Ten million dollars? A hundred million dollars? In reality, a soul often sells for a whole lot less. Why? Because the thing we desire the most is what the devil uses to purchase our souls. He has been given power in this world to tempt and bribe us. Jesus faced such trials. “Then the devil took Jesus to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘all this authority I will give you, and their glory, for this has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours if you worship me.’ Jesus replied , ‘It is written, Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him’” [Lk. 4:5-8].
Sadly, all of us fail and fall under the bondage of sin [Rom. 3:23, 6:20,21]. But the purchase price for a soul varies a lot. Wealth, of course, is a common bribe but it could be just about anything. For some it is succeeding at something and for others winning a race or election. It could be anything we have a great desire for. Even what we should highly value and love can become a bargaining chip. Jesus warned us, ”He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me” [Mt. 10:37]. Our own life can be too precious [Mt. 16:25].
Somehow, the devil seems to find out what we want most. He then uses it as a wedge to separate us from God. Take the example of the rich young ruler. He was a good man. He kept the commandments. Yet he let something come between himself and God. “Then Jesus, looking at him loved him, and said to him, ‘one thing you lack, go your way and sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven—and come take up your cross and follow Me’” [Mk. 10:21]. Jesus saw that his “great possessions” had become too important.
The reason the devil so easily buys souls is because the desires of the “here and now” make us forget the more important things of the future. Like Esau, who to satisfy his hunger with stew and bread, sold his birthright [Gen. 25:29-30]. That’s the way it usually goes. In a moment of emotional impulsiveness, your whole life is changed for the worse.
The good news is Jesus Christ has come to seek and save that which is lost [Lk. 19:10]. In Jesus we are set free from sin to be slaves to God. The wages for sin’s slavery is death but the wage of slavery to God is eternal life [Rom. 6:16-18,32,33]. In Jesus, God will limit temptations to what we can handle [1 Cor. 10:13]. In Jesus,
He will intercede for us so our faith will not fail when we are being “sifted like wheat” [Lk. 22:31]. In Christ we learn new wants and desires. And when our minds are on good things, the things we want will be good things. As we grow as children of God, the devil’s temptations will fall on deaf ears. What we were unable to do before, we can now do in Christ.
The whole point comes down to this. Jesus said,”What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeit his soul” [Mt. 16:26]? Eternal life is much more important than even all the world. Amen!