"And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8: 34-38)
The first thing to notice about this passage is the audience to whom Jesus addressed these words. It was not only to those who were already saved and born again. Jesus "called" (invited) both "the people" generally and "his disciples." Surely "the people" were not all saved people. Probably not all who were "disciples" were saved, for "disciple" simply means learner and many are learners who never get saved.
The next thing to notice is the fact that Jesus was here preaching the Gospel and that preaching the Gospel included reasoning with men about what they must do to be saved and also involved teaching the unregenerate.
The next thing to notice is that Jesus is informing sinners what they must do to be saved and that this is no temporal salvation, but eternal salvation, for it is set in opposition to losing one's soul. The salvation obtained by one denying himself, taking up his cross, and following Christ, is connected with the second coming of Christ. At the second coming Christ will be ashamed of those who were ashamed of Christ, and who did not take up the cross to follow him, but those who have done so will not experience that fate. Further, those who do not follow Christ will "lose" their life. This does not refer to physical death, for all die, even the righteous. On this Dr. Gill said in his commentary.
"shall lose it: he shall not enjoy it with honour and comfort now, and much less with peace, pleasure, and happiness hereafter, but shall be under the power of the second death."
It is to lose one's life and soul forever. So, why do the Hardshells not tell people this? Why do they rather tell them that millions will find their life who did not follow him?
And on what Christ meant by a person finding/saving his life by denying himself and following Jesus, Dr. Gill wrote:
"the same shall save it: though he will lose it now, he will find it again in the resurrection of life; for he will rise to eternal life..."
Further, Christ asks "the people," including lost souls, this piercing interrogative - "what will it profit a man if he gain and the whole world and lose his soul?" This is similar to the question - "where will you go when you die?" The question itself has no power in itself to save anyone, but the question, when made efficacious by the power of the Spirit, has such power. Such questions are made use of by the Lord to waken dead consciences, to get the attention of hardened hearts. Such evangelical questions are evident in the preaching of Christ, the prophets, and in that of the apostles.
Why do Hardshells not make use of such interrogatives? Is it not because they have falsely believed that such a method is "Arminian" and are contrary to the doctrine of sovereign grace? The fact that they do not is one of the reasons why so very few are converted to Christ by their preaching.