Now the third and fourth sentences:
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mark 8:36-37).
In these the person is highlighted who will not deny himself. He is also the one who wishes to save his life but ultimately loses it. Now he is spoken of as one who pursues what the world has to offer and who ultimately “forfeits his soul.” Jesus exposes the folly of such a person by comparing the worth of the whole world with that of one’s soul. Of course, there is no comparison. A person might theoretically acquire all the world has to offer, but, if the ultimate consequence of his life is that he spends eternity in hell, he has made the gravest of errors.
From these third and fourth sentences we also gain insight into what pulls people away from denying themselves to become Christ’s followers. It is their desire for self-gratification, offered by the world. Motivated by love of self, those who refuse to follow Christ seek sinful pleasures, which Christ’s true followers shun out of love and obedience to Him. Those who are trying to gain all that the world has to offer pursue wealth, power and prestige, while Christ’s true followers seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Any wealth, power or prestige that is gained by them is considered a stewardship from God to be used unselfishly for His glory.