Your Most Valuable Possession

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Jesus asked two questions in Matthew 16:26 worthy consideration.  “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus Affirms That We Have a Soul.
Jesus is the creator of all things (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16).  Adam, the first man, was created from the dust of the ground (physical aspect of his being) and God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7–the spiritual aspect of his being).  Adam was created in the image of God and exhibits will, intellect, emotion, morality–spiritual aspects of his being.  The soul is the inward man and the body is the outward man (II Cor. 4:16).  The body is subject to death, but the soul will never die.  We receive a soul or spirit at the time of our conception.  Zecharaiah writes, “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”  God is creator of all things and He is creator of man’s spirit.  Solomon in Ecclesiastes writes, “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all” (Eccl. 11:5).  And, in Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”  Further evidence that we have a soul can be found in James 2:26.  James defines death as the separation of the spirit from the body.  Obviously, life must be defined as the union of the spirit and the body. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Whenever Jesus died, His body was placed in a tomb, but His spirit went into paradise (Luke 23:43, 46, 53).  The resurrection of Jesus from the dead involved the reuniting of His body and spirit.  The conclusion of this Biblical evidence is that each human being possesses a soul or spirit.
The Soul Can Be Lost.
Jesus affirms that we can lose our soul.  To be lost means that we will be eternally separated from God.  There are various ways that the Bible indicates this eternal state.  In John 3:16, Jesus said that individuals who do not believe on Him would “perish.”  In Mark 16:16, Jesus said that those who do not believe on Him and are not baptized into Him will be “damned.”  In II Thess. 1:7-9, Paul describes the fate of those who know not God and obey not the Gospel as being punished with “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.”  Everlasting destruction does not refer to annihilation, but to eternal ruination.  Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
The pursuits of the human heart will determine our eternal destiny.  Some attempt to “gain the whole world” as they pursue material things and riches.  They pursue the pleasures of sin and worldly delights.  We are warned about loving the world and the things that are in the world (I John 2:15-17).  Love of the world is enmity against God.  God desires that we love Him supremely (Matt. 22:36-39).
The Soul Can Be Exchanged.
The value of the human soul can be seen in the price paid to redeem it.  Jesus gave His life and shed His blood in order to redeem mankind from sin.  Peter states, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” I Peter 1:18-19).  The word “precious” means costly.  The value of the blood of Christ is priceless.  Consequently, the value of the human soul is priceless.
The value of the soul can only be preserved through discipleship to Jesus Christ.  If we are not a disciple of Jesus Christ (a Christian), then we have sold out our soul for something else.  The only alternative to serving Jesus is to be a servant of sin (Satan) (Rom. 6:16-17).  If we exchange our soul for some sin, we have traded down and proven ourselves to be fools.  Sin is worthless and has no value whatever.  To take something priceless and exchange it for something worthless is foolish.  More importantly, it means that we will lose our own soul!
Preserve The Value of Your Soul.
In Matthew 16:24-25, Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”  Jesus asks three things of us.  First, we must deny ourselves.  This means that we must renounce the pursuit of the lust of the flesh through submission of our will to God’s Will.  Second, we must be willing to suffer persecution for the name of Jesus Christ.  Third, we must follow Jesus, i.e. actively pursue Christ-likeness.  We must put to death the old self and allow Christ to form a new life in us.  Only by undergoing this spiritual transformation can we save our soul. (see Rom. 6:3-4).

The Soul of Man

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     The soul of man is the immortal nature of man.  Paul wrote, “For who among men knoweth the things  of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? (I Cor. 2:11).  The part that knows is the mind or heart.  This is the inward part of man.  There is an outward part of man (the body or the flesh) and an inward part of man (the spirit or soul) (2 Cor. 4:16). 
     The soul of man originates with God.  God is the Father of spirits.  “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb. 12:9).  God gives each person a spirit or soul at the time of conception.  When we die, the body and soul are separated.  “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7).  Whenever Rachel died, the Bible states, “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin” (Gen. 35:18).  Whenever Jesus died, He stated, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).  His body was placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and His spirit went to the Hadean realm in Paradise ((Luke 23:43).  James affirms, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).  
     God created man in his image (Gen. 2:27).  This means that since God is a spirit (John 4:24), man has a spirit too!  Since man possesses a spirit/soul, he has intellect, reason, will, emotion and self-awareness (conscience).  These characteristics separate man from animals.  Animals do not have a spirit/soul.  God freely allowed man to kill animals, especially for food.  But, God forbade man from killing another human being. 
     Human beings are special in the sight of God.  The scheme of redemption was purposed by God to save man from the consequences of sin.  God shows His love for man by sending Jesus into this world to seek and save the lost (eternally damned because of sin).  The value of the soul exceeds the value of the entire world.  Jesus said, “For what is  a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
     There are several thoughts that I would like to make regarding the significance of the Bible’s teaching about the soul of man.  First, the reality of the soul completely destroys the materialistic view of man.  If organic, macro-evolution is true, then man does not possess a soul.  Man would be nothing more than a mere animal.  This theory is false!  Second, reincarnation is false.  This doctrine affirms that the soul must pass through numerous transmigrations before it reaches its final state.  The doctrine of metempsychosis (the idea that at death the soul passes into another body, whether of an animal or a person) is false (Heb. 9:27)!  Third, the idea of total hereditary depravity is false!  This doctrine affirms that we are “born in sin.”  However, since God is the originator of the soul of man, the soul must be pure at the time God creates it.  The soul does not originate from the physical genetic material of the parents.  Hence, there is no “inherited sin.”  Each person sins whenever he/she transgresses the commandments of God (I John 3:4).  Infants are born pure!  Fourth, the scheme of redemption is valid and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from sin (Heb. 9:14).  If we accept the materialistic/humanistic view of the world, we eliminate the need for redemption.  The fact that man possesses a soul, and that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23) proves the need for a savior.  We have just such a savior.  It is Jesus Christ.  Salvation is in Him and only in Him (Acts 4:12).