23 And He said to them all, If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
24 For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever loses his soul-life for My sake, this one shall save it.
25 For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world but loses or forfeits himself?
35 For whoever wants to save his soul-life shall lose it; but whoever will lose his soul-life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it.
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul-life?
37 For what could a man give in exchange for his soul-life?
10 Do not fear the things that you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison that you may be tried, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they loved not their soul-life even unto death.
22 And he who had received the two talents also came and said, Master, you delivered to me two talents; behold, I have gained another two talents.
23 His master said to him, Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful over a few things; I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.
To save the soul life is to allow the soul to have its enjoyment and not to suffer. To lose the soul life is to cause the soul to suffer the loss of its enjoyment. If the followers of the Man-Savior allow their soul to have its enjoyment in this age, they will cause their soul to suffer the loss of its enjoyment in the coming kingdom age. If they allow their soul to suffer the loss of its enjoyment in this age for the sake of the Man-Savior, they will cause their soul to have its enjoyment in the coming kingdom age. They will share the Lord’s joy in ruling over the earth (Matt. 25:21, 23). (Life-study of Luke, pp. 181-182)
After speaking of denying the self, taking up the cross, and losing the soul, the Lord referred to the world, saying, “What shall a man be profited if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul-life? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul-life?” (16:26). People love the world simply because it gives amusement to their soul. They love good clothing, fine cars, and worldly amusements because they bring enjoyment to the soul. But for the Lord’s sake, for the gospel’s sake, and for His testimony’s sake, we need to be willing to lose the enjoyment of the soul in this age….The reason people love the world is that they want to maintain the enjoyment of the soul. Throughout the world there is the enjoyment of the soul. The reason people study to earn a degree is to have a better life, and a better life means more enjoyment. Others work to earn a promotion in their job so that they may have more money for more enjoyment of the soul. When the Lord Jesus came, He lost His soul; that is, He gave up all His soulish enjoyment. He lost the enjoyment of His soul in this age so that He might gain His soul in the coming age….In the coming age the Lord Jesus will enjoy the whole earth. At that time He will invite us, His partners, to share in this enjoyment. We need to wait patiently for the coming enjoyment. If you keep the enjoyment in your soul today, you will lose the enjoyment to come….The choice is yours. If you prefer to have your enjoyment today, you are free to do so. But if you save your soul in this age, be assured that you will lose it when the Lord comes back. He will tell you that because you have enjoyed your soul so much, now is the time for you to lose it. Which do you choose—to lose your soul today and gain it tomorrow, or to gain it today and lose it tomorrow? If we could gain the whole world, it would still not be worthwhile to gain it at the cost of losing our soul.
Suppose the brothers living in a brothers’ house have seen the vision concerning Christ and the building of the church. They realize that the Lord desires to recover the church life for His economy. However,…because of [a] discouraging situation, some of the brothers may consider moving out of the house. But if they move out, they will be saving their souls to have an easy way for themselves. One brother may actually move from that house to another house, where, after a few weeks, he learns that the situation is the same. Then he moves to a church in another part of the country….When he arrives in the new locality and moves into a brothers’ house there, he finds the situation even worse than the one he left. At this point, disappointed with the church life, he may decide to leave the church entirely. If he does this, he will be saving his soul to the uttermost. By this we see that to please the self is to save the soul. (CWWL, 1978, vol. 1, “The Exercise of the Kingdom for the Building of the Church”, pp. 105-106, 92)
Further Reading: HWMR The Christian Life, the Church Life, the Consummation of the Age, and the Coming of the Lord – Week 3, Day 1
Corporate Reading of “The Mystery of Christ” Chapter 8 – Sections: Elders; The Man Being The Head Of The Woman
© Living Stream Ministry, 2016, used by permission