And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:34-38)
The application, that Jesus assigns to his teaching on the soul, has to do with either identifying with or being ashamed of Jesus and his words. the way people seek to ‘save their lives’ is by downplaying any connection to Jesus before a hostile world. The way they can ‘lose their lives’, would be to openly identify themselves with the words and person of Jesus.
This underscores a point we tried to make earlier, that all of us are involved in a Cosmic conflict. Everyone must take sides, neutrality is not an option.
The nature of the conflict is that it is a war over Truth.
What is Truth? Is it reality as discovered or defined by man? Or is it reality as revealed to us by Jesus Christ? Who has the truth? What is the truth about man? Is there a God? Is Jesus the truth? Can man find truth by his own efforts and initiative? Or must it be revealed to Him by God? Is all truth God’s truth?
This is the life and death, Heaven or Hell struggle that runs through human history and the heart of every man. The World doesn’t believe that there is any one fixed and absolute truth. The Spirit of the Age is relativistic, “all roads lead to the same path, all truth is God’s truth”. One of the things the world most hates about christianity, is it’s certainty.
On the other hand, Christians believe that Truth has been revealed from heaven through the Hebrew prophets, and the apostles of the Bible. We also believe that the fullest revelation of truth, is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who has called himself, “the Way , the Truth, and the Life”.
Specifically, the expression ‘the Truth” refers to the eternal reality. The Truth is the reality of who man is, his standing before God, his fall from grace, and his need to be reconciled to God. Truth also refers to the reality of God, his person, his works, his nature and perfections.
The truth also concerns the gap between God and man, with all of its eternal ramifications, and what God has done to give us a way back to Him. And ultimately the Truth is revealed in Jesus, the God-man, who descended to save us, and to bring us back to God.
God would have a witness people. A people whose life and words bear witness to a world enthralled by lies, and in danger of damnation. This is why the confession of Jesus is essential. Not only the confession that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, but we are called to bear witness to all the truth of God.
The lies that blind men to the reality of God, and that confirm men in unbelief must be countered, that men might believe and be saved.
When an unashamed Christian confesses truth, on whatever subject or point that the Spirit of the Age is contesting, the power of Truth can affect some, causing them to re-think(repent) what they had previously accepted. But when Christians succumb to the Spirit of the Age, denying Christ, and his words, sinners go on their doomed way heedlessly.
Currently there are certain truths, which Christians are tempted to be ashamed of these days because the Spirit of the Age militates against them.
The Truth about the exclusivity of Christianity, (that Jesus is the only way to be saved) is being downplayed by the ecumenical movement. Abominations such as “Chrislam” are actually killing formerly evangelical churches and christians, as Christians seek common ground with Muslims.(What a slap in the face to the millions of Christians currently persecuted by Muslims)!
The truth about the sanctity of marriage and the God assigned gender roles is also being denied , as accommodation is being made even in some ‘evangelical’ circles to homosexuality.
The denial of Christ’s propitiation is already happening, because it presupposes God’s wrath, an offensive concept to modern ‘christians’. What dark days we live in!
The eternal punishment of the unrepentant, a doctrine which was vouchsafed mostly to Jesus himself, is now considered by many within confessing Christianity, to be unworthy of a God of Love.
If we confess to one and all that we know Jesus, are saved, and born again, and yet deny on the points above, or any other point being contested by the world Spirit, we have indeed denied Christ, though we claimed to know Him. We may ‘gain the world’ by doing so, but in the process we are in danger of losing our soul.