Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of His creatures…Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:18, 21)
What about our souls? Aren’t our souls saved when we’re born again? No. There are many Christians who have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit for years whose souls are not saved yet!
Some have lived and died without their souls being saved. Did they go to Heaven? Certainly. They were children of God, and their spirits were born of God. The soul is not born again. The saving of the soul is a process.
The Epistle of James was written not to sinners, but to Christians. And James was telling us that our souls are not saved yet. We will understand James 1:21 better when we understand the difference between the spirit and the soul. A man’s spirit (the innermost man) receives eternal life and is born again. But his intellect and his emotions (which constitute his soul) still have to be dealt with. They must be renewed.
He restores my soul… (Psalm 23:3)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
Writing to born again, Spirit-filled Christians in Romans 12, Paul, tells them to do something with their bodies and their minds. Man’s spirit is born again at the New Birth, but he still has the same body and the same soul. He is to present his body to God, and he is to see to it that his mind is renewed.
The Hebrew word translated “restores” in Psalm 23 and the Greek word translated “renewed” in Romans 12:2 have just about the same meaning. For example, a valuable, antique chair, which looks like a wreck, can be restored. Afterwards it’s still the same chair, but it has been renewed. A man’s spirit is never restored; it’s born again, or recreated. But his soul is restored when his mind becomes renewed with the Word of God. The greatest need of the Church today is for believers to have their minds renewed with the Word of God. It is the Word of God that restores souls, renews souls, and saves souls!