Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ephesians 1 - (13th Meditation) - "The Worth of Your Soul"

As I mentioned in the previous meditation, I will now lean on Scougal's thesis statement;
"The worth and excellence of a soul is to be measured by the object of it's love."

Think about that for a second.

If Scougal is right, then right now you can calculate the value of your own soul. I think he's right. Your worth is equivalent to what you supremely value. Have you checked your price tag recently?

I saw a cover of Entertainment Weekly this week that asked, "Is Tom Cruise Really Worth $100,000,000?" Frankly, I don't care. Obviously pop culture does, and that would be one reason I've not been sought after as a cover writer for EW.

Although I don't know the answer to EW's question, I do know this: Tom, and you, and I are all going to stand before the same Awesome Standard some day, and the issue will not be the number of Washington's we possessed.

So, how much is your soul worth? Scougal said you can know the answer by looking to what your soul supremely values.

What (or whom, or, Whom) is the most supremly valuable object in the life of your affections. Making the assumption that people are honest (perhaps quite a stretch), here are the responses I think would be most common (perhaps even among "professing" Christians):
1. Myself.
2. My partner (Spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, live-in, fling, etc...).
3. My stuff.
4. My career.
5. My reputation.
6. My portfolio.
7. My leisure time (golf, vacations, games, sports, etc...).
Given the assumption that the Bible is true (which is no stretch at all!), here is only answer that will make your soul invaluable:
1. King Jesus Christ.

If you love an item on the first list supremely, then, there you've figured out that "the worth and excellence of your soul" is finite.

However, if you love Christ supremely, then, there you've figured out that "the worth and excellence of your soul" is infinite.

The main reason that I don't care about Tom's "value" is because his monetary value is not actually valuable - in the scope of eternity. Someday every last dollar will rot. Christ never will!

Ephesians 1:1-14 ends with this breathtaking summation:

And you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who was given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. - vv. 13-14

This is why both biblical and systematic theology are so important. We read the word "believed" and make all sorts of assumptions. What was Paul's intention? What was the Holy Spirit's intention (I believe these are one and the same)?

Systematic theology teaches us that "belief" in Christ is a surrender of the whole person to His Lordship, His ability to save from sin, self, Satan, and hell forever, and an embrace of Christ as our Ultimate Treasure! Biblical theology teaches us that belief is a dominate New Testament theme (and OT!), and a central component to Pauline theology. (cf. "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9)).

When Paul emphasizes that the Ephesians have "believed" in Him he is saying to them, "You are of infinite value because you supremely value the Most Valuable of All, King Jesus." (Notice in the ESV, the belief is in Christ, not just the gospel - a subtle, but vital point [The ESV translation of vv. 12-13 is more in keeping with the wording of the GNT than is the NASB translation of the same verses]).

In short, the worth and excellence of "those who are faithful by Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:2) is infinte because GOD is of infinite value and He, in Christ, by the power of the Spirit, stands as the centerpiece of their heart's affections! (That's the way I'd sum up verses 12-14. Although the Holy Spirit is the most mentioned Person of the Trinity on those verses, both systematic and biblical theology teach us that the Spirit's vocation is make God's people treasure Jesus most, not Himself [See John 16:14]).

So, my next question would be, "What is the value of God?" According to Scougal's formula, we would first have to know what He supremely values. Thoughts?

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