Jesus said to His disciples, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
Jesus at this point is drawing His disciples’ attention and our attention to the eternal worth of our souls, that part of our humanity that is immortal. What constitutes me as human is both my physical life and my spiritual life. One day my body will die and experience physical decomposition – but my soul/spirit lives on in a disembodied state and looks forward to a future resurrection where it will be clothed again in a new or perfected heavenly body as experienced by Jesus (1 Cor.15) (2 Cor.5:1-4).
Now while my physical life is as temporary as everything else on earth, it is of immense worth. I can go without material things, without money and success and degrees and fame and whatever else life has to offer – but I cannot live without my physical life. These past months have reminded us of this truth. And yes, the loss of my physical body is irrecoverable: it cannot be retrieved. To die physically is the closing chapter of life.
But my soul which is immortal, eternal in nature is most certainly of greater worth than both the temporary things of the world and yes, even my physical life.
How I need to remember that everything is temporal, but that my soul is eternal. Because of that, I must evaluate everything from an eternal perspective.
Dear friends, how we need to recognise that just as the loss of physical life is irrecoverable so the loss of one’s soul is irrecoverable. How we need to recognise the worth of our souls the eternal nature of our souls. This life will pass away and the question each of us needs to ask is, Have, I forfeited my soul? Or is my soul secure?
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25).
Jesus is saying that eternal life is found in surrendering your life to Him alone. It’s found in denying yourself, placing all things in second place behind your love and devotion for Him, and taking up your cross (that’s true commitment – no turning back, no matter the cost) and following Him.
This journey begins with repenting and believing. (2 Corinthians 7:10) “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret. But worldly sorrow brings death.”
Dear friend, why chase after what is temporal when you can find joy in Jesus Christ who is eternal. Amen.
- Dirk Coetzee, Pastor, Grahamstown Baptist Church