Power in the kingdom of heaven is defined as moral power and excellence of soul. So far moral power has been explored. Now excellence of soul will be discussed. In this study a sentence concerning the soul is given, the relevant scripture verse is quoted and then the meaning of the concept on the soul is explained.
The soul is a person’s very life.
Joshua led the children of Israel into the promised land after Moses’ death. He continually kept the laws given by God to Moses for the Israelites to follow before their eyes.
“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you: to love the Lord your God and to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and to cling to and unite with Him and to serve Him with all your heart and soul [your very life].” Joshua 22:5
A person must serve the Lord with all his heart and soul, his very life. This means take diligent heed to God’s commandments, loving the Lord God, walking in His ways, keeping His commandments and clinging and uniting with Him.
This scripture verse describes an excellence of soul or life. To be very good in the essence of a person that causes action, a person is diligent in serving the Lord God, loving and obeying Him, clinging and uniting with Him.
The salvation of the soul is waited for in silence.
David was seeking the Lord and composed this psalm about his emotions when doing so. He was humble and did not life up his soul in pride.
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.” Psalm 62:1
A soul waits alone in silence for God to bring his or her salvation. When everything has been going wrong it is best to wait for God to save life in silence. Trying to express anything but praise of God does not work.
To have an excellent soul or life, a person needs to know how to get through the difficult to understand situations of life. It is best to wait on God in silence.
The soul waits for God with expectation.
Continuing in the same psalm, David writes about the way to wait for God.
“My soul, wait only upon God and silently submit to Him; for my hope and expectation are from Him.” Psalm 62:5
A soul waits upon God silently submitting to Him because God is his hope and expectation. The essence of a person what causes action, the definition of soul, has to wait on God to have excellence of action. The person hopes in God and expects Him to solve his or her problems.
God satisfies the soul.
Now David is rejoicing in this psalm. He is praising God for His loving kindness and mercy that endures forever.
“For He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with good.” Psalm 107:9
A soul when longing for the goodness of God, God satisfies. A soul that is hungry God fills with good. God is given high praise for doing so. A soul in excellent condition is a satisfied and filled soul.
Souls are created by God.
The prophet Isaiah gave a prophetic utterance on the problem of when God becomes angry with a person. People cannot withstand God’s anger.
“For I will not contend forever, neither will I be angry always, for [if I did stay angry] the spirit [of man] would faint and be consumed before Me, and [My purpose in] creating the souls of men would be frustrated.” Isaiah 57:16
Souls are created by God and because of this God does not contend or stay angry with people forever. God is interested in His people and wants to keep them His own people. He created the soul of a person and knows what is in a person and how he or she acts.
The good old way rests the soul.
Jeremiah prophesied to the Jews when they were rebellious from God. He tried to tell them what to do but they would not do it.
“Thus says the Lord: Stand by the roads and look; and ask for the eternal paths, where the good, old way is; then walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it!” Jeremiah 6:16
A soul rests in eternal paths, in the good old way. Standing by the road a person used to be able to ask for directions. The Lord wanted to direct the Jews to rest and He said to ask about eternal paths, they were the good old ways. This is true today that the old ways are restful.
A soul is replenished by God.
Further on in the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah talks more about how God wants to rest and replenish the soul.
“For I will [fully] satisfy the weary soul, and I will replenish every languishing and sorrowful person.” Jeremiah 31:25
A weary soul is satisfied by God and a sorrowing and languishing soul is replenished by God. In truth God is concerned with helping the poor and needy. He sends His people to help people who need it.
God wants to keep His people in his kingdom. Power in his kingdom comes from excellence of soul. A needy soul is not very powerful so God tries to satisfy and replenish each soul and keep all the souls in His kingdom in excellent shape.
Hell destroys a soul.
People are afraid of being killed and Jesus did not want them to be afraid of death. He was going to conquer death on the cross.
“And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be afraid of Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Gehenna).” Matthew 10:28
Be afraid only of being destroyed in hell not of having the body killed. The soul is destroyed in hell and no other way. A soul lives in heaven after death forever.
The kingdom of heaven was announced by Jesus when he started his ministry on earth and God wants all people to live there whether before or after the physical body dies. People are to be afraid only of being cast into hell.
Working for Jesus replenishes the soul.
Another way to find rest for a person’s soul is to work as if for Jesus. This work is refreshing to the soul. The person is at ease at this work and finds quietness.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
Carry Jesus’ yoke for He is gentle, meek, and humble in heart and there the soul finds relief, ease, refreshment, and recreation. A yoke on a pair of oxen enables the oxen to pull a load. The yoke on a person means a job of employment. A person who works as if for Jesus finds a job that is enjoyable for him or her to do.
To be able to act very good or be excellent in soul, a person cannot be under pressure. Working for Jesus a person finds relief, ease, refreshment, recreation and quiet.
Love the Lord with all your soul.
The soul is the very essence of life that causes action. A person loves the Lord with the very cause of action.
“And He replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).” Matthew 22:37
The sound doctrine and moral instruction of Jesus is to Love the Lord with all the heart, soul, and mind. Loving the Lord with all a person’s being gives a person excellence of soul.
Life for the soul is gained by patient endurance.
Jesus when teaching the people was asked about the times ahead when there would be many afflictions for his disciples to suffer. He taught them how to survive those times.
“By your steadfastness and patient endurance you shall win the true life of your souls.” Luke 21:19
The souls of people gain life by being steadfast and having patient endurance. When going through trying times, the soul is not destroyed but make more excellent, given true life.
The soul is complete and blameless at Christ’s second coming.
Paul in his first letter to the church in Thessalonica, blesses the church in the end of the last part of the letter.
“And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).” I Thessalonians 5:23
A person’s spirit, soul and body are sanctified by the God of Peace separating the person from vain things, consecrating and making the person pure. The spirit, soul and body are made sound, complete and blameless at the second coming of Christ.
Excellence of soul is a growth process waiting for God to act, resting as God replenishes a person, learning to love God with all the soul, and perfected by being steadfast. The soul is blameless and complete at Christ’s second coming.
The soul is preserved through faith.
Separated in the next scripture verse are people who are headed for eternal misery and people whose life will be preserved.
“But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul.” Hebrews 10:39
The soul is preserved through faith of those who believe in God, cleaving to, relying on, and trusting God through Christ. These people are not on their way to perdition, to be destroyed in eternal misery.
Spiritual leaders watch over a person’s soul.
Also in the book of Hebrews, people are instructed concerning their spiritual leaders who guard their spiritual welfare.
“Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning for that would not be profitable to you either].” Hebrews 13:17
The souls of the church are watched over by the spiritual leaders and the spiritual leaders guard spiritual welfare for the souls in the church. Recognize their authority over the souls of the church and submit to them. These men have to render account of the church. Let them work on the soul without sighing or groaning; instead be glad at their work. This will be the most profitable for all.
Excellence of soul is developed by the church leaders for the church members. The church members have to cooperate and let them work otherwise nothing is gained.
Christ keeps the person’s soul from going astray.
In church where Christ is the head of the church a person’s soul is kept from straying from the Lord.
“For you were going astray like [so many] sheep, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Guardian (the Bishop) of your souls.” I Peter 2:25
Christ is the shepherd and guardian of the soul keeping a person from going astray. Without the shepherd, people like sheep stray from the flock. The church keeps people together and with the Lord.
The church teaches principles of acting very good found in the Bible. The leaders preach to the essence of the problems of acting well and keep the souls of the people excellent.
A well kept soul is a prosperous person.
The apostle John in his third letter gives a blessing at the beginning that is a comment on prosperity.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers.” III John 1:2
When a soul is well kept and prosperous the body will also prosper in every way and be well kept. Christians seem to be overly concerned about their appearance but in reality they are just matching their outward appearance to the condition of their soul.
SUMMARY OF WHAT IS EXCELLENCE OF SOUL
• To be excellent in soul serve the Lord.
• When times are difficult and excellence of life is in question, wait in silence for God.
• Through problems when excellence of soul is threatened expect God to solve the situation.
• A longing and a hungry soul, God brings into excellent shape and satisfies the needs.
• When God is angry, do not worry about the soul losing excellence because He is interested in His people for He created their souls.
• An excellent soul is a rested person. Rely on the eternal paths of the good old ways for rest.
• God keeps His people’s souls in excellent shape by replenishing and satisfying them when weary or sorrowful.
• Life in the kingdom of heaven has no fear of death, only hell can destroy a soul.
• Problems at work threaten the excellence of the soul. Work for Jesus to reduce the problems.
• The Lord must be loved with all the soul to become excellent.
• Through problems the soul becomes more excellent rather than coming to destruction.
• A soul growing in the Lord Jesus Christ becomes perfect and blameless when Christ comes again.
• Faith in Christ preserves the soul into excellence.
• Greet spiritual leaders with gladness for through their work the soul is kept in excellent shape.
• Christ through the working of His church keeps the soul from straying from the excellent path.
• Prosperity of life shows when the soul is kept in excellence.
Excerpt from the book Moral Power. To read more click on the blue link Moral Power.