Jesus warns us in Matthew 10:28: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  This passage shows very clearly that each of us has a body and a soul.  You know, “if a person's body is in imminent danger and peril, there are plenty who will be interested in his or her welfare.  Suppose a man is working on top of a high tower.  He loses his footing and, falling, manages to hold onto something that stick out.  There he clings for dear life.  People passing up the avenue hear his cries and see the peril he is in.  Soon the street is blocked with anxious, horror-stricken people who shout words of encouragement to him.  Soon there is the siren of the fire department, and the firemen get out one of their extension ladders and begin to raise it toward the tower.  Then policemen come with a long rope in their hands, and they inquire about a way up the tower where the man is located.  A man's body is in dire peril, and everyone who sees it is concerned over it and is ready to do what they can to help the man, to save him or her from death. But the person's soul, of infinite more value, can be in peril, and others will not be moved in the least” (moreillustrations.com).  We don't think much about souls any more.  Jesus has some more interesting words about the soul in Mark 8:34-38 and Matthew 16:27.  There are seven truths about your soul that can be drawn from these passages.
 
Jesus says in Mark 8:34-35: “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and gospel's will save it.”  The first truth is that your soul is savable.  To deny self means that you have put the wheel of your car in Jesus' hands.  “[You] do not have the final right to decide what [you] are going to do or where [you] are going to go. … We value and protect above all else the right to make ultimate decisions for ourselves. … If we are going to save our souls, we must no longer own ourselves.  Jesus has the ultimate rights.  He has the Lordship of our lives. ... We no longer belong to ourselves.  He must make the final decisions when the great issues of life hang in the balance” (Schubert).  Not only does He call the shots, but we are willing to take any suffering and insults with which the world might taunt us (that's the cross we must bear).  And we obey Jesus' teachings and actions.  That's what following Him is all about.  “We choose to do what He commands and look to Him for the strength that will enable us to carry through” (Schubert).   Now notice that Jesus says whoever loses his life, but the literal translation is the word “soul”, so whoever loses (surrenders his will, behaviors, and actions) for My sake and the gospel's sake will save it.”  Your soul is savable!  That's the good news!  But there is something profound here as well.  “You can't have your cake and eat it too.  You can't live a righteous life and a wicked life at the same time.  [Jesus does not allow you the luxury of a middle ground; you cannot walk in the light serving God on Sundays and then walk in darkness serving Satan the rest of the week.]  You cannot sow to the flesh, and then reap eternal life.  Christ said: 'He that is not for Me is against Me.’ He also said: 'Every house divided against itself cannot stand.'  … A younger preacher was talking to an older preacher and said to him: 'I would give the world to preach like you.'  The older preacher replied: 'Young man, that is what it cost me—forsaking the world!'  Christians are exhorted to give up the world.  1 John 2:15 affirms: 'Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.  If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in Him'” (Black).  James 4:4 states very clearly: “Whoever therefore want to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  Your soul is savable if you will surrender it to Jesus, suffer for Him, obey Him, and keep yourself unspotted from the world.  Your soul can be saved eternally if you are willing to count the cost and pay the price, just as Jesus Himself did.  Your soul is savable.
 
Now let's read the next verse 36, “For what will it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and loses his own soul?”  The second truth is that your soul is valuable, extremely valuable!  “Everybody is interested in certain words in this question: profit, gain, and loss.  The tragedy is that so many are interested only in profit and gain.  We live in a materialistic age when great value is place upon worldly possessions, and Jesus points out the fact that [your] soul is more valuable than all earthly wealth.  Most values fluctuate.  This is true of bonds, stocks, real estate, and even money.  But [your] soul has always been worth than the whole world.  [Your] soul's value has never changed.  It has been the most valuable thing in this world since the beginning of time. … [The   value of the soul is seen in three ways.  First of all], it is seen in its origin.  [In the beginning], God said: 'Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.'  Man is made in God's image with the faculty to discern between right and wrong, with a mind to apprehend the truth.  We must remember the soul did not just happen to be, [or come about through evolutionary process], but it was created by Jehovah.  [Your soul is valuable, divinely valuable.   Secondly,] the value of the soul may be seen in the price paid for it.  God put such a [high] value upon [your] soul that He gave His Son to die on Calvary's cross to redeem [it].  Paul speaks of that gift as 'God's unspeakable gift' (2 Corinthians 9:15).  When one thinks of giving his [child] for some cause, he can, to some small degree, understand what a great price God paid to buy back our souls.  1 Peter 1:18-19 declares: 'Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.'  We value things by the price paid for them.  In view of what was paid for [your] soul, we know the value of [your] soul is worth more than the whole world and everything in it.  [Thirdly,] the value of the soul is seen in the efforts of hell and heaven put forth [to gain your] soul.  The devil is [definitely] interested in your soul; his interest is to destroy it.  1 Peter 5:8 warns: 'Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.'  He seeks to keep men from hearing the Gospel, and those who have heard it, he tries to turn from the light back into darkness.  All his efforts are [towards eventually condemning] your soul in hell!  [On the other hand,] heaven invites: 'In My Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also' (John 14:3).  Hebrews 2:9 affirms heaven's interest again with these words: 'But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.'  Jesus stands with outstretched arms saying to every accountable person: 'Come to Me, and I will give you rest' (Black).”  Are you obeying the devil or Jesus?  Your soul is more valuable than all the treasures of the world!
 
Verse 36 not only highlights that your soul is valuable, but it states this truth: your soul is losable.  “The soul's loss is the most tragic loss [imaginable].  The word 'lost' is a sad word.  For instance, what shall a man profit if he gains the whole world yet lose his health?  Or, what will it profit a man if he gain the whole word, yet comes sick and cannot enjoy it?  What good is the best food in the world if a person cannot eat it?  What good is a luxurious car if you cannot ride in it?  Loss of health is a bad situation [and we've seen time and again how cancers have reduced one's quality of life to almost nothing].  But losing [your] soul is a million times worse than losing [your] health.  In fact, it is the most terrible event that could ever happen to an individual” (Black).  If you lose your health, there is still the hope of eternal life after death, but if you lose your soul, there is no hope for any improvement!  Why should you lose your soul when Jesus offers His help to save it?  Yes, His way is costly, but isn't the hopeless situation of never being able to recover your soul even more costly?  Beware, your soul is losable!
 
Now notice verse 37: “Or what will man give in exchange for his soul?”  This question reveals the frightening truth that your soul is exchangeable.  “Man is a free moral agent.  Man has the ability and prerogative to make his own choice.  If one chooses to obey God, he will profit, as did Paul, Peter, and Barnabas, and all the faithful throughout the ages.  It is possible for [you] to make a small temporary gain at the expense, many times, of [exchanging your] soul.  Consider these biblical examples where someone thought they were making great gains, when (in reality) they suffered great loss: Q: What did Lot gain by pitching his tents toward Sodom?  A: He dwelt among the Sodomites.  Result: He lost his wealth and most of his family.  Q: What did Achan gain in his theft?  A: Some gold, some silver, and a Babylonian garment.  Result: He lost his life, family, and goods.  Q: What did King Ahab gain by killing Naboth?  A: A vineyard.  Result: Ahab lost his own life.  Q: What did Judas gain by betraying Jesus?  A: Some silver coins.  Result: He was so remorseful that he hanged himself.  Q: What did Ananias and Sapphira gain by lying about their giving?  A: They gained the wealth they kept.  Result: They lost their lives.  Q: What did the rich fool gain who built his bigger barns?  A: One day of ease.  Result: He lost his soul.  We learn from these examples that many times that which seems to be a profit may be a great loss.  [Don't exchange your soul for anything that is only temporary!]  There is a vine in Brazil called the matador or murderer.  It will climb a vigorous tree with a clinging grasp.  As it climbs, it sends out arm-like tendrils that embrace the tree, and as it ascends, it grows tighter and tighter around the tree.  It finally reaches the top of the tree, and by this time, the tree is strangled to death.  Similarly, materialism will strangle to death its devotees.  If we are not careful, we will place our values in the wrong place.  [A writer] told a modern parable about a sailor who had to abandon his ship.  He attached some gold bars to a belt, adjusted his life preserver, and slipped into the water.  Of course, the gold's weight offset the preserver's help, and the man sank to bottom and perished.  [The writer] then asks: 'Now did the sailor have the gold or did the gold have him'” (Black)?  Some members exchange their souls for evil companions, but all those companions will dirty your soul, and then they will die.  Some members exchange their souls for false doctrines, but false teachings only enslave and pass away.  Some members exchange their souls for lives of ease, but those at ease will one day experience God's wrath for their selfishness.  Beware: your soul is exchangeable!
 
Look now at verse 38: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”  Jesus states plainly in John 3:17 that He was not sent to condemn the world but to save it.  He adds, however, that people can condemn themselves when they love darkness or they are ashamed of Him and His teachings.  This shows that your soul is condemnable.  Jesus pictured Himself as a shepherd who would one day divide the goats, or the wicked, from the sheep, or the righteous.  The wicked would go away into everlasting punishment while the righteous would enter into eternal life (Matthew 25:31-46).  Your soul is condemnable.  No, there will be no purgatory or second chance.  Contrary to the soothing idea of the universalist who preaches that all will be purged and eventually saved, Jesus and the writers of the New Testament never teach this falsehood.  We must make our decision about Jesus right now in this life.  Your stance about Him now will determine your soul's destiny.  An old hymn has it right: “Jesus, and shall it ever be, a mortal man ashamed of Thee, Ashamed of Thee whom angels praise, Whose glory shines through endless days?  Ashamed of Jesus, that dear Friend on whom my hopes of heaven depend?  No, when I blush, be this my shame, that I no more revere His name.  Till then nor is my boasting vain, till then I'll boast a Savior slain!  And oh, my this my glory be, that Christ is not ashamed of me” (Grigg)!    Your soul is condemnable if you love the darkness and are ashamed of Jesus.
 
The next truth, however, is that your soul is redeemable.  This truth is seen in Matthew's account as Jesus says in 16:27: “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”  According to Jesus' words, we will be rewarded with hell or with heaven depending on what our souls have pursued during this life.  Jesus explains one of His parables with these words in Matthew 13:40ff: “Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire.  There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  Jesus says that you are either practicing lawlessness, which will be condemnable, or you are practicing righteousness, which will be redeemable.  “Someone has said there are three doors in life, and man can travel through only one of them.  He has the privilege of choosing which door he will pass through as he journeys through this world.  Over one door are these words: 'He who travels through this door will learn that that pleasure is but for a moment.'  Over the second door are these words: 'He who travels through this door will learn that hardship is but for a moment.'  Over the last door are these words: 'He who travels through this door will learn that only that which is important, as taught by Jesus, endures forever'” (Black).  Convince yourself deep in your heart that the righteous life taught and exhibited by Jesus is worth your best effort.  For only that will be redeemable.  Your soul is redeemable.
 
The last truth also noted in both Matthew and Mark is that your soul is durable.  After this brief life in the here will come the eternity in the hereafter!   Your soul will endure throughout all eternity.  There is no ending to hell nor to heaven.  Time will not be measured by years, centuries, or millenniums any longer.  Someone puts it this way: “God, with His all powerful hand, has wound the clock of eternity.  It will tick, and tick, and tick, and tick, and tick, never to stop.  The walls of hell will never scar, and the walls of heaven will never erode.  The sneer of Satan will never diminish, and the hair of God will never silver.  The locks on the dungeon will never corrode, and the gates of paradise will never close.  The wicked soul will be punished forever, and ever, and ever without end, and the righteous soul will be blessed forever and ever, and ever, and ever, always” (modified Black).  Your soul is durable.    
 
“A little boy sat on his father's knee and asked, 'Papa, is your soul insured?' 'Why do you ask, my son?' 'I heard Uncle George say, that you had your house insured, and your life insured; but he did not believe you  had thought about having your soul insured, and he was afraid that you would lose it.  Won't you get it insured right away'" (Black)?  Jesus is pleading: “Give your will to Me, suffer for Me, obey Me, and stand up for Me, and your soul will be redeemed with all the righteous in eternity!”  What an offer!  Nobody else can match this magnificent offer!  Save your soul from Satan's perverse world!

 

Your Soul
With thanks to V P Black for parts
By Paul Robison