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On Friday, 27th July 2008, a crazy yet fascinating story hit news headlines around the world. A 24-year-old young man from Wanganui, New Zealand, had sold his soul for $5001 to the fast food chain Hell Pizza. His reason for selling it was that “…I can’t see it, touch it, or feel it, but I can sell it.” Hell Pizza was delighted at the purchase, saying “The soul belongs to Hell; there is simply no better place for it. We’d love to get his soul in the virtual world—to keep it immortal.” Hell Pizza received a contract outlining details of ownership and a signed certificate.
This may seem like a silly story, but it didn’t stop there. Hell Pizza then used this to create a new marketing campaign, with disgusting and horrifying results. The next month, August 2008, Hell Pizza offered an easy and simple way to sell them your soul. Their logic seemed simple enough: “Your soul is something that sits there and doesn’t do a thing. You can’t see it. You can’t feel it. It can’t keep you warm at night, and when you’re out of milk, it won’t run down to the dairy and grab you more. Souls are pretty much useless, so let us take yours off your hands.” So far, over 7,000 people have responded.
You may ask: why is this such a concern to me? Why should it shock me the way it did? Because I believe that God has a design for your soul. Let me share what I have come to understand about God’s design for your soul.
What is a soul?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a soul as: “…the moral and emotional nature of human beings; spiritual and moral force.”
Hell Pizza would like us to think that “…your soul is pointless. No one knows what it’s supposed to do and frankly, no one cares.”
Is your soul pointless? Does no one know what it’s supposed to do? Does no one care? Thankfully I can answer all these questions with a resounding “NO!” There is Someone who knows and cares. Let us go to the Bible to see Who this is.
In the very beginning of the Bible, it tells us what the soul is, and how it came into existence. “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 soul.” 1
Dust (body) + breath (spirit) = soul. Basically put, a soul is you in entirety; not a ghost, not something that can be sold. What happens if you take one of these elements away? Psalms 104:29 tells us: “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.” If you take away one element of this equation, the soul no longer exists.
What is a soul worth?
Walter Scott, the young man who sold his soul, thought that his soul was worth at least the $5001 that Hell Pizza gave him. Is that really all your soul is worth? You can search selling your soul on the internet, and each site will give you a different value, but is that the value that God puts on your soul? The psalmist David tells us “My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.” Psa 71:23 Your soul is worth so much that God has redeemed it, with the blood of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16 reminds us that “…God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Don’t you think that is a very high price to pay; a life for a life? “The soul is of infinite value. Its worth can be estimated only by the price paid to ransom it. Calvary! Calvary! Calvary! will explain the true value of the soul.”2 God regards the soul as more precious than gold.
How much would you sell your soul for? Do you know someone who has sold their soul, not necessarily for money, but for some pleasure of this world; smoking, drinking, taking drugs, going out with worldly friends, disobeying their parents? The Bible is full of stories of people who sold their souls for something they thought was worthwhile. Let us consider a few of these stories, and ask ourselves whether they really got the good end of the bargain.
- Achan – when the children of Israel overthrew the city of Jericho, they were commanded that everything in the city was cursed, except the gold, silver etc, which was to be used for the tabernacle. There was one man, however, who saw something he wanted and ignoring the command, took it and hid it in his tent. He was the only one who took something against God’s instructions, yet the whole nation suffered as a result. What had he taken? What had he sold his soul for? A goodly Babylonish garment, 200 shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold! We are also told how he lost his soul. His family, all his goods, his tent, and himself were taken to the valley of Achor, and stoned to death. 3
- Judas – Luke tells us that Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, and he went to the chief priests offering to betray Jesus to them. Of course the priests were happy about that, and offered him 30 pieces of silver for doing this for them. Judas ‘successfully’ betrayed Jesus to the soldiers, but when he saw that Jesus would not defend himself and was condemned, he repented and took the silver back to the priests. By that time, they had what they wanted, and didn’t care if Judas was sorry for what he had done. Judas cast the money on the floor before them, went out to a field and hanged himself. A soul for 30 pieces of silver!!4
- Lot’s wife – shortly after Lot moved away from living with Abraham, he moved into the wicked city of Sodom. His family became accustomed to the comforts and luxuries of living in a city, and when the angels of God came and told them they must flee because God was going to destroy the city, it was too much for them. Yet God was merciful to them, and He led them out to safety. The saddest thing about this story is that even though she had been saved from the destruction of the city, Lot’s wife really didn’t want to leave all the luxuries behind her. Her heart was still in the city, and she turned back to see the destruction of what she had loved so much. The Bible tells us she became a pillar of salt. All for some little comforts that could have been earned again.5
- Ananias & Sapphira – this couple had a piece of land which they had pledged to sell, and give the money to the Lord. But when they sold it, it seemed just too hard to part with that much money, so they only brought a part of the amount they had received and laid it at the apostle’s feet for their offering. Peter, instructed by the Holy Spirit, asked them why Satan had filled their hearts to lie to the Holy Ghost and keep back part of the price. This must have been an absolute shock to Ananias, and he fell down, died, and was buried. About three hours later, Sapphira, not knowing what had happened to her husband, came to where the disciples were, and Peter asked her whether the property had sold for such an amount. And she answered yes! Peter then accused her of tempting the Holy Ghost, and told her that the young men who had buried her husband were also waiting outside to bury her too. Of course you would be shocked to hear that, and so was Sapphira. She fell down and died, and the young men came and carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Two souls lost because of a sum of money!6
- The rich young ruler – a certain young ruler came to Jesus one day, asking “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He wanted to save his soul, and wanted to know what he needed to do. Jesus reminded him about the commandments, and the young man replied, “All these have I kept from my youth up.” He had done the right thing, according to the law, but Jesus gave him one more test. “One thing thou lackest…” He was instructed to go and sell what he had, give to the poor and come and follow Jesus. What was his reaction? We are told that he went away sorrowful, for he was very rich. Riches kept him from saving his soul. Jesus was very sorrowful too, because he loved this young man. Jesus valued his soul.7
“Very precious to Jesus are the souls for whom He has given His life. Jesus knows the value of the human soul…When the soul is lost through sin, the most valuable object in the world is lost.”8 Did you get that: these souls that were lost were the most valuable objects in the world. Did you think that your soul was the most valuable object in the world? Well, now you know that it is. If it is the most valuable object, more valuable than gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, even platinum, what do we need to do to keep this soul safe?
There are a few things that we can do to work together with God for the saving of our souls. Moses instructed the children of Israel to take heed to themselves, and keep their souls diligently.9 In Matthew, Jesus is recorded having a conversation with His disciples, and He told them that if any man wanted to come after Him, he should deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”10 “The soul is of more value than the whole world. Jesus has said: ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’“ 11
Is your soul for sale? What price are you expecting to get for it? A little worldly pleasure, a good time, some fun, riches, fame, a few luxuries, the whole world? Or do you want the highest price that has ever been paid? The life of Jesus is offered as your purchase price, eternal life is promised. Which will you choose? I ask you to consider today. What value is it to you to gain the world, but lose your soul and eternal life? I am asking you this question, but ultimately, Jesus is asking you this question. He wants to buy your soul. Are you willing to give it to him?
- Genesis 2:7
- Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 3, p. 188
- Joshua 7
- Luke 22 & Matthew 27
- Genesis 19
- Acts 5
- Luke 18 & Mark 10
- Manuscript Releases, Vol. 14, p. 72
- Deuteronomy 4:9
- Matthew 16:24-26
- Signs of the Times, August 1, 1892