Occasional editorials written since 2001 

Passion yes, aggression no. Harry Potter All roads lead to God?  
Value of a soul. Homosexuality Passion of the Christ
Islam and Christianity  Love not the world Persecution coming
Biblical or secular worldview? Freewill offering Letter or Spirit?
Faith The sacred and non-sacred Test your self
Discernment The gospel of me Repentance
Sinking sand That awful four letter word Sin
When God offends. Walls, gates and electric fences The curse of pornography

 

The value of a soul  

Since becoming a Christian in 1989, I have always - on an 'intellectual' level -understood the value of a soul. 

But somehow this year (and I think especially through teaching of Eugene Smith) I have really come to understand the value of each and every soul at a heart level.

Each one of us - no matter our race, sex, colour, culture, religious, sexual or political orientation - is made in the image of  The Creator of the Uni (single) verse (spoken sentence) Not by accident but by design,

'Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;..." (Genesis 1:26)

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Notice that we are not made in the image of a monkey, but in the image of the Creator of the Universe. That gives each of us an immeasurable value.

"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. (Genesis 9:6)

That same Creator breathed His Life into us.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)

Notice that it was not 'mother earth', nor even a mighty angel that God asked to breathe life into man. The life came in totality from the Creator of the Universe. That gives each of us an immeasurable value.

God liked what He had made. 

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.. (Genesis 1:31)

That gives each of us an immeasurable value.

God makes it clear that even while we were in our mother's womb He saw us there, being knitted together in that secret place. Whether our parents planned or our birth or not, God saw our substance before anyone else did and His thoughts to each of us were precious.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvellous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! (Psalms 139:13-17)

That gives each of us an immeasurable value.

God's words to those whose mother or father forsake them is that of a tender heart.

When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me. (Psalms 27:10)

Indeed so closely does He enjoin Himself with the widow the or the fatherless in society that He declares that if anyone touches them for harm they will have Him to deal with.

"You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. "If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; "and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless. (Exodus 22:22-24)

That gives each of us an immeasurable value.

Yet today many could readily identify with King David's heartfelt cry as he hid away in a cave fearing the violence of King Saul.

Look on my right hand and see, For there is no one who acknowledges me; Refuge has failed me; No one cares for my soul. (Psalms 142:4) 

The amazing truth is that Someone does care for your soul.

As Canadian Bible teacher Eugene Smith says, man, despite his fallen nature and his weaknesses seems to still be at the very centre of God's attention.

"What is man, that You should exalt him, That You should set Your heart on him, (Job 7:17)

The Psalmist as he looked at the overwhelming awesomeness of the night sky wrote. 

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalms 8:3-5)

Again in the Psalms we read..

LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him? ..... (Psalms 144:3-4)

The psalmist said that a soul was PRECIOUS to God.

They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:  (Psalms 49:6-8)

Jesus said that the composite value of the whole world could not redeem a single soul such as yours or mine.

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? (Matthew 16:26)

Jesus said that a man's value is greater than that of a sheep.

Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" --that they might accuse Him. Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? "Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:9-12)

..and greater than cows or donkeys..

Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up. But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, "Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity." And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, "There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day." The Lord then answered him and said, "Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? (Luke 13:10-15)

Yet when great massacres take place on foreign soil (such as the 100 day massacre of 1,000,000 people in Rwanda in 1994) we as a nation were not traumatised.  But when foot and mouth disease suddenly struck the United Kingdom the nation was traumatised by nightly pictures of cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats being burnt on massive bonfires throughout the countryside.  Their financial value was continually being counted.

We have campaigns to save the whale, save the elephants etc (all wholly worthwhile - God has given us the care of them - Genesis 1:26,28) and yet we cannot seem to understand how much, much, much greater, is the value of a human soul to God.  

God who values even the humble sparrows that He made, places much more value on a human soul.

"Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. "Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)

Thank you for that precious teaching Eugene.

The religious Pharisees linked the sin and the sinner into one ball of wax and rejected both.  Jesus brought uncompromising truth about sin but never rejected the sinners entrapped in that sin. 

The Pharisees thought they were insulting Him when they declared..

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children." (Matthew 11:19)

The same Pharisees threw the woman caught in adultery at His feet to see what He would do.  Despite having continually spoken out on the evils of adultery (Matthew 5;27-28, 32  19:9,18) He stood with her against her condemners.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you ....(John 8:7-11)

Imagine her feelings towards Jesus at that moment in time. Then Jesus returns to His uncompromising stand against her sin when he finished with this instruction.

.. go, and sin no more." 

The sinner loved, the sin detested.

Sin is not harmful because it is forbidden, it is forbidden because it is harmful.  

When you value someone so much you will be against anything and everything that harms them and keeps them away from you and sin separates us from the One who values us so highly.

In case anyone confuses Jesus' compassion for the sinner with a liberal attitude to sin, listen to His words.

"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched-- "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.' "And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched-- "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.' "And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire-- "where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.' (Mark 9:43-48)

He who knew no sin became sin for us so that a door could be opened, a way made, a dividing wall demolished between us and the One who values us so highly.  In the divine exchange of the New Covenant that took place at Calvary Jesus got our sin and we got His righteousness.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The punishment that should have been ours by right, He took.

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5)

God would not have done this if we did not have a value.  That gives each of us an immeasurable value.

Yes, someone might perhaps die for a very 'good' and 'righteous' person, but who would suffer death on a cross to bring forgiveness to the liar, the thief, the murderer, the idolater, the fornicator, the adulterer, the homosexual, the paedophile, the rapist, the worshipper of 'other gods' etc?  

Here's the value of the soul coming to a conclusion then.

Put one man or woman on one side of the scales and put the all the world's silver and gold on the other and the scales would not tip a fraction. The soul is worth much much more.

The only thing that tipped the balance was the sacrificial death of the sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ.  His shed blood alone equalled the value of one soul.

knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

Your life can be redeemed only with the very Life of God.

Now you and I know the value of your soul and the value of every soul we will ever meet.

One can fall off a horse from either side. Especially if we only put our weight on one stirrup.  

I confess that we, the church, have struggled to keep Godly balance. Either we have agreed with God in hating the sin so much that we have also hated the sinner. Like the Pharisees. Or. We have agreed with God in loving the sinner so much that we have not hated the sin.

Help us Lord not to be conformed to the theology of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God towards each and every soul we meet.  Help us to have the the mind of Christ.

 return to the top