(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)
"What shall it profit a man — if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26
That is putting the case in its most favorable light! The whole world is the largest possible gain. But suppose a man does gain the whole world —
it cannot keep him from trouble;
it cannot give him peace of conscience;
it cannot comfort him in sorrow;
it cannot make a soft pillow for him when he is dying;
it cannot purchase Heaven for him when he is gone!
All that he can do with the world, after he has it — is to keep it for a short time until he dies! He cannot carry any part of it with him into eternity!
"How much did he leave?" asked one, referring to a millionaire who had just died. "Every cent!" was the reply. He left all. So it is easy to see that there is no profit — but rather a fearful and eternal loss, in gaining even all the world — at the price of one's soul.
Then, think for how much smaller price than 'the whole world' which many people sell their souls for!
Some sell their soul for a few hours' guilty pleasure!
Some sell their soul for a political office!
Some sell their soul for filthy lucre!
Some sell their soul for honor which fades in a day.
They are selling their souls also in many other ways — for pitiable trifles.
Like Esau, they are bartering their heavenly birthright — for a bowl of stew!
What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Ah! that's the trouble. When the soul is lost — there is no way of recovering it. When we have made our choice, and lived our life, whether right or wrong — there is no possibility of changing the results! Life is given to us only once; and if we live it wrongly, there is no chance to live it over again. A lost soul cannot be gotten back; it is irretrievably lost!