“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it (Matt. 10: 39 NIV).”
Many apply this verse to the issue of martyrdom. Although this is a legitimate interpretation and application of the verse, only a small minority is called to this honor. For the majority, this passage is a reference to the call to discipleship.
What is to be “found” is the post-salvation spiritual life that follows salvation. To the degree that this post-salvation life becomes the focus of our life, we lose the life that was self-centered and controlled by the sin-nature within us. The life and love that is found is a life that is Christ-centered.
The Lord Jesus Christ taught that the disciple must hate (love less) “…yes, even his own life...” (or) “he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26 NIV).”
In order to understand the principle of Matthew 10:39 as it pertains to discipleship, we must first make a distinction from being a “believer” and a “disciple”.
Every person who believes in the Person (who He is) and the Works (what He did on the cross) of the Lord Jesus Christ is what the Bible calls a “born again” (John 3:3 NIV) believer. He is destined for Heaven regardless of the degree of spiritual maturity he attains in the post-salvation spiritual life. A person can never be any more or less saved that he was at the moment of salvation because of what he does or fails to do from that point on. Contrary notions are blasphemous as they attack the very character and nature of God and the Work that was completed on the cross.
Just as the majority in each generation of Man rejects God’s one and only plan of salvation, so does the majority of born again believers reject the call to true discipleship.
The majority do become “religious” in varying degrees and often live relatively “moral” lives, but there is no fruit that accompanies true discipleship. Most of what they do is accomplished by way of human good and abilities. Such efforts do have significance in this life, but are “filthy rags (Isa. 64: 6)” in the eyes of God and are of no significance in light of eternity.
We were NOT placed here to clean up the devil’s world, but to glorify God. God is glorified when Man accepts what He has done for Man regarding salvation, and what He can do through us in the post-salvation spiritual life under the filling (control) of God the Holy Spirit.
Cleaning up the devil’s world by human power and abilities plays right into the Devil’s contention that Man can solve his own problems while living independently of God. Atheists can produce human good.
Not too far along the path of the post-salvation life, the majority of Christians become what the Bible would call (Luke 8: 14) type believer. Such a believer either never develops a passion for God because his focus is on the temporal issues of life or he loses the “first love” he had for God (Rev.2: 4) when the inevitable persecution of the “godly life in Christ Jesus” (2Tim. 3:12) challenges him.
Just as in the natural realm, there comes a time when the honeymoon is over and the day-to-day reality of the spiritual relationship we claim to have with God is put to the test.
It is during the times of adversity that our “first love” (Rev. 2: 4 NIV) will either be strengthened or diminished.
After listing many things that Christians would hold in high esteem, the Apostle Paul concluded the passage by saying, “…but have not love, I gain nothing (1Cor. 13: 3 NIV).”
May we be among the minority of believers to whom our Lord will not have to say, “You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love (Rev. 2:4 NIV).”
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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