What does it mean to gain the world, but lose your soul? 

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Gain the world

Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). There is no adequate answer to this question.  Christ here, used a powerful illustration to make clear an eternal truth.

People tend to make all material things the main goal of life, in the vain hope that God will be merciful to them, and at the end of their lives, give them the eternal kingdom. To “save” one’s life is to seek first “the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” forgetting this world. Christ would have us make first things first, and assures us that things of lesser importance and value will be supplied to each according to his need (Matthew 6:33).

The purpose of life 

The great purpose in man’s existence is that he “should seek the Lord, if haply” he “might feel after him, and find him” (Acts 17:27). Most people are busy in working “for the meat which perishes” (John 6:27) and for the water for which, when they drink they will thirst again (John 4:13). Most people “spend money for what is not bread” and workfor what does not satisfy” (Isaiah 55:2). 

The follower of Christ must first deny himself, his own plans, his own wishes; then he must be willing to carry any cross that the Lord calls him to carry. Finally, he must “follow” in the Path of the Savior. The apostle Peter wrote, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

To “follow” Jesus is to model our lives after His life, and to serve Him and our fellow men, as He did (1 John 2:6). All this is done through His enabling power and grace (Philippians 4:13). When God’s commands are carefully followed, the Lord makes Himself responsible for the the victory in the Christian life. In Christ, there is power to carry on the duty, strength to resist temptation and patience to endure hardships.

A man “loses” his life for the sake of Christ when he “denies,” or “renounces,” himself and takes up the cross of Christ (Matthew 5:11; 16:24; 1 Peter 4:12, 13). For the Christian, there can be no crown without a cross. Though the devil, in the wilderness, offered Christ the crown of this world by different ways than the cross (Matthew 4:8, 9; 16:22), the Lord rejected all his offers, preferring the path of suffering and pain (John 10:18a).

The reward of eternal life 

The day of judgement is coming: “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:27). Those who lose their lives for Christ’s sake are assured of finding them when He returns in glory at the close of the age (1 Corinthians 15:51–55; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). It is then, that every man may expect to receive his reward. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12 also 2 Timothy 4:8).  

There is nothing more precious than a person’s eternal life. To give up that is foolishness. When a person chooses this passing world instead of heaven, he loses everything. The rich young ruler loved this present world and his riches more than the Lord. And he momentarily did gain the world but lost his eternal life (Luke 18:18-30). By contrast, Paul “suffered the loss of all things” in order to “win Christ” and gain eternity (Philippians 3:7–10)

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This post is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi) മലയാളം (Malayalam)

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