For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
This is one of those sayings of Christ which have aroused in men opinions of the most opposite character. It has been received on one side with scorn, on the other by reverence. It has been considered as a piece of unpractical sentiment; it has been hailed as the very inmost law of all life. Any spiritual theory of life which tends to destroy, and not to assert, the individuality of man is an inhuman theory, and, as such, false. Any explanation of this text must account for the fact of the desire of individuality. We must keep our individuality, but we ought to take care that it is true and not false individuality. The key to distinguish them from each other is given in the text. It speaks of a double nature in man; one which asserts itself, the other which denies it. The first has a seeming life which is actual death; the second has a seeming death which is actual life; and, therefore, if life is inseparably connected with individuality, the development of the selfish nature is false individuality; the development of the unselfish nature is true individuality. Individuality is not isolation.
(Stopford A. Brooke, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.