trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
InVerse Theology

InVerse 149 - IVT Explained, Part 6 (Spiritual Theology)

Of course, all theology is spiritual because its object is to know God, Who is a most pure Spirit. So whether we’re doing work in Biblical, creational, historical, systematic, or practical theology, we are doing spiritual theological work.

But there is a place in the window bank of theological studies for letting in that special light of grace and truth that illuminates the innermost being of persons, the soul. This is the special focus of spiritual theology. In spiritual theology our goal is to understand the soul and nurture it to greater degrees of Christlikeness. Spiritual theology, in other words, concentrates on knowing and making good use of those practices that contribute to the care and feeding of the soul, so that we grow in grace and in the knowledge and image of Jesus Christ increasingly, day by day.

Spiritual warfare
But it’s not all fun and games and sweet reveries in the Spirit of God. We live in a battlefield, and our soul is the ground to be gained. Unless we understand our adversary—how he thinks, what motivates him, what his tactics are, and where we might be vulnerable to him—we will not make much progress in our spiritual lives. 

To this end The InVerse Theology Project included a lengthy exposé of our enemy’s tactics in the devil’s own narrative. In Satan Bound we looked to Scripture to reveal the works of the devil, and we allowed him to describe his plans and schemes in his own words. In a section entitled, “The Father of All Lies,” Satan boasts about how he brought the ancient world to near-complete destruction:

You see, the flesh of every fallen man
is weak, and prone to lust. His wandering eyes
seek fleshly pleasures, and he justifies
this clear betrayal of the good and true
by saying it’s what anyone would do
in his position. Passion overrules
sound reason, turning godly men to fools
who think each little compromise is no
big deal (I love it when they reason so!).
So, knowing this, I laid a trap for all
these lusting sons of God, and let them fall
in love with women from the other race—
how strong the lure of a cherubic face!
It took some generations to fulfill
my plan, but I pursued my goal until
the last good man was undermined and chained
to me, by his own stupid choice. I gained
the human race entire for my possession,
who, making lust and murder their obsession,
performed my bidding, spreading chaos, fear
and death to every person, far and near. 

That same adversary stalks about in our day still, seeking whom he may devour. Defending ourselves against his wiles requires constant attention to and nurturing of our soul. But we will only devote ourselves to this task when our vision of Jesus is clear and compelling, and we set our minds and chart our course in life by the intensity of our love for the Lord.

But what does it mean to know the Lord? And how can we increase in this? We must be willing to work at our salvation, devoting time and effort to seeking the Lord and growing in Him. This is truly work, and because of that, too many believers leave off the pursuit of greater knowledge of the Lord and settle for a merely “good enough” relationship with Him.

Such believers are the devil’s lunchmeat.

Know the Lord, know your soul
In spiritual theology the focus is on knowing the Lord. How should we work at this so that we can increase in our vision of our beautiful, strong, glorious, and exalted King?

We devoted a series entitled To Know Him to answering this question. There we concluded: 

Thus, what is it to know this Jesus? Is
it not what every soul desires? Are His
forgiveness, life, and coming glory not
what every sentient being seeks, or ought
to seek? No other object satisfies
our longings. No one else identifies
and meets our every need, by giving us
himself. And when we look to Him, and trust
His Word, then in and by and through Him we
our Father, God, and sole Creator see.
And through this Jesus we are drawn to rest
within the Father’s holy bosom, blessed
and safe and loved unfailingly.

As we grow in knowledge of and love for the Lord, we will increase in love for that which He loves. And Jesus loves our souls more than anyone else ever could.

We must therefore give ourselves to the care and feeding of our souls. John Davies, an early 17th century English poet, led us to consider what such work might require as we excerpted from his argument in Nosce Teipsum (“Know Yourself”) in our InVerse Theology Project Series, “Soul-Keeping”:

“And thou my Soule, which turn’st thy curious eye,
To view the beames of thine owne forme diuine;
Know, that thou canst know nothing perfectly,
While thou art clouded with this flesh of mine.”

Thus Davies turned his thinking to address
the study of the soul. Three truths are here
observed. To know the soul, we must assess
its nature first, so that we may be clear

about its operations. This task, of
its own, suggests the soul’s existence. For
to think, be curious, set things above
each other in clear hierarchies, and more,

while happening in bodies and can be
by instruments observed, are functions more
than what can be explained by bodily
conclusions only. They suggest a core

of functions that exceed the limitations
of matter, and therefore point to a source
of these which is and has its operations
beyond material being and perforce

must be transcendent. Thus, the soul alone    
can understand the soul. Then, what it sees
initially is that it has its own
existence only by divine decrees.

We must look up to God if we would know
the nature of the soul and of the role
it carries out in human life. And so,
all that we want to know about the soul

will be acquired by faith, not by the tools
of science, but theology. And third,
whatever we may learn, we would be fools    
to think that what we know is the last word

on this important matter (as on any!).
For while we yet inhabit fallen, frail,
and sinful flesh, we will on this and many    
another subject, stumble, falter, fail,

come short, and hope we might improve. And so
John Davies counseled true humility
as we begin, that what our studies show
us of the soul may to God’s glory be...

Jesus is the fount, focus, and fruit of the spiritual life. The more clearly and consistently we see Him, the more we may expect to be transformed into His image, equipped for every good work to make disciples, build His Church, and further His eternal Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. 

Seeing Jesus
The great objective of spiritual theology, therefore, is to enrich our fellowship with Jesus by leading us to seek and know Him throughout Scripture. A forthcoming series of The InVerse Theology Project will take a long, liturgical journey through the Scripture, looking to see how Jesus makes Himself known in all its parts. Here are four excerpts inviting us to see Jesus in the lives of the great patriarchs of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph:

Genesis 15.9-20
O Jesus, of the bloody path laid down
by Your own Father, You both promise and
fulfillment are—the death strewn on the ground,
the Torch and Oven carried by a Hand
unseen, the only One Who could withstand
Law’s wrath to lead us through to where abound
the peace and glory of the promised land,
lead through the path that frees us:
Have mercy on me, Jesus! 

Genesis 22.13, 14
O Jesus, Ram of God, entangled in
the sinful world, sent by the Angel of
the Lord to be a sacrifice for sin,
to demonstrate Your Father’s faithful love
for His elected race, look from above
with tender eyes; stay judgment’s hand, and win
us by Your sacrifice. O Jesus, prove
God’s promise to release us!
Have mercy on me, Jesus!

Genesis 28.11-15
Our father Jacob saw You in a dream,
a Ladder bridging earth and heaven. On
Your rungs bright messengers from God were seen,
ascending and descending. Whereupon
he woke, the thrilling vision clear, but gone.
Amazed, he wondered what this sight could mean,
and vowed to serve You as the new day dawned.
Let grace descend to please us;
Have mercy on me, Jesus!

Genesis 37.3, 31-35
Oh Jesus, wrap us safely in Your bright
and saving Light, like Joseph’s coat, bestowed
upon him by his loving father. Light
us with Your holy rainbow brilliance, owed
to none, but free to all. Salvation flowed
through blood, as Jacob bore the awful sight
of Joseph’s coat, which with Your suffering glowed.
Oh, let Your covering ease us!
Have mercy on me, Jesus!

The end of our Christian life is to see Jesus as He is and to dwell with Him forever in the new heavens and new earth. Consequently, spiritual theology has a special interest in the vision of Christ as He is now and as He will be when He returns. But that vision is not an end in itself. Rather, as we explained in the conclusion of our InVerse Theology Project series, “What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth?”, the vision of Christ leads to greater love for Jesus and more consistent obedience to His Word:

What then remains? Our Lord is working now
to sow good Kingdom seeds throughout the world,
in beauty, truth, and goodness. He unfurled
His banner over us, and showed us how 

to live. In every age, Christ’s foes have hurled
their best against His bastion, yet it stands.
His Word has spread throughout the peoples, lands
and cultures of the sin-infested world,

like salt and light; it has dissolved the bands
of sin and evil, and replaced them by
the promise of forgiveness, and the high
and holy calling to give heart and hands

to following our King. So turn the eye
of your saved heart to where the King sits on
His throne. Look well to see the scars upo
His hands and side. Don’t be afraid; draw nigh, 

until you take your seat beside Him—pawn
to King, for certain, but His pawn, His knight,
His bishop, rook, and queen. Bask in the light
that radiates from Him and falls upon 

your soul. Soak in His Presence; let His might
take root in you; breathe in the fragrance of
His life; and sidle up against His love.
Then linger there. Relax. Enjoy the Light 

of Jesus as He watches from above
and fits you for each daily task. Then rise
and go, and as you do, know that His eyes
are ever on you, His unfailing love

protects and keeps you, and He is the prize
awaiting you at this life’s end. So, in
that confidence, go forth to vanquish sin
and bear the Sword of truth against the lies

of Satan and the world. Take up again
your daily charge to seek the Kingdom and
the glory of our God, and take your stand
for Jesus. In His service you will win
the crown of glory, with that holy band
that lives forever in God’s promised land.

The uses of spiritual theology
Spiritual theology works more directly on the components of the soul—heart, mind, and conscience—than any of the other theological disciplines. It teaches us to search our souls, to listen as the Spirit convicts and directs us, and to set the Lord always before us that we might know fullness of joy and holy pleasures in serving Him always. 

Like the other theological studies, spiritual theology employs a variety of practices and disciplines which connect the soul with the risen and reigning Christ. Prayer, meditation, waiting on the Lord, reading and searching the Scriptures, fasting, and contemplation are the primary resources at our disposal. The more we understand and make good use of these, the stronger we will grow in our soul and the greater will be our love for Jesus. This growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord is the goal of every Christian life, and it can only be accomplished by daily taking up the disciplines of spiritual theology with joy and expectation.


The disciplines of theological study, the six “windows” of glory we have examined in Part 1 of our study, should perhaps better be regarded less like separate windows and more like the over-lapping circles of a Venn diagram. The best students of theology, those who improve the most in their pursuit of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, understand that all these areas of study interact with one another, draw from one another, and reinforce one another in their common pursuit of God and His glory. Each discipline makes its unique contribution to growing in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ by the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. And all of them work together in the Lord’s hands to help us grow as His children and followers.

Thus concludes our brief overview of the theological categories that make up The InVerse Theology Project. In Part 2 of this series, we consider poetry, how it works, and why we should regard it as an important resource for spiritual and theological life.

Support for The InVerse Theology Project comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Spotify | iTunes | TuneIn | Amazon | Google | Feedly | Anchor | RSS

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.