A Radical and Costly Summons
"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him." -- Matthew 9:9
Nothing is more blatantly contrary to the spirit of New Testament Christianity than the cheap grace upon which most religious people build their hopes of eternal salvation. Cheap grace is the teaching that we can have regeneration without repentance, conversion without conviction, communion without confession and the crown of glory without conflict upon the earth. Cheap grace is the offer of salvation without the claims of Christ as Lord. Grace is always free; but the grace of God is not cheap.
In the New Testament grace is promised to those who believe on, bow to, confess and follow Christ as their Lord. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to willingly turn yourself over to the rule and dominion of Christ. Our Lord said, "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?” (Mark 8:34-36).
The life of faith is a life of surrender to the rule of Christ. When Christ calls a person, he calls him to come and die, to die to self and to live unto God. If we would be Christ's disciples, if we would be Christians, we must take up our cross and follow him. Personal relationships, personal ambitions, personal desires and earthly cares must be sacrificed upon the altar of faith in Christ our sovereign Lord. His terms are unmistakable: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. So like-wise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26,27, 33).
Either we will be servants under the dominion of King Jesus, voluntarily giving up all to his claims, or we will go to hell! We may not have to give up any specific thing in actuality, but this surrender to Christ must be just as real in our hearts as if we had already given up everything, down to life itself. Our Lord requires total, unreserved surrender to himself. This surrender is a daily, life long pursuit. What does it cost to be a Christian? Nothing from me, but all of me!