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Catechism Class – LD34C The Value of the Soul


Catechism Class: LD34C The Value of the Soul


Text. Mark 8:35-37   

What does the LORD require in the first commandment?

That for the sake of my very salvation I avoid and flee all idolatry, witchcraft, superstition, and prayer to saints or to other creatures. Further, that I rightly come to know the only true God, trust in him alone, submit to him with all humility and patience, expect all good from him only, and love, fear, and honour him with all my heart.

In short, that I forsake all creatures rather than do the least thing against his will.


Tine to take account – What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own sou?

We  remain with Lord’s Day 34B for this short lesson, for I have been greatly concerned by the solemnity with which the Catechist begins his answer to Q94.  He implies the importance of the human soul, its value, and the danger that it might be lost forever.  It is for the sake of our very salvation that we must flee from idolatry and come to known God through a saving relationship with Jesus.  

He is of course echoing the solemnity of the words of our Saviour himself, in Mark 8.   For a few minutes, let’s reflect on the catechist’s great concern.

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  • We all have a SOUL.  It’s what makes us different from the animals, we consist of body, and spirit/soul.  1 Thessalonians 5:23.  Hebrews 4:12   We are more than just a body, just a collection of cells or a clump of DNA.  We have a SOUL, and that soul will live on after the earthly body is destroyed.  2 Corinthians 5:1  Jesus taught this to his disciples.  He warned them not to fear those who could destroy the body, but rather be afraid of the death of the soul.  Matthew 10:28.  The soul is of enormous value, so much so that Jesus asks the rhetorical question, “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul.”  How could we ever place a price on the soul, what would be a fair exchange for the soul?  It is priceless, of infinite worth, and here is why. Our bodies perish, they develop sickness and disease, and eventually, in God’s appointed timing, they die, and they are placed in a grave and they decay.  And there they remain, our DNA perpetually in the soil or the sea, until the resurrection day, when body and soul shall be reunited.  But the soul doesn’t die.  The soul lives on, for it is immortal.  But where shall that soul be in eternity?  And that is what is concerning the catechist, and it must concern us also.  
  • The soul is in mortal danger.  Jesus warns of the possibility a man or a woman may LOSE HIS OR HER OWN SOUL!  We may have great success in life.  We may accumulate millions of pounds, gain a worthy reputation among other people, rise to positions of power and authority, gain fame and be admired by the citizens if the world.  We may conquer nations, or pioneer new treatments for the benefit of mankind,  we may explore the vastness if the universe…  we may gain the whole world, and still lose our own soul!  And the loss of the soul is a serious matter, for it is an eternal loss, a loss that can never be regained.  It is to stand before God in our sins, and be cast away for ever from his loving presence, to be consigned to eternal punishment, in the place so vividly described in Revelation 20:15   This is the great danger of the soul, and it is why the catechist warns us so solemnly about inventing a false god of our own, instead of worshipping the God who created us.  
  • There is a calculation to be made.  Jesus speaks in terms that remind us of commerce, of profit and loss, when he asks, “what shall it profit a man…”   There’s a challenge in that question, a challenge to take account of our spiritual condition, to ask ourselves who or what readily is the object of our worship.   If it is anything other than God, our souls our in grave danger.  Matthew 6:24   There is NOTHING that can take the place of God in our lives.  To allow anything into that place, anything at all is to invite eternal misery and loss upon our never-dying soul.

Today, the catechist, and more importantly the Law of God forces us to examine our consciences and our hearts.  If we are not following the Lord, living in a relationship with him that excludes all others, our instructor sternly warns us that our very salvation is in danger, and advises us in these urgent words: Further, that I rightly come to know the only true God, trust in him alone, submit to him with all humility and patience, expect all good from him only, and love, fear, and honour him with all my heart.  

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