Christianity -- Christian Living/Question about soul

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Hello Mel and Guyana,

I have a question about the myth of "selling your soul."  I am a Christian, have given my life to Christ and love God more than I can say, but one day I was praying and I had a bad thought about selling my soul, and I got really scared and tried to remember the thought ( because I couldn't remember if I had accidentally said it or thought it) and had the thought again.  It was only a thought, but I feel horrible about it!  I have asked God repeatedly for forgiveness for this thought, and do feel that God has forgiven me but the idea of it still scares me greatly.    Is it possible to sell your soul by just a thought?  Is the idea of selling your soul just fiction created by man?  I believe the Bible to be absolute truth, and I try to judge all of my life issues against God's word because it is absolute truth.  Since then I have felt horrible about the thought and letting God down, but also have grown closer to God by being baptized, going to church, reading the bible, praying and going regularly since then. Thank you so much for your answer and your help with this situation, God bless you both!

Answer
Hi Chris,

You asked about the thought of selling one's soul.

It can be startling to us when we realize how easy it is to reject God's offer of eternal life, and how close we are to the abyss of death.  It can feel as though we turned around to discover we are standing on the edge of a bottomless pit.  Reality can be scary, which is one reason some refuse to acknowledge it.

Others have asked about soul selling, after seeing TV shows or movies where the storyline has someone making a deal with the Devil.

A. God gives all people a choice to "choose life or choose death" by believing Christ and accepting his sacrifice for our sins, and by our daily choices to do good or to do evil.

Deu. 30:15 "See, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil;
         :16 In that I command you this day to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that you may live and multiply: . . .
         : 17 But if your heart turn away, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
         :18  I denounce unto you this day, that you shall surely perish,
         :19  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your children may live:
         :20 That you may love the Lord your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may cleave unto him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: . . ."

There is no market for soul selling or buying. Even if you did accept something tangible from someone human or make a deal with a demon or Satan himself, you still have free moral will to change your mind, repent, and do good.

Acts 2:38  "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

If we choose to do evil, it doesn't matter if we try to sell our soul or not.
Our souls belongs to God not to us. The soul that sins, dies.

Eze 18:4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die."

Our soul is not ours to sell. God created us. Christ died for us, whether we repent or not. We cannot sell something that does not belong to us.
The concept of selling one's soul to Satan for fame, wealth or power sells movies and television shows, but it is fiction.


B. If one studies the Bible, it becomes obvious that:
   a.) God is more powerful than Satan,  Zech. 3:1-2 .
       James 2:19 You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

   b.) Satan cannot do anything without the permission of God, Job 1:1 - 2:7, esp. Job 2:4-6.

Even those who become demon possessed have not "sold" their souls. Otherwise Christ and the disciples could not have "cast" out the demons.

There are demons in the world. We see them in scripture being cast out by Christ and the disciples. Demons don't die like humans do and so they are all, still around today.

We do not have to be afraid of demons or of Satan.
Mat. 10:1  And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease."
The word disciple simply means "student". If we study God's words in the Bible, we are his students and his disciples.

Mat. 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him [God] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. "

The plot line of selling one's soul is not new. The movie "Bedazzled" used it along with about 25 other movies and TV shows listed by IMDb.com. The 16th century story of Faust also used the same plot.


C. Several scriptures are sometimes mentioned in the context of selling one's soul:

1. Matthew 16:24-26     In the New Testament Greek, the word translated for soul is psuche, which means physical breath, as in a "breathing creature", one that is alive not dead.  It corresponds to Gen. 2:7, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life: and man became a living soul (Heb. nephesh, a breathing creature)"
Notice that this does not say that Adam was given a soul, but that he became a living soul, a breathing creature.
[The nature of the human soul is a separate subject which we can discuss if you want.]

In Mat.16, the discussion of forfeiture or exchange is for physical life, psuche, the breath of life.


2. 1 Kings 21:20 is an indictment against Ahab, the king of Israel (r. 918-897 BC) for his marriage agreement with Jezebel, daughter of the pagan priest-king Ethbaal of Tyre.  Provision was made for her to continue to worship her native god Baal in Samaria, her new home in Israel (1K. 16:39-23).  She was fanatical about Melqart, the Tyrian name for Baal and had a staff of 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah.  She wanted her god to have equal rights with the God of Israel and this started the conflict with God's prophet Elijah, leading to the dramatic "contest" of chapter 18.

Ahab made a marriage agreement with Jezebel, knowing that he was doing evil in the sight of God.   But, rather than sell his soul to Satan, it is more like he married Satan's sister. LOL

The words, "because you have sold yourself to work" are translated from the Heb. "makar 'asar", meaning to "be sold, to sell, or to sell oneself", and "to make, or accomplish".  

Ahab sold himself into service to Baal (a fictitious god) in exchange for marriage to Jezebel, which was only for the political purposes of uniting Israel and Tyre against Israel's enemies, including Judah.  It wasn't even for love.

Negative thoughts occur to everyone.  It can be scary, some of the things the human mind can imagine.

Everyone tries to avoid thinking about something. Usually it is something they do not want to do, like dying. Most try to think about something else in its place. This is usually easier if one can also “do” something else. If the thoughts come to mind when watching a TV show about murder, suicide or depression, then change the channel. If you are reading a book, stop and put it away. If you are hanging with Goth friends, find another crowd to hang with.

Our minds are just like televisions or radios in that we can always change the channel. On line, we can go to another web page.

It appears that Satan tempts us by broadcasting like a TV station. He sends out thoughts and images that are selfish, evil or in some way wrong. If you have a radio with a tuning knob, as you spin the knob you can hear words, phrases or bits of music as the antenna is changed to different radio wave frequencies.
We can control our minds the same way. If we let our mind wander, our thoughts can be influenced or even controlled by everything and everyone around us. Or we can choose a specific station and leave the tuning knob alone, or adjust it if the station starts to fade out.

And then there are thoughts that seem to come from nowhere. Thoughts that we don't want to think about. Some can be so horrible that we cannot believe that they came from within us. The most evil thoughts are those brought to us by the Satan Broadcasting System. Some people have problems shutting out the worst of the messages and have to have psychiatric or psychological help.  Use or abuse of drugs or other chemicals can facilitate, or cause this.

The mind is like a muscle in that it needs exercise. One method of torturing POW's is to deprive them of mental exercise by isolating them in dark, windowless cells. Soldiers are taught how to do mental exercises and to keep their minds active in order to survive mentally.

We can exercise our minds by choosing what we think about. We already do this in the classroom, on the job and when pursuing recreation.
Studies have shown that it is possible for us to think about as many as six things at once. Playing the piano requires separate thoughts and decisions about two hands and two feet.  Playing drums involves both hands, one or both feet, from one to ten musical objects, plus watching and listening to the other band members.  Video games often require thinking about more than one thing at a time.

This ability can make it more difficult to shut out certain thoughts while allowing others to remain. The easiest method in this case would probably be to shut out all thoughts except one and to concentrate on it.

The Apostle Paul told the church at Philippi to control their minds and to think about specific things:
Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,. . . honest, . . .just, . . .pure, . . . lovely, . . .of good report,. . . if there be any virtue,  . . .any praise, think on these things.”

This is important because we “are” what we “think”.

Pro. 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he: . . . “

If we spend a lot of time thinking about something we are more likely to do it.

Jas. 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:
:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.”

Every sin begins with the thought. If we stop the thought, we can avoid the sin. But if we entertain the thought, allow it to stay, encourage it, develop it, it can lead to the action.

Not that we can actually sell our soul, but it is possible to allow demons to control our minds, and to become demon possessed. To avoid this, all thoughts of being subject to Satan should be forcefully put out of our minds.

That you are concerned about the thoughts and do not want to sell your soul, shows that you are still going in the right direction.  Just ask God for forgiveness and move on.

Lk 6.45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

We hope that this helps in some way.  If you have further questions about this or about the nature of the soul, feel free to ask.
Sincerely,
Mel and Guyna

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Mel and Guyna Horne

Expertise

Anyone can read the Bible but sometimes it helps to have someone assist with the understanding (Acts 8:26-40). Truth comes from God through his holy spirit of truth (Jn. 16:13, 1Cor. 2:12), which is available to anyone who believes, repents and seeks God fervently and wholeheartedly, with humility, faith and persistence (Mat. 7:7, Deu. 4:29, Isa. 66:2, Jas. 4:1-10, Phil. 2:12). Truth is not limited to, or by, man’s religious organizations, church traditions, popular beliefs or personal opinions (Jn. 8:32, 14:6). We will try to help anyone who is trying to understand scripture or Christian living. [Please, no homework questions.]

Experience

Over 50 years of personal study of the entire Bible (Deu. 8:3, Mat. 4:4, 2Tim. 3:16, Deu. 4:12, Rev. 22:18). B.A. in Theology with continuing studies in religious history and education (2Tim 2:15, 1Ths. 5:21). Years of informal counseling of young adults, teens, couples, and prisoners, based on scripture and on actual life experience in the world outside of classrooms and church buildings and including a long and happy marriage. After years with religious organizations, we are Non-denominational. Publications:http://thechurchofgodinamerica.com/index.htm; http://www.reocities.com/Athens/Forum/1611/,books on God's Holy Days, Lying, the Sacred Names Doctrine; articles on Terrorism and Islam, the Gospel of Christ, Preparing Yourself for Life in the Kingdom of Christ; What Happens After Death.

Organizations
Organizations are of men, not God. While God may use some of them to facilitate his plan, organizations train their people to follow, not to lead. God was able to create the whole Creation, as we see it, in only six days, because he did not use a committee. Ten years after 9/11, the only thing approved for construction at the New York site was a mosque. We are not affiliated with any denominational or institutional organization. We are members of the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5).

Education/Credentials
"If a man would teach others, he must first teach himself." - Source Unknown. B.A. in Theology, over 50 years of personal study, the last 12 of which have been full time study and research resulting in publication of several books and many articles.

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