Luke 9:23-26 ESV
“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.’”
The Essence of the Gospel
This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation for which Jesus Christ, God the Son, shed his blood and died for us on a cross nearly 2,000 years ago. For he who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross so that when he died our sins died with him, and when he rose from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, death, and Satan, on our behalf.
And Jesus did not die on that cross just to forgive us our sins, and just so we could have heaven as our eternal destiny guaranteed. He died 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 died and was raised. And he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15,21; 1 Co 6:19-20).
So, by faith in Jesus Christ, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ that we might walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. For, our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we would now be slaves to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
And then we read in other Scriptures that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who WALK (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and if we walk according to the flesh we will die in our sins, but if we walk according to the Spirit, then we will live with Christ for eternity. And if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness is not what we practice, and if obedience to Christ is not what we practice, then we don’t know God, and we will not inherit eternal life with God.
[Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16;; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
Deny and Die
When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, we are not making a one-time decision to “receive Christ” as Savior in order to have our sins forgiven so we can go to heaven when we die. We are making a choice of a lifetime to surrender our lives to Jesus Christ so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness daily until the day he comes to take us home to be with him for eternity.
For, Jesus Christ said that if we want to come after him, to be one of his followers (disciples) – and believer and disciple are synonymous – that first off we must deny self or the self-life, i.e. we must reject and refuse our flesh and our selfish wills in order to submit to God’s righteousness and to his will for our lives. And we must do this daily. And then we must daily die to sin, to put sin to death in our lives and then to follow him in obedience.
If we don’t do this, then we don’t have eternal life with God, but if we do, then we do have eternal life with God. So, what this is teaching us, and what most of the New Testament teaches us is that our salvation is not a one-time event in our lives which guarantees us heaven when we die regardless of how we live our lives on this earth. Our salvation is progressive sanctification which is not complete (finished) until Jesus returns to take his bride to be with him for eternity.
And how we live our lives absolutely determines whether or not we are saved in the end and whether or not heaven is our eternal destiny. And this is not us trying to earn our own salvation. This is God’s plan of salvation for our lives which is taught all throughout the New Testament, and it is birthed in God/Christ, and it is perfected in Christ, and it is empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, so this is of God, but we have to submit to him and do what he says to do or we don’t have what he is promising to those who love him.
[Jn 8:31-32,51; Jn 14:15-24; Jn 15:1-12; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 11:17-24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; Col 1:21-23; 2 Tim 2:10-13; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 5:9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:1-5; 2 Pet 1:5-11; 2 Pet 2:20-22; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Matt 7:21-23; 1 Jn 2:3-6,15-17,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10,24; 1 Jn 5:2-3; 2 Jn 1:6; Jas 1:21-25; Eph 4:17-24]
Are You Ashamed?
Being ashamed of Jesus Christ goes way beyond fear of sharing your testimony or fear of sharing the message of the gospel with someone. Being ashamed of Jesus goes to the heart of whether or not your faith is genuine, for if you call him Lord and Savior, then you must live as though that is true. For, if you will not surrender your life to him and make him master of your life, and if you will not deny self and walk in obedience to his commands, then you really are ashamed of him, to truly own him as your Lord.
And do you know what this is saying here? If you are ashamed of Christ and his words, which is evidenced by how you live your lives, not for him but for yourself, then when he returns for his bride, he is going to be ashamed of you, and you will not be going with him, for you refused him, and you dishonored him, and you ignored him in favor of doing what you want your way regardless of his expressed will and purpose for your life.
For Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matt 7:21-23)
So, we need to take this to heart. And I recommend studying all the Scriptures referenced here, because the more that you read of God’s Word, the more you will come to understand his gospel message and his plan of salvation for our lives. And you will understand that his grace is not free license to continue living in sin, only now without guilt, but that his grace teaches us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for him to return (Titus 2:11-14).
Songwriter: Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Who takes away the sins of the world
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Give them rest, grant them rest
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Lamb of God
Who takes away the sins of the world
Qui tollis peccata mundi
Grant them eternal rest
Dona eis requiem
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