Mark 8:36-37 ESV
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?”
How do we go about gaining the whole world? And, what is the world?
Well, the world is the place where we live. And, it is the people of the world. It is the influences of the sinful world, and it is the sinful practices and the mindset of the ungodly world. And, it is the things in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:15-17).
And, to gain means to acquire, obtain, win, achieve (attain, accomplish) or to change to or come to be like the world. It is to make it our own, to make it what our lives are about. It is to take on the world’s influences and to let them persuade us to go their way. It is to think, feel, believe, and act like the sinful world, to become like the world in thought, attitude, and deed.
So, it is to accomplish (carry out, bring about) the lust (desire, passion) of our sinful flesh, of our eyes, and the pride of life. It is to live for the pleasures of this sinful world in self-indulgence and in self-gratification. And, it is to satisfy the God-void in our lives with the things that are opposed to God. For, it is to live for the flesh and not for the Lord.
And, those who are teaching the cheap grace gospel, which is absent of repentance, obedience and submission to Christ and to his commandments, have paved the way for those who make professions of faith in Jesus Christ to continue to live by the world’s standards, and thus to continue living in sin for self-pleasure and not for the pleasure or for the glory of God.
And, so they are exchanging their souls for the sinful pleasures of this world. They are forfeiting their souls in order to continue living for the sinful cravings of their flesh. While they may think that their profession of faith in Jesus Christ secures them heaven as their eternal destiny, they are ensuring that their eternal destiny is hell, instead, by how they live their lives.
For, they refused to deny self, to die daily to sin and self, and to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. They rejected the gospel as taught by Jesus and by His New Testament apostles, in favor of a feel-good cheap grace gospel which tickles itching ears. For, it allows the sinner to keep on in his sin rather than teaching him that Jesus died to deliver us from our slavery to sin (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26).
Mark 8:38 ESV
“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
So, what does it mean to be ashamed of Jesus? How does that fit with this context of gaining the world and yet forfeiting our souls?
Well, if we choose the world and the sinful pleasures of the world over surrender to Jesus as Lord, and over obedience to his commands, we are, in fact, demonstrating that we are ashamed of Jesus and of his words. For, in doing so, we refuse Jesus, and his gospel, and his Word in favor of false gods and a false gospel of men, and in favor of false teachings of men, too.
I would say that the main motivation for being ashamed of Jesus and his words is so that people can continue living in sin, for their own sinful pleasures. They may even be people who profess to believe in Jesus, and in the Bible, but who are selective about which words they believe, for they “cherry pick” the ones that agree with their chosen lifestyles, while they ignore the bulk of Scriptures which are opposed to their sinful practices.
A secondary reason or motivation for being ashamed of Jesus and his words, I believe, is the fear of man, or it is a desire to meet with the approval and acceptance of man (humans). It is a desire to have human approval over and above the approval of God. But we are to choose God over man.
For, if we don’t choose God over man, and if we don’t choose the Lord Jesus over our sinful flesh, then Jesus is going to be ashamed of us when he returns for his bride. And, he will deny us (2 Tim. 2:12; Matt. 10:33).
For, the Scriptures teach that if we walk (in practice, in conduct) according to the flesh, according to our sinful desires, we are going to die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. So, we need to take this to heart (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; Gal. 6:7-8; Rom. 2:6-8; 2 Co. 5:10).
So, instead of gaining the whole world and forfeiting our souls, and instead of being ashamed of the Lord Jesus, and of his words, we must be those who have died with Christ to sin, and who are living to Christ and to his righteousness, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. We must be walking according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and not according to our sinful flesh if we want to have eternal life with God.
The Joy of the Lord
The joy of the Lord will be my strength
I will not falter, I will not faint
He is my Shepherd, I am not afraid
The joy of the Lord is my strength
The joy of the Lord will be my strength
And I will not waiver, walking by faith
He will be strong to deliver me safe
And the joy of the Lord is my strength
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