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Are you saved? What are you saving?

Matthew 16
24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life[1] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

The word life and soul are the same Greek word, at least every one I checked in the Gospels?
Is "denying yourself" a "work"?
Is "taking up your cross" a "work"?
Jesus said it is something we must do! Whatever we do we should do it by faith. For whatever we do not do by faith is a sin.(Rom 14:23). If I do it by faith is it a work? Maybe but it is God working through me. I cannot separate salvation and anything Christ has commanded me to do? Either HE is Lord of your life or HE is not! The point of being his disciple is following HIM and becoming more like HIM! If you want to simply practice a minimalist religion in order to get into heaven or avoid hell then ..... why? You are missing the pleasures of this world and are missing the joy of living a Christian life. I have no idea what will happen at the judgment.
I have always considered what Christ told me to do to be simply my duty as HIS servant. There is no reward in it for me. He has already bought me, I am his. It is not a matter of working my way to heaven, it is a matter of loving my Lord!

Luke 17:6He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.
7"Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, 'Come along now and sit down to eat'? 8Would he not rather say, 'Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink'? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.' "

John 15:9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

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