When a person’s spirit is reborn, his soul initially remains essentially unaffected (other than the fact that he has made a decision in his mind to follow Jesus). God, however, expects that we do something with our souls once we become one of His children. Our souls (minds) should be renewed with God’s Word so that we think as God wants us to think. It is through the renewing of our minds that a continued outward transformation is wrought in our lives, causing us to become progressively more like Jesus:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2, emphasis added).
James also wrote of the same process in the life of the believer:
In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls (Jas. 1:21b).
Notice that James was writing to Christians—people who already had their spirits reborn. But they needed to have their souls saved, and it would only happen as they humbly received the “word implanted.” This is why new believers must be taught God’s Word.