Matthew 16:25
For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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 willethi.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” (1Thessalonians 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.

Matthew 16:25-27. Whosoever will save his life — At the expense of his conscience: whosoever, in the very highest instance, that of life itself, will not renounce himself, shall be lost eternally. But can any man hope he should be able thus to renounce himself, if he cannot do it in the smallest instances? And whosoever will lose his life, shall find it — What he loses on earth he shall find in heaven. See note on Matthew 10:39, where this sentence is explained more at large. For what is a man profited, &c. —

“To carry home the argument more closely, he puts them in mind of the method according to which men estimate things. If God should offer the riches of Solomon, the strength of Samson, the policy of Ahithophel, the beauty of Absalom, the eloquence of Apollos, universal monarchy, and all kinds of pleasures, and should say, Take them for one hour, and then die; who is the man that would not immediately reject the proposed condition, and reply, that life is better than them all? But will men forego every earthly thing for life, the life of the body? and will they not part with them, nay, and with life itself, for their souls? since the longest any one can enjoy this life with its pleasures, is, in comparison of eternity, no longer than he enjoys the good things mentioned, who dies in the same hour he receives them.” — Macknight. Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul — Namely, at the day of judgment? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father — For you may certainly depend upon it that, howsoever he may be now despised and rejected of men, there is a day appointed when he will come in all the glory of the Godhead, encircled in the most pompous manner with his holy angels: and then shall he convene the whole world before him, that he may determine the final happiness or misery of each, and recompense every man according to his conduct. Thus, “that the argument, by which the necessity of self-denial is so clearly established, might have the greater weight, our Lord speaks more particularly concerning the rewards and punishments of a future state, assuring his disciples that they are all to be distributed by himself, the Father having appointed him the universal Judge, so that his enemies cannot flatter themselves with a hope of escaping condign punishment, nor his friends be in the least afraid of losing their reward.”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.Whosoever will save his life ... - See the notes at Matthew 10:39.25. For whosoever will save—is minded to save, or bent on saving.

his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it—(See on [1319]Mt 10:38,39). "A suffering and dying Messiah liketh you ill; but what if His servants shall meet the same fate? They may not; but who follows Me must be prepared for the worst."

We met with these words in Matthew 10:39. See Poole on "Matthew 10:39". 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.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall {t} find it.

(t) Shall gain himself: And this is his meaning, they that deny Christ to save themselves, not only not gain that which they look for, but also lose the thing they would have kept, that is, themselves, which is the greatest loss of all: but as for them that doubt not to die for Christ, it goes well with them otherwise.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 16:25. ide Matthew 10:39. The Caesarea crisis was the most appropriate occasion for the first promulgation of this great ethical principle. It was Christ’s first contribution towards unfolding the significance of His suffering, setting it forth as the result of a fidelity to righteousness incumbent on all.25. whosoever will save his life shall lose it] See note, ch. Matthew 10:39. Let Christ’s follower lose the lower life on his cross, crucify his earthly affections, and he shall win the higher spiritual life here and hereafter.

will save] Not the mere future, but= “shall resolve to save.”Matthew 16:25. Θέλῃσῶσαι, shall wish—to save) It is not said, “shall save, ψυχὴν, soul) The soul is the man in his animal and human capacity.—σῶσαι, to save) sc. naturally.—ἀπολέσει, shall lose) sc. spiritually, or even corporeally.—ἀπολέσῃ, will lose) sc. naturally, having cast away all egoism[768] by self-abnegation. It is not said, shall wish to lose.—ἕνεκεν Ἐμοῦ, for My sake) This is the object of self-abnegation: but many from other causes lose their lives, sc. for their own sake, or that of the world.—εὑρήσει, shall find) In St Mark and St Luke σώσει, it is shall save, shall save sc. spiritually, or even corporeally. The world is full of danger. The soul that is saved is something that has been found.

[768] “Suitate.”—(I. B.)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.).
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