When a team forfeits a game, it means they lose. So, if you forfeit your soul – you will lose, too!
In Matthew 16:26 Jesus asked a very penetrating question. He said, “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Now, to forfeit your soul is to lose it (which is the word the King James Version uses here).
The word “forfeit” is the Greek word zemjoo, which means “to inflict injury or punishment” or in the passive sense, as it is found here, “to suffer damage or loss; to experience detriment; to forfeit; to lose.”
When our son was wrestling in high school, his team wrestled another school that had a very unusual heavy-weight wrestler: a girl! Schools were under pressure to include females in their interscholastic sports, and this girl wanted to be a wrestler on the school team. She was certainly big enough, and she qualified to be a heavy-weight. But nobody knew how tough she was, because no boy would wrestle her. You see, it was a no-win deal: if you beat her – you beat a girl. And if you lost to her – well, that would be the ultimate humility. So every school this team wrestled would forfeit the heavy-weight division. She was undefeated as a heavy-weight wrestler, though she had never wrestled a match!
Well, the idea in this passage is that if you forfeit – you lose. Jesus was saying that it is possible to be very successful in life, yet end up losing out for eternity. So here’s the answer to our Lord’s question, “For what is a man profited, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” The answer is: no profit at all! You forfeit – you lose.
So, are you paying attention to your eternal soul? Ultimately, that’s the only thing that matters. Don’t forfeit that!