Originally posted on AbbasGirlMe:
This is a wonderful writing by A. W. Pink concerning denying self and following Christ. This kind of teaching is rare in our day, which is why the visible church is such a mess. You will be encouraged by Pink’s writings…
“Then said Jesus unto His disciples—If any will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
Before developing the theme of this verse, let us comment on its terms…
“If any”: the duty enjoined is for all who would join Christ’s followers and enlist under His banner.
“If any will”: the Greek is very emphatic, signifying not only the consent of the will—but full purpose of heart, a determined resolution.
“Come after Me”: as a servant subject to his Master, a scholar his Teacher, a soldier his Captain.
“Deny”: the Greek means “deny utterly.” Deny himself—his sinful and corrupt nature.
“And take up”: not passively bear or endure—but voluntarily assume, actively adopt.
“His cross”: which is scorned by the world, hated by the flesh—but is the distinguishing mark of a real Christian.
“And follow Me”: live as Christ lived—to the glory of God.
The immediate context is most solemn and striking. The Lord Jesus has just announced to His apostles, for the first time, His approaching death of humiliation (21). Peter was staggered, and said, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!” (22). That expressed the policy of the carnal mind. The way of the world is self-seeking and self-shielding. “Spare yourself” is the sum of its philosophy. But the doctrine of Christ is not “save yourself” but sacrifice yourself. Christ discerned in Peter’s counsel, a temptation from Satan (23), and at once flung it away from Him. Then turning to Peter, He said: Not only “must” Jesus go up to Jerusalem and die—but everyone who would be a follower of His—must take up his cross (24). The “must” is as imperative in the one case as in the other. Mediatorially, the cross of Christ stands alone—but experimentally it is shared by all who enter into life. What is a “Christian”? One who holds membership in some earthly church? No! One who believes an orthodox creed? No! One who adopts a certain mode of conduct? No! What, then, is a Christian? He is one who has renounced self and received Christ Jesus as Lord (Col 2:6). He is one who takes Christ’s yoke upon him and learns of Him who is “meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). He is one who has been “called unto the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor 1:9). That is, fellowship in His obedience and suffering now, in His reward and glory in the endless future! There is no such thing as belonging to Christ—and living to please self. Make no mistake on that point— “Whoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple,” (Luke 14:27) said Christ. And again He declared, “But whoever shall [instead of denying himself] deny Me before men [not "unto" men: it is conduct, the walk which is here in view], him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).