COUNTETH THE COST
By John C. Carpenter
Speaking to multitudes, Christ said, 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. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down
first, and counteth [enumerate, compute] the cost [expense, cost], whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath
laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was
not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able
with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth
an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot
be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land,
nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Luke 14:25-35). In these verses, the Lord
suggests what sounds like a strange thing. He suggests that before an individual decides to become a Christian, he or she should "sit
down first" and compute the cost of coming to Christ. Regarding loving, confessing, and following Christ, of becoming His disciple,
let us examine three aspects: the cost, the reason for the cost, and the reward of the cost.
FOR YE ARE DEAD
Paul wrote the believers in Rome Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness
of one the free gift [of eternal life] came upon all men unto justification of life (Rom 5:18). Many in the church interpret this
statement to mean that there is no price or cost to be paid by the believer for this free gift. There is, in fact, a cost, and price,
and that price is high. The apostles of Christ well knew the cost of following Christ, and encountered that cost daily. The great
apostle Paul wrote believers in Colossae, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3). The apostle Paul explained
the nature of his love for Christ when he said, ...I die daily (1 Cor 15:31), while Christ told His own disciples, ...If any man will
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but
whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose
himself, or be cast away? (Luke 9:23-25). The Lord added elsewhere, And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not
worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it (Mat 10:38-39). Paul wrote
believers in Rome, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord(Rom 6:11). Although the Lord was referring to His own death, He also fully explained the calling of believers when he said, Greater
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down [figuratively, or, in some cases, literally] his life for his friends (John 15:13).
Speaking to the multitudes, Christ initially said, If any man come to me, and hate [love less] not his father, and mother, and wife,
and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26), and then summarized a
few verses later, So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:33).
Paul instructed those in Rome, for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death,
kill] the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Rom 8:13), and I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present
your bodies a living sacrifice [by offering up to death your carnal nature, and thereby being], holy, acceptable unto God, which is
your reasonable service [ministry, requirement] (Rom 12:1). We should note that in his letter to Roman believers, Paul referred to
this price as our "reasonable service." In summarizing His own life, as well as the required life of the believer, Christ told twelve
of His disciples,...the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many (Mat 20:28).
Since The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord (Mat 10:24), the calling and requirement to be fulfilled,
and the price to be paid by the believer is to also give his or her life. Lastly, we are instructed in the book of Revelation that
believers...overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto
the death (Rev 12:11). The cost, the price, of following Christ is clear. In verse after verse, scriptures use terms like "ye are
dead, I die, lose his life, lay down his life, hate your own life, forsake all that you have, mortify the deeds of the body, and present
your bodies a living sacrifice." The cost is your death. This death is certainly figurative, in that it involves a loss of your own
will, desires, activities, physical comfort and worldly things, as well as the crucifixion of your own bodily appetites. The death
may also be literal, as many apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and missionaries will one day testify to.
ARE NOT YOUR OWN
The cost of following Christ is clearly death, but why is this cost necessary? When we examine the scriptures,
the reason becomes clear. Paul wrote believers in Rome, What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is
in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not [no longer] your own? For ye are bought [purchased, redeemed] with a price [the crucifixion]:
therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Cor 6:19-20). Paul taught that the believer in Christ has
been bought by the price of Christ’s death, and, as a result, the believer is no longer his or her own, to do his or her own will
and live as he or she desires. An old life has passed, and a new life is present. Paul instructed Ephesian believers, ...put off concerning
the former conversation [behavior] the old [worn out] man [ways and life], which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts (Eph
4:22), and told those in Corinth, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all
things are become new (2 Cor 5:17). The apostle Paul explained the reason why believers should respond to the requirements of the
gospel when he wrote the church in Corinth, For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit,
which are God's (1 Cor 6:20). Christ's death on the cross has purchased the believer's body and spirit, and the believer now belongs
to God. Paul also wrote those in Rome, Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,
even so we also should walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-4). The apostle John also knew the reason for giving up our lives in service
to Christ when he wrote, Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he [Christ] laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down
our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16). The apostle Peter also encouraged, Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the
flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer
should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God (1 Pet 4:1-2). The believer in Christ is
instructed to, Purge out therefore the old leaven [puffed up rebellion], that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even[because] Christ our passover is sacrificed for us (1 Cor 5:7). The reason that the believer's death is necessary is that the believer
is no longer his own. He or she has been bought with a price, and is instructed, and expected, to "put off the old man since old things
have passed away, glorify God because he or she now belongs to God, walk in new life, and lay down his or her life."
WE HAVE THEREFORE?
In this article, we have found that there is a cost to following Christ, and that cost is death. We have also
seen that there are reasons why this death is necessary. But what is the reward for giving Christ our life? Christ's own disciples
also wondered about this, and asked the Lord this same question. Immediately after the Lord's disciples heard the story of the rich
man, and realized the requirements and difficulties of being a disciple of Christ, they were amazed and shocked, and asked Christ,...Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said
unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne
of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses,
or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold [in
this life], and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first [consider themselves and their lusts most important] shall
be last [least important to Christ]; and the last [those that consider themselves and their lusts as least important, and Christ and
His kingdom most important] shall be first [most important to Christ, and therefore inherit everlasting life] (Mat 19:25-30). In the
letter written by the apostle John, we find, I believe, one of the many scriptural summaries of the Christian walk. Holy Scriptures
teach us, And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which
was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew
and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily,
I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die [give up it‘s own life and will],
it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto
life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will
my Father honour (John 12:20-26). The reasons for giving our life in service to Christ are apparent. Believers shall "bring forth
much fruit, shall be honoured by our Heavenly Father, and shall inherit everlasting life." Holy Scriptures clearly teach us that following
Christ has costs, reasons, and reward. AMEN.
THE CHRISTIAN HERALD
A Judeo-Christian Bible Study
unto him, I
way, the truth,
life: no man
but by me"
GOD WILL HELP THE BELIEVER PERSEVERE:
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our
Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son
Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor 1:8-9).
unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the
presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he
also justified: and whom he justified,
them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these
things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:30-31).
Whereforetake unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the
evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore,
having your loins girt about with
truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation
the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to
quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of
the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in
the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for
all saints (Eph 6:13-18).
That your faith should
not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Cor 2:5).
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: buthe that endureth to the end shall be
saved (Mat 10:22).
Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this
day, that ye may be
strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; And that ye may prolong
your days in the land,
which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their
seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey (Deu 11:8-9).
not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee
whithersoever thou goest (Joshua 1:9).
Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come
with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you (Isa 35:4).
Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you
like men, be strong (1 Cor 16:13).
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might (Eph 6:10).
thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the
righteous to be moved. But thou, O God, shalt bring
them down into the pit of destruction: bloody
and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee (Psa 55:22-23).
forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked
nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled
not (Neh 9:21).
But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your
enemies (2 Kings 17:39).
unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne
by me from the belly, which are carried from
the womb: And even to your old age I am he; an
even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry,
and will deliver you (Isa 46:3-4).
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up
in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where
is thy victory? The sting of death is sin;
and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through
our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch
as ye know that your labour is not in vain in
the Lord (1 Cor 15:54-58).
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.
Remember his marvellous
works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth (1Chron 16:11-12).
The LORD is my
rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in
whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my
high tower (Psa 18:2).
The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people
with peace (Psa 29:11).
that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings
as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and
they shall walk, and not faint (Isa 40:31).