My thoughts go back to the days of canning. That time of year when fruits and vegetables were prepped and then packed into glass Mason jars. As I recall it, there were three key components to making sure that was canned didn’t spoil. What put the “preserve” in the preservatives was the canning liquid poured in, the heat applied, and the seal created. Get those three things right and, it seemed, those fruits and vegetables could sit on those shelves forever . . . though they never lasted that long. This morning, something I read has me thinking about the soul’s preservative.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,”Yet a little while, and the coming One will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:36-39 ESV)
The book of Hebrews declares the supremacy and superiority of Christ for the purpose of restoring and renewing the believers’ holy determination to keep on keeping on. These Hebrew brothers and sisters were taking it in the teeth for their faith. Their arms were growing tired with carrying the banner . . . their feet were growing blistered from running the race . . . the glory of the prize set before them blurred because of the sweat and tears in their eyes . . . and they were wavering with turning back to that which, would in part, ease some of the opposition. And so, for them, Christ and the implications of His death, resurrection, and ascension are presented to encourage them to persevere. And in so doing, to “preserve their souls.”
You’ll only find that translation in the ESV and NASB. In other translations it’s the “saving of the soul.” But, based on my set of helps, preserving probably is the more literal and accurate translation. While it was by faith we WERE saved, it is also by faith that WE ARE BEING saved, or, in a sense, preserving the soul. Faith then, in a sense, is the canning liquid of our souls. Faith is our soul preservative.
Life provides the heat . . . more than we want sometimes. The Holy Spirit has been given as the unfailing seal (Eph. 1:13). And faith, in a sense, is the surrounding atmosphere that maintains the vitality of the inner man.
All the truth concerning Christ, His person, and His work, has little value unless it is mixed with faith (Heb. 4:2). The promises of God are of no effect if not applied. But when the truth of God . . . and the promises of God . . . are received and believed by faith, they have a way of preserving the soul. When the “fluid of faith” envelopes the believer, then what’s happening in the “here and now” is placed in the context of what will be “there and then.” Trials are put in the context of testing and refining. The pressures of life are submerged in the promises of God.
And it plays out at the most practical and fundamental of levels. I believe the Bible is the Word of God . . . and so I read it . . . and am transformed by the renewing of my mind. I believe that God hears and answers prayer . . . and so I speak into an empty room . . . and know a peace that passes understanding. I believe that God is Sovereign . . . and so every circumstance has His fingerprints on it . . . and I submit to it, and rest in His ever-present care. Truth . . . mixed with faith . . . becomes the preserving agent for the soul.
O’, that I would be of “those who have faith.” That faith would be my soul preservative.
By His grace . . . for His glory.