In the final analysis, the difference between those who really believe in Jesus Christ, and those who only make glib concessions to religion, is found in how they respond to the words of Christ, Himself. Those who believe that Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col.1:15), the express image of His person (Heb.1:3), and that there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved (Heb.4:12), will always respond to the words of Jesus as if both heaven and hell were hanging upon them.
AND JESUS SAID:
|Matt.10:39||He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake, shall find it.|
And in the face of words like these, all theological formulas in which salvation is assured to those who concede to doctrines, submit to ceremonies, abstain from particulars, or contribute to churches, are brought to nothing.
|Matt.16:25||For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.|
Yes....these words are truly hard to hear, for they place before us an ULTIMATUM: in which every attempt to save your life by compromising your loyalty to Jesus Christ, will result in the ruin and loss of the very life you sought to save.
|Mark 8:35||For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake, and the gospel's, the same shall save it.|
And we know, that every one of us is going to lose this present life anyway, one way or another, but only those who lose their life for Christ's sake, and the gospel's, shall save it.
|Luke.9:24||For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it.|
And the foreknowledge of God, in anticipating how prone we would be to shudder with fear and stumble into confusion when confronted by such words, has seen fit to repeat this phrase, with some variations, six times in the Gospels, making this to be the most reiterated teaching of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Now then, if repetition conveys emphasis: what we have here is the most emphasized teaching of Jesus Christ in the Bible! And if, in the end, all that we are able to do about these words is to "interpret" them, shall that be sufficient? Is there some hypothetical way to lose your life for Christ's sake, in which you never know how or when you did it? I can still remember the first time I read these words after I became a Christian: They scared the wits out of me. They, along with Christ's other words about "taking up the cross", and etc., seemed to require that I die a horrible martyrs death just like Jesus did, in order to stay out of hell. I was terrified, yes,....but I was more terrified at the prospect of going to hell than I was at the prospect of dying a martyrs death. The best I could do in the face of such language was cringe fearfully, look up to heaven, and whimper out a "Yes, O Lord, but please make me equal to the task, for I am very afraid." The years passed, and I wasn't martyred for Christ's sake, but I still and always presumed that I was indeed "saved". Every time I read those words, I realized again, that somehow or other, I must lose my life for Christ's sake and the gospel's, or I would end up losing it forever. I also knew that there were many in the past who had died the martyrs death, and many in the present who would yet die the martyrs death. It didn't look like I was going to be one of them, so I wanted to know how I could lose my life for Christ's sake, and the gospel's. More years passed: My life, and my faith, went through many ups and downs. My faith survived, and I finally began to realize that:
You lose it by making one choice at a time.
The first choice you make is to receive, believe, and confess Jesus Christ as the ONLY Lord and Savior, and by this choice, you have agreed to the condemnation of all who refuse to believe. You have now lost the favor and approval of 75% of the world's population, for, according to you, all who refuse to believe in Jesus are judged as wicked haters of God, whose end is the fiery furnace of hell.
The next choice you make is to publicly refuse, reject, and denounce any idea that contradicts or explains away the counsel of the Bible. Your circle of religious friends will suddenly grow smaller, for by doing this, you will offend everyone who ignores or explains away "what the Bible says", whenever "what it says" contradicts or condemns their opinions, their plans, or their friends.
Then, there are thousands of choices you make, one at a time: in which you always choose to speak and act in accord with your faith: trusting in the God that has promised to guide you, keep you, and protect you. For this, you will often be misunderstood and criticized by those you regard as True Christians. For this, you may be rejected and condemned by your friends and family. For this, you will be judged as deluded, irrational, and untrustworthy; therefore, men will deny you many privileges and opportunities that otherwise would have been yours. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Tim.3:12). By doing these things, you will be losing YOUR LIFE for Christ's sake, and the gospel's.
|Luke.17:33||Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.|
The time is coming soon, my friend, in which no one will be the least bit confused about what it means to lose your life for Christ's sake, and the gospel's. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be (Matt.24:21). Those who are not found worthy to escape (Luke 21:26), but then repent, and refuse to go along with The Apostate Church and The New World Order, will suffer the loss of all things for the sake of their testimony: as it was written, They overcame...by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; AND THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO THE DEATH (Rev.12:11).
Jesus says that if you wish to preserve your life, you MUST lose it for His sake FIRST. Even if you SAY to yourself and to others that you are "willing" to lose your life for Christ's sake, but in the CHOICES YOU MAKE, and in the ACTIONS YOU TAKE, you are always compromising and contradicting your faith in order to save your life, you will END UP losing it anyway. This is a clear cut warning against self deception. DON'T DECEIVE YOURSELF: you may CLAIM a willingness to lose your life for Christs's sake, and the gospel's, while everything you do is really an attempt to save it.
|John.12:25||He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world SHALL KEEP IT UNTO LIFE ETERNAL.|
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE? Life is more than the power to continue breathing. When a man's career is destroyed, he will say, MY LIFE IS RUINED. When a man finds out from the doctor that he has an incurable crippling illness, he says, MY LIFE IS OVER. When we see someone who is trapped in miserable circumstances, we say, THAT'S NO LIFE. When we are confronted by someone who is petty or self destructive, we say, GET A LIFE.
The life that we must hate and lose in order to find our life, and to preserve our life, and to keep our life FOR ETERNITY, is our life in this world. Our life in this world is all that we can gain and keep by obeying men rather than God, and by compromising the confession and practice of our faith. The Bible says, The WHOLE WORLD lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19). There is something FRIGHTFULLY WRONG with this world, and no one can deny it; therefore, it is open revolt against God and His holiness to seek security from the world, acceptance by the world, or to love your place in it. ... Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4).
Jesus doesn't say HATE YOUR LIFE, as if we should resent the fact that we exist at all. He also said I am come that you might have life, and that you might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
If, by the choices you make and the actions you take, you are always losing YOUR life in this world for Christ's sake and the gospel's, you shall find that ABUNDANT LIFE Jesus promised, and you shall keep it unto life eternal. If you love your life in THIS world, you will NEVER find that ABUNDANT LIFE, and, eventually, you shall lose your life FOREVER.
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