Warner's TheoBlog

Thoughts from a disciple who writes

Paying the price


I wonder if, for too long, the Christian faith has been presented as an easy option?

Let me start by stating that Jesus has paid the price for our salvation, once and for all. We are saved by grace, not as a result of our own righteousness. In this way, the price that we simply cannot afford has already been paid, fully and unequivocally, and salvation is free. BUT…

However, it is not salvation that is at issue, so much as it is the life of a disciple.

To paraphrase Bill Hybels, if the Christian faith is only about salvation, why are we still breathing? Why is it that we are not, as soon as we believe, taken into heaven? What happens after salvation? It is after we are saved that God asks us to pay a price. We don’t have to pay it, but we are given the opportunity to do so over the rest of our life on Earth.

Richard Taylor, at #RMLC2014, talked about an aeroplane where the ones who are in first class are simply those who are willing to pay the price expected to upgrade from standard seating. All of the passengers are heading for their destination, but some have paid more and so find more on their journey. The difference between standard and first class is not where one travels, it is how one travels.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27)

These words of Jesus do not say that there is a cost to salvation. Anyone can hear the words of Jesus, comprehend the meaning and believe in the truth. Yet, there is a difference between those who believe and those who follow. Following Jesus costs more, but it means more too.

To follow Jesus we must give up our own preferences and life choices. We must choose to submit our future to him, living in a way that is consistent with his teaching, even if it is different to what we have always known. This might mean that we strain, or even lose, relationships with family and friends who do not agree with us or understand our faith. It might necessitate a change in our priorities of time and effort. Following Jesus will almost certainly mean that we have to sacrifice our need for control over our own destiny, choosing to live by faith instead of knowledge.

Following Jesus ALWAYS leads to change. We will change, our lives will change, our relationships will change and our view of the world that we live in will change.

The Cost of following Jesus is simply that we have to follow Jesus, wherever he leads us… even when it results in derision, persecution and, possibly, death.

Why? Because Jesus Christ is the only way for the people of the world to be reconciled to the God who created them. He is the only way to be forgiven from sin and the only path into the presence of the living God. Further, the people of this world NEED to see the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. It is through the lives of the disciples of Jesus that they will find the evidence of the truth of salvation by grace. We are the body of Christ!

To be saved does not mean that I need to be a disciple of Jesus. I don’t have to pay that price. But, because I am saved, how can I not follow? How can I not dive into God? The question is this… am I willing to pay the price so that my fellow men and women of the world might taste and see that Jesus is the way to full and wonderful life?

“Where else can I go? With you, Jesus, are the words of eternal life”

End Note – This blog is the result of my thoughts following the @RMChurches Leadership Conference in Norwich (#RMLC2014).

Author: nigelthewarner

Disciple, husband, father, writer and football fan.

3 thoughts on “Paying the price

  1. Hi Nigel. Great blog in regard to encouraging people towards a closer walk of discipleship. The idea of being able to accept Jesus as saviour of our lives without acknowledging him as Lord of our lives is new to me. Can you point me to some verses of scripture to help? Thanks Den

    • Hi Den,
      thanks for the comment. I am not sure whether to read it with a hint of sarcasm or if you are being genuine. I will choose genuine.
      Perhaps the issue is not so much that a person can be saved without acknowledging the Lordship of Christ (although neither Mark 16:16 or John 10:9 mention acknowledgement of the Lordship of Christ as prerequisites to salvation and 1 Corinthians 3:15 implies that it is possible to enter eternal life having built with a gospel other than the one preached by Paul and his colleagues) as what we do after we are saved. To have faith in Jesus is shown clearly to be the only prerequisite to salvation throughout the New Testament, the rest is about what we do following that moment when we come to know Him. Jesus is Lord whether we acknowledge it or not. But do we live in the reality of that Lordship?
      To some degree I am thinking about this as the ideas develop. I am very happy to be corrected by scripture and my brothers and sisters. The reality of the walk of faith is, as Paul wrote, a constant battle between our desire to live by our old sinful nature and the calling to be subject to a new nature of righteousness. If we submit to the Lordship of Jesus, because he is Lord whether we acknowledge it or not, then we will become more and more motivated to live according the the Spirit. If we are unwilling, or unable, to subject every area of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus, does that mean that we are unsaved?
      Perhaps it comes down to a battle between a legalistic gospel and a gospel of grace, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are saved because Jesus does it, not because we are in any way able to effect that salvation ourselves by the things we do or the way we live. Our walk of discipleship is, it seems to me, a lifelong response to the impact of the grace of God’s salvation.
      I hope that some of this is useful. Every blessing, Nigel.

  2. Pingback: Submission and obedience | Warner's TheoBlog

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