Luke 14:25-33 ESV
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘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. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 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, saying, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.”
“’Or 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? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.’”
The word translated here as “hate” can mean either to “love less than” or it can mean to detest, which is usually acted out with spite, meanness, cruelty, bullying, harassment, false accusations, and evil deeds. But, in this case, it means “to love less than” (see Matthew 10:34-39). And the reason that we know this is that Jesus taught us not to hate anyone, so then he is not going to turn right around and instruct us to hate other people. And to love is to prefer, so to love Jesus is to prefer him above all else, and that is the point.
Jesus Christ, when he lived on this earth, made it quite clear that there is a cost to following him. He did not teach this “cheap grace” gospel that so many are teaching today. He taught death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness. For he said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of sin we will lose them for eternity. But if we die to sin and to self, for His sake, we will live with Christ for eternity (Luke 9:23-26).
For Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, and not just to give us the hope of heaven when we die, but he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might now live for him and no longer for ourselves. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so we would now be God’s possession, and so we would now honor him with our lives. And he died to free us from our slavery to sin, not just to forgive us our sins.
[1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 6:1-23]
So, don’t buy into this cheap grace gospel which says you can make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and now all your sins are under the blood and heaven is guaranteed you when you die regardless of how you live on this earth. If we are still walking in sin and not in holiness and righteousness, and not in obedience to our Lord, then we do not know God, he does not know us, our sins are not forgiven, and heaven is not our eternal destiny. Hell is!
Faith in Jesus Christ is authored and perfected by Christ, it comes from God, and it is gifted to us by God. It is not of our own doing. It is not of the will of man but of the will of God. So, genuine faith in Jesus Christ is going to die with Christ to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And genuine faith in Christ is divine persuasion as to God’s holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (turn from) our sins to follow Jesus in obedience (Ephesians 2:8-10; Hebrews 12:1-2; John 6:44).
True faith in Jesus Christ is a life of surrender to Christ, putting him first always. We follow him in obedience even if others we know, even family members, mock, criticize, ridicule and otherwise reject us and our walks of faith. He has to be #1. And we can’t hold on to the things of this life. We must surrender them all to Jesus. Now, this is not saying that he will not give us possessions, but we have to surrender all to him and let him decide what we have in the way of this world’s goods.
But this isn’t just about earthly possessions. We have to give up our reputations, our desire to be accepted by others, and our life ambitions in order to follow Jesus with our lives. For when we follow him fully, we will be rejected, hated, discarded, falsely accused, and mocked, etc., even by others who call themselves Christians but who do not know what it is to follow Jesus with their lives. For following Jesus means giving it all up and going with him wherever he takes us to do his will.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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