Matthew 16:25 MEANING

Matthew 16:25
(25) Whosoever will save his life, . . . whosoever will lose his life. . . .--There is a subtle distinction between the two clauses in the Greek which the English fails to represent. "Whoso ever willeth--i.e., wishes--to save his life" (the construction being the same as in Matthew 16:24) in the first clause, "Whosoever shall lose his life" in the second. It is as though it was felt that no man could wish to lose his life for the sake of losing it, though he might be ready, if called on, to surrender it. The word rendered "life" is the same as "the soul" of the next verse. For the most part, it means the former rather than the latter with its modern associations, and is never used as a simple equivalent for the spirit of man as the heir of immortality. Strictly speaking, it is the animating principle of the natural as distinguished from the spiritual life. Man, in the fuller trichotomy of the New Testament, consists of "body, soul, and spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:23), the soul being the connecting-link between the other two. The truth is, of course, put in the form of a paradox, and hence, with a contrast between the two aspects of the soul, or psyche. To be bent on saving it in its relation to the body, is to lose it in its relation to the higher life of spirit; to be content to part with it in its lower aspect, is to gain it back again in the higher.

Verse 25. - (Comp. Matthew 10:39; John 12:25.) Whosoever will (o{ ga\r a}n qe/lh"", whosoever wills to) save his life (ψυχήν). Here are set forth the highest motives for courage, endurance, and perseverance in the way of righteousness. The word translated "life" is used four times in this and the following verse, though in the latter it is rendered "soul" in the Anglican Version. The fact is the word is used in two senses: for the life which now is - the bodily life: and the life which is to come - the spiritual, the everlasting life. These are indeed two stages of the same life - that which is bounded by earth and that which is to be passed with the glorified body in heaven; but they are for the moment regarded as distinct, though intimately connected by belonging to the same personality. And the Lord intimates that any one who avoids bodily death and suffering by compromise of duty, by denying Christ and disowning the truth, shall lose everlasting life. On the other hand, whosoever sacrifices his life for the sake of Christ, to promote his cause, shall save his soul and be eternally rewarded. Shall find it. "Find," as the opposite of "lose," is here equivalent to "save." There may, too, be in it a notion of something great and unexpected, a treasure discovered, "salvation far beyond all that they looked for" (Wisd. 5:2). Says St. Gregory, "If you keep your seed, you lose it; if you sow it, you will find it again" ('Hom. in Evang.,' 32.).

16:24-28 A true disciple of Christ is one that does follow him in duty, and shall follow him to glory. He is one that walks in the same way Christ walked in, is led by his Spirit, and treads in his steps, whithersoever he goes. Let him deny himself. If self-denial be a hard lesson, it is no more than what our Master learned and practised, to redeem us, and to teach us. Let him take up his cross. The cross is here put for every trouble that befalls us. We are apt to think we could bear another's cross better than our own; but that is best which is appointed us, and we ought to make the best of it. We must not by our rashness and folly pull crosses down upon our own heads, but must take them up when they are in our way. If any man will have the name and credit of a disciple, let him follow Christ in the work and duty of a disciple. If all worldly things are worthless when compared with the life of the body, how forcible the same argument with respect to the soul and its state of never-ending happiness or misery! Thousands lose their souls for the most trifling gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. Yet one soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ's judgment upon the matter; he knew the price of souls, for he redeemed them; nor would he underrate the world, for he made it. The dying transgressor cannot purchase one hour's respite to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us then learn rightly to value our souls, and Christ as the only Saviour of them.For whosoever will save his life,.... Whoever is desirous of preserving himself from troubles, reproaches, persecutions, and death; and takes such a method to do it, as by forsaking Christ, denying his Gospel, and dropping his profession of it; and by so doing, curries favour with men, in order to procure to himself worldly emoluments, honour, peace, pleasure, and life,

shall lose it; he will expose himself to the wrath of God, to everlasting punishment, the destruction of soul and body in hell, which is the second death, and will be his portion:

and whosoever will lose his life for my sake: that is, is willing to forego all the pleasures and comforts of life, and be subject to poverty and distress, and to lay down life itself, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel, rather than deny him, and part with truth,

shall find it; in the other world, to great advantage; he shall enjoy an immortal and eternal life, free from all uneasiness and affliction, and full of endless joys and pleasures.

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