If Anyone Would Come
Matthew 16:24 ESV
“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’.”
This is the essence of the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, for Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he bought us back for God with his blood so that we would honor God with our lives.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not merely an invitation to believe in Jesus to have our sins forgiven so that when we die we can go to heaven. The gospel is an invitation to be crucified with Christ in death to sin and to be raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
It is an invitation to make Jesus our Lord (owner-master) and for us to be his bond-slaves (servants) to serve him the rest of our days. It is an invitation to forsake our former lives of living for sin and self to now follow Jesus in obedience to his commands, as a matter of life course. It is an invitation, too, to align ourselves with God’s will and purpose for our lives.
[1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Gal 2:20]
Saving or Losing?
Matthew 16:25-26 ESV
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
In this context, “saving” is a bad thing and “losing” is a good thing. For, what this is talking about is us either holding on to our lives of sin, or us forsaking our lives of sin to follow Jesus. If we are saving our lives, we are holding on to our sin, but if we are losing our lives, we are forsaking sin.
Therefore, if we hold on to living for sin and for self, we will lose our lives for eternity. We will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God, no matter what we profess with our lips. But if we lose our lives of sin to follow Jesus in surrender to his will for our lives, we will have eternal life with God.
But if we hold on to our sin in order to gain the world and the things of this world, we forfeit our own souls. For, we cannot be followers of Jesus Christ and have the promise of eternal life with God if we do not relinquish our lives of sin to follow our Lord in obedience to his ways.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
He Will Repay
Matthew 16:27 ESV
“For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”
Some people have this mistaken idea that if they just profess Jesus as Savior of their lives that it guarantees them heaven when they die, but that nothing is required of them since Jesus paid for their sins. Since Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, they assume they will not be judged for their sins.
But they don’t understand what the Scriptures teach on this subject, for our salvation is ongoing, and it won’t be complete until Jesus returns. Our faith is not a one-time experience, but it is always present tense. And faith in Jesus is realized by what we do in obedience to our Lord, not by lip service only.
So, if we say we believe in Jesus Christ, but we don’t die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and we don’t forsake our sinful practices to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands, but we continue in habitual and deliberate sin, then we will die in our sins, not have eternal life.
And we are not to be deceived, for we are all going to reap what we sow in this life. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, by the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life.
For, how we live matters to God, for how we live says whether or not our faith in Jesus Christ is genuine faith or if it is surface level only. And the Scriptures teach that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk (in conduct) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
If you read the Scriptures in context, you will see that we not only must walk in obedience to our Lord and not in sin, but we must continue in Christ until the very end if we want to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God. For, we are all going to be judged by what we do.
[Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8]
Footprints of Jesus
Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.
If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.
If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.
Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
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