And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
The call to discipleship has never changed, nor will it ever change. Unfortunately we have reduced the gospel call to follow hard after Jesus into a few mental ascensions, pay a tithe, and show up to church whenever it is open. Of course if someone comes along saying there is more to it they get labeled a legalist, or ‘holier than thou’ and so on. Their argument is that ‘All you need to do is believe’ and ‘we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone’ and so on. These phrases are true, if someone ‘just believes’ they certainly will be saved, and they will be disciples of Christ. The problem is that a large portion of professed Christendom is actually atheist at best, and pagan at worst. That is a bold claim, but unfortunately it is true.
If we believe that the Lord loves us, that He is all wise, all powerful, and all righteous and that He seeks to do good to those who love Him, then disobedience to His commands is insane. Think about it, the ultimate supreme power of the universe wants what is absolutely best for you and in that great love for you He gives you a command to obey, and you say NO! You fool!! Are we saved by keeping commands? No, but if we actually believe what we say we believe keeping God’s commands becomes a very natural thing.
Tell me this how can you just believe? If you believe it is going to be cold outside you pack a coat. If you believe you are going on a long drive you make sure you have gone to the bathroom before you leave. If you believe in Jesus Christ, and His promises and commands then you produce actions in accordance with that belief.
Now if you say you believe, but that belief produces no action the reality is that you do not believe. You might as well admit it! You believe what the Lord says about lust? Then why do you not seek to destroy it. You know what the Lord says about money? Why do you not use your monies as He commands? The truth is that if you believed you would act upon that belief! There are many people who profess a good profession but live no different than an atheist, and in truth they are atheists who have labeled themselves Christian.
I do not want to be hard, and know that God does love all people, and desires people. His commands are born out of that love, and are for our good. I do not point out this whole inadequacy of professing Christianity to make me feel good about myself, or to beat up people. The point is to love people enough to open their eyes the beauty of a real vital relationship with Christ, and not let them be satisfied with a unreal relationship with the King of Kings.
(I began this post a while ago and lost my train of thought so I will post it and leave it just as it is. I know it is not one of my better postings. I really want to move on to something new.)