Can you sell your soul?


I was on my computer about a while ago trying to load a video tutorial. However, it wasn't working well and I was getting irritated. I then thought to myself "God get this working...even Satan get this working. I would sell my soul to get this working."

Upon having that thought, I immediately got really scared. I shut my eyes and told myself,  "The devil is not the way. He only leads to pain, death, and damnation." I tried to shake the thought off, but I was scared to death I had sold my soul, and that when I die I can only go to hell. For days after I kept asking myself why I had that thought, but couldn't seem to come to an answer, and I went into a deep depression.

I talked about this with my mom, brother, my pastor, a co-worker, and even a Christian counselor, and they all say I have nothing to worry about. The counselor (who is also a pastor) basically told me what I did was wrong, but it was basically I lapsed in thought and judgment, and that I shouldn't worry because God forgives all sins and that it isn't possible to sell your soul to the devil. After talking with him I felt better. I confessed my sin to God for having a really bad thought and that I was sorry, but then I read something in the Bible that made me afraid all over again.

Then Jesus said to His disciples. "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his own soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:24-26).

After reading this I feel that this shows your soul can be sold, and I am afraid I can't be forgiven. I don't mean to question God's power, I just look at it like this. Please pardon the analogy. Every person has a soul just like every car has an engine. When the engine has something is broken (a sin on one's soul) the engine gets fixed by a mechanic (a person confesses their sins to God). However, if there is no engine in the car there is nothing to be fixed.

I know this is a lot to take in, but I just want to stop being afraid. I feel terrible for thinking such an awful thought. So I would like to know what your take is on that Bible passage, and if I can be forgiven for what I have done. If I did sell my soul, I am more than willing to confess and ask for forgiveness. I am just confused and scared about this whole situation.


The Bible doesn't speak of selling your soul to the devil in a direct fashion. However, in speaking of King Ahab, we read, "So Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me, O my enemy?" And he answered, "I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the LORD"" (I Kings 21:20). In order to gain Naboth's vineyard, Ahab was willing to give away his honor and dignity as king solely to possess a piece of property. The king's duty was to uphold the law, but he broke the law and thus sinned against Naboth, his fellow countrymen, and the Lord God.

Ahab did not sell himself all at once. In a sense, he mortgaged his soul bit by bit. When Ahab was made king, he continued the sins of Jeroboam by promoting the idol worship that Jeroboam created (I Kings 16:30-33). Next, he married a non-Israelite who worshiped the idols Baal and Asheroth. He even established temples for these idols, and worship there himself. It is not that Ahab totally abandoned God, but God became just one of many gods that Ahab worshiped. "But there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the LORD, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up. And he behaved very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel" (I Kings 21:25-26).

In a sense, each time you sin you sell yourself to the devil. In other words, in exchange for the momentary pleasure of sin you are willing to place yourself into slavery to serve the desires of Satan. "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16). Each time you sin, you put chains on. "His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin" (Proverbs 5:22). It is slavery where you voluntarily sell yourself to the slave master. "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin" (Romans 7:14). Worse, when it comes time to "collect" what we have bought, we discover that all we truly have purchased is death. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:26).

This is why God speaks of salvation as an act of redemption. Redemption is to buy something back that had been previously sold. "And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:17-19). God is willing to buy us back, not because of any obligation on His part, but simply because He loves us and wants to do so. To take advantage of that offer to purchase us back, God only asks us to do a few simple things which demonstrate our willingness to serve Him. "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness" (Romans 6:17-19). See the article "The Living Redeemer" for greater details on this topic.

The biggest mistake you are making is assuming that anything you say or think is permanent. Even Ahab could have left his sins behind and returned to God, but he was so far into sin that he didn't care. He wanted what he thought Satan was offering, never realizing it wasn't worth the purchase price. That is what Jesus was saying. "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). If you gained the whole world, you could not buy your soul back with it because you are more valuable than that. "None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him -- for the redemption of their souls is costly" (Psalms 49:7-8). That is why God gave the highest price for you. "Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:18-19).

And you think you can give yourself away, beyond the redemption price of Jesus' blood, by a single, foolish, sinful thought?

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