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What did Jesus mean by "whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" in Matthew 16:25?


Matthew 16:25

ESV - 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Clarify (1) Share Report Asked October 04 2013 Mini ghassan nassir

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Mini Shanna Duck "Let a search be made in the royal archives..." Ezra 5:17 NIV
This is one of those difficult verses that has been interpreted in different ways, and may have meaning on multiple levels. (Also read the similar verses in both Mark and Luke.) 

Lifestyle & Will: In the modern U.S. we don't see too much real physical persecution, so we generally think of "taking up the cross" and "losing our life," in a more metaphorical sense. Without debating Lordship salvation, most of us realize that as a Christian we're called to be different. If we're bound-and-determined to continue on our OWN life of rebelliousness and sin, then we probably won't really come to Jesus at all. We can interpret the "cross" in an associated verse with the putting to death of our natural man which the Holy Spirit accomplishes and in which we're called to participate. 

Historically: Jesus may have been trying to prepare his Disciples and other First Century believers for what was coming. During the church's first few hundred years there were times of intense persecution. It is possible that all the Apostles other than John were executed for their faith. Jesus didn't sugar-coat this reality. He told people to realistically count the cost: your earthly existence vs. Your eternal soul & salvation. When called before a Roman tribunal, you could save your life by basically denying Christ and offering a little incense to the Emperor, and some people DID give in. The Early Church struggled with how to treat people who had renounced the faith under torture or threat of death and then recanted their decision and wanted to rejoin the church. Yet this time of intense persecution DID eventually come to an end with the Emperor Constantine (even if we debate whether or not this was a good thing.) 

Today- Christ may have also been talking to us today. There is severe persecution in many countries and even we in the U.S. may one day experience it again. We have to be honest about what the Bible says. In other places (Rev. 2:10) the Bible calls Christians to be faithful even to death. While Christians were apparently allowed to "flee" (Matt 10:23) to avoid persecution, when push-came-to-shove, they were to maintain the faith even if it meant losing their own lives. 

As an aside note, we have to admit that some of these verses seem to fly in the face of the eternal security of the Believer and make salvation contingent upon the outward action of verbally maintaining the faith. This is honestly a scary thing; I once talked with a young man from a former Communist country and he said that the worst thing was not that just you might be imprisoned or killed, but your entire family as well. This type of Christianity isn't play-acting and it's certainly NOT seeker-friendly. 

I like what Corrie Ten Boom's father told her when she as a child told him she was afraid she could never die for the faith. He told her that like a wise parent giving a child a ticket just before the child boards the train, God would give her the strength she needed for what He called her to do (which, of course, was to spend years in a concentration camp). Yet we can trust God, who has promised us in 1 Cor 10:13 that He will not test us further than we are able to bear, and 1 Cor 1:8 tells us that God can keep us firm to the end. We are the sheep of His flock, Jesus guards us, and no matter what happens here on Earth, no one can ever take us out of our Father's loving hands.

December 03 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Charles Crocker
When He says "Whoever saves his life will lose it" He is saying if he denies the Lord to save his earthly life, he will lose his heavenly one.
When He says "Whoever loses his life for My sake shall save it" He is saying if he does not deny Me and loses his earthly life he will gain a Heavenly life. 
Just an old boys understanding, Chuck

October 04 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

10380672 1439924612924039 2977836108289486065 o Wayne Rhodes
I had a black man jump in my car when I lived in southern California and he had a gun and he jumped in the back seat and he said do you believe in God? I said to myself if I say yes he will shoot me, but if I say no God will let me die and go to hell. So I said I believe in God.....waiting for the gun shot to fire but he did nothing he sat there and then he got out of my car and ran off. An act of faith and I soon came home again to my parents home I had been gone for 43 years. I was smoking crack cocaine and drinking everyday of my homeless life. I left California and went home to Florence Alabama with my dad and step mother. I never L@@KED for drugs or anything I was clean God took it away from me the craving. Thank you dear God in heaven for saving my life I pray in Jesus name Amen:

August 30 2018 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Philip Blottenberger
1 John 2.15,16 reads "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. Now connect that with what the Christ's taught about losing your life. 1 John 5.1 reads "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is "born of God". Well, Christ taught us that we must be born again to see the kingdom of heaven. 

The reconciliation is that if we are truly born again (we said more than a magic prayer), then God's spirit lives in us. Because His Spirit lives in us, then we will have the desire to do His will more so than seeking the pleasures of this world. In this sense then we have lost our life in this world for His sake, and thus we have saved our life.

May 11 2020 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Following Christ is sometimes going to call on us to make sacrifices of so many things. We are going to have to deny ourselves of so many comforts of life and accept to go through difficult situations. " Finding our lives" is keeping away from all things that call for sacrifice and self denial. Losing our lives is willing to follow Christ at whatever cost.

The young man who turned back when Christ told him to go sell all that he had and give the money to the poor before he could follow Christ is an example of choosing to keep our lives.

Peter asked a question, " What shall we receive, we who have left our parents, brothers and sisters to follow you?", and Christ gave him a promise. They had "lost" their lives and would find it later in the kingdom.

October 28 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Grant Abbott Child of Father, Follower of Son, Student of Spirit
This passage is Jesus' challenge to all of us. What will we do about Jesus' claims about himself? He is the unique Son of God and the universal Saviour of the world? What will we do about Jesus claims over our lives? He is our creator, he is our redeemer and he is our king.

Jesus is saying we have a decision to make. Will we maintain control of our lives to try and get everything we can out of this life and then suffer physical and eternal death? Or will we accept what Jesus has done for us so he can crucify our sinful nature on the cross, and give us a new spiritual birth into an eternal life, which is abundantly fulfilling and deeply satisfying now, and goes on forever. Jesus then invites us to follow his leadership so we will experience everything our Father in heaven has planned for our lives.

The decision to accept Jesus as Saviour is a one-time decision; however, the decision to follow him as the Lord of this new life happens everyday.

Jesus uses this metaphor of gaining and losing life to make it crystal clear that this is a life and death decision we have to make. The Jewish religious leaders thought they had discovered eternal life through their adherence to the law of Moses and their temple worship, but Jesus makes the astounding claims “I am the resurrection and life”, “I am the way, the truth and the life”, and he uses the name of God “I AM” to drive home the truth.

Jesus also uses hyperbole to show us how important it is that we die to our selfish desires every day so we will follow Jesus and enjoy this new life to the full. He uses the same hyperbole when he says, “If your hand causes you to sin then cut it off, for it is better for you to enter life without one hand than to be cast into hell for eternity”. Jesus wants us to be ruthless about forsaking anything that might allow sin to enter our lives. He also wants us to be ruthless about forsaking anything that would cause us to follow the ways of this world and to stop following him.

I believe Jesus' message to us can be summed up in this simple riddle:
“If you die, before you die, then you won’t die, when you die.”

May 12 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
The Bible says plainly that we become saved just by putting our faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 5:24; 11:25; 12:46). But discipleship is more; it's continual sacrifice and commitment. The disciple is to "deny" himself and turn his back on selfishness. Christ must be first. I.e. it's selfishness versus sacrifice.

For whosoever will save his life,... Whoever wants to protect himself from troubles, insults persecutions, and death; and does so by forsaking Christ, denying his Gospel, and forsaking his profession of it; and by so doing, curries favor with/seeks approval from men, in order to amass for himself worldly profits, honor, peace, pleasure, and life, e.g. Es 4:14,16

shall lose it;and whosoever will lose his life for my sake: that is, is willing to forego all the pleasures and comforts of life, and be subject to poverty and distress, and to lay down life itself, for the sake of Chrit and the Gospel, rather than deny him, and part with truth,

shall find it; in eternal life (beginning at conversion and extending on into Eternity), to great advantage; he shall enjoy an immortal and eternal life, free from all uneasiness and affliction, and full of endless joys and pleasures.

The point of the saying whoever wants to save his life will lose it is that if one comes to Jesus, then rejection by many will certainly follow. If self-protection is a key motivation, then one will not respond to Jesus and will not be saved. One who is willing to risk rejection will respond and find true life.

“In this sign we conquer,” ’tis the symbol of our faith,
Made holy by the might of love triumphant over death;
“He who finds his life loseth it,” forevermore it saith,
The right is marching on!
Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah! The right is marching on!

([Mat 10:39] From Age To Age They Gather)

May 14 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Michale a A
You have to read it in context. Jesus is talking about Calvary where he'll make an offer to the world paid upfront with his life in exchange for whoever accepts it and gives Jesus his/her soul to obtain salvation. Once you give your life to Jesus, i.e your soul, you lose it, but in a good way because you will gain eternal life. Satan will not have a legal right to it. But if you don’t offer your soul to Jesus, you're in the world and you will lose it to Satan. It’s a legal transaction.

Once you’ve done that you can’t go to hell because Satan cannot own your soul because it’s owned by Jesus. Then the question becomes, "What if I sin?" When you become God”s possession your character changes, and it will become unnatural for you to sin.

September 07 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Fleming
I love this passage. It is right on the heels of Jesus telling the disciples that he himself will suffer and die. Peter rejects this concept, and Jesus responds, "Get behind me, Satan". (To 'get behind' a person implied to get out of their way so they could accomplish their task.) 

We want to avoid suffering. Jesus knew that the disciples would establish the church, but they first had to be ready to lay down their lives to accomplish this. They would not succeed until they were ready to suffer. That makes Jesus’ words a call to truly giving all to him, from comfort to life itself. 

Others have noted that we have avoided much of the persecution in America, so we tend to 'reduce' this call down to inconveniencing ourselves for the Gospel. Although we may never have to literally give our lives, are we willing to surrender our lives to make them his, not just ours? 

In short, I think Jesus knew that he was going to suffer to accomplish God's purpose. He would die to give us eternal life. If we have the same type of commitment, then we are truly following in his steps, and building his kingdom. This leads to a truly rewarding faith and trust in him. Paradoxically, we are happier than before. 

But, it is often easier to die for Jesus than to live for him. If we struggle to really give him our all, our faith never reaches the full depth of a life given to him. As such, it never becomes truly fulfilling. Ironically, we loose out on so much. 

I appreciated the thoughts of others who contributed to this.

June 14 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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