We took an eye-opening look yesterday at passages where certain people offered to follow Christ only to be find their motives questioned, The Rich Young Ruler and a scribe in particular. The Rich Young Ruler turned away from Christ because he was told to sell his belongings and give the money to the poor. The scribe seems to have left after discovering that Jesus had no reservations at the local B-n-B. Today we see that those requirements may be easy to meet compared the requirements he gave to the masses who followed him.
Look at this verse:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:27
What are we to make of that? Those are pretty strong words? What of the ABCs of salvation? Accept Christ into your heart. Believe in the name of Jesus. Confess your sins. Where is Hate your family in the ABCs?
Now, before we go further I want to state up front – as I have in previous episodes that I am not advocating salvation by works. You and I can do nothing to make our sinful souls and mortal bodies worthy of heaven. Only by relying on the virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ may we find eternal life. I am simply telling you the old 20th century teaching of “Freely Given, Freely Received” is wrong. There is a cost to you and I if we wish to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
What is that cost? That’s not for me to say. It is different for each and every believer. Yet, Jesus tells us to plan for it. In the next breath, immediately telling us we need to hate our family to be worthy of following Him, he tells us to count the cost.
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him… Luke 14:28-29.
He uses another analogy as well:
…what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
So, let me lay out what serve learned so far. There is a cost to salvation, a great cost it would seem, a tremendous cost. But we don’t know what it is up front because it may be different for every believer. Yet, Jesus warns His followers to be prepared to pay for it. To count the costs before following Him. What are we missing?
Maybe, we may hope, there is a difference between simply finding salvation and following Christ? In other words, I just want to be counted in for the part of the plan where I go to heaven, but I don’t want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, not if it means such a high price to pay. I’m sorry… I don’t see that option in the Bible.
Jesus told the lame man whom he found in the Temple, “Go and sin no more.” He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” He told the rich man, “sell everything you own and give it to the poor.” He told the scribe, essentially, “Give up your cushy bed in your luxurious home.” What is he telling you?
What does it cost you to follow Christ? He tells us the answer in Luke. 14:27 reads:
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
What does the cross represent? It represents death. The cost of flirting Christ is your life. Don’t believe it? Jump down to the end of that chapter and read verse 33:
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
What price are you willing to pay, and why would we? We’ll look at those questions yet this week on Christian Holiness Daily.
Holiness is, perhaps, the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. Anyone who has striven to follow the life of Christ can likely tell you that it is impossible to do. No one can match His love, His grace, or His compassion. For no one but Jesus is perfect. Once the believer is filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit, though, he or she is filled to the brim with the love of Christ, and desires nothing more than to please God and follow in Christ’s steps. The love of sin is gone. In its place is a love and passion for others. That is Christian Holiness. This is Christian Holiness Daily.