"If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me for he that saves his life will lose it and he that loses his life, for My sake will save it" (Matt 16:24-25).
If self-denial is a hard lesson, it is no more than what our Master learned and practiced to redeem us, and to teach us. A true disciple of Christ is one that follows Him in duty, and will follow Him to glory. Our cross in this passage represents the self denial in our new life of submission to Jesus.
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies (lives) as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship" (Romans 12:1).
"If a person follows Jesus, they must voluntarily renounce everything that might hinder their discipleship."
They must follow in his footsteps as the sheep after the shepherd, the servant after his master, the soldiers after their captain; so much so that our life becomes Christ living in us. (Matthew Henry)
This passage speaks of submitting to the changed life that following Jesus demands and of those that are willing and those who are not. The Christian's call is to sacrifice or put to death, His own will and to live for Christ, His Church and His ministry. In Matt 4:17 Jesus said “repent” which is to turn from our will and trust in his. The person who preserves his old life will lose it in eternity. The one who gives up his old life to follow Christ will find eternal life and this is the meaning of our verse (see also Mark 10:28-30).
In Matt 7:20-22 Jesus says, "Many in that day (the day of His return) will cry out to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but will not enter in (Heaven), but the one that does the will of the Father will enter. This again confirms we cannot simply follow our own will but must study and do God’s will. "Hypocrisy will be judged harshly (Read Matt 22:11-14). Jesus asked, “What is a man profited, if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” (Matt 16:26). Every person has a soul of their own. The soul lives in us now and will continue after death. Our life now determines the soul’s life eternally. "He is no fool that gives up a life he cannot keep for one he cannot lose"(Jim Elliot - missionary).
Jesus' first command to his Disciples was "Follow Me" and it is the path of all who truly believe. Is your name in His book of eternal life? It is if you truly believe in Jesus.
Colby Reeves - Evangel Member
At Evangel we offer various bible studies by our Pastors and Elders to learn further how to follow Jesus.
All are welcome!
Evangel Church PCA
423 Thompson Rd.
Alabaster, AL. 35007