Gaining the whole world at the expense of one’s soul (Mark 8:36) is a familiar Biblical warning, but one that is not heeded by many who claim to be Christians.
The forfeiture spoken of in Mark 8:36 (NASB) is not referring to the loss of salvation.
Contrary to what Satan and even many Christian religions would have us believe, there is nothing that anyone can do or fail to do that can reverse the regenerating Work of God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5) that takes place at salvation.
The false teachings that promote the loss of salvation are not only contrary to Scripture, they are blasphemous in nature, being an affront to the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ while on the cross.
The phrase, “Gaining the whole world”, is not referring to the tyranny associated with global totalitarianism.
Here, it means to make it to the top of the various areas of activity within one’s earthly experience.
As examples, there is the world of career; the world of family and personal relationships; the world of sports; the world of riches; the world of fame; and the worlds of politics, social life, and education, etc. etc. etc..
The message being conveyed in Mark 8:36 and Eccl. 1:2 is that without God, even maximum success in these areas will inevitably result in an empty and unfulfilled earthly life when these worlds come to their end, or if are called home in the midst of them.
Neglecting one’s relationship with God in the pursuit of earthly achievement denies God the glory that God could have otherwise received.
For the born again believer, this neglect results in the loss of the corresponding eternal reward(s) that the believer would otherwise received at the 1Cor. 3: 12-15 evaluation of deeds.
God is not impressed with vows of self-induced (Isaiah 64:6) poverty.
God is not opposed to legitimate, secular prosperity (3John 2).
A believer goes off track if and when the desire for, or the acquisition of secular achievement takes a believer away from identifying or executing the specific plan that God has for each individual (1Cor. 12:18) believer.
Born again believers enter into spiritual adultery when forsaking their “first” love (Rev. 2:4).
For most believers, it is through the development of one’s human abilities and talents that God provides both believers and unbelievers with the logistical necessities of life.
Know that not all opportunities for achievement come from God.
The devil is more than willing and able to prosper anyone who can knowingly or unknowingly promote his agenda (Luke 4:6).
God, Satan, and the Ephesians 6:12 forces of evil provide us with daily opportunities to achieve objectives that will glorify them.
The ever-expanding means of communication is affording edified believers the means to promote divine good on a global level. The Ephesians 6:12 forces are certainly using it to promote evil.
Is in the various and divers personal environments that the believer is called to achieve success as Christ’s ambassador (2Cor. 5:20).
Ambassadors must never offer their own personal opinion(s), but only convey the official position or message from the kingdom that they represent.
Accordingly, in order for ambassadors to function properly, they must first learn what the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2:16) actually has to say concerning any given subject.
The plan of God is to take priority over reaching the top of the secular worlds in which we are a part.
It is success within our environments that encourages us to develop personal relationships with like-minded individuals.
One might ask why should secular achievement be an issue when it is via such things that God the Holy Spirit establishes our personal pulpit.
Secular achievement becomes a liability instead of an asset when the desire for it takes a believer away from the identifying or executing the plan of God.
Seeking to secure the best logistical means of support for ourselves and our earthly dependents while providing quality service or goods to others is a noble and worthy way of life.
The classic example of great, secular achievement is the human good produced by a talented surgeon.
Such human good provides the producer and his earthly dependants with great financial prosperity and provides his patients with life saving services.
But as Mark 8:36 reminds us, no amount of human good of any kind will save a soul (John 3:3, 18), and all forms of human good are rejected at the 1Cor. 3: 12-15 evaluation of deeds.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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