(Mat 4:4) “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
This verse reveals that man is composed of more than a living body. The human body cannot sustain life without food, here described as bread. However, the Apostle Matthew quotes an Old Testament passage (Deut. 8:3c) in the text verse (Mt. 4:4); which reveals that man is also created with a spiritual capacity, which is linked to the sustainment of spiritual life. In the Old Testament ref. (Deut. 8:3c), Moses gives the reason that God “and he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did they fathers know: that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord, doth man live.” According to Christ in John 6:1-69, especially John 6:32-35, Manna in the Wilderness is a type of Jesus, The Word Himself (John 1:1-4, 14-18).
To place the verse (Deut. 8:3c) which Jesus quoted in (Mt. 4:4) in perspective; Moses was speaking of the children of Israel, God’s chosen people, to declare His glory on earth. Jesus applied (Deut. 8:3) to Himself and to His people as He answered the devil in combating the devil’s first attempt to tempt Christ.
Therefore, the teaching of Christ of this verse applies to the chosen of God (both Jew and Gentile) of the 21st Century that have been regenerated, or born from above (Jn. 3:3-8), by the Holy Spirit of God. According to (Heb. 4:12), until the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is performed in a man; his spirit is enveloped by his soul. Before regeneration, man is dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1) with the soul in charge; the soul being the seat of affections in man. In this spiritually dead condition, the man is unable to, or has no ability to, discern spiritual matters (1 Cor. 2:10-14). His desire, his goal and his actions have one premise; that is to fulfill the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:15-17).
However, when man is “quickened,” or “made alive,” by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:1; Jn. 6:63); given faith and repentance; and brought to confess Christ (Rom. 10:9-10), in the regeneration process – man’s soul is separated from his spirit (Heb. 4:12). When this happens; the spirit becomes the master and not the soul. In (2 Cor. 5:17), the Apostle Paul records that in regeneration man is made a new creation with a 180 degree turn from serving the “Old Man” which is “corrupt according to deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22), to serving the “New Man” which “after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
The New Creation, which happens in regeneration, has the desire to; the longing for; the need of; and the must; to be fed the Word of God, because he now is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20) and the Word of God is his necessary food for his illuminated and empowered spirit. Before regeneration, when the soul was in charge and not his spirit; he had no desire; no longing; nor could he discern (or understand) the things of Christ. But after regeneration, he has the ability (through faith) to receive and to perceive the Word of God.
Having given this foundation of the text verse; the key for the regenerated child of God is the word “live.” When a man is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, not only is he a “temple” of God; but he now has Christ living in him, and abiding in him, and empowering him. The manifestation of the in-living Christ in a man is the fruit that is produced in the man. The Apostle Matthew reveals that a tree can be identified as to its kind, or nature, by the fruit the tree produces (Mt. 7:20); as is the “false prophet” (Mt. 7:15-20). The Apostle John in (Jn. 15:1-18; esp. Jn. 15:4-6, 8), as he quotes Christ, reveals the bearing of the Fruit of the Spirit manifests that the man is a disciple of Christ. The chastening and the consequent fruit-bearing from the chastening by Christ, manifest a branch that is alive and well proven by the “fruit,” “more fruit,” and “much fruit” that the branch bears. He has an outward testimony that he is living in Christ: (Gal 2:20) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
But the opposite of this analogy is the branch that bears no fruit (Jn. 15:2, 6). This type of branch (that bears no fruit) is “taken away.” This proves that the child of God who does not feed upon and abide in Christ on a daily basis; that he does not live and mature in Christ, but just the opposite, he is taken away. This does not mean in any way that this man loses his salvation in Christ. (John 15:1-17) is not teaching eternal salvation; but rather, “fruit bearing” of the faithful in Christ, and the end of the “fruit bearer”; and the end of the “non-fruit bearer”; as to this physical life and its blessings.
Conclusion: A regenerated person has three distinct entities; the spirit, the soul and body (1 Thess. 5:24). In the regenerated person, the spirit is indwelt by Christ, and the soul (or seat of affections) is separated from the spirit by the Spirit of God (Heb. 4:12). This separation by the act of God in regeneration subjected the soul to the spirit of the regenerated person. Therefore, the “New Creation,” or the spirit that is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is under the control of God; and the flesh, or the soul, is no longer in control of this person (Rom. 7:15-25; 8:1-2). The “Old Man” is fed by the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life; whereas, the “New Man” is fed by the Word of God. Therefore, Christ declared to the devil: (Mat 4:4) “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”