The Keeper of Our Souls

7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth.

 —Psalm 121:7-8

GOD WILL KEEP us from evil. It’s clear, however, that we’re not in for an easy ride, because we will encounter evil. What does this evil force want? It seeks after our souls. In Psalm 119:167 we read, “My soul keeps Your testimonies. . . .” That’s an action on our part. But in Proverbs we read, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. . . . He who keeps your soul [emphasis added], does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?” (Proverbs 24:10-12). We’ve already observed that we’re not promised a pain-and problem-free life as we journey toward our final home. That sweet rest won’t begin until we’re there. Here, we must experience trials and troubles, but God will help us up and keep us up along the way. The battle is far more than just a fleshly one. “Beloved, I beg you, . . . abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that [they] may, by [observing] your good works. . . glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).

The war that’s raging for souls today is fierce, and it comes back to bite us because its weapons and tactics are the lusts of the flesh. Paul wrote: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. . . . [I]f anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:6-9). Those in the flesh can’t please God. Their soul is in peril, thus Jesus’s statement that “you must be born again.” Verse 8 refers to our day-to-day experiences, victories, and defeats—doing God’s will, and failing to do so. Yet He preserves our soul. The enemy can’t win! The war that rages against us engages principalities and powers and is aimed at the Lord and His host of angels. What is the enemy after? Our souls. But fear not! You can’t lose what God preserves. Your soul is eternal. Where will that soul spend eternity? Jesus said that He came to offer eternal life (implying the saving of the soul) to all who would come to Him and believe. Once the soul is saved, God helps us up when we fall, keeps us up, and seals our souls to Himself forevermore.

We still have a battle to be won, and we are often our own worst enemy. The apostle Paul understood this well, and he wrote: “We know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. . . . What I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do . . . I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. . . . (In my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. . . . I find then a law, that evil is present in me, the one who wills to do good” (Romans 7:14-21).

So what of those who claim to be Christians but their actions contradict what they say? Paul says that he wills to do good but sometimes doesn’t. It isn’t sin from the soul but sin from the flesh. That means that his perfected soul still lives on in an imperfect body. Romans tells us that we cannot continue in sin counting on grace to cover our shame (Romans 6:1-4). Even so, those who are truly saved “will” to do good, but sometimes they don’t. Must we, then, fear losing our soul to the darkness after this life? You can’t lose what God preserves. All born-again believers share the same moral convictions. Some are better at working them out than others, but no one can defend his sin or say that God is wrong. The Holy Spirit, residing within, leads us to grieve over our sin, and we seek repentance and forgiveness from our Lord. Remember this: if you could lose your salvation, you already would have. But God has preserved your soul from this time forth and forevermore! God has helped you up, kept you up, and one day will take you up, that where He is, you may be also. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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