For while we were yet weak, in due season Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5,6


Matthew 16:24-27

   24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.

   Jesus talks about an attitude towards life – a state of heart - you will find with each one who has received the message of His Salvation. He speaks about those who will follow Him – and that can only be those who has received Him in truth – because the specific will can only be affected by the Gospel.
   He does not have such a message to the others. For those it says very simple: “Believe in the Son!”

   We are not reading about the salvation itself here, for what it is concerned, the speech about deeds are totally out of the question. The Word is as clear as anyone could wish for when it comes to that! - But Gods Word also speaks about the difference in the reward for the believer. And it speaks about that the believer will continue building on the foundation of Christ, with different kinds of material - someone with noble, others with nothing noble, but even those who build with the kind of material that got burned up in the test, will be saved – though trough fire. (1 Cor. 3:11-14).

   We human beings became in reality our own gods through the fall! We became self-worshippers. It was then we fell for the temptation: “You will become like God,” and therefore naturally live by it. We want to be the biggest, the greatest, most praised and honored etc. If we have to admit to our littleness, it will brake our self-image, our self-esteem etc. This is where it has its reason.
   We want to according to our nature, live by ourselves, we want to protect and defend ourselves and our own, make sure that we get all of our needs met and other people will only be tools to achieve this. How can they
benefit me? – is the refrain.
   Jesus points to a
whole different way.

   We mentioned that this in itself was not about our salvation, but this thing about living for you, can have that consequence though, that we actually let go of the salvation. Our own will swallow up everything at the end. We see an example in the Word by Demas for example, he who was one of Paul’s close companions - Paul brings a sad report about him: “- for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.(2Tim. 4:10).
   Paul points at the same as what Jesus points to – that love for this world – which has its reason in our inborn nature and cannot live side by side with the life in God, with any good results. No, you
must deny yourself, Jesus says, - something that is almost gone in the preaching these days, and we have therefore more and more a Christian people who wants to have everything of what this world has to offer, with heaven in sight.
   But what the Word speaks about is that the heavenly life starts here and now. You can take part in it now! This is exactly what Jesus sacrifice has given us access to. But not as all of those who preach in the so called glory theology. That only opens up for the natural humans desires – to achieve a paradise here on earth. No, it speaks of owning a life in God, here and now and to grow in it. “
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus,(Heb. 10:19), and “for the Law made nothing perfect, and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.(Heb. 7:19). This is to follow Jesus! Believing in Him, and by that drawing near to God! That is to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18), and this hardly brings you to a paradise existence, concerning the earthly things, in this world, but rather to adversity and suffering of different kinds.
   But this growth in - and approach to - God, cannot happen unless you at the same time deny your own. That is why we have Jesus’ word –
must.He must deny himself” (v.24). But you cannot live a life like that and live to achieve your own “dreams” at the same time. You have to choose here.

   When it is about being placed before the call, we have those invited it speaks of for example in the parable about the kings sons wedding (Mat. 22:1-14), who all chose Gods salvation away, for the benefit of what they had in this world. And nothing they preferred before Gods things were sinful things, let us make note of that! It was people who never had been on the inside and never came there, of this reason.
   With Demas it was another situation. He is a warning for you and me who has received Gods call: “Continue the fight!”

   The closer a human being gets to God, the more will Gods purpose for his life be fulfilled. You shall not as many preach about, seek about Gods purpose for your life, as seeking to come closer to Him, by Jesus Christ work of reconciliation. This preaching about “God has a plan with your life” will much more wear people out, than to give them desire for the Kingdom of God, and leads to a more or less longing after the “riches in Egypt”, which means the things in this world.
   To stay close to Jesus and to learn more and more about Him, will make the sacrifice you take easier to carry.

   We read in v.24 to “lose your life”, that can be a totally definite way of letting your life go for the sake of the name of Jesus. The history has shown us that, and it happens still today, and will happen even more to the end of this age, it sure looks like it. But this shall first and foremost be understood in the context with this message, to deny oneself, his own, in other words let go of your own.

   When we hear this, we start to count on it, - can I stand the costs? Jesus will help us and puts this “calculation” up for us: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (v.26a). What kind of answer will you choose?
  And then He adds: “
Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?(v.26b). If you won, and owned the whole world, you still would not have ransom for your own soul, it would get lost! What was gained then?
   In contrast to this, Gods Word says that the ransom for your soul is: Jesus blood!
   Here is your choice, also today, my friend!
   If you choose your soul – then you choose Jesus!
   Not as a “Sunday Christian”, for whom Jesus almost is a pillar of a picture in church, that you visit once a week, but as a living Savior you breathe and live in. Your Friend, your Savior, your God, your Ransom, your Reconciler, your Brother, your Father, your Life, yes,
your everything!

   For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, (v.27a), and “judgment must begin,” not with the rebellious world, but “the household of God. (1 Pet. 4:17).
   And listen you who will get your wage according to your doing - because according to the Word of Jesus you shall - it is not spoken of how much or how big, but about this: Did you stay close to Him? What did
He and His deeds mean to you? So much that you were willing to let go of something of your own?

   Let that be the question today and every day!


Holy Bible New American Standard Version
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart