23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
The above is among the most abused passage in the Bible. Theologians like to find whatever loopholes they can to prove their heresy that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is false. It seems that the calling in their lives is to prove that God has no intention to honor his promise to give us visible things like health and wealth.
As long as we talk about “spiritual” stuff that cannot be proven objectively like joy and peace, they have no problem with us but the moment we talk about things that can proven like health and wealth, they will get very agitated. They will do anything in hope that we will give up our faith. It seems that Satan, (who is the god of theology) is afraid that we Christians getting rich and healthy.
One of the tactics used by the theologians is to pervert the above verse to promote their heresy that God has no intention to honor his promise of giving us health and wealth.
Let me start by giving you the theologians’ heretic interpretation of the above verses. According to the theologians, the above verses means Christians must not have any desire to have better lives while we are on earth. Denying ourselves means we cannot aspire to have more money, live in bigger house, drive bigger cars, have better health, more successful careers and any other “earthly stuff”. It is a sin for Christians to have such desires.
Instead we should take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. This means Christians are supposed to suffer as long as we are on earth. So, if you are enjoying life right now, you are living in sin. The only you can live holy live is when you are suffering. (God must be a real pervert.)
Not only that, we must not value our lives. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” According to the heresy of theology, Christians must always be prepared to die for the sake of the “gospel”. (I have put inverted commas to indicate that the “gospel” from theology is not the real Gospel of Jesus Christ). Theologians are not above the level of sacrificing people for the sake of their heresy.
Finally, theologians pervert Luke 9:25 to the lie that Christians who desire to be rich will not be saved. So, based on their heresy, people like me will definitely go to hell. Thank God, their heresy is nothing more than heresy. They are lies from the pit of hell.
I have just given you the lies of theology’s interpretation on the above verses. Ironically, even Christians who attend religious churches do not practice those heresies. Most Christians, including those who attend religious churches on Sunday are quite normal. They are progressive. They value good education because they want to get good jobs with good pay. They do the best they can in their jobs in order to climb up the corporate ladder. Many of them even take up additional courses like MBA to help them to move to the management level.
Generally all Christians (with the exception of some crackpots) want to live good lives on earth. They want more money, live in better environments, good health, happy families and all the good things. The lives of most Christians have shown that they have rejected the heresy of theology.
Now, let me move on to the true meaning of the above verses.
Jesus said the above verses after Peter had confessed that he is the Christ. Then Jesus proceeded to tell them what Christian life is all about. I shall break them down to explain them.
He must deny himself.
This means not allowing ourselves to be constraint by natural limitations. Every one of us is surrounded by natural limitations. Right now we are currently in the worst recession in history. It so happens that we also have swine flu spreading around us. Looks like things are really getting bad. How are we going to survive this crisis, let alone getting rich? These are facts. We should not deny their existence.
However, Jesus wants us to deny ourselves. This means, we should not allow ourselves to be limited by the situation. We have God on our side. He is more powerful than the worst economic crisis and worst flu put together. As long as we choose to deny ourselves in not allowing the natural circumstances to have the final say in our lives, we can overcome them. Yes, we can get rich even in the worst recession. We can live healthy lives even in the midst of the worst swine flu. He who is in us is greater than he who is in this world.
Take up his cross daily and follow me.
Taking us the cross daily does not mean we must get crucified every day. Even Jesus got crucified only once. It means we should like everyday with the constant awareness on what Jesus had done at the Cross.
At the Cross, Jesus had died to pay for all our sins: past, present and future. The moment we believe in him, we are righteous by faith. We can go to God at any time we want and behave as though we have never committed a single sin in our lives. Why? As far as God is concern, all the penalties of our sins had been paid. We are always holy because of what Jesus has done at the Cross. It is a heresy to call a Christian sinner. You cannot be a Christian and a sinner at the same time. You can only choose to be either one of them. If you are a Christian, God sees you as always holy even if you have just committed a sin one second ago.
That is not all. At the Cross, Jesus did not just pay for our sins. He took away all our disease for us to live in good health. He also took away all our poverty for us to live in riches.
4Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, And our pains — he hath carried them, And we — we have esteemed him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53:4 (YLT)
9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NLT)
This means, those who follow Jesus will always be blessed with good health and a lot of wealth. So, if you happen to be a Christian who is not healthy enough or not rich enough (like me), Jesus’ solution for us is to take us the cross daily and follow him. Are you going to obey him? I will.
For whoever wants to save his life will lose it.
This means do not cling tightly to your life as though you have the power to save yourself. This does not mean that we must have no regard to our lives. You still need to take the necessary precaution. For example, in this season of swine flu outbreak, we should keep our hands clean and avoid going to infected places if we can.
However, as much as we try to take reasonable precautions, we must always remind ourselves that our God is our ultimate protector. Let him move in to protect us. Allow his peace and joy to occupy our minds. The more anxious we are in trying to save our lives, the more we are likely to lose it because we are not God. In contrast, the more we place our trust in God’s protection, we will be protected from every harm. This is the true meaning of Luke 9:24.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
No matter how hard the theologians try to propagate their heresies, the truth is God put all the riches in this world for us, his people. Jesus died poor for us to be rich. God wants us to gain the whole world but not at the expense of ourselves. It is not the will of God for us to gain the whole world and lose ourselves.
In order words, God wants us to have a lot of money and own the money. God does not want our money to own us. This is what getting rich is all about. We are the boss to our money. Once we are able to grasp this truth, there is no limit on how rich we can get.
Luke 9:23-25 is not a perversion as propagated by the theologians. It is a formula to get rich. If you want to get rich, put these verses into action.