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  • Writer's pictureBeverly Nickles

Jesus asked, What will you give in exchange for your soul?

Jesus asked, “ For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mk. 8:36-37)

This question from Jesus marks the highpoint in Mark’s gospel. Jesus repeated this pattern of direct confrontation throughout his earthy ministry. It’s the Lord’s own invitation to sinners to come to him for forgiveness, blessing and eternal life.

Jesus said on another occasion, “If you wish to come after me, you must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.”

His invitation to follow him is a hard one, and accepting it comes at a high cost. True discipleship requires total commitment and costs everything.

Then Jesus drove his question yet deeper, “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

There’s an even higher price to pay for rejecting Him. Jesus graciously extended His invitation to all; but issued a dire warning to those who reject Him. In the end, rejecting him costs your eternal soul. You’re left to pay your own sin debt. You send yourself to a torturous hell for eternal punishment.

Jesus, the Son of Man, Himself suffered many things while on earth. He was rejected, and then brutally tortured and crucified on a cruel cross. But after three days, he powerfully raised himself from the grave, overcoming sin and death. Now he is seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father.

Our Holy God required a suitable pay for our sin. Only His sinless Son, Jesus, could make that sacrifice to pay our sin debt. And He paid our debt for us on the Cross.

First a cross, and then a crown. First suffering and sacrifice, and then the Kingdom and glory.

Jesus’ invitation to all requires three responses:

One: self-denial. Abandon your self-effort and self -confidence. Depend on Christ alone. Give him control of your life. Give up everything to gain him.

Two: cross bearing. Following Christ closely requires a willingness to endure persecution, hostility, rejection and shame. True conversion views Christ and eternal salvation as so precious that no personal sacrifice is too great.

Three: obedience. Continuous obedience is key to discipleship. Walk the way Christ walked. He was willing to endure the cross for the joy set before him. And the glory that awaited him in heaven.

What would you give in exchange for your soul?

Jesus offers a choice. He extends a generous invitation to follow him in this life to gain eternal life. But warns of dire consequences for rejecting him. Eternity spent in a torturous hell.

Jesus paid the price in full. And his sacrifice is the only payment acceptable to God. Jesus, the infinite God, paid the infinite price to offer you salvation as a free gift.

Again, he extends his invitation with a warning. It’s a hard invitation that requires giving up your life, and threatens dire consequences for rejectors.

The human soul lives on consciously forever. Make your choice. Eternal punishment in a Christless hell; or eternal blessing and joy in heaven with Jesus.

As Jesus said,

… “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it. But whoever would lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Whoever therefore is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34b-38 MEV)

---Beverly Nickles

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