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