Author: Ron Graham
The Priceless Creation (A)
—The Soul Renewed in Christ for Glory
We are thinking in this lesson about how God gives new life to our souls through Christ. The Bible speaks of this as a new creation, a new birth, or a resurrection. What happens to our souls at conversion is certainly marvelous.
This new birth is a free gift from God —a gift from "the surpassing riches of his grace" (Ephesians 2:7) far beyond any price we could possibly pay.
Our meditation in this lesson is focussed on the text below.
“We are God’s workmanship created in Christ” (Ephesians 2:10).
When Paul says that we have been "created in Christ" he is thinking about us being "born again" as Jesus expressed it when he was talking to Nicodemus (John 3:3-5). Paul also speaks of it figuratively, in our chapter for study, as a resurrection and ascension (Ephesians 2:6).
To appreciate the new creation in Christ, we need to first go back and look briefly at the story of the human soul from the beginning.
1 The Soul Is From God
In every person there is a soul or spirit created "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27). God "forms the spirit of man within him" (Zechariah 12:1). So the soul of man is a gift direct from God.
James tells us that "every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights... he brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we might be, as it were, the first fruits among his creatures" (James 1:16-18).
That's how we came into this world, and even though we may have lost our light through sin, we can have it restored through Christ as "the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).
There is glory in Man's Soul. Some people regard man as just a little higher than the beasts. However the Bible describes man as made "a little lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:7, Psalm 8:4-8).
Whilst this is a prophecy about Christ in a special sense, it also is applicable to humankind in a general sense. We must remember too, that the intent of the prophetic meaning is that Christ was to become a man. When God’s Son became a human being, he was "made like unto his brethren in all things" (Hebrews 2:17).
It follows that his brethren were therefore also like him. They also were made a little lower than the angels, and through him are "crowned with glory and honour" (Hebrews 2:7).
Furthermore, the rightful destiny of mankind is to become "like the angels" after a little while (Matthew 22:29-30).
We are often reminded by humanists and evolutionists that our genes differ from the beasts by only a few percent. That takes account only of our bodies, and only of them in their mortal form. It takes no account of our souls or of the fact that "this mortal must put on immortality" (1Corinthians 15:42-46,53).
Never forget that "God created man in His own image. In the image of God He created him. Male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27).
2 The Soul is Priceless
Our souls are so precious that we cannot give anything in exchange for them. Though you owned the whole world it would be nothing compared to the value of your soul. "What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? And what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26).
On three occasions in Ephesians Paul uses the word exceeding1 It occurs here in our chapter for study and it occurs in the previous and following chapters:
- "...the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints... the exceeding1 greatness of His power toward us who believe" (Ephesians 1:18-19).
- "...the exceeding1 riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).
- "...the love of Christ exceeding1 knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God... exceeding1 abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us" (Ephesians 3:19-20).
When we consider, as best we can, the exceeding1 riches and power of Christ, and realise that from this, and through this, our souls derive their value, then we must acknowledge that the soul has “hyper-value”. It is indeed a priceless creation.
3 The Soul Who Sins Dies
Sin causes the soul to be "lost" (Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 3:23-24) and so we become spiritually "dead" and doomed (Ephesians 2:5).
We sold ourselves for a fool's price, "the pleasures of sin for a season" (Heb 11:25). But we cannot buy ourselves back, because that requires an impossible price.
As we have seen, we have no answer to the question, "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26).
That is our predicament. We sold ourselves for a fool's price, yet to buy back our freedom requires an impossible price. So God tells us, most kindly, that he will pay the price that we cannot pay. And what was the price? It was no less than the blood of his only begotten Son.