the Lord Jesus, to be regenerated in your spirit.

 Simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9-10).

When you call on the Lord Jesus, believing that God has raised Him from the dead, you’re saved and God justifies you in His Son. As you call on the name of the Lord from deep within, your spirit contacts His Spirit and His Spirit enters and mingles with your spirit.

To be regenerated strongly call on the Lord and pray,

O Lord Jesus!  Lord Jesus! Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins, and for rising from the dead. I believe into Your name. I  receive You as my Savior and Life. Come into my spirit. Fill me with Your Spirit. Thank you for regenerating my spirit. Praise the Lord, I am born anew to be a child of God! Lord Jesus, I love You!”

The issue of praying in this way is that Christ as the life-giving Spirit enters your spirit making your spirit and His Spirit, one mingled spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). As a new believer it is good to declare in faith, “I am one spirit with the Lord!”

By being reborn of the Spirit in your spirit (John 3:6), your spirit is sanctified by the presence of the Holy Spirit. For more on regeneration you may want to read my previous post on this subject.

Second, set your mind on the spirit by reading, singing and musing on God’s Word with prayer.

Romans 8:5-6 encourages us to mind the things of the Spirit and to set our mind on the spirit which is life and peace.

Ephesians 5:26 gives us a practical way. It says,

“That He might sanctify her, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word.”

Practice to set your mind on the things of the Spirit, by frequently contacting God’s word  by means of all kinds of prayer (Eph. 6:17-18).  In “12 Tips on How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished,” I talk in more detail about this helpful practice.

The more you cooperate by setting your mind on the things of the Spirit, the more the Spirit will spread into your mind to renew it. In this way, your soul will be gradually sanctified by the transforming work of the Spirit.

Third, by the Spirit, put to death the practices of your fallen body.

Romans 8:13 says,

“If by the Spirit you put to death the practices of the body, you will live.”

It is in this way that His Spirit can give life even to your mortal body today.

For example, you may have a bad habit of  spending too much time in vain talk, gossiping, or hanging out on social media. The Lord may remind  you that you haven’t prayed or read His Word today.

Stop. Turn to the Lord, and check with Him saying, “Lord, do you want me to stop watching this and pray?”

When you go along with His moving within your spirit, He’ll impart more life to your mortal body. In this way the sanctifying of His Spirit will spread into your body enabling you to do God’s will.

Ultimately, such a sanctifying work will spread to point that you will be sanctified wholly–spirit, soul and body–awaiting the transfiguration of your body at the Lord’s coming back.

If your appreciation for God’s sanctifying of your spirit, soul and body has been uplifted through this post, feel free to share your appreciation in a comment.

Further Resources:

  • You can get your own free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version from Bibles for America.
  • For a further appreciation, I strongly encourage you to read the referenced Bible verses.

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

60 Replies

  1. Thanks for this simple yet thorough overview of sanctification!

    1. Tom Smith

      I pray that such a view of sanctification, will stir up an appetite and seeking for the subjective experience of sanctification in the daily lives of the readers.

      May Christ have the way not only to separate them to Himself, but to bring them into the life-long process of being saturated with the Spirit in their spirit, soul and body to be prepared to meet the Lord in His soon coming.

      Thanks for your encouraging comment.

      1. Kahsay

        Thank you for your inspiring ideas. They have really been of a great help to my walk with the Lord. May God richly bless you!!

        1. Tom Smith

          Glad you found this post inspiring. Our God created us with three parts—spirit, soul, and body for His purpose. Although Satan damaged these parts through the fall, God, in His complete salvation, is recovering these parts. When we see this revelation, we can cooperate with God so that He can carry out His sanctifying work in us. Thanks for your comment.

    2. priscilla benjamin

      please also include waters of baptism as it is fulfilling the righteousness of God.

      1. Tom Smith

        Yes, the waters of baptism separate us unto God and fulfill God’s righteousness for man. Even the Lord Jesus, standing in the position of a man, was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He would not live by His own life. Rather, he put even His perfect human life into the death waters of baptism so that He might live in a way of doing everything in dependence on His Father. May it be the same with us today. This is part of the positional sanctifying we should all experience from the time we believe and are baptized.

        This post however focuses on the inward, dispositional, aspect of sanctification—the sanctification of our being by regeneration (born anew), transformation and God’s giving life to our mortal body. As such we did not have the space to also touch the positional side of God’s complete sanctifying work, even though it is of great importance. Thank you for your comment.

    3. William Zamora

      I love what you said it was from Gods spirit, can you talk on how to remove a curse from your life?

      1. Tom Smith

        William, outside of Christ, all mankind is under the curse of sin.

        In Genesis 3:17 God said to Adam after he sinned, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree concerning which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it; Cursed is the ground because of you; / In toil will you eat of it / All the days of your life. 18 And thorns and thistles will it bring forth for you, / And you will eat the herb of the field;
        19 By the sweat of your face / You will eat bread / Until you return to the ground, / Because from it you were taken; / For dust you are, / And to dust you shall return.”

        The only way to enjoy the antidote to the curse is to receive Christ who bore the curse for us on the cross and who became the blessing to us as the Spirit in His resurrection.

        In Gal. 3:13-14 Paul said, “Christ has redeemed us out of the curse of the law, having become a curse on our behalf; because it is written, “Cursed is everyone hanging on a tree”; In order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

        I would encourage you to pray Gal. 3:13-14 back to the Lord, repeating and claiming every word: “Lord, thank you that You redeemed me out of the curse. You bore the curse. You became a curse on my behalf. Hallelujah! You bore the curse in order that the blessing might come! In Christ Jesus, there is blessing! We receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Lord, as the Spirit, You ARE the blessing. Lord, I just receive You.

        Whenever, you feel some curse in your life. Call on the name of the Lord Jesus strongly. No one can say “Lord Jesus!” or “Jesus is Lord!” except in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3b). In this way you can enjoy the Spirit as the blessing anytime and in any place.

        Then, as the Lord’s leads, confess to Him and deal with anything in your life that disturbs your fellowship with Him.

        Thank you for your comment.

        1. Marissa

          Thank you very much I’m so bless by this post, glory be to God love you Jesus

          1. Tom Smith

            Glad you were blessed by the post. Realizing God’s intention to spread Himself from our spirit, through our soul and even into our body is a real help to our Christian life. No longer are we merely trying to live as good Christians. Rather, our continual desire is to give the Lord the opportunity to spread Himself into all our inward parts to sanctify and transform us to His image. May the Lord enlighten all His children to experience and enjoy this divine truth.Thanks for your confirming comment.

  2. Lucy

    Thank you Tom and God Bless! I have been enlightened and Spritually blessed this day. Praise God eternally!

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad you were blessed by this post. May the vision of our being a vessel with three parts–spirit, soul and body–cause us to enter into a daily experience of being sanctified wholly and being preserved complete as a preparation for the Lord’s coming. Praise Him!

  3. rose

    I loved this post. It is a great synopsis of everything I have been teaching this past year and it really simplifies the facts so anyone can understand. I was so blessed by this please continue to teach the world the truth that will set them free. GOD bless you!

  4. Am highly blessed by this word this morning,have been asking the lord to sanctify me but i discover that am still going back to what am trying not to do again, even though the holy spirit whispers to me immediately that you just lied or any other things , and i will feel very bad and ask for forgiveness. But, cant i stay sanctified? That how i got to this site this morning looking for a way to stay sanctify am tired of rising and falling.

    1. Tom Smith

      Yemi, I’d recommend that you read another post, “How can we be freed from the law of sin and death?

      It’s not by our self determination that we overcome the law of sin in our fallen flesh. It’s by the operation of the law of the Spirit of life. When we “switch on” this law of the divine life by setting our mind on the things of the Spirit, this powerful law works to free us. This is a great deliverance! We don’t need to stay in a vicious cycle of trying and failing as Paul did in Romans 7. We can enjoy the freedom in Romans 8 by enjoying the Spirit of life.

      1. Thanks. l will go through the topic of how can we be free from sin n death now.

  5. tess

    it make more sense and easy to understand, i like your way of describing, very thougtful and inspiring..be blessed and keep up the good work

    1. Tom Smith


      It is really a blessing to know that people like yourself are discovering that they are a vessel of three parts–spirit, soul and body and then learning to discern their spirit from their soul so that they can contact and enjoy the Lord Jesus who is with their spirit. “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” (2 Tim. 4:22)

  6. Henry Ugochukwu

    I enjoy your teaching about santification and regeneration of our spirit, I want to ask you if water baptism is necessary in our salvation, after the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Thanks!

    1. Tom Smith


      Thanks for your comment expressing appreciation for our post on sanctification and regeneration of our spirit. You also asked “if water baptism is necessary in our salvation, after the baptism of the Holy Ghost.” Actually in normal experience of salvation, baptism in water and in the Spirit should transpire at the same time. The footnotes on Mark 16:16 in the online Recovery Version address both of your concerns. Note 1 addresses both the relationship between water baptism and Spirit baptism based on 1 Cor. 10:2 and 12:13. Note 2 points out that believing is sufficient to be saved from God’s condemnation, that is, “he who does not believe shall be condemned.” Then it reaffirms as does the first note that believing needs baptism as an outward affirmation of the inward salvation. I believe that if you will prayerfully read and thoughtfully consider these Bible verses with their related footnotes, you will get the answer you are seeking. Please let me know if this answer was helpful and if you need further explanation.

  7. Thank you for dedicating your life and time to spread the goodnews of Christ to the world, I pray for more of His grace to enrich you and your ministry in Jesus name, Amen.

    1. Tom Smith

      Israel, glad you enjoy the Holding to Truth blog. It is my prayer that the posts on this blog will give spiritual food the Lord’s seekers helping them to hold to truth so that they grow in Christ (Eph. 4:15) and come to the full knowledge of the divine truth concerning Christ and His organic Body, the church (1 Tim. 2:4).

  8. Felix

    Mr Tom, I really appreciate you for this post. I’ve been struggling with anger and pornography until I got this post. With this post of yours I have received a total sanctification. Thank you very much. May you never fail God.

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. After receiving the Lord Jesus to be born again or regenerated, we need to come to God’s word daily for nourishment. The present process of sanctification in our soul–our mind, emotion and will–is a matter of God’s living word saturating our inward parts with Himself. Then, as we are being supplied with Christ, we will be strengthened inwardly to put to death by His Spirit all the practices of our fallen body including the items you mentioned. Keep feeding on His living word every day!
      Thank you for the encouraging comment.

    2. Stalley Marcus


      1. Tom Smith

        Glad you were touched by the post. May our Lord bring you into a richer experience of His sanctification of your spirit, soul and body every day. We simply need to cooperate by exercising our spirit (1 Tim. 4:7), denying the self (Matt. 16:24) and applying the effectiveness of His death to all the practices of our body (Rom. 8:13). Thanks for the comment.

  9. Titi

    Thank God for this beautiful and clear explanation of how we can really be sanctified as Christians. It is very practical and exactly what I needed to know. The Spirit of God flows through our spirit, first to our soul (mind) and then impart our mortal body. What will help accomplish this is the WORD of God.

    Thanks and God bless you Tom.

    1. Tom Smith


      Thank you for your confirming comment!

      Yes, God will accomplish the sanctification of our three parts–through the effective operation of His living Word (Heb. 4:12). First, it was the hearing of God’s word that generated faith in us (Rom. 10:17) that we might be regenerated in our spirit (1 Pet. 1:23) Second, as we daily come to feed on God’s word we are sanctified in our soul by the “washing of the water in the word” (Eph. 5:26) Third, by the Spirit we receive through the word, we put to death the practices of our fallen body (Rom. 8:13). Thank you Lord for your living word!

  10. Godspower

    Thanks alot may the grace of God continue to guide you. I just wish young youths and teenagers would find sites such as this and build themselves spiritually.

    1. Tom Smith

      Yes, we do depend on God’s grace, even Christ Himself as the grace to minister these truths to meet the needs of God’s hungry seekers in this world. I join you in praying that many young people would find the riches of Christ through this site and others like it. Do pray for us to be one with the Lord in this matter. Thank you for sharing your appreciation in a comment.

      1. Edward Wiredu

        Sir, please send me a link to your email please

        1. Tom Smith

          Edward, you can communicate with us directly via the HoldingtoTruth “Contact”page.

          Just use the form to send an e-mail. I’ll be happy to respond as soon as I can. Thanks!

  11. Edward Wiredu

    Please sir, how can I have a passion for prayer, and does the minutes or hours I pray matters and lastly, how to pray fervently? Anyway thanks for you post. And I believe it will improve my Christian life.

    1. Stalley Marcus

      Yes By His Grace .We are to live holy and righteous life which is accepted by Lord Jesus..When you live righteous life and santify your self with His words..it does nt really matter the hours to pray..you can even pray in your bathroom and wll be answered.Because God wants us to live righteous that is More important in the sight of God ,MATHEW 6 :3

  12. Ubi

    Encouraging, simplifying and enlightening post
    Bro Tom. Jesus is Lord

  13. sunny joseph

    could you pls explain as to how we get sanctified of our spirit, soul and the body? is the blood of jesus only sanctifies the body or all three,i.e. Spirit soul and body.

    1. Tom Smith

      Sunny, In the concluding section of this post I mentioned three steps of how you can cooperate with God’s sanctifying of your spirit, soul and body.

      First, receive the Lord Jesus, to be regenerated in your spirit (John 3:6).

      Second, daily practice to set your mind on the spirit by reading, singing and musing on God’s Word with prayer (Rom. 8:5-6). To this end it is very helpful to set up a definite time each day to read God’s word with prayer.

      Third, by the Spirit, put to death the practices of your fallen body (Rom. 8:13). For example, we may have a bad habit of staying up too late. The Lord may touch us to go to bed earlier so that we can rise earlier to spend time with Him. When sense the Spirit’s touching us, we should turn to our spirit, and choose by Spirit, put to death that practice so that we may be sanctified in the matter.

  14. Betty Erastus

    Thank you very much brother Smith, you have helped me understand the God’s purpose of creating man. God created man by His Pure Love. I have today understood who I am. The three parts of me. Thank u very much for u have thought me how to cleanse my body bring spirit and sour by the word of God and meditation. Thank you and may the lord bless you. I am not the same old me, I believe by the revelation I got now my spiritual life will grow. ??

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. We need to see that the intention of our holy God is to have a holy people to express Him. That is why He wants to sanctify our entire being–spirit, soul, and body(1 Thes. 5:23). Ultimately, He will gain a corporate expression of Himself, the “holy city, New Jerusalem…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2). To cooperate with God’s intention, we need to contact Him daily by enjoying the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Tit. 3:5) and the washing of the water in His holy Word (Eph. 5:26). In this way we’re being prepared to part of His glorious bride (v. 27). TO enjoy more of the renewing of the Spirit and more washing from His Word you may enjoy reading a couple of other Holding to Truth posts: 12 Tips on How to Pray-read the Word of God to be Spiritually Nourished and 10 Short Morning Prayers We Can Pray to the Lord Thank you for your comment.

  15. Nuamah Augustine

    God bless you more for your clarifying all this for us

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you found the post helpful. May the Lord bless you with more of Himself as the sanctifying element to conform you to the image of Christ.

  16. To God be The Glory !! I was so blessed reading your holding to truth blog. I am a 74 yr old blessed sister in Christ. So, I am not up on all this internet stuff, but, I truly felt the Holy Spirit presences in reading on this page. Nothing but the everliving Word of our Living Christ. Thank you so much!

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m so glad you found the HoldingtoTruth.com blog and felt the presence of the Spirit in the post, “How Your Spirit, Soul and Body can be Wholly Sanctified.” This post, based on 1 Thessalonians 5:23 helps us to see that God does not only want to save us from perdition but to do a continuous inward work in us. Our entire being spirit, soul and body needs to undergo a progressive work of the Spirit. First, God sanctifies our spirit by regenerating our spirit with His Spirit (John 3:6) from the moment we believe into the Lord Jesus. Second, God is daily sanctifying our soul–our mind, emotion and will–by the transforming work of the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18) through our enjoyment of His sanctifying word (Eph. 5:26). Then, as we cooperate with His sanctifying work God continues to give life to our mortal body (Rom. 8:11) through His Spirit that indwells us. Finally, at our transfiguration, this sanctifying work will completely conform our body to the body of Christ’s glory. What a glorious hope!

  17. Nothando Mkhize

    Our God is an awesome God indeed!

    Thank you so much I am deeply touched by this and will definitely share with my loved ones who does not know Christ.
    God Bless you for simplifying the message of salvation like this. May The good Lord Give you more wisdom and revelations.


    1. Tom Smith

      It is precious to see that God does not merely want to save us from perdition. He desires to fill every part of our being with Himself. First Thessalonians 5:23 is a golden verse. It not only tells us that God made us with three parts–spirit, soul and body–but is a promise of God’s sanctifying work in all three parts. That is, He will sanctify us wholly with our every part being preserved complete. May we see this marvelous intention of God toward us and give Him our full cooperation so that He can carry out this sanctifying work in a normal way.

  18. Shibin

    Thank you Tom for sharing the above article in the light of Gospel. I am from Bangalore,India and above article has been really a blessing for me in understanding the sanctification in depth and Gods purpose with us. GOD bless you and family and strengthen you in spreading the word of Gospel according to the fulfillment of his plan.

    1. Tom Smith

      I’m so glad that you found this post a blessing. We need to see that sanctification is not a mere outward separation unto God. It is His inward work to make all the parts of our being holy even as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:16). Thanks for sharing your comment. So sorry it took me a while to respond.

  19. Philip

    Oh my i am really blessed by dis post sir!

    It made me 2 understand how God sanctifies us and hw 2stop d wrks of d flesh

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. What a blessing it is to see how God sanctifies us from our spirit, through our entire soul, and finally to our body. The book The Economy of God by Witness Lee explains this work in a marvelous way. You can download a free copy here.

  20. Philip

    I had hunger 4God, but later on d hunger started fading, no zeal 4prayin, i dnt knw why. wat can i do 2get it bck?

  21. John Ngula - Kenya

    Thanks Blessed be the name of our Lord Jesus.Now i understand so clearly the process of Spirit,soul and body sanctification. Be blessed man of God.

    1. Tom Smith

      Knowing our three major parts—spirit, soul, and body and the Triune God—Father, Son and Spirit’s work of sanctifying us is a key to knowing God’s purpose with man. Eventually we, the believers, will become the holy city, New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:2) as the issue of such a wonderful sanctifying work. May we see this vision and give ourselves to cooperate with God’s working in us! Thanks for sharing your encouraging comment.

  22. Annette

    Thank you for teaching me more about the soul, body and spirit and for confirming to me that as I seek the Lord my soul will be regenerated by His spirit. God bless you and your ministry. These teachings really resonate with me. Thank you for being obedient to your calling.

    1. Tom Smith

      I am so glad you were helped by this post. It is a great blessing to see how God made us with three parts—body, soul and spirit—as a vessel to contain God and express Him. God is sanctifying us wholly starting from our spirit. He first regenerates us in our spirit (John 3:6). He then transforms us in our soul, staring with the renewing of our mind. (Rom. 12:2) and finally He will transfigure our body (Phil. 3:21). By contacting the Lord each day in the Word with prayer we enjoy more of His sanctifying work (John 17:17; Eph. 5:26). Thank you for sharing your appreciation in a brief comment.

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