Evaluating your Soul

“What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Matthew 16:26

This is the one of the questions being asked of people throughout the ages. For the most part people put the question out of their minds thinking perhaps that they will worry about it at another time or that it doesn’t matter. By His words and actions Jesus always provoked people to consider eternity and the question as to who He is. He even asked His disciples who they believed Him to be just before making the above statement (16:15).

What could be of such value that it was of more value than our eternal soul? Jesus gives two possible answers in Matthew chapter nineteen.

A wealthy young man in a place of authority came to Jesus and asked Him what he needed to do to obtain eternal life (Matthew 19:16). He wanted to exchange something for eternal life. He claimed to have kept all the commandments that relate to human relationships (v 20) but then Jesus asked him to abide by the commandments that relate to his relationship with God. To obtain eternal life the young man would need to forsake all that he currently valued, earthly treasure, and follow Jesus, heavenly treasure.

At the time the young man regarded his temporal wealth and position of more value than his relationship with God (v 22). Though he wanted eternal life he was not willing to exchange his wealth for it. There are many who want heaven but not Jesus and neither will they surrender control of their lives and possessions to Jesus. Jesus gave His life for us. Can we give less to Him (Romans 12:1-2)? Others may not wish to exchange human relationships for their soul. I have heard people say they would rather be in hell with friends than in heaven with Jesus. They have no idea of the enormity of what they are saying. There is nothing wrong with love for family and a desire to be with them. We should be very thankful when that is possible; but will we give family priority ahead of Jesus? He says, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms [employment] for My names sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life” (19:29). Anything we put ahead of Jesus is an idol which will control our life. We must exchange that idol for Jesus in order to obtain eternal life. Eternal life is only found in Him (1 John 5:11-12).

In His Image

“Adam called his wife’s name Eve because she was the mother of all living” Genesis 3:20

In the first chapter of Genesis we learn that God created man in His image, “Let Us make man in Our image” (v 26). Since God is a plurality of Persons yet one God He created mankind in that image, a plurality of persons yet one flesh (Genesis 2:23-24). Lest we fail to grasp this it is repeated in 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” To be in the “image” of God means to be a physical expression of God. We read this of Jesus in Hebrews 1:3, “who being in the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person …”

As the Persons of the Godhead are equal in every respect except role, so are the man and the woman equal in every respect except role. As the Persons of the Godhead are complementary, so are the man and the woman (Genesis 2:18). Marriage and parenthood are God’s means of revealing this and other aspects of His glory in the world. It should not surprise us that Satan is doing his utmost to mar or destroy this revelation of God.

How sad it is that people who are the objects of God’s love serve Satan’s interests and hatred of God. No matter what people may try to do, they cannot change that part of the role that God has given them by His determining their sex. Eve had the unique position of being the first mother; she is the only mother without any precedent to follow. She had no mentor or role model, no mother or mother-in-law to comfort and help her – or to tell her she was doing it wrong!

Adam honoured her position and role by the name he gave her. She is the mother of all persons who live or have ever lived on earth (except for Adam and herself, of course). She is the ultimate mother of the second Adam, Jesus Christ. On Mothers’ Day we reflect on the special place and role that mothers have within the family and society. Mothers are God’s gift, and they share with fathers the joy and privilege of revealing the glory of God into the world. Since we are corrupted by sin that revelation is marred; but as we allow Christ to live in us God’s glory is revealed, even if a little dimly. Many men and women, who have achieved much, credit their mothers as being the primary earthly reason for their achievements.

Let us give glory to God for this wonderful expression of Himself in His creation revealed in our mothers.

Family Resemblance

“Whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and mother” (Mark 3:35)

In times when being a Christian does not attract persecution there is no risk to a person who makes the declaration that they are a Christian. In Australia at present we live in that kind of religious climate. The result has been that many claim to be Christian when in fact they are not. It isn’t that they are being deceptive or untruthful but that they do not know how to become a Christian or what it means to be a Christian as the Bible defines the name. As Jesus has said (Matthew 7:22) there are going to be some extremely disappointed people.

The Gospel is clear that salvation is the result of faith in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ but it is just as clear that when one has done so there will be a change of life from within. James addresses this in his letter. Jesus calls it “born from above” and Paul and Peter as a new creation.

In another place where people call Jesus “Lord, Lord” (Luke 6:46) these people mark themselves as not being Christians because they do not do the will of God. This is in contrast to the words of Jesus quoted above where those who are Christians do the will of God. A person who is not a Christian can not do the will of God and neither can they until they are born from above. It isn’t that doing the will of God makes someone a Christian but it is a means by which they reveal that they are a Christian and can discern for themselves that they are genuine.

Surely this is a matter in which we do not want to be deceived or get it wrong. Our eternal destiny hangs in the balance. If we have no desire to do the will of God or we attempt to do so for personal or commercial gain then we can be sure we are not born of God. On the other hand, if it is our desire and delight to please God by doing His will, whatever the personal cost to us, then we have assurance that we are children of God.

Even though Jesus’ siblings and mother were present He affirmed that spiritual kinship is more intimate than bodily relationship.

Jesus always did the will of the Father and those who are in His family will display a family resemblance by also doing the will of the Father. Anyone can say they are a Christian but the one who truly is will show a definite resemblance to the Lord Jesus Christ and one of those characteristics is doing the will of God.