Luke 9:22-26 ESV
“’The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.’
“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.’”
Remembering Jesus Christ
Many people in America this week are calling to mind Jesus Christ with a special remembrance and celebration of his life, death, and resurrection. Some of them are very sincere in their efforts to honor the Lord Jesus Christ for what he did for us in dying on that cross for our sins and in being resurrected from the dead so that we can be saved from our sins and have eternal life in him. But does this please our Lord, and is this what he wants from us, this once a year one weeklong celebration of him?
Now, this is my observation, so this may not be your experience at all, but I have been paying attention on social media, and what I have noticed is that there are people right now who are putting out memes and/or Scripture verses about Jesus’ death and resurrection who are people who do not generally mention Jesus Christ much at all throughout the year. So, this appears to be more of a holiday tradition for them rather than an indication of an ongoing genuine walk of faith in Jesus Christ.
The other thing I have observed is that very few are mentioning the real reason that Jesus died on that cross. Yes, it was to save us from our sins and to give us the hope of eternal life with God in heaven. But that is only part of the story, and without the other half it does not represent the truth of why Jesus died for us. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness. And he died to put sin to death with him so that we might be crucified with Christ in death to sin and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, no longer as slaves to sin but as slaves to God.
[1 Peter 2:24; Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14; Ephesians 4:17-24]
For, what purpose does it serve if we merely share memes with history lessons in them, but which do not adequately teach the purpose for which those historical events took place? If all we do is show that Jesus died on that cross and that he was raised from the dead, and if all we mention is that he died for our sins so we can go to heaven one day, then we have failed to represent his death and resurrection in the true light, and so people aren’t going to receive the correct lesson from his death and resurrection.
And He said to all
But Jesus Christ did not fail to tell us the true reason why he was about to die on that cross. He didn’t stop with just the formalities and the historical data. But he spelled it out for us very clearly the reason he died and rose again, and what that should mean for us if we choose to believe in him to be Lord and Savior of our lives. So, we need to pay careful attention to what he said, and then we need to be people of God who follow what he said. For what he said here is truth, and that includes the consequences of not listening to him, and of not following him in obedience.
So, we don’t just pray a prayer to receive Jesus into our hearts and now we are saved from our sins, all our sins are forgiven, and heaven is now guaranteed us when we die. For we are not saved from our sins based on a one-time profession of faith in Jesus Christ if that profession of faith is not then followed up with a genuine forsaking of sins and walks of obedience to our Lord which continue throughout our years on this earth until the time we die or until Jesus returns for us to take us to be with him for eternity.
For what did Jesus say? He said that if we want to come after him that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. And he is not the only one to teach us this. Paul said it a bunch, maybe in not those exact words, but he definitely taught the crucified life, that daily by the Spirit we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and that we are to be walking (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For if sin is what we practice, and not righteousness and obedience to our Lord, we will not inherit eternal life with God (Scripture references below).
So, Jesus then went on to say basically that if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self (we save our own lives) that we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we die with him to sin (we lose our lives) and we now live to him and to his righteousness, then we have the hope of eternal life with God. For if we are ashamed of Jesus and his word in this life, which is evident by if we live our lives not for him but for the flesh, then when he returns, he is going to be ashamed of us and he will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness.”
So, you see, our salvation is not a one-time faith experience and then we live our lives on this earth and then one day we go to heaven. Our faith must be ongoing and continuous, and it must be obedient to our Lord in walks of holiness and righteousness, and not in sin. For our salvation is also ongoing and progressive and it won’t be complete until Jesus returns and he takes his bride to be with him for eternity. So we must be diligent to continue in him in walks of obedience, and in surrender to his will, and in walks of holiness and righteousness, and not in sin, if we want to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God when our Lord Jesus returns one day.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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