WHO ARE WE?
"...we are the offspring of God."
Sin disrupted the family of God. Many are now the children of the devil. Where once people were in the likeness and moral resemblance of God, sin has corrupted the nature that God had given. The innocence and purity that once made Adam able to walk daily with God, has been broken and destroyed by sin.
People still have a three-fold constitution. We are all body, soul, and spirit.
The body is our world-consciousness,
the soul is our self-consciousness,
and the spirit is our God-consciousness.
I Thessalonians 5:23
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The real person is the spirit. The body is the temporary tent (or tabernacle) in which our spirit is dwelling. At death, the real you departs the body and returns to the Lord. There it will be sent to the joys of heaven, or to the suffering of hell-fire. The inward man is the real man.
II Corinthians 4:16
"...but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."
With your body,
you live in the physical realm.
With your soul,
you contact the intellectual realm.
With the spirit,
you are in contact with the spiritual realm.
We are meant to be spirit-beings. These spirits are temporarily bound to a physical body that is mortal, carnal, and prone to sin. We need to try to get our spirit person back into control. When our spirit rules our being, we are guided into harmony and relationship with God.
"...For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
God's Spirit will direct us through our spirit. The Holy Spirit does not guide us by physical restraint of our bodies. He does not make us follow by soul-restraint, i.e. - by making it natural to do what is right. We are to be led by the Spirit of God by allowing our spirit to follow His guidance.
When Adam and Eve were first created, there was a bond between their spirits and the Spirit of God. That bond made it easy to live righteously. They could commune with God, and be in His presence. When sin broke that union between their spirits and God, they immediately suffered spiritual death (separation of man's spirit from God's Spirit), they became subject to physical death, their conscience was defiled, and they were banished from God's presence.
Some refer to this terrible state as total depravity. However, this terminology is somewhat confusing and misleading. Man did become void of any righteousness with which to impress God, but there is still something good even in the worst of people. It is the spirit, that still wants God. The fleshly body and the soul will look to many substitutes for God. But the spirit still reaches out and searches for God. Man's spirit is not satisfied with anything short of the union with God's Spirit that it was designed to have. That is why people are miserable in their sins, and in every substitute for God that they try.
Instead of total depravity, I would rather call people's sinful state to be total inability. People are totally unable to do anything to save themselves from the wages of sin. People are totally unable to redeem themselves. The union with God is broken, and there is no list of good works that serves as a way for people to atone for their own sinful state.
Mankind has a tendency to bend toward evil. It is easy to sin. The flesh and the soul are easily drawn into the vilest of sins. Paul spoke of this "bent toward sin."
"When I would do good, evil was present with me."
Sinners cannot do any act, or acts, that will bring God's approval. Only Christ provides the answer. The key to redeeming the past sins is through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. The sinner is bankrupt, and only Christ can come with the payment for sins' debt. God provides through Jesus, the forgiveness and discharge of debt for sin. The total inability of people to atone for their sins is met by the loving work of Jesus on the cross. He did for us what none of us could do.
God did not abandon people when they sinned, even though sin has polluted all of us.
I Kings 8:46
"there is no man that sinneth not."
"...in Thy sight no man living is righteous."
"Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from sin."
"...surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not."
"...there is none righteous, no not one... there is none that doeth good, no not so much as one...for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
"... if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us."
We are God’s children, strayed from His family to become children of the devil, but some of us have chosen to repent, have been redeemed by Jesus, and are again in the family of God.