Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 23 Number 11 November 2021
Page 9

A Soul and the World

Ernest S. Underwood

Ernest S. Underwood“For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world,
and loses his own soul? Or what will a man
give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NKJV).


  1. These questions, propounded by Jesus of Nazareth, are highly suggestive.
  2. They set the wheels of thought to spinning, put us to thinking of life’s issues, the big things with which we have to do: the soul, the world, gain, loss, profit.
  3. Let us come to grip with these issues.


I. What is the soul?

  1. It is the higher life, that which distinguishes man from the beast.
  2. It is the part of man that will survive the ordeal of death.
  3. Shall we say that “man has a soul” or that “man is a soul”?
  4. Its value: It is of greater value than any member of the body (Matthew 5:29-30), even the entire body (Matthew 10:28), or “the whole world.”
  5. Its possibilities: (1) It can sin or be righteous, (2) It can be miserable or happy, (3) It can descend into the horrors of Hell, or it can ascend to Heaven.

II. What is the world?

  1. According to John (1 John 2:16), the world includes: sensual pleasures – “the lust of the flesh,” wealth – “the lust of the eyes” and the honors of the world – “vainglory of life.”
  2. “The whole world” of which the Master speaks includes all the pleasures, the wealth and all the
    honors the world can bestow.

III. If you should gain “the whole world,” what would be your gain?

  1. Something that cannot satisfy (John 4:13).
  2. A dangerous master. When the young ruler gained riches, he gained a master who had more power over him than the Lord of life (Mark 10).
  3. Something perishable (1 Peter 1:24; 1 John 2:17a).

IV. If you should gain “the whole world,” what would be your loss, for everything you gain, you must sustain a loss?

  1. Sensual pleasure is gained at the price of purity; wealth accrues at the price of honesty, liberality and sympathy (Luke 16:19-21); honor is attained at the price of conviction (Luke 6:26).
  2. When purity, honesty, liberality, sympathy and conviction are gone, the soul is gone – gone for a mess of meat. The soul – higher life – must be surrendered when we make a conquest of the world.

V. If you should gain “the whole world,” what would be your profit?

  1. What would a fish be profited if it should gain all seas and forfeit its gills?
  2. What would a bird be profited if it should gain all atmosphere and forfeit its wings?
  3. What would a man be profited if he should gain the world and forfeit his eyes, or his ears, his health or his soul – that which is worth more than the entire body?
  4. He who forfeits his soul for the world must, in the end, lose both the price and the purchase (Luke 12:16-20).


  1. The soul, if finally lost, cannot be recovered. “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
  2. If you should stand on the eternal shore, having bartered your soul, it will be impossible to buy it back.
  3. You shall be like Esau of old, who after selling his birthright, tried in vain to regain it (Hebrews 12:16-17).

The New Birth

Mark T. Tonkery

Mark T. TonkeryJesus said in John 3:5-6, “…Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (NKJV).

There are many who want to argue that baptism, which one must enter to become a Christian, is not immersion; some say it is sprinkling or pouring of water. A quick word study of the New Testament Greek can help us to understand that baptism is immersion.

When one compares the Greek words for sprinkling, pouring and immersion, it is clear that the Holy Spirit meant immersion regarding Christian baptism. The word “sprinkle” in Greek is rhantizō. The word “pour” in Greek is ekcheō or ekchunō. The word “baptism” in Greek is baptisma, meaning “immersion,” and the verb form is baptō, which means “cover wholly with a fluid” (Strong’s). The Greek verb baptizo means to “dip,” “submerge” or “immersion.” (Vine’s 96).

With this said, if the Holy Spirit wanted to use the Greek words for sprinkling or pouring for baptism, the Greek words were readily available in the first century to do so. Therefore, we can see that the meaning is clear that God desired people to be immersed into water to experience the New Birth.

Some may say, “Well that is pretty technical. I don’t know Greek; is there a simpler way to understand this?” The answer is, “Yes.” One can simply read our English Bible and get a clear understanding of one being immersed.

For example, Colossians 2:12 reads, “…Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Note also Romans 6:3-5.

Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection

Notice that both passages state that we are “buried” in baptism. We understand what buried is – to cover up completely. That’s what we do in a cemetery when we lay a loved one to rest; we do not leave a body exposed to the elements. Neither do we merely sprinkle or just pour some dirt over the casket. We “bury” the dead completely in the ground. In a similar way we are “buried,” “covered” or “immersed” in water to get into Christ.

Then, there is the example of immersion in John 3:23, “Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.” John’s baptism, which prepared the way for the baptism that Jesus authorized (Matthew 28:18-20), was done with much water, meaning immersion. We also see in Acts 8:38 that Philip took the Eunuch down into the water to be immersed into Christ.

As we have discussed the mode of baptism, we must not forget why one is to be immersed into Christ. Mark 16:15-16 tells us that this is the proper response to the preaching of the Gospel, in which one must believe and in which one is baptized. Baptism is stated as the place where one is saved. On the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38, baptism was the point remission of sins was received. In Romans 6:3-6, 17-18, baptism is the act of obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Have you truly been born again and thereby have entered the kingdom of God? Have you confessed your faith in Christ, repented of your sins and been immersed into Christ, or are you still spiritually dead? Think about it!

Works Cited

Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Electronic Database. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2010.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson P., 1985.

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