THE HIGH COST OF REWARD
(IN CHRIST’S MILLENNIAL KINGDOM)
An Exposition of Matthew 16:24-28
How many have heard the expression “No Pain, No Gain?” Primarily, that expression is used in a gym where athletes are training and building their strength. I can remember seeing tee-shirts with that slogan when I worked out in the gym on a regular basis. During my college years and early twenties, I was dedicated to physical training and I frequented the gym five days per week. Unfortunately, after I married and my job responsibilities increased, I made less time to keep my body in top shape. However, I do remember the dedication I had in seeing my body develop and the great feeling of accomplishment I sensed due to my dedication. I felt great after a workout, but the workout was quite painful! I am reminded of the body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger and of a word he used one time in relation to being successful in strength training: “focus.” Focus on what you are doing and don’t let anything stand in your way. Again, in strength training the phase, “No Pain, No Gain,” is paramount. If you want maximum results, you must put forth maximum effort.
With this principle in mind, I want to speak to you as mature believers about continued spiritual development. When I say spiritual development, I mean growth or maturity. The end result of that maturity being a person who glorifies God, is rewarded by God for his maturity, and achieves the eternal purpose for which God has created him. The passage we are considering is Matthew 16:24-28. We will also consider the parallel passage of Luke 9:23-27.
In Matthew chapter 16 verses 24-27, it states: “24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.’”
Background of the Passage
The scripture we have just read came at a critical time in Jesus’ ministry. I think it is important that we analyze the context and setting of this passage in order to fully understand Christ’s teaching.
Jesus, according to John 1:11, came to His own, the Jews. Unfortunately, the Jews rejected their Messiah. More specifically, the leaders of the Jews rejected their Messiah with the rest of the nation following suit. Matthew 15:24 gives us an interesting insight into Christ’s earthly ministry.
Notice what He says to a Canaanite woman who is asking Him to heal her demon possessed daughter in verse 24: “But He answered and said, ‘I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” What is more interesting are the verses that follow. Matthew 15:25-28: “25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’ 26 But He answered and said, ‘It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.’ 27 And she said, ‘Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’ 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
This is truly a remarkable exchange! It is important that we understand the vast difference in culture to fully understand the conversation. The Jew’s considered the Gentiles as dogs or subservient people. Jesus at first was not willing to heal this woman’s daughter because the scope of His ministry was to His own people. However, because of the woman’s faith and persistence He graciously agreed to heal her daughter. Many lessons can be drawn from this passage but the main idea is that Jesus earthly ministry primarily centered on the nation of Israel.
As we consider this fact, it helps us understand the scope of the gospels. Jesus came on the scene to His people demanding they repent, Matthew 4:17: “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” As a nation they were not walking in the ways of the Lord and He, the Messiah, was there to provide deliverance via the establishment of the promised kingdom. However, the deliverance was conditional upon repentance.
Continuing on with our contextual analysis lets look closer at the flow of events in Matthew. In chapter ten we see Jesus sending forth His twelve disciples to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Their message was the same as Christ’s; “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” That is to say the Messiah is here and the promised kingdom is near. Jesus empowers them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons. He bids them to do this feely among the people of Israel. Unfortunately, their message and ministry was not well received.
Chapter twelve records a critical point in Christ’s ministry to the nation of Israel. The Pharisee’s, leaders of the nation, who according to Matthew 23:2 sat in Moses’ seat, accused Jesus of healing a man by the power of Satan. At this point Jesus pronounced judgment upon the nation because of the leader’s blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Thus, when we come to chapter sixteen, we see continued unbelief from the Pharisees. Jesus calls them hypocrites and says they are unable to discern the signs and times. Again, their Messiah is within their midst and they are in unbelief. In chapter sixteen a great transition takes place. The Church is first mentioned. Jesus reveals to His disciples that He will suffer at the hands of the leaders of Israel and be killed and rise again on the third day. Peter, who had just acknowledged Christ as the Messiah, began to rebuke the Lord. He just knew the Messiah would not suffer, but would gloriously reign. Jesus rebukes Peter strongly and attributes his words to those of Satan.
With this brief analysis of context and setting we can now analyze the primary scripture of Matthew 16:24-28.
Christ’s Coming Glory is His Millennial Kingdom
Again, in Matthew 16: 27 & 28 Christ says: “27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
To understand this passage it is important that we identify the kingdom of which Jesus speaks. It is none other than His millennial or 1000 year reign upon this earth. This kingdom is a literal kingdom with a literal King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had much to say about His coming kingdom. In Matthew alone the word kingdom is used fifty-six times, most of which are a reference to Christ’s coming kingdom. All of prophecy is pointing to that coming kingdom, which will be characterized by righteousness and peace. The immediate context, as well as the theological context, supports this interpretation.
Jesus goes on to say that several of those standing there, the disciples, will not die until they have seen Him in His kingdom. This statement seems puzzling until we read further in chapter seventeen where Jesus takes His inner circle (Peter, James, and John) up on a high mountain where He is transfigured before them. As He was transfigured (changed), Moses and Elijah appeared with Him. The word “transfigured” is the Greek word metamorphoo. The word means a change or alteration of form. Jesus was changed before their eyes into the type of body He will have during His millennial reign. Thus, Peter, James, and John saw Jesus as He would be in His glorious kingdom. This event had a tremendous effect on Peter for he references it in his second epistle (2 Peter 1:16-17), wherein he says: “16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
Thus, we see that the kingdom spoken of in this passage is undoubtedly Christ’s coming Messianic Kingdom that will last for one-thousand years. We also see that reward will be administered by Christ relative to His coming kingdom. This is evidenced by verse twenty-seven. With this understanding let’s examine more closely Jesus’ words to His disciples as they relate to His coming kingdom and rewards in that kingdom for believers.
Jesus’ Proposition to His Disciples to Follow Him on the Road of Suffering and Shame
Matthew 16:24 states: “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”
The immediate road Jesus was to walk was not a road of glory and exaltation. That would come later. The phrase “come after Me” makes reference to Christ’s place of exaltation during His future kingdom. However, the road He was about to travel was a rocky and rough road that lead to the cross. His disciples had much to learn and He was preparing them for hard times ahead. His proposition is not one of salvation from sin, but about reward. His disciples were already believers. It is improper to attribute this proposition as an invitation to eternal salvation, i.e., justification secured by Christ’s work and obtained through faith. Contextually, He is speaking to believers who are being prepared to put their faith into action to a greater degree than they ever imagined. Thus, this proposition is one for discipleship. Discipleship is costly for the believer as opposed to the free gift of salvation. Discipleship is about obedience on a daily basis. Discipleship focuses on our works. Discipleship is about submitting to the Lordship of Christ. Disciples are not born; they are made. Let’s look at the components of the road that Jesus walked.
Self Denial is Typified in Christ’s Perfect Example
If ever a man displayed an attitude of complete denial of self it was Christ. He gave us a perfect example. I am reminded of what He said in Matthew 11:29 when He said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” He invites believers to “learn” from Him. As we consider His words, please remember the phrase “No pain, No gain.” Jesus did not promise a life of comfort and material blessing. In fact, He taught a life of struggle and difficulty. If we are to follow in the footsteps of our Savior, we must be prepared for a difficult journey.
What does it mean to deny self? The opposite of “deny” is “agree.” If I deny self, I will not agree with what I want to do. I will put others before me. Primarily, I will put the Lord in first place. I will seek to please Him and not myself.
I am reminded of Paul’s words to the Philippian church in Philippians 2:3-8 where he says, “3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
Denial of self involves having the same mind as Christ. He totally yielded His will to that of the Father. You may ask how we can follow Christ in this aspect. Certainly we cannot attain the same level of self-denial as Christ! No, we cannot, for He was perfect in every way. However, we are commanded to follow Him and seek to imitate Him as much as possible.
Scripture is replete with admonitions to deny self, to humble ourselves, and to serve others. It is important to realize that as believers we should be in a constant state of change. We should not be spiritually stagnant. Our sanctification is progressive. We will always face a battle, but the victories should increase.
Taking-Up the Cross is a Figure of Speech that Signifies Self Denial and Submission to Christ’s Authority
Cultural differences are important to understand when we explore the truths of Scripture. The Roman government used crucifixion as a form of capital punishment for various reasons. One was to show publicly the authority they had over their victims. When Jesus used this phase, He was using language with which the disciples could understand and relate. Up to this point they were not thinking about death, suffering, or humiliation due to their association with Jesus. He is now introducing this difficult reality to them in vivid terms. Let’s consider the implications this truth has for us today.
Cross-Bearing is a Daily Battle for the Believer
It is interesting to note the parallel passage in Luke’s gospel. Luke 9:23 says, “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” Notice the word “daily.” Cross-bearing for you and me means to submit our wills to the will of God on a daily basis.
Romans 12:1-2 gives us specific instruction as to how we are to live our lives in the will of God: “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
When the Lord saved us from sin He did it without any of our works. Since we are justified in His sight, we now have the choice to serve ourselves or Him on a daily basis. Paul made reference to the idea of daily cross-bearing in 1 Corinthians 15:31 where he said, “I die daily.”
In 2 Corinthians 4:10 he said, “Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” In Colossians 3:5 he told us, “Therefore put to death your members that are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”
The cross was an instrument of death and the believer is to “put to death” the flesh and walk in the Spirit daily. Later in Colossians 3:16 Paul tells us how we can accomplish the destruction of the flesh and its desires on a daily basis. Verse 16 says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” [Editor’s note: compare the companion passage of Scripture in Ephesians 5:18-20, which indicates that the key to being “filled with the Spirit” is to “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly”] It is the Word of God that accomplishes the destruction of the flesh. As we submit to His will, which is revealed in His Word, we will be victorious over the flesh.
Follow Me Speaks of Discipleship/Fellowship and Denotes the Pupil-Master Relationship
Jesus has now succinctly laid out a proposition that is very difficult for His disciples to swallow. Following Christ in discipleship is a difficult road. It does not promise material wealth, popularity, prosperity or anything else that normally appeals to our fleshly desires. The disciples up to this point enjoyed popularity and were expecting a position in Christ’s coming Kingdom. Now Jesus has outlined a difficult road that must be traveled in its entirety in order for them to have a place in His kingdom.
The cross is now in view, although He has not directly told them He was going to be crucified. Crucifixion was the ultimate in humiliation. The process, where the subject is naked before all those who passed by, could last for days. The truth being introduced is that the cross would precede the crown. Christ must suffer the cross before He could enjoy the crown in His Kingdom. In like manner, His followers must also suffer prior to exaltation. This biblical principle must be fully understood by believers: suffering precedes exaltation!
Discipline, Submission, and Passion are All Associated with Following Christ
Again, if ever a man were our example, Christ is that Man. He was an extremely disciplined Man. He was deeply committed to knowing and submitting to His Father’s will. He was a Man of intense prayer. He made it a habit of rising early for prayer. He allowed the Scriptures to permeate His thought life. When tempted in the wilderness, He turned to Scripture to defeat the enemy. When He was tempted by the Pharisees, He often turned to Scriptures to answer and defeat them.
If we hope to follow Him, we must be men and women of like passion and practice. We must realize that the road will be a difficult one. The journey is one that demands self-denial and submission to the Lord’s will, not our own. In order to accomplish this, we must follow Christ’s example and be men and women of intense Bible study and prayer. We must want more than anything else in our lives to know the will of God. We must seek to know His character, attributes, likes, and dislikes. We must understand that God speaks to us through His Word! We can not expect to follow or please Christ if we are not in His Word and on our knees on a daily basis.
Throughout Jesus’ teachings one sees the principle of submission. A few passages in Matthew will further illustrate this doctrine.
In Matthew 20:26-28 He states, “26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
And then in Matthew 23:11-12 He says, “11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Jesus is saying in both of these passages that being a servant in this life [age] will lead to being a sovereign in the life [age] to come. Those who humble themselves now will be exalted in His kingdom.
Jesus Promises Reward for Following Him
Matthew 16:25 is of particular interest and demands our close attention. We must remember the context and determine the meaning of several key words in the passage: namely the words “life,” “save” and “lose.” The word for “life” in the Greek text is psuche. It is the same word used in verse twenty-six for “soul.” In context, it is used to describe our “will and desires.” The word “save” is the word sozo in the Greek text, which means to “deliver or protect.” The word for “lose” is apollumi in the Greek text, which means to “destroy fully.”
Losing our Life Means to Follow Christ in the Way of Self-Denial and Cross-Bearing
Understanding the meaning of these key words helps us to more fully understand what Jesus was saying. Looking at the overall context and understanding how the words are placed together (their syntax) we then see Jesus is not talking about heaven or hell. We have already established that the context of the passage does not concern itself with the gospel of grace as it relates to our eternal destination. Jesus is speaking to His disciples about His proposition for discipleship. Thus, to lose ones life simply means to follow Christ! He has defined what it means to follow him in verse twenty-four. Christ is telling His disciples that reward is waiting for them in His coming Kingdom, if they lose (destroy) their life (desires) on earth. This is seen contextually in verse twenty-seven, “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.”
If we walk the path Jesus walked, we can expect to receive reward with Him in like fashion. God’s Word abounds with promises to the faithful believer and Jesus had a great deal to say about rewarding faithfulness. Let’s examine a few passages to expound further upon this doctrine.
Matthew 5:12 says, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus was speaking to His disciples about being persecuted. If they lived the way He prescribed in the prior nine verses, the beatitudes, they would enjoy great reward. His teaching was that of submission, meekness, mercy, and peacemaking in the believer’s life. This teaching is directly inline with the passage in chapter sixteen, which is summarized in the phrase, “follow Me.” There is great future reward for following Him! There is also great temporal cost.
In Matthew chapter six He continues to speak of reward and laying up treasures in heaven. The focus was on trusting God and walking in His ways. Again, this can be summarized in the phrase “follow Me.”
Matthew 10:41 & 42 speaks of a prophet’s reward and a righteous man’s reward. We could go on and on to reference the teaching of rewards in Scripture. Suffice it to say that the mention of “reward” in Matthew 16 must apply to those who are believers and the scope of that “reward” is in direct correlation to Christ’s coming Kingdom.
The apostle Paul was quite familiar with the doctrine of following Christ for reward. Observe his words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Notice Paul’s reference to bringing his body into subjection. He is reiterating Christ’s teaching of self-denial and cross-bearing. In essence, Paul is teaching believers that he and they must follow Christ. Paul made it his burning desire to follow Christ. He knew the prize awaited him if he finished the race. Notice what he says in Philippians 3:14: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The prize is the ability to rule and reign with Christ. In this passage Paul calls it the “upward call.” Near the end of Paul’s life the Lord revealed to Paul his reward. Notice Paul’s dying words in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
One other passage worth our attention is 2 Timothy 2:12: “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” We see from this passage the fact that suffering or enduring for Christ yields reward (reigning). The opposite is also brought out in this passage that leads into our next point.
The Cost for Not Following Christ is to Loose Our Reward in His Coming Millennial Kingdom
Jesus spoke plainly and warned His disciples of the disastrous consequences associated with not following Him. To save one’s life now would cause them to lose it during His coming kingdom. The disciples had received a great amount of “light”; they had walked, talked, learned, eaten, and lived with the Son of God! Their responsibility was great as it related to the spreading of the gospel and accomplishing God’s will. God had chosen them for the task and with their privilege came great responsibility. To turn their back and not follow Christ would have serious repercussions.
In Matthew 16:26 Jesus expounds further upon the idea of losing the “life.” The word for “soul” in the Greek text is the same word as “life” in verse twenty-five. Jesus asks what has a man profited or gained if he does not follow Christ in discipleship. The pleasures of sin for a season can not be compared with the glory that will be afforded the faithful who follow Christ. The picture Christ paints is that of a man who owns the entire world. Even that kind of riches and glory can not be compared to what Christ will share with those who follow him in discipleship.
Notice what Jesus tells Peter in Matthew 19:27-30: 27: “Then Peter answered and said to Him, ‘See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?’ 28 So Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’”
Saving our Life Now is Deciding to Walk Contrary to Christ
Ephesians chapter five illustrates the decision a believer has as it relates to following or not following Christ. Look closely at Ephesians 5:1-6: “1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. 3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
Paul strongly admonishes the Ephesian believers to walk in love and to follow Christ. He says they should not walk like the world walks. This along with numerous other admonitions in Scripture show us that believers should always be on guard and diligent about their walk with the Lord. It is very possible for us to fall into sin and walk in our old man of flesh and not in our new man of spirit. In the previous chapter of Ephesians, Paul told them to put off the former lifestyle and put on a new one fashioned after righteous and holiness.
Losing our Life There Means to Forfeit Any Reward in the Coming Kingdom
Paul makes a bold statement in Ephesians 5:5. He tells the believers that those who choose to walk in the old man (the flesh) will not have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ. We don’t have time to do an in-depth study on inheritance, but we will look at it briefly.
Inheritance in scripture is used primarily in two ways, and context always governs its meaning. Most of the time inheritance speaks of reward for faithfulness. This is seen vividly in the Pentateuch where second generation Israel, via the leadership of Joshua, inherited the land. The opposite is seen in the first generation of Israelites who forfeited their inheritance because of their unbelief and unfaithfulness. They were prohibited by God from entering the promised land of reward.
In the New Testament, inheritance is viewed basically the same way. Colossians 3:23-25 illustrates the relation between reward and inheritance: “23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.”
Thus, we can see that to lose our inheritance as a believer is to lose our reward. The reward is co-rulership with Christ in His kingdom. Notice what Jesus says in Revelation 3:21, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” If we lose our reward we are prohibited from participating (reigning) in Christ’s coming millennial Kingdom.
Take heed of Hebrews chapters three and four. The writer of Hebrews is addressing the “holy brethren” in verse one of chapter three. Notice what he says in Hebrews 3:12, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.” Now look at Hebrews 3:19-4:1: “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.” The writer is addressing the brethren and includes himself in the warning. Unfaithful and unbelieving brethren (Christians) have a great deal to lose!
One last passage I want to bring to your attention is the parable of the talents in Matthew chapter twenty-five. This parable speaks of the Judgment Seat of Christ and Christ’s faithful assessment of the talents he has given to his servants. Verse nineteen says that the lord of the servants reckoned with them or judged their performance. Those who used their talents wisely were given praise and allowed to enter into the joy of the lord. However, the servant who did not use his talent was called a wicked and slothful servant. His lord dealt harshly with him because of his unfaithfulness.
Then notice what Matthew 25:28-30 says, “28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The disobedient servant is not allowed to enter the joy of the lord. He loses that privilege or reward and is cast outside in the darkness where he will be in great anguish.
Please listen, and listen closely to what Jesus has to say. If we choose to follow Him on earth and identify with His sufferings, we will enjoy unfathomable reward in His kingdom. However, the cost for the believer is extremely high. It requires that we submit to Christ’s will and Lordship in every aspect of our lives. It requires that we live a disciplined, submissive life, seeking to serve others and not ourselves. It requires putting to death our fleshly desires. It is likened to a race and a fight that is never ending until the day we die. It is the most difficult road we can choose to travel. But, the return on our investment is out of this world!
If, however, after we have been saved by His marvelous grace and given exceeding and gracious promises, we chose to live for the here and now, we will not share in His coming glory; suffering must precede glory. He is no respecter of persons and will reward us in accordance with our works. If we are unfaithful, we will experience indescribable loss.
Remember, No Pain, No Gain!
* This document by Scott Crawford has been edited by Charles of www.bibleone.net in the following manner: transformed it from a PDF format to a Microsoft Word format, highlighted all scriptural references, added one comment in brackets, capitalized the first letter of all pronouns referencing Christ, corrected some spellings, established some parallelism in referencing Scripture, and clarified a few ambiguous expressions. But in no way has the meaning of Scott’s work been changed.