“If a man loses wealth, character, reputation, he may gain it again, but oh, if he loses his soul, he can never regain it.”
Jesus dealt with this reality in Matthew 16:26, “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?”
You will see why I bolded “or” in a moment. Most of my readers understand the mixed up set of values if we sell the truth we believe for some sort of gain, be it wealth, the smile of someone who wants us to quiet down about our particular truth, or gain something that requires us to do or give a deed or even a thought that is spiritually repugnant to us. We, as it were, sell our soul to get ahead.
Now notice the “or”.
Following the “or” Christ poses an often overlooked truth. People do “sell their soul” but if still in this life the soul can be redeemed, bought back and the person must give something, probably the thing he gained by selling, back, in other words renounce it as Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 4:2, “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.”
Walking away from the world of dishonesty, craftiness, deceit, renouncing such actions and walking with Christ is the effective manner in which we can regain “our soul” and enjoy the bright fellowship with Jesus.
On the other hand if we spend our life telling our self, not now, I’ll get saved bye and bye, we shall die in the “not now” condition and be in a lost condition for eternity. To the true Christian who has made the choice to dabble in the choices mentioned by Paul, a prosecuting conscience will torment them until they get right or die. Upon their death the Judgment Seat of Christ awaits where there will be an accounting for the choices. Not a good event to look forward to.
Things about our inner person, the soul, must be dealt with in the now.
Moody was right across the board.
Yet, I wonder if Mr. Moody understood just how tough a road it is to walk while getting over, while regaining lost trust, regaining a lost or tarnished reputation and in the sense of personal peace, character? It is said that character is what you know to be true about yourself, and if you know down deep inside that your wrong, living with that searing truth can be nightmarish. Reputation is what others think about you and no one has discovered just how to get all others to think well of you, but still a reasonable effort must be made as Christians to put the lie to false reports and thoughts about us.
No matter the nature of your sin, whether it be commission or omission Christ stands alive ready to apply His blood shed on Calvary to wash said sin away, and as David so magnificently proclaimed in Psalm 23, “restore your soul” meaning “to bring back to original beauty and function.” Most people I know, including the preacher friends and enemies, loudly proclaim this marvelous work of God’s wonderful grace. Tragically when the shouting and hallelujah’s are quiet, there seeps out of the mouth, somehow detached from the grace thrilled heart, “but”.
May I say to you that the grace of God in Christ has no buts.
A man came to see me the other day. He had no appointment, but in his fog was driving aimlessly around, wallowing as Bunyan would say, “In the slough of despond” when he noticed our church sign and said to himself, “that’s where Brother Lilly pastors.” He turned the car around and came in to talk. He shared his tale of woe, and I assure you it was a tale woe seldom heard. Yet, I could and did, hear him out. With a clear conscience toward myself and toward the Lord Jesus I shared with Him the truth that he could if serious, regain the peace and fellowship now hindered by his sin, if he applied 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I believe this verse along with many others is true. But, there’s that word, while he would have personal peace and restoration, others would not be as full of grace as Jesus! That is putting it mildly.
All of the above is to simply say, Mr. Moody was right and while it is called today it is time to get right with the Lord as to salvation and to fellowship. I hope he can do as Paul taught 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Life really gets tough when you get away from this exemplar.
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly
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