Many writers on the Spirit-filled life emphasize the importance of the Word and the Spirit to live the Christ-life by faith. Neither Word only nor Spirit only, but Word and Spirit. Both are essential to man’s faith response. The Word, the Spirit, and faith involve the whole soul of man.
The soul of man consists of the mind, affections, and will. The mind has to do with understanding, the affections with being affected by/convinced of what is understood (and producing corresponding emotions), and the will with responding to that of which one has become convinced. Thus, it is the mind and the affections that move the will.
The Word, the Spirit, and man’s faith-response correlate to the mind, the affections, and the will.
First, the Word of God informs the mind. This is why believers must love the Word. Personal Bible study and the corporate preaching of the Word are vital to imbibing right information. The Word is truth (John 17:17). If we are to make wise life decisions and walk by faith, we must be informed with truth to protect us from deceptions and to provide a foundation for the faith walk. Faith comes by the words of God (Rom. 10:17).
Second, the Spirit illuminates the truth of the Word, and we are affected by being convinced of that truth. The Holy Spirit, the ultimate author of the Bible (2 Pet. 1:21), is the teacher who enlightens our understanding (Eph. 1:17-18), and in that illumination, convinces us of the truth (John 16:8). When we are convinced of truth, our faith response would be the obvious, natural response. Lacking the Spirit’s illumination and convincing, however, makes any attempt at faith mere wishful thinking.
The Word informs the mind. The Spirit illuminates and convinces so that we are affected by what we understand. With these two matters settled, then thirdly, the will can respond in faith to that truth. Herein the soul of man is fully operating. The mind is informed by the Word; the affections are convinced by the Spirit; the will responds in faith.
In salvation, the mind is informed by the word of the gospel, the affections are convinced by the Spirit, and the will responds in faith. This pattern is also true for walking by faith to grow in grace.
John Van Gelderen