If asked what the one most valuable possession you have is, what would your answer be?
Most will naturally think first of physical things as houses, cars and such, but will quickly realize there are many things much more valuable than those physical things. Family, good health and a myriad of other blessings we possess. But, just imagine for a moment that you did own one physical item that was more valuable than all else material that you possessed. It was worth more than your house, your cars, your bank account and retirement portfolio combined. Now, what would your attitude be toward that possession? Would you deal flippantly with it? Would you be nonchalant in your attitude toward it? I don’t think so! It would be my conclusion that you would guard that item from theft, from loss and from damage in any way, and rightfully so!
The thing is, you do have such a valuable possession, though not material in nature. The possession I speak of is your soul. One of the reasons for such value is that it is eternal, all physical things are temporal, your soul is eternal. Paul wrote, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Cor. 4:18).
Jesus once posed a somewhat rhetorical question, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). Jesus also 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” (Matt. 10:28).
There is no way that we could adequately emphasize the value of your soul. And actually, no man on earth can harm your soul in any way. One cannot steal it or damage it in any way. Your body can be destroyed, your wealth stolen or lost, your friends and family taken away, but your soul is unharmed by all these things. God wants your soul in heaven for eternity, Satan wants it in hell for the same eternity. It is you who has control of which way your soul goes! Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10).
With all this being true, why, oh why are there so many people today who are handling the care of their eternal soul so flippantly and nonchalantly? The prophet Amos once stated concerning Israel, “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12). Why is there such little preparation to meet our God in judgment when our most valuable possession is at stake?
Hosea said of God’s people of his day, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6). Knowledge of the gospel of Christ is absolutely imperative if we are to see our eternal soul in heaven rather than hell.
Peter wrote, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (I Pet. 1:25).
The apostle Paul said of the gospel of Christ, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). To the Christians of Thessalonica, Paul wrote, “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:7-9). Knowledge of the gospel of Christ and then obedience to that gospel is a prerequisite to eternal life in heaven.
Following one’s traditional beliefs and practices is far from keeping our most valuable possession in a safe state. Listening to the religious leaders of the day and following their teachings fail in placing our most valuable possession in a place of safety. What seems or feels right in our own heart still leaves the eternal soul in danger of eternal damnation. It is only when one searches, studies and tries the teachings to see if they are indeed actually what the gospel of Christ says, that one is headed in the right direction in protecting that most valuable of possessions. It is then only when one will be willing to set aside tradition, feelings, peer pressure and any other deterrent, and changes their beliefs and practices to be in harmony with the gospel that one has made the proper preparation to meet their God in the judgment.
Let’s face it friends, our eternal soul is just too valuable to play around with its eternal destiny!
Robert Oliver is a long time columnist for The Sampson Independent.