The Value of a Soul

Posted Jan 10, 2012 by Colin Nicolson in General Hits: 4,382

Greetings fellow Maranatha Media Community.  Like you all, I had a huge burden on my heart for my brothers and sisters in our Sabbath School last Sabbath, knowing what they would hear during lesson time.  Unlike you I suspect, I took the preliminary program in my Sabbath School so I was in a unique position to speak to the hearts of our people before the combined lesson study.  After much prayer, I was led by the Holy Spirit to present a picture of a loving God paying an infinite price in the risky giving of His Son for our fallen race. Here is what I presented.  I hope you are as blessed by it as my Sabbath School folk were.  Regrettably, there was no blessing in the lesson study.  I did what God asked of me and now the Spirit will do His job of convicting those seeking truth.  My thanks go to Brother Gary for some of the ideas and words I used.

 

 

As we start this new year, 2012, I want to share with you some insights that I found to be incredibly humbling and at the same time amazingly uplifting. The question I want to look at is this. What is the value of a soul? What is my value?

Let’s start with what Jesus said in Matthew 13:45, 46.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45, 46

Here we have the plan of salvation in just one sentence over two verses. Here we see the merchant who is God Himself. He finds a pearl of great price. That pearl is you and it is me. To buy that pearl, He has to sell everything He had. God gave up His own Son.

So to understand the value of the pearl or the value of each one of us, we need to understand the value of the Son of God because it was His life that was traded for us.

Here are some word pictures I found in Ellen White’s writings that help us begin to grasp the magnitude of the “unspeakable gift” as Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 9:16.

Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God would impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation to man. In order to do this, and make the truth a reality to him as well as to test his faith, He required him to slay his darling Isaac. All the sorrow and agony that Abraham endured through that dark and fearful trial were for the purpose of deeply impressing upon his understanding the plan of redemption for fallen man. He was made to understand in his own experience how unutterable was the self-denial of the infinite God in giving His own Son to die to rescue man from utter ruin. To Abraham no mental torture could be equal to that which he endured in obeying the divine command to sacrifice his son. {3T 369.1}

We can only imagine what Abraham went through without actually having experienced it ourselves, but it does help us begin to understand the cost to God of our redemption.

This next statement has particularly powerful imagery.

The Eternal Father, the unchangeable one, gave his only begotten Son, tore from his bosom Him who was made in the express image of his person, and sent him down to earth to reveal how greatly he loved mankind. {RH, July 9, 1895 par. 13}

You can see that God sending Jesus to this world was not a passive action. There was much emotion involved. Those powerful words “tore from his bosom” make me think of a mother clutching her baby to her breast and someone rips the baby away from her. What anguish!

Just to confirm the anguish experienced by God Himself consider this:

Said the angel, Think ye that the Father yielded up his dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no. It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give his beloved Son to die for them. {1SG 26.2}

Imagine that. The almighty, all powerful God of the universe struggling over the trade-off between us and His Son. How does that make you feel?

The reason it was such a struggle is that this was an “at risk” transaction. A safe transaction is where there is an exchange of value. For example, I give the shop keeper money and he gives me goods to that value. An “at risk” transaction is one where I could lose everything. That’s where I give the trader my money and he runs off with my money and my goods and I am left with nothing. That was the dilemma God faced.

In Desire of Ages we read this:

Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss. {DA 49.1}

Here is a more detailed description of the risk taken by our God.

Who can estimate the value of a soul? Go to Gethsemane, and there watch with Jesus through those long hours of anguish when he sweat as it were great drops of blood; look upon the Saviour uplifted on the cross; hear that despairing cry, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Look upon that wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet. Remember that Christ risked all; "tempted like as we are," he staked even his own eternal existence upon the issue of the conflict. Heaven itself was imperilled for our redemption. At the foot of the cross, remembering that for one sinner Jesus would have yielded up his life, we may estimate the value of a soul. {GCB, December 1, 1895 par. 22}

Let’s sum up with this:

By giving his only begotten Son to die on the cross, God has shown us the estimate he places on the human soul. All that the world admires, all it calls precious, sinks into insignificance when placed in the balance with one soul; for a matchless ransom has been paid for that soul. All heaven has been given in one gift. {6MR 2.2}

So how does it feel? Humbling? Uplifting? Is your mind filled with praise for your God?

If I left it there you would be content that you were grasping your true value wouldn’t you – at least to the extent that our fallen minds are able?

Well just when we think we are getting to understand, God raises the bar a bit higher. Have a look at this.

Every gift is stamped with the cross and bears the image and superscription of Jesus Christ. All things come of God. From the smallest benefits up to the largest blessing, all flow through the one Channel--a superhuman mediation sprinkled with the blood that is of value beyond estimate because it was the life of God in His Son. {1888 814.2}

"Wow!  Right there my view of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was seriously changed.  The life is in the blood.  We know that.  Without blood there is no life.  Shedding blood is shedding life.  And whose life is being shed?  Not just the life of Jesus, though how infinitely valuable and precious that is!  It was the life of God the Father Himself in His Son." (Thank you Gary)

And scripture confirms it.

God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. 2Cor 5:19

Now how do you see your value? How precious are you? How precious am I? We really are a pearl of great price! The merchant really did sell all that he had to buy us.

As we face the year ahead with all of its uncertainties, we can proceed with confidence. We are of immense value. It doesn’t matter whether the things we own are not as good as someone else’s. It doesn’t matter if we do not hold a high or important position in our work or in our church. It doesn’t matter whether people like us or not. None of these things value us. Satan wants us to think that they do, but they do not. We are valued by the price paid for our redemption – and that price was the life of God in His Son. Let’s remember that and thank God for it every day.