“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.’” Luke 9:23-26 ESV
This was Jesus speaking. And, he told us what is required of any of us who would want to come after him… to follow after him… to be his disciples. And, it wasn’t easy believism, and it still isn’t. It wasn’t the cheap grace gospel message, and it never was. And, it didn’t change after he died and rose again, either. For, his New Testament apostles taught the same truth.
What he said is that we have to deny self, to die to our self-life, basically. We have to turn away from our self-life and our old sin-life, and we have to turn to Jesus Christ with our lives to now follow him in obedience to his will and to his ways. And, we have to do this daily, not in our own flesh, but in the power of God’s Spirit living within those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives (cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:16-21; Tit. 2:11-14).
But, and this is the clincher, if we are unwilling to forfeit our former way of living for sin and for self, and we choose to retain control over our own lives, and we are unwilling to submit to Christ as Lord of our lives, then we are going to lose our lives for eternity, plain and simple. But, if we willingly lay down our lives for the sake of Jesus Christ, and we humble ourselves before him, and we turn away from our sins, and we walk with him in obedience, then our lives will be saved for eternity (cf. Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Yet, too many people these days who profess faith in Jesus Christ will not do what this says. They feel they don’t have to. They believe that a profession of faith in Jesus Christ is enough to save them from their sins and to secure them eternal life with God. They see God’s gift of grace to them as though he does it all and that nothing, absolutely nothing is required of them.
For, they see the gift of God’s grace as God just handing us forgiveness of sins and eternal life with him on the basis of some profession of faith, regardless of whether or not we ever submit to Christ as Lord, and regardless of whether or not we ever walk in obedience to him, and regardless of whether or not we ever turn away from our sinful lifestyles.
But, this passage and others like it make it abundantly clear that if we go after the lusts of the flesh, and if our desire is for the world, instead of for Christ, and if we don’t give up our former lives of living for sin and self, we are going to lose (forfeit) our own lives for eternity.
For, if we are ashamed to make him Lord of our lives and to follow him in surrender and obedience to his will and to his commands, and if we are ashamed to give up the world of sin to become his disciples, then when he comes back one day, he is going to be ashamed of us to the point to where we won’t be going with him.
So, some people will say that this was what Jesus taught before he died on the cross and rose again, so they may claim that this is Old Covenant. But, Jesus didn’t teach Old Covenant. He taught New Covenant.
And what he taught, his New Testament apostles also taught, and with the same strength of conviction. And, they did so with the same warnings to those who professed faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that if they did not accompany their profession of faith with obedience to his commands, that they did not have the promise of eternal life with God.
[Please prayerfully read these scriptures: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 3:15; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 4:1-13; Eph. 5:3-6]
I am amazed
I am continually amazed at how many people, even after they have been given the truth over and over again, will still hold on to the lies, because the lies console them in their sin. The lies tell them that they can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ but it doesn’t have to alter their lifestyles at all. It requires no humility before God, no repentance, no submission to Christ as Lord, and no walks of obedience to Christ’s commands.
And, this makes a mockery of what Jesus Christ did on that cross in giving his life up for us that we might die with him to sin daily, and that we might live with him, walking in his righteousness, in the power of God now living within us. It makes a mockery of all that he suffered for us that we might be delivered out of our slavery to sin and in order that we might now become slaves to him and to his righteousness, too (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
And, it ignores all the scriptures which teach what Jesus taught, which say that we must die with Christ to sin, and we must live with him to his righteousness, and that we must walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit if we want to have eternal life with God. And, they ignore all the warnings that were given to the gatherings of the church against them being deceived, letting them know that if they make sin their practice, that they will not inherit eternal life with God. And, they, too, ignore many of the scriptures which tell us what we must do to inherit eternal life with God.
And, so they hold on to this idea that they can just make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, or even just acknowledge who he was (and is), and that guarantees them eternal life with God, and that it no longer matters to God how much they sin, for they believe all their sins are now covered by the blood of Christ. But, if all of that was true, then we could throw out most of the New Testament, particularly all the warnings to the church about not being taken in by those who are teaching free license to sin.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line in all of this is what Jesus said here in Luke 9, and which his New Testament apostles repeated throughout the New Testament. If we want the promise of eternal life with God, then we have to die with him to sin daily, and we have to follow him in obedience to his commands.
This is not saying that we have to live in sinless perfection. But, what it is saying is that sin should no longer be our master. We should no longer be living like we did before we made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. We should no longer be under the control of sin, but we should now be under the control of the Spirit of God.
Yes, we will fail sometimes, and we will then have to repent, die to that sin, and then continue on in walking in obedience to our Lord. But, there is a HUGE difference here between one who has genuinely turned from sin and to follow the Lord in obedience, but who sometimes fails and needs to be restored, and those who feel they don’t have to turn away from their sins and that they can continue in their sinful practices and that it won’t affect their eternal security.
John said that if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (in practice) in darkness (sin), we lie and we do not live by the truth. He said we must walk (in practice) in the light as God is in the light and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. And, Paul said that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the flesh that we will not inherit eternal life with God. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are walking (in conduct) according to the Spirit of God, then we have eternal life with God (1 Jn. 1:5-9; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, please know that a profession of faith in Jesus Christ absent of death to sin and living to his righteousness is not a true profession of faith in Jesus Christ. And, also know that eternal life is guaranteed only on the basis of our walks of faith throughout our lives on this earth. We must not only walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, but this must be continuous, and we must endure in this faith until the very end.
For, when John 3:16 says that whosoever believes in him has eternal life, that word “believes” is present tense, not past tense, and it is God-given and God-persuaded faith which submits to Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.
Only in Him
An Original Work / February 19, 2014
Based off Isaiah 30
Woe to those who look to man’s help;
Who turn away from Jesus Christ;
Forming an alliance not in step with God;
Making their own plans, and praying not.
Willing not to listen to truth,
They close their ears to what is right.
Pleasing words are all that they’ll hear;
Feel good messages that bring cheer.
Trust in your Lord; turn from your sin.
Put your faith now ONLY IN HIM.
Do not turn to idols. They’ll not satisfy.
Jesus will save you. That’s why He died.
Your Lord will be gracious to you.
He cares all about you, ‘tis true.
He forgives you all of your sin
When you give your life up to Him.
Oh, how truly gracious He’ll be
When you bow to Him on your knees;
Turning now from your sin; walking in his ways.
He’ll lead and guide you all of your days.
Now you will sing praises to Him.
He delivered you from your sin.
You’ll tell others now of His grace,
So they may see Christ face-to-face.