A careful study of the context of Matthew 16:21-28 gives great emphasis to God’s scheme of Redemption. Our Lord underscored the importance of His Deity. Peter confessed that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of the Living God and upon the basis of this confession, Christ promised to build His church.
From this point of time our Lord began to demonstrate to His followers that He must go into Jerusalem, suffer rejection of the masses, die on the cross to pay the sin debt of humanity, and be raised from death. Peter did not understand the truth regarding God’s eternal scheme and offered an objection to what would occur. Christ rebuked him and discussed the importance of the spiritual values of one’s life.
We are living in a commercial age in which the aspect of values is discussed freely. We appreciate material items being reduced in so far as their sale price is concerned. In earnest we often seek to make purchases at a lower price. We need to consider that the human soul is worth far more than the entirety of the world and all of its riches. The human soul is so important and so valuable that God did not devalue it in paying the purchase price for our salvation.
We see the value of the soul in the incarnation and birth of Christ . Upon learning that Mary was expecting a child Joseph, not knowing the importance of God’s eternal plan was minded to put her away privately and not complete the marriage agreement. The angel of the Lord indicated to Joseph that the child conceived in Mary was of God, and that he should take Mary to be his wife. The fact that the second member of the Godhead gave up the glories of Heaven, and, while maintaining the attributes of Deity also became incarnate in humanity, demonstrates the value of the soul (John 1:11-14).
We see the value of the soul in the parable of the lost sheep. In Luke 15:1-7 we note that Christ is speaking to publicans and sinners. His association was not for the purpose of approval of their life styles; it was that of presentation of truth out of concern for their souls. Here is painted a word picture of a flock of one hundred sheep. The great majority of the sheep are safe, right where they should be. One, however is lost. Note that the loving shepherd searches until he locates the lost one. Having found the lost sheep, he carries it home on his own shoulders. Upon arriving home, the announcement is made to friends: “Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.” While many may not care about those lost in sin, our Lord does. The soul of humanity is indeed valuable.
We see the value of the soul in the parable of the prodigal son. In Luke 15:11-24 we read about a young man so enamored with the world and the allurements of sin that he walked away from his own father. When he finally came to himself, repented of his sins, reformed his life and returned to his father; his father lovingly received him back—all because of the value of his soul. His father did not compromise; however, he was willing to forgive upon the conditions of changing his life and returning home.
We see the value of the soul in the rich man and Lazarus. In Luke 16:19-31 we note two specific individuals living in vivid contrast. One was rich while the other was poor. One was living in obedience to the word of God while the other was living in rebellion to God. Both experienced physical death bringing about the end of life on earth. The rich man went to torment while Lazarus was escorted by the angels of God to paradise. Material possessions do not guarantee one eternal riches. God’s grace is limited to our faith and obedience. One’s eternal destiny cannot be changed after his life on earth.
We see the value of the soul as we read of the prayer of Christ in Gethsemane. The prayers of Christ as uttered in Gethsemane provide clear insight into his heart and work (Matthew 26:36-46). As we note these prayers we find four noble characteristics and desires relative to value of the souls of men.
Christ had a heart of supplication. He poured out his heart unto the Father, God. Christ also had a heart of sacrifice knowing that such had to be accomplished. It was not his desire to undergo the terrible suffering for our sins, however he was willing to undergo such due to the value of our souls. Christ had a heart of submission to accomplish the Father’s plan, knowing that if redemption would be offered he had to submit unto the Father’s will to accomplish such. Christ also had a heart of steadfastness in that he cried out, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
We see the value of the soul in the crucifixion. The cruel beating, mocking of the Roman soldiers, the fraudulent trial, the humiliation and the false charges brought against our Lord….In view of his reaction to all these blasphemous actions we also note the horrible suffering on the cross that he endured (Matthew 27:26-54).
When I think of Jesus’ love,
And how he came from Heaven above,
I’m ashamed because I know,
That I have failed my thanks to show.
I know, I know he loves me:
This he proved at Calvary.
He gave his life that I might live,
He cared that much for me.
We see the value of the soul at the ascension. Not only did our Lord rise as victor over death, hell, and the grave (Romans 1:1-4). He ascended back to the father to establish his church (the kingdom). All of this was because of the value of the soul (Hebrews 1:7-9).
We see the value of the soul at the Judgment. In Revelation 20:12-15 we see the divine picture of the judgment and justice of God. The final coming of Christ will be the great day of all days. In it and that which follows is the realization of God’s scheme of Redemption--the eternal purpose of God. It should be anticipated by Christians with joy and dreaded by lost individuals with realization of their eternal punishment.
One can no more estimate the value of the soul than one can adequately estimate the value of gaining the reward of Heaven and escaping the punishments of Hell. May we never underestimate the value of the soul.
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